Surgery One- The Adrenalectomy (Part 2)
Wednesday, January 26, 2005- As I said, I woke up at 6am when the nurses came in and started talking to me. Between 6am and 8am Dr. A came in to check on me and so did an Internalist who honestly was the one doctor who spent the most time checking on me during my stay. Around 8:00 a male nurse (Robert who has a daughter named Jolena- see, I remembered. :) ) asked me if I would like to sit up in a chair. I was feeling even more like I had a bunch of broken ribs and the pain in the side of my neck was definately getting worse but I knew that sitting up meant I would heal quicker and get out sooner so of course I jumped at the chance. Robert helped me into the recliner and got me settled in as we talked about things like how we don't like George Bush and so on. LOL. He turned on the TV and I got my first showing of the show "Bridezillas". OH MY GOODNESS!! I think the most horrifying part was the fact that these men actually still married these women! OY VAY!!
Anyway- Robert noticed I was watching the clock because I thought visiting hours started at 10am and I was wondering why my family wasn't there. I guess he said visiting hours were actually noon- 6:30p and then 8:30p- around 10p. That was a little deflating but I could understand. Dr. BC's nurse practitioner, Heather, visited me and told me that she had been thinking of me and wanted to check on me. Again, VERY sweet woman and very personable. As it got closer to noon they told me that they had a regular room for me on the next floor so I was getting out of SCU. WOOHOOOO. They loaded me up in a wheelchair and away we went!
I got up to the new room and I honestly think they should charge you for a CLOSET rate for that room. It was the smallest hospital room I have honestly ever seen! The bed barely fit in there and you had to walk (well not me but the nurses) along the walls just to get by it and then to get to the chair that they sit me in. All I could think was I wasn't going to get to see my kids much if there was only that much room in there because everyone would go nuts. :(
As soon as I got settled in a nice little nurse named Rita Black came in with the most adorable accent (I swear it was Irish!) and was so sweet. She just started talking to me letting me know who she was and that she would take care of me and so on. She also introduced me to the Tech named Christine/Cris who was also a real doll. Shortly thereafter the family showed up and it was so nice to see everyone. Vinny immediately commented about how small the room was and asked whether or not there was a larger room. Rita said no but then said they were bringing someone else up in a few minutes for the room next door. Of course, Vin asked if WE could move into that room instead since I was already up here. Rita being the angel she is jumped right on it and we were moved into a much (okay so much in MY mind anyway) bigger room and everyone could actually stand in there.
An associate of Dr. BC's came by to check on me ( NO personality and not a very friendly or knowledgable chap), couldn't answer any of my questions, checked my incisions, and left. One of the girls I had met the night before came up with her daughter and baring a stuffed elephant, book, and cozy blanket (THANK YOU, CHRISTINE) and visited for a few minutes before leaving. Vin and the kids only stayed for a short time after that. I wanted them to stay for awhile but it seemed almost as soon as Vin brought Lil Man into the room he was taking him out and saying he was going for coffee and to take Lil Man for a walk (I'm still mad at you for that yes). :(
So the family left and I was left back to sitting there feeling like my ribs were broken and wishing the pain in the side of my neck would stop. Morphine still didn't help much and saying the word "discomfort" let the nurses know I must have been just fine I guess. I would really like it if each of them could experience that just once so they knew in the future what it felt like. I was finally allowed a liquid diet so for lunch I had some broth (which at the time tasted like salty liquid ambrosia. LOL), a few bites of horrid jello, a few bites of lemon ice, and then was ready for a REAL meal. I have never been so hungry in my life- seriously. No clue what caused that but I was beyond hungry at that point. Knitted for a little bit on my ugly scarf, talked to my friend Julie on the phone for awhile, and then I tried to sleep but again the wired feeling was there and I couldn't sleep and felt like I wanted to race around the hospital.
Vin, the kids, and Nancy all went to the beach for a bit collecting shells and let the kids walk around there for awhile. Afterwards they had dinner at Landry's which was nice because they weren't cooped up in the hotel room. That night they came back up to see me for a few minutes (VERY few- yep still mad about THAT too), Vin and I got in a HUGE argument (niceeeee I know), and they left. Later on I called to tell the kids "goodnight", Vin and I talked for a few minutes, I stayed mad, told him to thank his mother for everything, and then tried to get some sleep AGAIN.
A new nurse came in named Donetta and was there throughout the night. NICE NICE nurse and I really liked her. She asked me questions about everything and even took a real interest in my story. Couldn't sleep so I read a book of Vin's that he left for me (John Saul's new one- STINKS DON'T BUY IT!!). I stayed up until 2am trying to sleep and then slept off and on until almost 7am when the nurses woke me up again. Oh and I never saw Dr. BC once at all on Wednesday. Again- SHAME on you!!
Thursday, January 27, 2005- Dr. G from anesthesia finally came to see if I ever had a bad reaction to the anesthesia, Dr. A came to check on me quickly, the internalist stopped by, Dr. No Personality stopped by again, said I could have the catheter out, and I asked him if he knew why I had been cut on the stomach and not the back. He of course had no clue.
THEN OH MY GOODNESS IT HAPPENED!!! Dr. BC actually showed up!! Again- take some time to talk to people. SLOW DOWN. I felt like every question I asked was a nuisance and he was in a hurry to get away from me. It just doesn't settle well. I did finally find out why I was cut in the abdomen and not the back. He doesn't do laparoscopic surgery through the back!!! HE never told me this either. Everything you find online or other doctors talk to you about is having to do with incisions through the back. Of course, I assumed he would do the same procedure. Had I known I would not have had him do the surgery. Anyway- so he's never done it through the back, this is how he does it, so this is what I got.
So I do NOT recommend the doctor at Moffit for adrenal sparing laparoscopic surgery IF you are wanting it done through the back. If you don't care then they did just fine. ;) I AM thankful to them for being able to spare part of one gland and I'm not saying I'm not or trying to be rude. I just can not believe how much I have learned about what the medical profession lacks and how much the patient honestly has to do themselves. It shouldn't be that way and I DEFINATELY should have been told ahead of time. Oh well nothing to do about it now. *sigh* So they hinted that I should be going home by Friday, said a few more things, and then left.
Christine (the tech) came in after they were done and told me that I could walk around some if I felt like it. WOOHOO. So I proceeded to walk HER around the entire floor and back. Honestly? I was beyond exhausted from it but so glad because I knew it meant SOON I was going home. I came back and asked when the catheter came out just to be told that Dr. No Personality didn't write on the orders to remove the cath so they wouldn't remove it. :( I thought I was going to cry. A tray was brought into me with more broth and I pushed to have some REAL food by night time. LOL. I read the rest of Vin's book, tried to nap, didn't happen, and the family came to see me. Again, very short visit and then they were off to the Aquarium before Nancy had to catch her flight back home. Hugged everyone as they left and then went back to knitting.
Everyone had a wonderful time at the Aquarium, went to the book store, and then took Nancy to the airport. Christine (the friend) brought both of her kids up and we talked for awhile while they watched cartoons. Her little girl kept asking me if I was okay. VERY cute and even though she was worried about her son behaving he did wonderfully! Truly. She brought me MORE presents too. LOL
I was actually brought a tray of food for dinner and made a royal pig of myself. It was embarrassing I tell you! Later Vin and the kids came back up to see me just as I was taking a second turn around the floor. :) By this time the IVs were out accept for a line in my arm so they could still give me a few meds, I was taking my steriods by pill now, and all I still had to use was the pressure cuffs on my legs for clotting and that stinking catheter.
Got back to the room with Lil Man walking right next to me and they all ate their dinner they had brought with them while I talked to everyone. Longer visit that time and it made me so happy. Vin brought me some more books to read and then left to go do laundry and get the kids to bed. Talked to my friend Julie (and her hubby in the background. LOL) for awhile too. That helped to keep me sane.
Donetta was my nurse again that night and she actually told me that she had looked up some of my stuff to learn more about it. I was honestly touched. I also found out that she had a thyroidectomy so I talked to her for a few minutes about what it had been like since. I even gave her a link to this journal in case she wanted to read up on some things. So if you are reading, hello Donetta and thank you for being such a great nurse! I tried to sleep again that night but the wired feeling was again present and even though I brought up that I wasn't sleeping to the doctors they didn't seem to think anything of it. From the time I woke up from anesthesia on Tuesday until I left on Friday I slept a TOTAL of maybe 10 hours. I'm not exagerating either and really wish I was. :( I would have much rather slept and been fully rested when I left. So I tossed and turned from 2am on, finished one of the books Vin had just brought me, and then laid there until 6am waiting on doctors.
Friday, January 28, 2005- Donetta (the nurse) came in and told me she never got to check out this site but that she was going to. I chatted with her for a few minutes and then was visited by the internalist again who hinted that I was going home today and Dr. No Personality came in as well, said they were suppose to take the cath out yesterday and told them to take it out again, and actually shook my hand. Dr. BC stopped by and said I was out of here, gave me my orders, told me what to do and what to take, nurse took my cath out, and then I ate my breakfast as I waited to call Vin and the kids to come get me.
I had told him to sleep in since they had all been up late all week and it was his birthday. I finally called at 10am and ended up waking them up after all. I got up and walked around the room a little bit while I gathered all my stuff up and had a nice hot cloth sponge bath (gave it to myself thank you very much).
Meanwhile Vin and the kids got up, got breakfast, did some stuff on their own, and then came up around noon or so to get me. Vin brought finally brought my bag of clothes up so I could put on REAL clothes and I almost jumped for joy. I also got to FINALLY brush my hair for the first time in several days. Funny the things that mean so much to you when it comes right down to it. :) After getting dressed we ended up having to wait around for about another hour for no clue what. Finally we went out to the nurse's station and asked what was taking so long, got the final orders to go, I hopped in the wheelchair, put Lil Man on my lap, and we were outta there!!! From there we went down to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions. About half an hour later we were wheeling out the door, getting in the van, and squeeling tires out of the parking lot! Okay so I'm kidding on that last part but it WAS nice to finally leave. LOL
The medications and directions for them were this- DEXAMETHASONE 2mg pill every 12 hours twice a day for two days, then 1mg every 12 hours twice a day for 4 days and then 0.5mg once daily after that, FLUDROCORTISONE (Flourinef) 0.1mg pill once daily, HYDROCODONE/APAP (Vicodin w/Tylenol) 1 to 2 pills every four hours as needed for pain. I also have to have another test done in about another week called a Cosentropin Test to evaluate adrenal function. After that I will start on Hydrocortisone although I don't know if that ONLY if I'm showing no/low function or no matter what. Another thing I have to find out.
Right now I'm not allowed any strenous activity, no lifting over 10lbs, no driving while on pain meds, and the sterile strips should come off in about a week.
I will work on what has happened since my release from the hospital over the next few days and post it hopefully by Friday. This way everyone has time to read this before I give you all the LOVELY details of the things that have happened since Friday. :(