Sunday, December 2, 2012

{Operation Transform - Day of Surgery}

Where'd a I leave off... Yes, the alarm went off at 4:15 a.m.  I don't think I have ever hopped out of bed so quickly in my life.  I immediately got ready to head to the hospital - shower, brushing teeth, drying hair, etc.  I wanted so badly to have some hot tea but that was a no-no.  About 4:45 a.m. my Daddy texted me to let me know he was outside our condo to pick me up.

Getting dropped off...
Daddy and I drove over to Rex Hospital and he dropped me off at the main patient registration area.  It was at that moment that the nerves set in a bit - I was in line behind about 20 other people having various procedures on Wednesday.  Waiting in line was not helping anything.  I went through the registration process and was then taken to a larger waiting area in preparation to go into surgical pre-op.

After about 10 minutes of scrolling through my phone, trying to find something to occupy my mind, I was called back to pre-op.  Mary (Yay - a comforting name!) was my first nurse.  When I reached my little curtained area, the first thing I saw on the computer screen saver was Carol Allen.  Carol and her family were some of the first people I met when I moved to Raleigh in 1998.  While a student at Meredith College, I regularly babysat her daughters (Hard to believe that 1 is in grad school, 1 in undergrad at Carolina, and the third is in high school - I feel old!).  Carol has been through breast cancer two times since 2006 and has been an inspiration to me.  Seeing her smiling face was just what I needed at that moment to calm my nerves!  Look at the her story on the Rex Health page - you'll see what I am talking about.  I took the time to send her a quick Facebook message when Mary and I were done reviewing my vitals, etc.

Hanging out in pre-op
Throughout the next hour and a half, I was visited by several different nurses and technicians that all did the best in keeping me positive, happy, and upbeat.  I have to say that the staff in the pre-op area is top notch.  Every single person was so nice and the area runs like a well-oiled machine.  There's not a ton of waiting and they don't make you answer all the same questions a hundred times.

Around 7 a.m., they moved me to the operating room.  This is where things became fuzzy.  I remember being rolled into the room.  One of the nurses "introduced" me to all the staff in the room.  A few moments later, she put a mask on my face, told me to close my eyes...

I didn't do a great job of warning my parents about how long they would be at the hospital.  Dr. Lambeth said my surgery would be somewhere between 6 and 7 hours, but he would do his best to finish as quickly as 5 and a half.  Well... I told my parents to be at the hospital around 12:30 p.m., and forgot to tell them that he wouldn't be done till 1 or so.  My Daddy and Mama were quite worried because they were expecting Dr. Lambeth to come out a lot earlier than he did... My surgery ended up taking 7 hours and he didn't get started until 8 a.m.  Whoops!

The next thing I know, I was waking up in recovery.  I had a great nurse there too.  Unfortunately, I can't seem to recall her name either.  I guess that's the downfall of all the drugs.  I think I arrived in recovery around 2:30 p.m.  I basically just relaxed there, in and out of my drug-fog.  I ended up being stuck in recovery a lot longer than planned due to issues with the pharmacy.  They told my parents I would be assigned to room 7088.  My parents headed to the room and continued to wait with very little information about where I was.... I am sure she was asking every nurse that went by to find out something.  Unfortunately, all they could tell her was that I was still in recovery.

Around 6 p.m., I finally got to my room.  My first nurse was Sandy, with Ameline as nursing assistant.  They were both very nice, sweet, and helpful.  Ameline's first offer was to get me a bunch of ice chips and some ginger ale to help my sore throat.  I didn't know how helpful the ice chips would be but she told me that if I let the ice melt and run down my throat, it would soothe the terribly sore feeling from the breathing tube they inserted during surgery.  

A little while later, my parents left for the evening.  (No I didn't kick them out.  I made dinner reservations for them at PF Chang's at Crabtree so that they could be slightly distracted.)  Right after my parents left, I ordered dinner.  Rex does a "room service" type ordering for most patients.  You have a nice menu in your room and you call the number listed and order what you want.  I had no clue what I should order or what I would be able to eat.  I ended up ordering a grilled chicken breast, half a sweet potato, sauteed zucchini and squash, chicken broth, lemon Italian ice, hot tea, and unsweetened iced tea.  It arrived about 30 minutes later.  Oh my did it look like a lot of food.  I ate two bites of my chicken breast before I knew that it wasn't going to be a good idea.  I ended up having the chicken broth, sweet potato, Italian ice, and hot tea.  I hated to let the other food go to waste, but it just wasn't working for me!

Jason called while I was waiting for my dinner and checked about coming to visit.  I had told my parents to tell him not to come earlier (I don't think I said that, but the nurse told them I did.  I blame drugs again.)  Jason and his parents arrived a few minutes after dinner arrived.  We talked about different things, but nothing terribly complicated.  They stayed about half an hour and then headed to Neo Asia for dinner.  I was so jealous that they were going there while I was stuck in the dang hospital.  I made Jason promise me a dinner date there soon.

The rest of the evening was spent with my overnight nurse, Wanda, and nursing assistant, Allison.  Wanda was super awesome.  Before she worked on the surgical floor, she worked for a plastic surgeon.  She was full of all kinds of good tips for when I got home.  Allison was so sweet all night too.  Let's just say that she didn't have the most glamorous job....  I think I fell asleep around 9 p.m.  I didn't sleep a lot, but the sleep I got was decent.

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