Angela’s Corner: Surgery Time!

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2012 09 01_Mission Ridge_9319bWith my surgery scheduled first thing in the morning and living hours away from the hospital, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a night in Seattle. A night on the town to have some fun – just the two of us – was extremely welcoming. I would more than likely lose my appetite for a few days, so finding a delicious restaurant to dine at for my “last meal” was a must. I stuffed myself full with all the yummy goodness. My husband Eric and I made the most of our Seattle stay that night, walking through the shops and simply enjoying each other’s company before we’d be separated for a week. The hotel we stayed at was absolutely comfortable, allowing a good night sleep to the average person — not the person who was restless, tossing and turning all night, and anxious for surgery the next morning.

Eric has been by my side since day one and has continued to walk through the journey with me. On surgery day, he walked into the hospital holding my hand, providing reassuring squeezes when needed. My heart raced as my nerves started working overtime. He sat with me during the surgery preparation and talked to me to help calm my overactive nerves.

When it was time, I gave my husband a kiss and hug good-bye, and told him that I loved him. I walked into the operating room, lied down on the table and let the nurses get to work. I was told to keep my eyes open as long as I could, but with the air blowing down on my face, I was out cold in seconds. During my surgery, Eric sat with my mother and sister. They stayed in the waiting room while Eric held onto the pager tightly until there was word I was done.

After falling asleep for my surgery, the next thing I remember was waking up in my room hours later to my husband by my side. He asked how I felt. My response? “I’ve been hit by a train.” The worst part was the pain I felt in my chest and arms. I could barely move, and I needed help in and out of bed, and even to use the bathroom. I had no clue I was going to feel so helpless the first night. Not one of those articles I read described anything like it.

I was provided with a self-administering morphine drip to manage the pain. But in the end, I felt even worse with that drug then I could have imagined; the nausea and faintness were not something I enjoyed. I was happy to switch to a different pain medicine the next morning. The doctors, their intern team, and nurses took good care of me. I saw my plastic surgeon shortly after waking in the morning. He said all went well and that I’d be released later that day if I wanted to. The surgical team came often throughout the day to check on me. They provided a thorough exam, prescribed an anti-itch cream for the spots that needed it, and made sure I was doing better before they would sign my release papers.

Eating a nutritious meal throughout the day was beneficial, so was staying on top of my pain. If I went too long without my medicine, the pain would only intensify and set me back. The best medicine, however, was having my husband, my mom, and my sister by my side, and the laughter they often provoked. I enjoyed laughing, even though I complained that it hurt. Having the support of my family was fantastic. They saw me in all my miserable glory – no make-up, hair in a knotted mess, and pain written across every pore on my face.

We managed to escape the hospital right before dinner time, putting us into the tail end of Seattle rush hour traffic. My husband, having terrific driving patience that day, took his time, paying particular care to the bumps and curves in the road. We were on our way to my sister’s house, where the first week of my recovery would take place.

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