Wednesday, July 23, 2014

And now for...The Rest of the Story

I started writing about the surgery that I underwent one month ago today, shortly after I got home.  Life happened, I had other messages I wanted to get moving.  And so it waited.

Here is my surgery story.  

You would think that this was exciting enough, but I am totally an over achiever.  I mean it was a  totally mundane surgery that went haywire from the first cut.  That should be enough, right??

Instead, 2 weeks ago (16 days post-op), I noticed an odd pain in my back, on the right side.  I noticed and then forgot.  I noticed it later and became annoyed.  My guess was that I  had a kidney stone/ UTI/ kidney infection, because it was almost that low.  It was that kind of pain.  I am a teacher and was a waitress.  For a bit, my doc just called in a script for Cipro or Bactrim (until we found out I was allergic to sulfa) because I KNEW when I had a UTI and he was tired of telling me what I already knew.  It has been years, but that pain brought all that rushing back to my brain.  

As the day went on, I noticed it was only when I inhaled, but not always.  I was becoming increasingly impatient.  I told my FF that I would call the doc in the AM and get into see her.  Perfectly logical, right??

Until 1AM came.  We had only been asleep for an hour or so.  I guess I started wimpering in my sleep, waking up the fireman.  (AMAZINGLY, he is not a light sleeper when he is at home.)  And I finally woke up and was IN PAIN!  He wanted me to go in.  I of course fought it...for a bit.  Until my brain woke up.  It hurt to breathe, but I had no shortness of breath. 


Surgery riddled with complications + Estrodial hormone replacement therapy + family history + difficulty taking a breath in = CRAP!

I did not say it out loud.  I got dressed without saying anything.  J took me to the hospital that is just around the corner from us. I wanted the kids to be able to walk up to come hang out with me, because I knew I was not coming home after an ED visit.  And I was not in the mood to talk to or deal with the residents of a teaching hospital, I still had the bad taste in my mouth from my last hospitalization. 

We went in and I said it.

I took my bag since I knew I would be there a bit.
I told the receptionist that I was 2 weeks post-op and I thought I had a pulmonary embolism.  They moved very quickly  At this point, I struggled with every breath I took while speaking.  I did not have shortness of breath, like trying to catch my breath that was not the sensation.  It was more like a screwdriver handle shoved in my mid back when I tried to take more than a shallow breath.  My chest did not hurt.  I was not coughing anything up.  I just was in pain when I tried to do something silly like breathe.  Details.  

The doc came in, clearly worn out from the faults of our medical system (I'll save that rant for another post).  After he took my basic history, he asked if I was a doctor.  Nope, just a high school teacher.  On his way out he made a side comment, something to the effect of "someone has been on WebMD, huh" .  Nope.  Never went looking.  Just an epiphany as I struggled to breathe.

I remember hearing the stories of the depression my mother was sent it to while they treated her for a PE.  I was very young and stayed with her parents.  I started to call my grandma "Mawma" and all my mother heard was "Momma".  It was a horrible recovery from that complication.  You hear about how you caused your mother that stress and the idea stays with you.  

I also am one of those weird people.  I actually LISTEN to the docs during my pre-op appointments.  I knew what the complications and risks might be.  Once I realized that it might be detrimental to my quest for old age to play the tough guy, there were no more complaints and I just put my concerns out there.  I know people come in after searching the web, but I just did the math.  (Not bad for a history teacher!)

Luckily, he took me seriously.  Instead of  starting with the labs, he ordered a CT.  The labs came as well, but he did not wait for the results to come back before deciding on imaging.  The results came back together.  I was right.  The doc was surprised and told me I was spot on with my diagnosis.  I clearly missed my calling.

I did it good - go big or go home, I guess.  

I ended up back in the hospital for a couple days.  Lovenox injections, even though there was not DVT were less than enjoyable.  The kids were able to walk up to come see me, so it was less of a stressor.    

So what did I learn from this??  I learned what a bleb was. I learned that my husband is so wonderfully compassionate and caring when tending to the sick.  I learned that a trip to Target CAN force to require a three hour nap.  I learned that I am not 10 foot tall and bullet-proof and this will probably take me a year to fully recover.  I learned that cuts from invisible ninjas that once required a Band-Aid®, will require medical attention when the Xarelto does not allow it to clot off after 7 hours. I have learned that I can do stairs, down is easier than up.  I learned that I have amazing friends.  I learned that I am competitive and too hard on myself, even with my stupid incentive spirometer.  I learned that I am happy to be here, even with all these annoying complications.

Recovery was amazingly seamless, J and I had planned on not being here, so he was off of work and able to hold down the fort while I was down for the count.  He has been amazing.  My kids have been wonderful.  And I am OH so grateful that I did not have to deal with this over the school year!

My FF is on shift.  We are five weeks away from school starting and I need to get my butt moving.  Enjoy the day, no matter what it brings and let your FF know you love him, even when he's being a brat.  ;)  Happy Hump Day!

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