Warning: Very Long Blog Post
It’s Saturday, and my brain is working for awhile (I hope) I am one day out of chemo for the first time. I love SoCS because where ever my brain goes traveling is OK. In all honesty, this blog is brought to you by gummies. So it might be a very wonky stream.
Linda’s blog explains how to join in for the last SoCS for the year.
Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “new/knew.’” Use one, use both, use them any way you like. Bonus points if you use both. Enjoy!
I had just seen this meme right before reading Maggie’s stream of consciousness. The though of a new use making a tree happy brought a smile to my face. The idea that what we thought we knew, was changed by what we read makes me smile. I like finding things that make me smile.
Life keeps moving faster and faster right now. I keep trying to just focus on one day at a time. When I am inundated with reminders of future appointments, it’s a difficult task.
I had my telemedical appointment on Wednesday. We had to first go and get my CT scans done. As usual, my tailbone was hurting terribly. I was able to use my tailbone pillow in the scan. That made a huge difference for me. The tech was great. She made it feel like the test was done in five minutes. That’s a good thing to me. We had time to spare before I had to be home for my telemedical appointment.
I prepped for telemedical appointment with plenty of time. You were supposed to be in the “room” ten minutes before. I signed on and sat waiting. I’m impatient so I got up and took down some more Hanukkah decorations. I came back and still no doc. It wasn’t time yet. I went out front to get the small wooden Hanukkah truck to add to my decorations bucket. My spouse told me there was activity on the computer. I got there just as the doctor was clicking out. He came back right way and we began our appointment ten minutes early. The doctor was thorough and kind. (I have been very impressed with the people at Keck Medical.) The doctor explained how I had to prep for the port surgery. He described: what types of ports there are, the purpose of each, what mine would look like, the type of anesthesia (twilight), the length of the surgery, aftercare for the port, etc. It was a bit daunting. I am grateful my spouse was here for an extra pair of ears. The doctor was telemedical calling from his house. I heard his little girl in the background and commented. He brought her to the call. She introduced herself and I told her how beautiful she is. By this time Annie was at my chair and turned the computer toward her. He said pets are great healers, which I agreed with.
In thinking back, I believe that I was more worried about the port surgery than the chemo treatment. And that was already a big one already.
Thursday, prepped and ready, my spouse and I made good time getting to the hospital. It was chilly and drizzling outside which fit with my mood. What I really wanted was to be going to Starbucks for a Vente hot chocolate (195 degrees, no foam, no whip). My spouse promised me one as soon as I was allowed.
He’s been so amazing through all this. The doctor in Wednesday, said I might get in earlier than the time stated because it looked like the board was clear. We were hopeful. They were already requiring me to be there 2 ½ hours before surgery.
They took me up right away to the pre-op room. You get to sit all alone waiting for them to come and get you. This causes huge anxiety for me. (Have me come in five minutes before we go to the operating room, and I’d be happy.) The first thing you get to do after removing all your clothes is get an IV put in the back of your hand. This is very painful for me. I don’t know if it is my fibro, old age, or something else, but for days after I hurt and have a huge bruise.
I brought my stuffed animal support dog from my cousin to keep me company. Thank G-d for my tailbone pillow because it was a long wait. Even laying on the bed causes my tailbone to hurt. The nurse asked me my pain level and I told her honestly my tailbone was at a 7. The other pains were lower. I followed the rules and took nothing after ten the night before. She notified the doctor. She confirmed that I was taking a narcotic and requested one for me. A short time later I was brought water and the medication. I was told to use as little water as necessary. When I enquired why I was able to take the pain pill now she stated that pain medication is different than other meds. In my head, I thought anything by mouth will have the same risk involved for the surgery. It helped quickly, but had they allowed me to take a pill when I woke up, it never would have elevated to this level.
The doc came in and we spoke about the procedure. He quickly went over the same things as the other doc did the day before. I had a question or two for him and he answered kindly. I must admit that he was very young and still had the G-d complex some doctors have. About half an hour later they wheeled me into the operating room. It was about half the size of the surgery room earlier this month. The people were all very friendly, told me their names (which I would never remember), and were extremely kind to each other. It felt like everyone was working as a group to do everything to the best of their ability. I wasn’t sure if it was fake at first. I choose to believe that these people are good at their job and very courteous. I was very relieved when I was told I could have my tailbone pillow during the surgery. It was covered with one of their warmed blankets. I felt heard.
The surgery is performed under a drape to help minimize exposure risk. I had commented to the nurse bringing me down the elevator that I was claustrophobic. She had just remarked that one of the elevators was out of order because it broke down with two women in it. She told doctor I was claustrophobic and that she would be making a “tent” out of the drape so it wouldn’t be too close to my face. That was very caring of her. Every interaction with the doctor by all the staff was kind and filled with thank you comments. It made me giggle to think that the way they treated him, helped encourage his G-d complex.
I was kind of hoping I would sleep through the procedure. I didn’t. It was OK though because I carried on a conversation with the doctor through most of it. He was explaining what he was doing. He warned me of the initial numbing shots. As promised, they hurt and stung a great deal, as they were going in. I am grateful for the deep breathing techniques I have learned over time. They could just be blowing smoke up “you know where”, but I am constantly be told by people causing pain to my body that I did a great job. Is it because they usually hear cuss words and threatened bodily harm?
Then came the repeated additional shots which had no pain involved. I was aware of them, but no pain. Step by step, the doctor described what was going. The best analogy I can make is when you have a tooth issue and they have to pack and unpack crud in the opening. It felt like he was packing and unpacking stuff in the six-inch space in my body. He actually was. In the one opening by my collar bone, he was trying different lengths of wire. He seemed elated when he got it just right. The other opening has the actual port in it.
I assume my nerves were getting to me because my blood pressure was rising. When the doctor was finished the staff all thanked him. I wondered if he was their version of McDreamy. I was even wondering if this is how cults start. (I am aware that I have a strange sense of humor.)
Back on the gurney and down to post op. The nurse was doing her very best to take it easy over every bump. I joked with her asking if they had to take courses in how to move a gurney. She laughed and said they are always learning, and she felt she was not good at it, at all. I complemented her on doing such a great job with my additional concerns. She did well and I wanted to acknowledge it.
In post op, I got to know the nurse well. She was a second-generation nurse. She spoke very proudly of her mom. She told me all about her siblings. She is not in the exact field her mom was, which seemed to distress her. I asked her if she was happy. She said she was and explained that she was newly married and had been on this job for only a few months. Other nurses came and asked if she needed some time for food or a “break”. She went once to talk to a family member. The babysitting nurse introduced herself and reviewed my stats again. I was told that I would be given a medication for high blood pressure as soon as the other nurse returned. They explained that during surgery many people are stressed, and blood pressure issues arise.
If you haven’t been in a hospital in a while, it’s amazing how many times you have to restate your name, birthdate, and often what they are giving you. They scan your wrist band and yet still ask you to verbally respond EVERY time. I was supposed to be in post op for half an hour and then back to the pre-op room for another half hour. The high blood pressure meant I had to stay in post-op for a longer time. Finally, after the second dose of the med, my blood pressure started to decrease. I waited another fifteen minutes until the required numbers would allow me to transfer to the next step.
The trip to the pre-op room was kind of funny. The very petite, young nurse could barely see over the gurney. Luckily, she knew which elevators were easiest to access. She explained why she used particular paths also. I have such respect for the nursing profession. Once I arrived at the first room I was immediately met by two nurses. The one nurse informed me that I would be getting dressed and leaving right away. Evidently, because my longer than expected stay in post-operative care I didn’t have to wait in this room. I was told my blood pressure had lowered enough that I did not need to go home with any medication. One nurse came in with apple juice and told me to drink it all. I followed their orders even though I’m not a fan of apple juice. Then I was asked if I liked salty or sweet crackers. I gladly accepted the graham crackers. It was a top priority for them, that I eat something immediately.
The one nurse helped me get dressed. I asked if I could finally get the needle out of my wrist. She told me I needed to be dressed and officially discharged before they could take it out. (Talk about giving someone a good incentive.) After I was clothed, and the needle was removed both nurses asked about my first chemo appointment which would be the next day. It was commented that there should be no reason for needles in my wrist or the back of my hand again. (I am grateful for that.) I was asked if I had any questions about the chemo. I told them that I hadn’t finished packing and was unsure of exactly what to take. They stated that I needed snacks, my own water, soft foot coverings, entertainment, and a head covering. I questioned the last one. Evidently, the rooms are very small and cold. I explained that I ordered some head coverings for when I lost my hair, but I don’t own beanies. One of nurses backed out of the curtain and returned with a holiday (Christmas) bag with an extremely soft, long scarf. It has the hospitals name on it, and I could care less about that. It accompanied me to my visit yesterday. It was a very sweet gesture on their part.
The evening was uneventful. I stuck with the non-narcotic pain med as well as gummies for relief. The constipation was most unbearable. The incision spot was tender but not too painful.
I will stop here because it has taken me hours to get this done between phone calls, texts, Amazon deliveries, and the small (so far) side effects of the chemo. It is a long read, but I am doing this as part of my recovery.