25 June 2013

Convalescing the wrong way

After previous surgeries, I was still able to use my right arm. This time righty was subjected to the knife, so I had exactly zero useful arms. Matt had to help me with everything. Everything. To make matters worse, he refused to make airplane noises and pretend the fork was coming in for a landing when feeding me! With such subpar hospice care, it's a miracle I heeled at all.

Having long since grown sick of being stuck at home, I quickly grew restless. I needed something to occupy my drugged out mind. Clearly there was only one solution: Lego video games! By the time I returned to work, I managed to not only beat, but get every achievement on Batman 2, Harry Potter: Years 5-7, and Lord of the Rings. A worthwhile pursuit, if I do say so myself.

Alas, even with the drugs, mindless video games weren't enough to overcome the ennui associated with never leaving the house. This resulted in me deciding that we needed to buy lots of tiny drawers to better organize things RIGHT NOW, which is how I found myself at The Container Store less than two weeks after surgery.

I stumbled through the aisles, completely amused by nearly everything, such as a two foot tall metal filing cabinet with oodles of thin drawers. The best part? It was orange! Imagine the fun I could have opening and closing the drawers if only it wasn't on the very top shelf!

Matt valiantly attempted to get down the new object of my affections. What he failed to notice was a three inch clear piece of plastic at the edge of the shelf. The bottom of the cabinet caught and all the pointy metal shelves tumbled out. I instinctively reached up to save Matt's head from imminent peril. If that wasn't bad enough, I managed to deflect the impudent drawer into my left boob, pointy side first.


The employee a few yards away helpfully chastised us with, "The plastic is there so you don't take things down off the top shelf. It's clearly labeled." Then he calmly strolled away, under the guise of getting help. He never came back.

Eventually I stopped screaming, if only because I needed to inhale. Meanwhile, Matt surveyed the shelves looming over head. Sure enough, some of the plastic "guards" were labeled, just not the one in question. Hmmm... lawsuit?

The filing cabinet incident left a grotesque black and blue mark that impressed Dr. PlasticSurgeon and added a few weeks healing time.

01 June 2013

The end of an expander

The overwhelming desire to evict the evil expander counteracted most of my fear, making my time in pre-op less horrific than previous visits. However, not even Lupron-induced hot flashes could counteract the sub-Arctic temperatures common to every hospital. Luckily for me, this hospital uses Bair Paws, which provided me with both amusement and warmth at the same time!
My temporary residence in bay 4, prior to operating room 4.
Each patient gets a nifty bag containing surprisingly good socks with anti-slip grippy things and a gown. The gown is disposable and has all the standard access points, except they close with velcro instead of impossible snaps. A gizmo on the wall with a temperature control knob blows hot air into a hose that snaps into one of several ports hidden in the gown. The hot air inflates the internal plastic bags. A few seconds later, you look ridiculously lumpy, but in a warm, cozy way. And if you are easily amused, you have something new to poke at until a disturbingly cheerful woman carts you off to the choppy room.

I woke up in a dark hospital room. A real room, for overnight patients. "Hmm, this is not good." Looking around, I saw Matt sleeping on the window bench. Somehow, despite the drugs, I figured if Matt was calm enough to turn out the lights and go to sleep, things probably weren't as bad as they seemed. That, and I just peed.

I managed to dig the call nurse remote thing out and inform the voice at the other end of my unfortunately moist situation. A male nurse appeared shortly with clean towels and sheets. I tried to apologize for making a mess. He informed me that there was no pee.

"Where did all the pee go?"

"You didn't urinate, so it's still in you."

"Oh. How did it get back in?"

He responded by producing a bedpan. The bedpan remained as dry as the sheets, despite my best efforts. Time for a catheter!

A female nurse was recruited for the task. She failed. The original nurse took a shot. He failed. With the help of a new catheter, the third time was the charm. I celebrated by apologizing for peeing on them.

I probably passed out again because I don't remember anything else until the next morning, when Matt informed me of what happened. Apparently I alternated between screaming in pain until I received IV Fentanyl and asking about the dogs until the Fentanyl wore off.

The nurses frown upon such ruckus in their post-op wards, so I got myself admitted for the night. Their official rational was observation and pain management, but I know the truth: the other patients voted me out. Meanwhile, Matt tried to reassure me that dogs were being taken care of by calling doggy daycare and informing them of the situation. Oddly enough, I didn't remember this for more than seven seconds.

Once in the room, Matt spent hours arguing with the doctors over what dose of Paxil to give me. Most doctors are unfamiliar with the correct dosage for OCD, so they assume that the really high dosage is wrong. Ultimately, after threatening to leave me alone and drive home for the bottle, Matt managed to get me the correct amount. And more importantly, my theory about Matt sleeping implying everything being okay was validated.