Five years is a long time. Repost from my one-year ‘splodiversary (post = 3/23/11).
Ok, so what do I want to talk about…well strangely enough today is the one year anniversary of an emergency surgery I had. I haven’t really written anywhere about it, and now I think I want to. I want to post the pictures, tell the messy tale and be done with it. Don’t be fooled, it still is the perfect source for a good exploding insides joke and it always will be.
My sleep on the night of March 22, 2010 was uneasy. I had a bad cramp in my lower abdomen, like the worst menstrual cramp/gas pain I ever had. Somewhere around 2 or 3 am I went upstairs to our livingroom so that I would not wake Adam up. I sat up there watching TV and feeling generally bad until he did come upstairs for work – around 5am. I described my pains and Adam said that it could be my appendix, as he had his out as a kid and it felt similarly. I didn’t like the sound of that.
I emailed my office and said that I would probably be late, kissed the hubby goodbye and drove myself to the emergency room. At the time I did not have a general physician, and even if I did, I bet I would have to be tested anyway. So I waited a bit in the lobby and then got a curtain. My doctor looked like Anderson Cooper from CNN. They gave me my bracelet, drew blood and made me pee in a cup. All the while I was texting Adam updates.
I guess I was dehydrated, so they gave me an IV! Woo!
While all the action was going on, they gave me a lovely potion to drink so that I could get an x-ray to make sure my insides were ok. After I drank the not-so-tasty concoction (literally the second I put the cup down) Dr. Anderson Cooper came in to say they couldn’t give me the scan. I would have to have an ultrasound instead because my urine showed I was pregnant. WHA? I do understand reproductive science, so I know that it was possible, but still, I was surprised. OK. Drank the goo for nothing. And what an interesting text I have to send to Adam now.
So, I go get the ultrasound. The lady says we probably won’t see anything. She does the test and doesn’t see anything. Guess I am not shocked. I do feel light headed getting up from the test table. She says – that is normal.
I go back to the ER and wait for doctors to look at things and guess some more. The pain is dull all of the time, but gets sharp in waves. A less than helpful nurse comes in to say that they didn’t find anything, that my body is just getting ready to be pregnant and that I am going home. She also adds a wonderfully patronizing story about how she had twins and that women don’t realize the changes our bodies will go through for childbirth. Blah blah blah lady. I know that supposedly I am 2 weeks pregnant, and I should not be feeling this way unless my zygote has a drill and is working its way to the surface. Whatever, I guess the ER knows best.
I text Adam and he leaves work to come and pick me up. Although I drove to the ER, I don’t feel able to drive back. While I wait for him I barf in those little kidney shaped plastic dishes that are at hospital bedsides. Lovely.
Adam arrives and takes me home. On the way we talk about how this doesn’t feel right and that I think something is wrong. The plan is for me to rest. I get home and into the loosest fitting pjs I can find and try to lay down on the couch. Now my shoulder hurts! Dang this day. I fidget for a while, and eventually get up to use the bathroom.
When I come out of the bathroom, Adam is in the kitchen (just a few feet away). I tell him I feel light-headed. Next thing I know I am talking to him from the ground. I guess I fainted. He is on the phone with 911 and encourages me not to get up.
For those of you that don’t know – at this time I lived in an apartment building with LONG sort of narrow hallways. It reminded me of a big hotel. My place was sort of in the middle of one of these hallways. So the ambulance peeps had to leave the stretcher in the hallway and try to get me to walk to it. I honestly don’t remember too much except thinking about my pj choice – shorts. It was still cold out and I felt like a dummy for wearing shorts.
A few very dramatic moments later I was in the ambulance on my way back to the same hospital. The EMT was chatting me up, telling me he thought the ER people did a terrible job with my earlier IV and how he was mad at them for sending me home. I still had my morning bracelet on! He added another IV, and off I went back to the ER.
I got half of an actual room this time, and was happy when Adam arrived to sit next to me. The pain was pretty bad (and now included my shoulder), and I really had not had any meds. The doctors were a little frantic, asking lots of questions, examining me and looking at paperwork. They would say relatively calm things to Adam and I, then step out into the hall (about 2 feet away) and say crazy things. Like “we are going to need blood there stat. This is an emergency”. That didn’t sound good. Adam looked weary.
In a few minutes I met my new doctor, who explained that it is likely I had a tubal pregnancy and that the tube burst. I was bleeding internally and they would have to operate NOW. He also gave permission for me to have pain medication, thank goodness. After that Adam had to sign everything, as I was not of the right mind. Adam signed that I could receive blood, and I got markered up for surgery.
They wheeled me away and I had to leave Adam. I was more sleepy than scared, thanks to the medication. I had to boost myself from the stretcher to the operating table, then they gave me a mask and I counted until I was asleep.
When I woke up, a lady was wiping my hair with a cloth. Adam came over and held my hand and talked to me. I guess I had thrown up again – this time in my hair. I am not even sure how you do that. It was around 7pm-ish now, I think. Adam said I was in surgery like an hour and that my mom was on her way. I don’t remember what else we talked about, I know some of it was silly…I needed to see Adam smile. I felt really bad that he was alone here in the creepy hospital, waiting for them to operate on me. What a whirlwind day.
After a little bit my doctor came to check on me. He told me that he was right and that they had fixed the rupture, but that I had bled a lot and needed two units of blood. I really didn’t know what that meant. I was going to a room and going to stay overnight.
Adam stayed a while, and I don’t remember if my mom made it that night or the next morning. I didn’t want him to go home, but I was so sleepy (and still very drugged). I was all taped up, and I am sure it was no fun to be around.
Eventually Adam went home and I was checked for vitals every 45 minutes all night, but I did have this button that gave me morphine every time I pushed it. No pain that night! I didn’t get much sleep, but I dozed on and off. Watched TV and talked to nurses.
Any way – Wednesday morning arrived with Adam and my mom coming to see me. I was feeling much better. The doctor came in once to show us pictures (either in the morning or the night before) of what my insides looked like during surgery. Mostly they looked red. Not really an artistic moment. The doc talked about what I can and can’t do, but he also let me know that as long as I could operate some breathing test thing then I was probably going home today. Wow. Not that I liked it there, but that seemed fast.
Adam had not only contacted my mom, but also our good friends Melanie and Rob, who were away in Boston at ACPA. They were able to come see me in the hospital too, as they rushed back. I was good to see family and friends, mostly I wanted things to be normal…and they mostly were. I did endeavor a little trip to the bathroom at one point and saw my face in the mirror. I looked like a water balloon with my face painted on it. I guess those IVs really do hydrate you! I scolded them all for not telling me I looked like a kewpie doll! Good times.
I was in the hospital long enough to have dinner (at 4:30pm!) The food was bland, but they had cute soda cans.
I schedlued a follow-up meeting with my doctor and did indeed get to go home. Couldn’t work for two weeks (or drive), but I could hang out in pjs and rest.
Wonderfully, my mom stayed at my house a few days. It was nice having people around. I did a lot of dozing and took my meds like a good girl. The pain was minimal, but I was weak and my body didn’t like standing much. I had a headache for a few days and found a bruise on my back (right side).
My guess is the bruise and headache were from the faint-fall. It looked bad, but the bruise didn’t even hurt. I just saw it one day in the mirror, like three or four days after I was home. Weird.
I did venture out a few times that first week to go to the store. Both times I got light headed though. My sister and her girlfriend came to pick up my mom a few days later, and then I was left to recover on my own. Well, not totally on my own, I did (and do still) have my wonderful Adam to help me. With him, all wonderful things are possible. He had to go back to work, but he did bring me flowers!
I rested up, had a visit from Melanie and eventually got permission to go back to work. My first day back was April 5th – my awesome co-workers decorated my office and got me presents!
I post all that to say a few things:
1. I am a very lucky girl
2. Part of that luck has to do with the friends and family I have, and how awesome they are
3. Another part of that is that I have today and all the other days since this incident
I am doing great, I actually was then too. Although it is scary to think about now, it all happened so fast back then.
I thank everyone who helped me through this – doctors, nurses, friends and family. Whether you could physically be with me in CT or not, I love you and thank you!
Here’s to love and luck for all of us!