Monday, May 16, 2011

The Agony and The Ecstasy

So I'm now 3 days post-op and I apologize for neglecting my blog. Every time I sit down to write I lose my gusto.

My surgery took place around noon on the 13th. There really was a lot of sitting around that day. I got to the hospital around 9:30 and they weren't ready to prep me, so I had to sit in the very crowded waiting room. I was called back at 10, and I didn't see any doctors until an hour and half later, which was surprising because before my trial surgery I had 3 anesthesiologists, 2 neurosurgery med students, a Medtronics rep and, of course, my neurosurgeon fluttering in and out. 

Anyways, they did some simple prep work in the pre-op room, took me back to the operating room and then put me under general anesthesia. I have had two previous brain surgeries, so this was old hat for me, and I knew to put on a Scopolamine patch the night before so the drugs didn't make me sick. Unfortunately it just didn't seem to work this time. I woke up in recovery shaking uncontrollably and throwing up (though I had nothing in my stomach, so it was just saliva). It really was an awful experience because I didn't know what was going on and I was in pain. I should also note that I am allergic to eggs, and apparently the normal anesthesia they use is egg based, so perhaps the other stuff isn't so hard on the body.

The shaking wore off and I was able to have my mom come back into the recovery room with me. My Medtronics rep stopped by and programmed my new remote with 3 different settings so I can have some options. I also can change pulse widths and a few others. My wonderful rep allowed me to do so during my trial, so I wasn't overwhelmed with the different options. Hanging out in recovery really wasn't that exciting. They put me on a clear diet because I was nauseous hours before, but my nurse let me eat real food. I was in a whole lot of pain, therefore I decided to spend the night in the hospital so I could continue to get IV pain meds.

My surgeon decided to tunnel the battery pack down to my abdomen for two reasons: 1) No easily visible scars and 2) He said sometimes people bump their clavicle and it's safer having it lower. I really was skeptical because I have always heard the shorter the leads the less than can go wrong. But, in the end, I am glad the battery is where it is. However, this is a very, very painful place to cut because every time you move you hurt. I couldn't get out of the hospital bed without crying. A good trick I picked up was pushing a pillow into my stomach when I was trying to move, and for some reason it helped.

The roommate I had overnight was pretty awful. She kept me up all night, which was ok since I was on pain meds anyways and couldn't sleep. By about 3 am I had wished I had gone home, yet it was nice that I had nurses taking care of me. I made sure to get up and walk around since my mom swore that it would help me heal. I was released around noon and was overjoyed to be in my own bed. Ever since I have been taking it pretty easy, walking a bit, and putting ice on my stomach a few times a day. I can get out of bed without much pain and move freely. I am surprised, I really thought it would take longer to heal.

The Ecstasy: I am still headache free (!!) so the stimulator is working wonders, I was able to take a shower after over a week, I am able to play with my dog and spend time with my amazing brother. The Agony: I can't get comfortable, my stomach hurts, and (the worst part) my right thigh is always numb. I called my doctor and he said that it's normal because they had to lay me on my right side for the surgery, but it may take 8 months to clear up.

I apologize for the long post, but I wanted to make sure I got everything in.

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