24 Hours Post-Op

I made it out in one piece, sort of. The first 24 hours have been quite surreal, as I have only been fully conscious for about 1 hour, at most.

Monday

We got to the hospital at 7:30am, and the nurse at the front desk took us to the day surgery area, where 5 nurses immediately pounced on me, offering to get me started. They led me to my own room, where one of them tried to draw blood, only to poke a vein the first time and have no blood come out. The second time she was more successful, but a bit more painful. Then another woman came in and asked for some papers that I was supposed to have brought with me. Oops… after all my methodical planning, I had tried so hard not to even think about the surgery so as to best suppress my nerves that I had forgotten to bring the papers. She was hysterical, mostly due to the fact that this paper told her how much I owed the hospital. We tried calling our roommate so he could scan it for us, but of course not even a fire alarm wakes him. So this woman kept coming back and forth, threatening me that they wouldn’t even get me into surgery without it. Waving a credit card at her was all it took to calm her down though, and all was at peace. Then another nurse came to try and put my IV in, but as it turns out, even with a children’s needle, she remarked that my veins were too small, so she stepped out to call a more experienced nurse to put in my IV. Yes, apparently my veins are like a three year old’s. The anaesthesia guy came in, super nice and super chatty – we discussed the politics of smoking and healthcare all in about 10 minutes. A little before 9am the doctor came in to mark my chest, sounding confident and in a hurry, and a few minutes later I was sailing down the halls into the OR room. Once I was in there, I slid onto the OR table, and that’s all I remember. Next thing I know I was in the recovery room.

Before my surgery I had watched these amazing YouTube videos by Kaden of his post-op recovery process. As you can see here, he is a few hours post-op, straight back from the hospital, and he looks in perfectly fine shape, if a little groggly at worst. I showed this video to my significant other and said, “See, by 3pm you feel fine, I’ll be back in the hotel room prancing around making YouTube videos!”

Well, at 3pm yesterday I was still in the recovery room, and it was the nurses’ second attempt to take into the day surgery room before I collapsed again in extreme faintness and nausea. This meant some more nausea medication, which meant more sleepiness. I had been out of surgery since 12.30, but only started to wake up around 2. I remember looking at the clock and being somewhat worried as to why I had taken so long, since the surgery was supposed to be around 2-2.5 hours only. The nurses assured me everything went well. At this point I was extremely sleepy, floating between unconscious states; the only thing occassionally bringing me back to reality were the leg pumps they had put on me for circulation. I wasn’t in much pain, except for the tightness around my chest. I looked down to see the bandages, and it felt like the tightest binder I had ever worn, times a thousand.

Finally I believe I made it out the room at about 3:30, where I got to see my family for the first time. Then at 5ish the nurses were getting ready to take me back to the recovery room, since the surgery day room area was closing at 5:30pm. I guess they expect anyone who has day surgery to be out by then. I ate a toasted turned cold english muffin which promptly exited my body the same way it came in.

Back in the recovery room, I was reunited with my old friends the nurses. They were all extremely nice, and I must say being a nurse has to be one of the most arduous, disgusting, and thankless jobs, and I appreciate all they did for me. The nausea kept haunting me, and the tightness around my chest was crushing. The doctor came over to check on me once more, and said I was doing fine. I was as pale as the white walls, faint and nauseous. At around 6pm I tried to eat some Jello, my stomach tried to fool me only to reveal its tricks some minutes later. The nurses gave me another nausea medication, and some sugar in my IV, which meant another trip to sleepy land.

Waiting for a cab, trying not to throw up more.

Preparations were made at 8pm to hail a cab for 9, stop by the pharmacy, and make it back to the hotel room. The recovery room closes around 10pm, so they made sure to kick us out before then. I’m such a delicate flower that I surpassed all their timely expectations, and was still managing to throw up absolutely nothing as we waited for the cab in the lobby – my stomach just wanted to show off how sensitive it is.

It's been snowing all night - the view from our hotel room.

Tuesday

It’s about 12noon the following day, and I barely have enough energy to write this down. The dizziness has subsided enough that I can stand up without feeling nauseous, but not more than five minutes without feeling faint., and I’ve eaten enough to take a pain pill. My head is still pounding, my vision is tired, and I keep questioning my convalescent state, and how I ended up here in the first place.

Bandaged chest, 24 hours after surgery

All in all it has been quite surreal. I keep wondering what the hell I’m doing, what I just did to my body and why. As I lay here suffering, in quite a hefty amount of pain, headaches, nausea, chest tightness, and overall miserableness, the significance of surgery as a physical ordeal has hit me hard, while my brain straggles along, trying to make some sense out of this. I haven’t even seen my chest, and at this point I don’t know if I have the stomach to see it. I know it’s going to look raw and painful, and different. I’m not ready for more shocks – what if it’s horrible, or not at all as I imagine it? What do I expect to see anyway? I’m 24 hours boobie-free, and right now all I wish for is the pain to subside, and for the doctor to unwrap the tight bandages so I can breathe again.

6 responses to “24 Hours Post-Op

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