Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Surgical Intervention - Part II

This is a picture from the Minnesota Arboretum, it has nothing to do with this post. I took it a while back and just thought I'd share it. I hope you like it!

This is a continuation from my Surgical Intervention post a couple of days ago. To learn why I had the surgery, check out this. I've decided to document how my surgery went and I am hoping that it might help you or someone you love in the future with getting through the surgery process. Specifically, the recovery process...

Last time I left off I was just waking up in the recovery room, feeling terrible. The surgery lasted about an hour, so it was fairly quick. However, recovery was another story all together.

Prior to going into surgery I had met with the anesthesiologist and told him about how nauseous I get from the general anesthesia. I also told him that the last time I had the surgery I had what they called a 'scope patch'. It helped me not be nauseous immediately after surgery and for a couple of days following it. He responded by telling me that the general anesthesia today is different than it was 10 years ago. When I told him that the last surgery was 3 years ago, he wrote something down in my chart and then left immediately after. The first time I had this surgery performed they placed the scope patch behind my ear, the common placement for it, however as I headed into the surgery room without it this time I wondered if they were planning on putting it on me there...

So, as I was saying, I woke up in recovery feeling really bad. First of all, I looked down to see my abdomen largely inflated. I mean to the the point that I looked pregnant, we are talking 6 months pregnant kind of big.  I've never been pregnant, but I'm just guessing that that is exactly how I would look at 6 months pregnant. 'Geeeze' I thought 'I've heard about things getting left inside of patients during surgery, but they would have really had to pack me full of stuff to make me look this big'. I wondered if they had left gloves, sponges, funky surgeon eyewear, amongst other things in there.  Then I remembered that they had blew me up like a balloon with nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide to better view what was going on inside me. With how much they put in I wondered if I might float if it had been helium they filled me with instead of carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide. 'That might be fun' I thought as I imagined myself in a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory type of scenario. Then it hit me - not the blades at the top of the room like what Charlie and his grandpa found themselves drifting towards - the nausea. It hit me like a ton of bricks, suddenly.

At right about that time the nurse walked up and asked me if I wanted something to eat. The thing was, I was STARVING. It was around 10:00AM and I hadn't eaten since around 9:00PM the night before. But because I was sooo nauseous, I didn't want anything to eat. All I kept thinking about was the amount of pain I might feel if I started dry heaving after having an incision made in my abdomen. Just the thought of it right now, still kind of makes me nauseous. However, figuring I should try to eat something I asked for some crackers.

Just as the nurse walked away my left middle finger started feeling numb. From working in cardiac rehabilitation at one point in my life I knew that women experience different symptoms than men do when having a heart attack. 'OH MY GOD I'M HAVING A HEART ATTACK!!' I thought as I panicked inside my head. As I looked down at my finger I realized it was the SaO2 monitor thingy they had put on it prior to me going into surgery that was making my finger numb. At this point I started saying profanities in my head, so use your imagination. 

Prior to going into surgery the nurse had put the SaO2 thingy on my finger, which was now a sticker type thingy and not the normal plastic contraption (kind of looks like this usually, but not attached to a wrist band). It is actually a pulse oximeter device they put on your finger to measure your saturation of oxygen in the blood. Anyways, the nurse put it on my finger extremely tight and it was really bothering me prior to going into the surgery room (I kept picking at it trying to make it looser, to which Binderclips would tell me to stop), now it was wreaking havoc on me yet again. I was convinced my finger was going to fall off soon because she had put it on soo tightly.

Soon after, the nurse brought me back some crackers and some water. I opened the cracker package, looked at the crackers and then set them down. I was too nervous to try eating them. After having a staring contest with the crackers for about 5 minutes (I won, btw), I decided to pick them up. I took about a squirrel size bite off of the corner from one of the crackers (getting cracker crumbs all over me in the process) and swallowed it, then felt it starting to come back up. I quickly picked up the water and took a swig hoping it would help wash the cracker down without it coming back up. Sadly, the water made it worse but I managed to keep it down somehow.

The nurse had made her way back to me by that point and was asking how I was doing again. "Bad. Nauseous. Really nauseous" I said, since I couldn't speak in full sentences at that point. I thought about adding 'dying' into the mix and pointing at myself, but decided against it. The Nurse Liaison walked up at about the same time and asked the nurse how I was doing. Her job was to tell Binderclips how I was doing in recovery. The nurse responded with "her scope patch isn't working, I'm going to have to give her a shot of something else. It's going to be a while longer before she's going anywhere." The Nurse Liaison promptly left to deliver the message to Binderclips and I thought 'So, I must have gotten the scope patch...' Although, I did not feel like I did.

About 3 hours after the surgery I was finally able to go home. Thanks to the shot of anti-nausea medication I didn't end up getting sick. However, after a couple of days both Binderclips and I realized one thing - I did not have a scope patch on AT ALL. GRRRRR

My apologies about the lengthy post! Hopefully it was worth reading (if you did read it, and btw, thank you if you did). :)

Later folks!


  1. That's messed up! Do you remember the name of your anesthesiologist? Because I want to make sure I ask for a new one if I ever get him!

    At least you got to go home the same day--that's something to be thankful for. :)

  2. I don't remember his name, but he works for Anesthesiologist Associates of Kansas City. I actually called them and told them that I was really unhappy with what happened. I didn't get to talk to the one who worked on me, but of course, the one I spoke to was VERY apologetic.

    That's true (I got to go home the day of), I know you didn't. :(

  3. Oh and the one I spoke to confirmed that I didn't get one. It was never ordered for me. GRRRRRR