Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Snapshot of Life - March 21, 2007

If this blog were a record of my pet peeves, here's one of them. I hate that when I need to wake up extra early for something, I end up sleeping horribly the whole night. Of course, how could I tell a regular horrible night's sleep from a horrible night's sleep caused by a 5:30 wake up time, you might ask, since I frequently report on the horrible night's sleep that I get. Well, I'll tell you. Take a regular bad night, with one or more children waking up and needing attention, and throw in a not being able to fall asleep until after midnight, plus some having to go to the bathroom, and being hungry but not allowed to eat anything.

This morning was particularly bad because #2 had a nightmare and wanted to come sleep on the floor in my room, and I couldn't let him because our alarm was going to go off in 2 hours. So I laid down on the floor next to him (because he's been sleeping on the floor lately, go figure) and tried to distract him by asking him to tell me his favorite parts of the Star Wars movies. He did, but it wasn't distracting enough, so I asked him to tell me how Lego Star Wars starts, and he proceeded to give me a blow-by-blow account of where you go, how you kill things, which character you need to be, where to use the force, etc. Oh my gosh, he was so thorough that I almost fell asleep on the floor, and eventually I told him to keep talking to himself until he could fall asleep, and I went back to bed.

I got back in bed at 3:52. Approximately 1 minute later, it was 5:30 and the alarm clock was going off (well, it felt like 1 minute later anyhow.) The alarm clock woke #3, who cried out for a minute, but went back to bed, but gave us just enough fright to make absolutely sure we were silent while we got ready. We left the house at 5:45, about 5 minutes later than I had hoped but I didn't really care. What were they going to do, start without me?

I got there about 6:05 and checked in. Everyone I dealt with was very efficient and nice, super friendly for so early in the morning, but I dealt with all women, really, and since I'm pregnant I've got a very obvious topic of conversation available. They had to prick my finger for some reason first (they kindly decided they did not have to give me a pregnancy test, literally crossed it off the order form which amused me) and the finger prick actually hurt, which did not bode well for all the other stuff that was about to happen.

I was called back at 6:30 and given room 23, told to change into a gown and deposit all of my belongings into a brown paper grocery bag. I sat on the bed and listened to my book until it was time for the nurse to insert the IV. My best tactic for dealing with pain is distraction, I try to talk to the nurse about anything at all so that I don't pay attention to the needle and the potential pain. This nurse was friendly and chatty, so it didn't hurt too much when the IV went in, but it was in the side of my wrist and it hurt for a long time afterwards. Like it was touching a nerve or something, I don't know, but I never wanted to move it.

At 7:30 the anesthesiologist came in and we discussed options. He said either local or general anesthetic would be safe for me and the baby, but because we were doing the surgery in two places, they'd have to give me so much local anesthetic that it might be safer to just do the general, since it would be hard to change halfway through. Plus he mentioned that it is safer to do the general because they insert a tube in my throat to stop me from breathing the contents of my stomach (that may be more detail than you needed to know), and I wouldnt' get the tube with local. then there was the kicker - the local is done with all needles being injected, and the general was put into my IV. He asked me if I thought I was stoic enough to handle a local, and I didn't think I could. I've had several injections in these areas for the biopsy and previous removal, and it really, really hurt. As long as the general was just as safe, I felt like that was a better way to go.

8:00 - We are just waiting on my doctor to show up, and then we can get the ball rolling. My room has a big curtain in the doorway, that ends about 2 feet off the ground, and when it's closed all I can see are scrubs-covered calves and feet with plastic clogs walking past. When I saw a pair of jeans and flip-flops stop outside my curtain and drop a backpack on the ground, I knew my doctor had arrived. It could just as easily have been a college student, from the knees down. He whipped out a marker and started drawing on my face and neck (maybe he learned his technique from the Costco door-lady?) and we were ready to go.

Here's where everything gets foggy, and for good reason. I am wheeled into the O.R., and it reminds me so much like the tv show Scrubs, just that long trip down the hallway and through big doors and stuff. I remind everyone in the OR that I'm pregnant, just so everyone is aware, and they all are. I get onto the table and they strap my legs down, electric chair-style, but tell me it's just there to remind me that the table is really narrow and not to fall off. My doctor comes in and is joking with the nurses, the anesthesiologist props me up on one side so that I'm not flat on my back, which is bad for the baby, and goes behind me and fiddles with the IV. The nurse is asking me questions about the baby, and I remember talking to her about the baby as I fell asleep.

The next thing I know, I have a picture in my head of my next-door neighbor standing in my dining room, and then I half-open my eyes and almost immediately start crying, because I can't figure out what the heck is going on. Confused is to gentle a word to describe how I felt. The nurse, a different one, is talking to me to calm me down, I'm not hysterical or anything but definitely freaked out. I ask if the baby is okay several times, and they get out the doppler and we listen to the heartbeat , the baby is fine. I'm trying not to cry, now that I'm waking up for real and have enough wherewithal to get my act together. I'm calmer but I really wish DH was here to hold my hand, not that he would be allowed in even if he was here.

Eventually they take me back to my room, and I'm just so tired and feel gross and emotional. I'm still really groggy, but everyone is so nice to me. A nurse brings me a cup of water and some crackers, and when I look at the clock eventually it is 10:30. I've got a headache so they bring me some Tylenol, and my throat hurts from the tube. Now I'm really starting to wake up and can't believe how not awake I was just recently. I haven't felt the baby move so when the nurse comes back in I ask her to check the heartbeat again, she says I probably don't remember but they just did that 15 minutes ago in Recovery (it's only been 15 minutes?) but she is happy to do it again. The baby's heartbeat is just fine still, and I feel a lot better. I am collected enough to ask for my ipod and when I get it I turn on some George Winston, soothing piano music. It makes me feel better, but I am just so tired I can barely believe it.

After about 15 minutes I am even more awake and decide to turn on my book, I've got about 20 minutes left on it. I polish that baby off, along with the water and crackers - they offer me some other food but even though I was so hungry at 6 this morning, now I am not hungry at all. When my book is done, I just don't have the concentration to start something new. The nurse comes in to give me some instructions for home, but one that the doctor wrote, she can't read, so she has to wait for him to call back before I can leave. He calls back at about 11:45 (the instruction was not to put anything on the neck wound, because of the glue holding the incision together) and the nurse brings me a phone to call DH for him to pick me up.

Time goes quicker at this point, and I get dressed again and hobble over to the bathroom. When I stand up I realize that I'm pretty light-headed and dizzy, but I'm okay. DH calls from the parking lot and a nurse comes and helps me into a wheelchair to take me out to the car. Whenever I've been wheeled out before, I've always felt it's a pretty stupid exercise, because it's always been because I've had a baby two days earlier, and I'm perfectly capable of walking at that point. This time I don't know that I could have made it the whole way out to the car by myself. DH has #3 in the car, and #3 is so cute and happy to see me. His first question is, "Mommy, you crying?" I wasn't but I felt like I could, I still was quite exhausted.

We get home, and I have some croissants from Costco for lunch and lots more water, trying to make my throat feel better. I watch my court shows but I can't focus on it, and by 1:45 I go upstairs for a nap.

I wake up at about 4 pm, and it looks like my face wound bled on my pillow case, so I think a new pillow is going to be in order when this whole ordeal is over. I go downstairs and sit in my recliner for a while and listen to my new book. #1 goes to cubs, #2 is playing with his friend, and #3 is taking a nap, so DH goes to take a nap also, he claims to be more tired than me because at least I slept in the hospital. I told him that kind of sleep doesn't count, but I know he's just joking anyhow. My head is killing me, so I take some more Tylenol - I've got a prescription for a painkiller, but nothing hurts other than my head, so I'll stick with the Tylenol.

At 5:30 my super-fantastic visiting teacher brings us dinner, which tasted great. I wake up DH and we sit and chat over dinner for a while. At 6 I start writing this blog, thinking that I'd just sum up my day with few details because I'm so tired, but as my English professor told me last year, I'm long-winded. DH and I discuss how best to go about building the swingset we bought, the original plan was to do it on Saturday, but it says depending on your experience it takes between 6-12 hours to build. You can imagine how long it's going to take us! So I say, let's lay the pieces out in the garage, keep the garage closed so the kids can't touch anything, and build it one piece at a time, instead of turning it into a marathon building project. Dh thinks this is genius, and as he gets ready to leave for YM, he tells me that despite my deformed, scarred face, my brain has been completely unharmed. I say, yeah, me and Stephen Hawking, that's us.

It's 7:30 now, and the boys are watching Mulan for the 800th time this week, but #3 still giggles during several parts so I like watching him watch it. #2 gave me his opinion on my surgery during dinner, he said "I don't like it because it's a stitch, and it goes like a worm." Meaning that the stitches curve around in kind of a weird shape on my face. When his friend was over earlier, I could see him looking at me curiously, but surprisingly showed some tact for a 5 year old and didn't say anything about it. I'm volunteering in #2's kindergarten class tomorrow, we'll see if the 6-year olds there can keep it together as well. My guess is I'll be the Show-and-Tell item of the day!

I'm wrapping this up now, I don't expect anything else to happen, other than watching the American Idol results show at 8 and going to bed early. I am surprised at how vulnerable and traumatized I feel - I expected localized pain in the surgery areas, instead I feel like my whole body has been through the wringer. I am so amazingly grateful for my general health overall, that I haven't had to do this with any frequency and hopefully will continue to avoid serious illness like this. Man, it is so much worse than I was expecting, not the pain, just the exhaustion I feel now. I'm particularly grateful that the baby seems fine, moving and kicking like normal, so for all of you who are praying for us, thank you.


Ryan Simmons said...

Regarding the woman at Cosco who marked the children with her permanent marker!
There are certain things in life, usually small moments where hours and hours of skilled parenting are tossed out the window when another adult does something completely against what you have been working so hard to prevent. I can't name another instance off the top of my head, but I can remember many times in the past seeing something like that happen and just thinking to myself "Great! that just crushed all the hard work and progress we made, and there isn't a thing I can do or say!" Actually I do remember in the past when things like that happen, once we are away from the situation or person, telling the kids that that person was actually not right to do whatever they did. I know it must confuse the kids to see and hear opposing views on a subject. But what I would love for them to say in return is something along the lines of "you're right Dad, we knew that woman shouldn't have been writing on us, but we didn't want to embarass her by rejecting her."

GrandpaFred said...

I seem to feel your pain Emily. The last time I had a general was when I was about 14 and had broken my arm but I didn't remember anything but being grateful to still have my arm connected. I do remember when Mom and I were dating. She had to have a growth removed from her wrist. At that time they gave her a general and she was groggy and sleepy for 3 days. The way I recall it I was very supportive being at her bedside briefly, being helpful etc. Though more correctly remember her sleeping and when I got her up to go to the movies she was too tired and none of my friends wanted to go so I stayed home and goofed off (not study of course.) Now that was in 1975, it appears that not a lot has changed. The bad part of this incident is that the anesthesiologist does not say that you're options are local which will involve you actually being awake while the thing is going on vs being "asleep." The key word here as we know quite well is that the sleep is not the restful, refreshing, almost enjoyable experience that we know and love. Trama is more like it. You are literally paralysed and brought back from it. We used to never talk about it, but we do now! The secret is that there is a cost to the being asleep during the surgury. The cost is the next couple days of dopeyness.

I'm glad the thing is over for you. Lets hope that the doctor got all the bad stuff out. Apparently when left to their own devices the doctors can really get all the bad stuff. We can always grow the skin back, so don't be bashful.

Also, Ryan of all the bad habits I've been responsible for writing on our bodies is not one of them. I hate when someone writes a phone number or whatever on their skin. I don't like in triathelons that the atheletes paint their numbers on their bodies. That being said, in the imortal word of somebody, kids (in my opinion) will use the experience as an excuse to do what they already want to do or not. The great, sad, shocking part of this is that children are pretty much mirror us parents. They have their own will of course but within reason they will do what they see us parents do. If they know the intent of our heart is to, for instance not write on our skin, generally they won't do it, thats the great one. If they hear us go on and on about not writing on our skin, then when we have a half a reason to do it, we do, then they do it... Its the sad thing. The shocker is that a serious store would do something like that in the first place.

Emilayohead said...

The only other experience I can remember vividly when another adult completely ruined my children, well, child actually, it was just #1 at the time, was when he was about 2 and we went to Chuck E. Cheese. The beautiful thing about going there with such a young child is that he didn't know the rides moved - he was perfectly content just climbing in and out of them! That is, until a well-meaning adult put a token in the ride and it started moving. That one day has cost me, I don't know, at least tens of dollars if not hundreds! I know I couldn't have gotten away with that for too long, but man was I irritated that a stranger would do that!