Saturday, March 24, 2007

Surf's Up!

Before I press on with my tale, many thanks to everyone for all your good wishes—they meant the world to me. As I was laying in the operating theater, and after, I thought of all of you. I also thought: "I am so blogging this."

Monday dawned bright and clear, and I drove myself to the hospital, the WASHINGTON HOSPITAL CENTER, ETA of 11 a.m. I was whisked away to pre-op, asked to disrobe (and re-robe).

My blood pressure was hovering around 90/50; pulse (this is for you Bob) around 49. But that's because I was nervous, so it was high.

Off I went to surgery with the brilliant and talented Dr. Cheryl Iglesia, a marathoner herself, and the smartest urogynecologist in North America (also the fastest talker).

I was given a lovely sedative, and walked into the operating room where at the very last minute the wise and clever Dr. Iglesia said ix-nay to the epidural they were planning (because of my previous back problems) and said "You'll be fine with blah blah blah blah." I'm guessing that blah blah was heavy sedation because she asked me to cough several times during the procedure (a test), which I complied with, so I must have been some kind of conscious, and also because (as I was told later) I discussed the merits of surfing in Barbados with everyone in the room.

I am apparently a lot of fun when semi-conscious.

The whole thing lasted maybe 1/2 hour, and soon I was in recovery trading barbs with the nurses, shivering and drifting in and out. Blood pressure was now holding steady at 80/40 and my pulse was, well, low. In fact, it actually hit 33 at one point! (Is this a competition? You bet it is, Bob!) Now, some people have low pulses because they are, say, Olympic athletes. Or, dead. I think running has lowered my pulse some, but surely not to 33. It never got back above 49 during my entire hospital stay. Even my temperature was low. Everything was low except my weight. What else is new.

I had very little pain afterwards. I was spending one night at the hospital because they wanted to see (TMI ALERT! TMI ALERT!) if I could pee on my own without benefit of this

It was dinnertime by the time I got a room, and I made the mistake of mentioning I was vegetarian, which apparently threw the kitchen, where they are unfamiliar with vegetables. Around 7:30 p.m.—let me add that I had not had anything to eat since midnight the night before, not even water, so I was all kinds of hungry—they finally brought in my "dinner": A plate of grapes. Oh, and a piece of cake. (I am so not kidding.)

(Random observation: Without glasses, 11:40 p.m. looks exactly like 8:00 a.m. But actually, it's not 8:00 a.m., so get back in bed.)

I had no pain, but felt a bit nauseated throughout the night and had this interesting conversation with nurse #1:

Me: I've got a bit of an upset stomach. Have you got any ginger ale? Or saltine crackers?
Nurse: Oh no. But I can bring you some orange juice. And graham crackers.
Me.: Do you have children?
Nurse: Yes.
Me: When they have an upset stomach do you feed them ORANGE JUICE AND GRAHAM CRACKERS?!!!

Nurse #2 had the exact same answer to nausea. Is this in the rule book? "Upset stomach? Give orange juice."? I finally told nurse #2 I'd give her $1 to go find a machine and get me some freakin' ginger ale. And finally, she did. God bless her.

Next morning, the catheter was removed (TMI ALERT #2) and I was filled up with water and escorted to the WC. No go. (Literally: No Go.) Back on the catheter I went. So, I got to go home with a catheter.

(This is as long as a race report, only without a PR at the end.)

Nothing was painful, amazingly, but needless to say, I was a wee bit uncomfortable. On Thursday morning my doctor repeated the "can you pee on your own test," and this time I passed. (These double entendres are killing me.) One of the nurses actually said "good job!," to which I replied, "I haven't been told 'Good job!' for peeing on my own since I was two!"

The only side effect so far is fatigue. So, just like the other two-year-olds, I'm back to taking daily naps. I am also dying from inactivity. I am not allowed to stand for any significant period of time, or lift or carry anything. Since nothing hurts, this is really counterintuitive, but I am complying like the good soldier I am. It is quite a challenge to not do anything. Who knew? (I did slip out last night to see Bruce Cockburn at the National Cathedral. And I didn't fall asleep!)

The other side effect is that I am not allowed to drive. Which meant I had to wake up Number One Daughter early this morning to drive me to the National Marathon to see Coach Peter. The car decided to overheat and run out of gas all at the same time so it was an interesting morning and made it a challenge to get NOD back to school, since she was going to take the car with her. (And in case you were wondering, all garages in D.C. and Maryland are closed on Saturday morning.)

But ... I did get to see Coach Peter at mile 24, and take a photo, and I talked with Bex, who ran the half, by phone afterwards, and a huge congrats to both! Run right over and tell them so.

And that, my friends, is, finally, all she wrote.


Danielle said...

"a wee bit uncomfortable"


glad the procedure went well!

Just12Finish said...

That was very blog-worthy!

OJ and graham crackers. What a nightmare.

I'm glad you're back.

Bolder said...

glad the procedure went well.

i was dispatched often for ginger ale and other things that a hospital just can't fathom as necessary.

glad you figured out the bribe system!

take care. get well. no concerts!

21stCenturyMom said...

OJ? That must be medicinal OJ. You know what they say - if all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. I think that's applicable, non?

IHateToast said...

did you have "water balloon" fights with your fellow drainage baggees on the floor? you know you were tempted.

looking forward to hearing about the ten million books you'll be reading.

are you sorry they didn't youtube your sedated badself?

peter said...

Thanks for coming out to cheer me on. You have no idea how it revitalized me to hear my name called out at MP 24 and look up to see a familiar face. I was glad to see that you were able to get around after your op. That picture you snapped at MP 24 is a kick! It looks like a still from The Night Of The Living Dead, with all of us runners lurching forward, our faces grim and determined, everyone looking down watching our feet as we totter desperately towards the farmhouse.

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Well, I'm glad it all worked out ok without complications. Like waking up as a man because they did the wrong operation.

Neese said...

how is it you can make a hospital experience so enjoyable to read? thanks for sharing TMI? never

L*I*S*A said...

NOTE TO SELF: Don't offer post-operative patients orange juice and graham crackers. Honestly, it isn't the first combination I would have thought of, and I just began my journey in nursing school. :)

May your healing be swift.

Laufenweg said...

i'm glad the proceedure is behind you. take care to heal! that's important. don't rush yourself. sounds like you had some good "medication" whilst in hospital. :-)

David said...

You traded barbs with the nurses? What were they? Secanols? Tuenols? Sorry - flashback.

So you are the modern day bag lady?

I read your entry to Mrs. T and you are now her favorite blogger. She was ROTF.

Happy mending.

Laurie said...

I'm glad to hear your surgery went well. I wish you a speedy recovery!

Dori said...

So glad everything's well. As usual, you managed to relate the tale with humor. It was very nice of you to go out and support your friends for the marathon.

Thomas said...

I'm cracking up.

Good job indeed!

Bob said...

What are you going to do if you have no more pee posts to write? Is that a pulse throwdown! It is so ON. Current pulse at work 46. lol Speedy recovery to you. :-)

Susan said...

You are a trooper! I am glad you are doing well.

Runner Susan said...

wow. no pain. good lord, if you want pain you should combine it with 3 or 4 more surgeries next go around! I think I'm a professional now.

Angela said...

So glad to hear you are feeling as good as anyone could probably expect you to Jean : )
Surgery is so nerve-wracking. And the wait is usually worse than the ordeal itself--I'm glad it's over and you are on the mend.

Rae said...

I'm so glad you're doing well!!! I can't believe the only foods they have there are meat!!! No salads or veggies?? How strange!

Anne said...

Man am I behind on my blog reading. I've been wondering how you were doing post-op. It just sounds like such an uncomfortable procedure and mention of the catheter is bringin' back bad memories for me. I'm glad you have only happy thoughts. Cogent thoughts too, nicely penned.

And now I discover that in addition to being a BU alum you're also a Bruce Cockburn fan. I saw him in concert years ago. He put on a great show, even if half the audience was drunk as a skunk (but not me....)