Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Surgery

Here’s the next chapter in my surgery saga, the previous chapter can be found here.

Well that set off a flurry of activity like you wouldn’t believe.  I called my sister and not only did she and her husband plan to come down, but she wanted to see me before the surgery.  I told her she had better be there by 6AM in that case.  I didn’t think they’d make it, but (spoiler alert), somehow they did (remember, they live over an hour away from where I was, although at that hour on a Saturday morning traffic would at least be light).

Meanwhile, everyone and his brother came into my room to see me.  Someone came in to get me to sign authorization for the surgery, and went over next of kin details.  I also had to get my Advanced Directive in order. Someone came in to take blood, and I believe someone came in to take a chest X-ray. Then the nurse shaved me.  No, not the groin this time, there was nothing left to shave there.  He had to shave my chest and my legs.  The chest is obvious but my legs needed to be shaved because they take veins from your legs and insert them into your chest as part of the bypass. 

One of the things I had asked LM to pick up for me was a cheap disposal razor and some shaving cream as I desperately needed a shave (I mean my face).  I was gonna do that on Saturday but obviously not now.  So the nurse offered to shave my face with one of those electrical clippers that I described previously.  I said sure.  Those clippers didn’t do a very good job on my face but I guess it was better than nothing.

Then the nurse’s assistant came in and told me I needed to take a shower.  They had a shower down the hall that I was escorted to.  The nurse’s assistant actually had to assist me in the shower (I can’t recall why, it might have had something to do with the fact that was still recovering from the angiogram).  This particular lady was a step up from the old “biddy” who had shaved me a few days before, but she was definitely not a woman I would choose to shower with, if you catch my drift.



Anyway, I guess I finally got to sleep around 1AM.  Of course, I was not allowed any food or water after midnight. I actually slept very well. The nurse woke me up around 5:30 AM I think to prep me.  And indeed, my sister and brother-in-law were there before 6AM to be with me until they were ready to wheel me into the O.R.

It was a good thing they showed up.  They were not going to reserve my hospital room for me.  I would be assigned a new room after I was done in the recovery room.  So if my family hadn’t shown up, there were just gonna stick all my possessions in a corner somewhere and I would have to hope that they’d find me in my new room. By now, I had put all my cash and my credit cards in the hospital safe, but I still had a ton of stuff, including my laptop and my celphone (and my clothes) that I sure didn’t want to lose.  Fortunately my brother-in-law took all that stuff and put it in his car for me, so it was safe.

I was remarkably calm before the surgery.  My sister couldn’t believe it.  I really can’t explain why I was so calm, I just was.  I guess I figured if it went the wrong way, well, at least I wouldn’t have anything to worry about any more. It was kind of weird.

They were running late and although I was scheduled for 8AM it was closer to 8:30 when they wheeled me away.  I got to the O.R. and they asked me a bunch of questions to make sure they were doing the surgery on the right person.  I had had an I.V. in me for some time, and I was surprised that I wasn’t feeling drowsy or woozy or anything.  In fact, I was just realizing that I was surprised I didn’t feel drugged at all, when the next thing I was aware of was waking up after the surgery!

I later found out that I woke up too soon in the recovery room and they had to knock me out again.  But I don’t remember that.  Honestly that first day is a bit of a blur.  But I remember my sister and brother-in-law were there when I woke up and we were able to converse.  They told me that the doctors said everything went very well.  I was too doped up to feel any pain, at least initially.  At one point they took the breathing tube out of my throat, which was unpleasant but made things more comfortable. 

As I said, I really don’t remember much of that first day, I probably was asleep for most of it.  I don’t remember if I ate, I don’t think so. I do remember they gave me some ice chips which were actually great.

Late in the afternoon (I think) I was told that I was ready to be moved back into a regular hospital room, but they were waiting for some rooms to open up.  They had three patients in recovery they needed to find rooms for.

At some point, my sister and brother-in-law finally left.  It was probably early evening and it had been a really long day for them (for me too, for that matter).  I think they left when the nurse told me they were going to take me to a hospital room.  As the day wore on and the anesthesia wore off, I noticed I was in a lot of pain.  Fortunately I was at the stage where I could get either a pain shot or pain pills any time I wanted.  I wanted a lot.

When the nurse told me that they were moving me and two other patients into regular rooms, she apologized because none of us were getting private rooms.  But she told us that if private rooms later became available, they could move us into private rooms.

The only one of my possessions my sister gave me back before she left was my celphone (and of course charger).  That was cool, but I was actually too out of it to use it at the time.  And it was clear that I would be in no shape to use my laptop again for the foreseeable future.

Now, I had described the hospital room I had had before the surgery as the Palazzo of hospital rooms.  This new room I was taken to was more like the Motel 6 of hospital rooms.  Actually that’s an insult to Motel 6.  It was a tiny, tiny room.  Whereas that private room I had was huge, this was less than 1/3 the size of that room, even though there were two beds in it.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating.  The two beds were practically on top of each other.  I would say that the distance between the two beds was less than the width of a bed.  There was virtually no storage space, and really no room for visitors (I think there was one chair for each bed).  And of course we shared a bathroom.

It didn’t make any sense.  I mean that room I was now in should have been a private room—it still would have cramped—and the first room I had should have been a double.  Hell, you could have comfortably put three beds in there.

But I was too out of it to worry much about it.  I got to the room before my new roommate did, who I assumed had also come from the recovery room.  But he was more alert than I was, so maybe he came from another room (surely not one smaller) or perhaps he had a different operation than I did.  Although I think the entire floor I was on was cardiac patients.

I pretty much lost Sunday too.  I don’t remember very much of it.  I do know my sister never made it down to see me.  They were exhausted from their long day on Saturday and just never got started.  I was mostly out of it anyway so it was no big deal.  Perhaps I started eating that day but I didn’t get out of bed much if not all.  The big accomplishment for the day was me asking them to take the catheter out. It was bothering me whenever I moved.  Of course, the pain from them removing it was pretty bad.  And it stayed with me for some time after the removal.  At least they had initially put it in when I was already unconscious. 

The other thing that happened on day 2 was that the cardiac surgeon who performed my surgery came to visit.  He assured me that everything went well..

And that’s all I’ve got for now.  Probably there will only be one more chapter to this story, but I’m not 100% sure.  So, here’s my recovery update.  I guess I’m a little better each day, I’m walking one minute more each day and feeling ok after that.  But I really don’t have much energy and it is tough for me to force myself to sit down and write….that’s why I don’t have more for you.  I suppose part of that, if I’m honest, is that I’m not getting much feedback on these surgery posts, so I’m not inspired to write.  I realize that this is not the kind of material you’ve come to expect from me, but it’s all I got and I was hoping I could tell my story in an entertaining fashion. 

(Edited to add....well, there's more than one chapter but you can find the penultimate chapter here)

22 comments:

  1. Sister and bro-in-law get a Christmas card this year then? Holy cow, what is up with the small room? How are you doing now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I said, I'm walking a little more each day, handling that well.

      Delete
  2. Your updates are great Rob. Glad you did so well in surgery! Write what you can, that's good enough. Looking forward to more posts and more of your stories, and when you can get back to playing some poker. Take care. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Steve, glad you're enjoying my reports.

      Delete
  3. Sorry for the lack of feedback. I've read every post with interest and I am great full that all went well for you. Keep up with the recovery and hopefully you'll be back to your usual routine as quickly as possible!!

    Nick (cokeboy99)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nick. Definitely looking forward to "normal", can't some soon enoughy

      Delete
  4. Rob - I echo Nick's statement... I'm a regular reader but don't comment much. Keep posting and we'll keep reading with interest. Prayers and good thoughts for a full recovery!

    John O in MD


    ReplyDelete
  5. Glad you are recovering well. The story of it all is great so keep up the good work when you feel strong enough.
    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Rob. I don't miss a post. Always interested in how your recovery is going. I realize it is a slow process to recover. One step at a time. Glad your a little stronger each week. Keep up the great work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much Dale, appreciate it.

      Delete
  7. I can relate to the sense of calm before a major surgery. I had a very risky cancer surgery a few years ago. As the doctors explained the risk, and had me sign a bazillion release and legal forms, I remember thinking that I was hungry, and couldn't wait to wake up so I could have dinner. Fear or worry for myself never entered my mind, although I did feel a bit guilty that I was putting my girlfriend (now wife) through so much worry.

    Glad you're progressing and getting better. I like reading about your poker escapades, especially since I can't play nearly as much as I want too. Funny thing us, I've been reading your articles for a while, but had no idea you also wrote this blog until recently when I saw your football promo article. Had a bit of a "well, duh!" moment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, glad your cancer surgery went well.

      Thanks and glad you finally found my blog.

      Delete
  8. So far so good Rob. Only a short amount of the time until you are back at the poker tables yelling SHIP IT!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lester. I just hope my heart can take an all in and someone hits a two outer against me!

      Delete
  9. So glad to see my friend on the way to a full recovery.
    When you are able, i would be happy to take you to see some hot chicks-(boobage)- in Vegas, or at least join you at the poker tables.

    GL sir,
    Big L

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Big L. I dunno when I will be allowed to look at live boobage. It might be too much for my heart just yet. May have to take that slowly.

      Delete
  10. 2nd on the not being concerned when surgery time finally comes around. Had brain surgery couple years ago and family and friends were wrecks, I just felt this sense of calm and couldn't wait for it to start. Recovery was the pits though.
    Glad you are getting better every day too.

    Medicine is amazing these days, wife just had a new knee put in 6 weeks ago and she is doing great and feels better than she has in 5 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow.....glad to hear you got thru brain surgery ok. Also glad to hear about the wife. I'm a long way from being better than before....I'd settle for the same.

      Thanks!

      Delete