Thursday, May 14, 2015

[I Know the Traditional 20th Wedding Anniversary Gift is Fine China... So What's Traditional for a 20th Surgery?]

My body rejects your prime numbers and laughs in the face of them--at its own expense! A few months ago, it looked like I'd finally had my last surgery--number 19--when I went in to have my tubes tied but could only get an endometrial ablation. Because I've had so many surgeries and have such a small airway, my windpipe has accumulated too much scar tissue, making intubation for a full surgery too risky in most situations.

Then, Saturday night/Sunday morning, I couldn't sleep, which sucked, because I'd planned to get up and drive to my parents' house for Mother's Day, and I ended up sleeping much later than planned (I'd only managed to doze off after 6 a.m.). Instead of leisurely grabbing some overnight items and leaving the house with Sassy in a relaxed way, I ended up rushing around frantically, trying to figure out what I could take with me to make up for lost job-hunting and grading time. I got to my parents' house just in time to go out for Chinese.

That evening, I started having stomach pains. I attributed it to cheese from dinner, and I tried to ignore it so I could working on grades, because I quite simply didn't have time to be sick. At 7 p.m., it felt like really painful gas bubbles were trapped in my colon. Major pain, yes, but nothing to worry about.

However, as the evening wore on, so too did my pain levels. Soon, I couldn't find a comfortable position to save my life, and by 9 or 10, I was nearly passing out from the pain, often actually crying from its relentless nature. At midnight, as much as I hated to wake Mom up for the last hours of Mother's Day, I knew we had to do something. It took awhile to wake her up because she was so deeply asleep, but before I knew it, we were in Branson at the ER. By 2 a.m., I had a diagnosis: appendicitis.

Great timing, indeed.

On top of this, with my breathing issues, I couldn't have a laparoscopic surgery, because that would require being put all the way under. Instead, the anesthesiologist arranged for a shot to my spine and some sedation. Because I started vomiting right before the surgery, I had to remain completely alert the whole time to prevent drowning in my own sick. Yes, really. And because I was wide awake the whole time, I know firsthand how close we came on the timing. Apparently, my appendix was minutes away from bursting when they pulled it out.

By the time I came out of surgery, I'd been awake for over 24 hours, and as the numbness wore off, so, too, did my potential for sleep. If you know my medical history at all, you'll know that I have chronically low blood pressure. As in, my normal BP is 90/60. Hospitals are quite hesitant to give someone with that low of a blood pressure pain medicine, so instead of getting something to take the edge off of my pain, I was being asked to tough it out until my upper number went above 100, and the pain, as a result, just kept compounding. Soon, there was no break from the pain of any sort. It was constant, intense pain. Finally, I had a nurse who knows what it means to have low blood pressure by nature, so she put her foot down to make sure I could get enough pain meds break the cycle, and I finally got enough relief to sleep for 10 minute spurts beginning at 10 p.m.

Now, I'm back home with my parents until my doctor releases me. My recovery is going to be longer than normal because I had to have a full incision, and on top of all this, I'm still frantically trying to find a job before the end of next week lest I have to sell my house, and final grades are due by Sunday at midnight.

Needless to say, I've had better weeks.

Still, for all the frustration (and drowsiness--apologies for any typos I happen to miss because I am just that loopy), there have been some positives:

Sassy has been amazing throughout this. It's the first time she spent the night away from me overnight for over five years, and she's been incredibly gentle with me from the moment I got out of the car. If you know Sassy, you know that's quite a feat for her. She's also been very gentle with Mom and Dad since she somehow knows that I can't take her out myself (I have the most control over her when it comes to walks, and she usually gets too frisky when they try to take her out).

Also, for the first time this semester, I'm actually glad I only had one class to teach. I still have to grade 32 final drafts before Saturday afternoon--can you imagine me having to do that for two, three, or four times as many students in my current condition?

So thank you, everyone, for your prayers and well-wishes. Keep them coming, please, because I still have some recovering to do. Also, if you know anyone who's hiring for someone with my skillset, please send them over to http://www.designedbyniki.com, where they can find my portfolio and online resume. Better yet.... if YOU'RE hiring for a legitimate, non-phone-oriented job, let me know! :)

And so I end this more awkwardly than I've ended a blog entry for several years now, thanks to a healthy dose of Norco. 

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