Thursday, November 1, 2012

Surgery Day and Hospital Stay

So, I was going to break this into several entries...but the experience really melded into what felt like one long I decided to keep it as one long entry. So, here you have my surgery day, and the 4 day hospital stay that went with it.

Surgery day, YIKES.

We woke up around 4:30 so that each of us could shower and be ready for the 6:00 departure.
My mom met us at our house around 5:45, and Dad-in-law met us at the hospital for 6:20.

When I first went in, I had to go to two different places to check-in and fill out lots of paper work. It moved relatively quickly, which was great for me because I hate lingering. I went into the surgery prep area around 7:30 where I had to get into my surgical outfit, a johnny and a new blue shower cap looking hat, woohoo. Once I was all suited up, a couple doctors/nurses came in to speak with and introduce themselves. They were my surgical nurses and some of my aneasthesiologists, very nice and caring. Almost right away, Dr. S came in to see me and had a nice long, calm conversation about the plan, and how he's hoping the day would go. The plan was as follows: Go in and get to the hip first. Then to assess the actual structure of the hip and begin cutting and placing bones as needed. Once they made one of the final cuts, he was going to decide if he wanted to look into the joint and see if he could tidy up the labrum a bit. If the labrum was accessible, an easy fix, and the rest of the surgery was going smoothly, then he would address the labrum while he's in there.

With all that being said, the aneasthesiologists started me on a IV of some wonderful things to "take the edge off." And it really did. Phew. We waited for just a few more minutes, and then I was off to the races. I said my goodbyes to my mom and my hubby (who were in surgical prep with me), and they wheeled me away.

Right before we left the surgical prep area, they gave me another hit of something else to help me relax while waiting for anesthesia. Don't know what it was, they didn't tell me...but boy oh boy, I had not a care in the world! I was thinking: "Allllllrrriiiigggghhhhtttt, surgery!"

I don't remember too, too much after that...but I do remember a couple glimpses of the operating room. Believe you me, they look NOTHING like they look on Grey's Anatomy. They are somewhat small, cramped with TONS of high storage systems with drawers, everything's covered in plastic and all you can see really are small passage ways to different machines/equipment. It was nuts. The last thing I remember is seeing Dr. Schiller in his surgical gear standing at the x-ray machine showing a group of Residents (I assume), the game plan for cutting the bone. Then in about a milli-second, the anesthesiologist put the mask on my face and I was O-U-T.

About five seconds later (real time approximately 6 hours), I woke up in recovery feeling VILE. Oh my gosh I can't even begin to explain the feelings. Easiest way to describe it is the world's WORST, most TERRIBLE hangover. It was like I had been trampled by elephants. I couldn't wake up for life of me, I lost so much blood in surgery my skin tone was a lovely mint color, and I was dry heaving every 2-3 seconds. It took me almost 2 hours and a blood transfusion in recovery to start feeling a bit more human. I honestly can't remember much hip pain, probably because I was so anxious about everything else. My recovery nurse, Sarah, was AMAZING. She helped me through the whole thing and stayed by my side the whole time.

Here's a glimpse into the surgery: It took longer than Dr. S had hoped (for whatever reason...not totally sure), and I bled more/faster than they were expecting. The combination of the two led to me losing about 1,600 cc's of blood. That's almost 2 LITERS. Now, mind you, they had the cell saver on, so they tried to recover as much as they could...but by the end of the surgery I really had lost a lot. More than anyone was really expecting. But, that's the thing, you can run every test in the world...but every person is different and bleeds differently. I don't blame anyone for that. You can't plan it, no matter how hard you try.

So...after that kind of blood-loss, your blood pressure PLUMMETS. I could see the read-out screen in recovery...and maybe I'm too smart for my own good, but I knew the heart rate and blood pressure numbers it was reading were really low. I was really tachycardic during and after surgery (had a very fast heart rate, almost 140 beats per minute, normal is around 90), and my blood pressure was so low it was shocking to me. It was in the 60/30's early on when I was so "drunk" I could barely move. It's generally supposed to be around 110/70. It came up very slowly, but still stayed low until a couple days later.
However, besides all of that crap, I was honestly so unbelievably thirsty! My throat hurt a little from the breathing tube, and I couldn't wait to have a sip of ginger ale (drink of choice in hospitals, apparently). I drank almost 2 cups of ginger ale in recovery while waiting for my room. That was such a bad idea...but it tasted so refreshing on my mouth and lips and throat, it was almost heavenly.

Now...I wasn't worried that it might be life-threatening or anything like that. The care around me, and just Sarah's presence alone, made me feel like I was perfectly fine. You know what I was ACTUALLY worried about? My HUSBAND and family waiting for me to come out of recovery! I know my husband is a worry-wart, and I knew he was ticking down the minutes. The Dr. told him I'd be out of recovery in about an hour, at that time we were working on almost 2 hours until I was good enough to see him. When he came in, I looked a lot better (color wise), and I had become a bit more understandable with my language. I felt a lot better, and like I could relax when I saw him and he knew I was okay.

He waited with me until they brought me to my room. And then the whole family came with me as I entered my new home for the next four days. Of course, once you get in your new room, you have to do the hospital bed transfer...or otherwise known as the most humiliating thing in the world. They turn you and tug you and undress you and your catheter is uncomfortable and you're not feeling well from anesthesia and your roommate's family walks by and you moon them with all of your most private parts. SIGH. That was awful. Seriously. It took a couple minutes to get it right because of my hip...I couldn't have been more thankful when that was over...let me tell you.

So...I get settled in my bed, my family comes in and we sit. Well...they sit...and I sleep....sleeep sleeeppp, sleep. They went to get dinner, because I was so out of it didn't matter. By the time they came back about an hour and half later, I was finally awake enough to spend time with them. Dr. S. came by too, which really made my night. He was so excited about the success of the surgery, he gave me great coverage, enough he thinks, to probably last me until I'm close to 70. That was really great news. I had already heard that from hubby, but it was nice to hear from the Doc himself. The other thing Dr. S. did tell me was that because of how long it took him to give me that fantastic coverage, they didn't have time to look at or address the labrum. This means that about 8 weeks from now, I will need to have follow-up surgery. Not the best news...but I'm so unbelievable happy with the success of the PAO, that I'm really not worried about the hip scoping!

Dr. S left for the night, and at that point...I had been having some pain in my hip...probably about a 6 out of 10. The lovely nurse decided to give me some dilaudid. And by some, I mean 2 mg. May not seem like a lot, but I am a teeny, tiny person...and dilaudid is synthetic morphine. So...2 mg sent me FLYING HIGH. What a strange feeling when they administer it! It was like a wave of heavy heat floating across my strange and unnerving...I really didn't like it. What I also didn't like, wass that about a millisecond after I was given the 2 mg...I felt like a stoner who couldn't talk, or communicate...or do anything except sleep. My hubby was actually worried about it, because I fell asleep/half conscious almost immediately.

And then came the sickness. Oooohhh boy...the sickness. I booted (puked, lost my lunch, praised the porcelain god, get the idea). I booted what felt like 100 times for the next three hours. Every ounce of anything in my body came out...and I just laid there like a beaten woman. It was AWFUL.

Around 8 o'clock, they started with my second blood transfusion. My blood pressure was still pretty low (for me), and they wanted to get it back up to normal. The blood they gave me for both transfusions was O-. Which was surprising to me because they had all the necessary info to give me MY blood type (A-). Why use the O- when you can use the correct kind? These things baffled me...and it turned out my baffled nature was instinctively correct. By 1 am, mostly through the transfusion, my temperature had risen to 100.8. That's a bad sign during a blood transfusion, because it means that your natural blood is not playing nice with the transfused blood. At this point we had to do all sorts of blood and pee tests to make sure my body wasn't freaking out completely. Once my transfusion was over, all we could do was just wait and see what happened.

My fever from the transfusion kept up in the low 100's to as high as 101.4 until around 2-3 am on Sunday. It finally broke and I started to feel better.

Saturday was an okay day, besides the fever mishap. Physical Therapy (PT) came and got me out of bed using a walker and in a reclining chair. Such a seemingly small thing, but it was a huge effort for me! I was so happy when I sat in the chair. Felt so good, empowering even.

I mostly just rested and visited with my mom and hubby after that. Slept when I wanted, watched TV, drugged up to ease the pain, and just vegged out. I started on real food that day...I mean...if you call hospital food "real." This day they also stopped the IV Dilaudid and started me on pills: Oxycodone.

Sunday was a good day, except for the morning. I had a BUSY morning, and it led to me feeling really nauseas. I had the catheter removed, I was told to get up using the walker and get out of bed and in the chair for breakfast, the Fellow came and pulled my incision drain out and changed my dressing, then I had breakfast...all within an hour and a half time frame. It was just way too much, too fast. I got really dizzy and nauseas and had to have some zophran for the nausea.

After a couple hours though, I was feeling much better...had a really good Sunday. I had hardly any pain to speak of. My blood pressure had come up and my fever had broken. I also had some good PT with the nurses where I got up and used the walker to walk to the bathroom by myself and back to the bed. Things were looking up. Dr. S came in (on his off day...mind you), to check in with me and see how I'm doing. Answered all of our questions, while his adorable little daughter waited out in the hall way. Dr. S was so happy with all of my progress, that he was saying I could go home the next day, if I wanted to! There was light at the end of the tunnel. But unfortunately...going home on Monday was not a good idea. Hurricane Sandy was going to strike that day...and they didn't want me traveling/going home with such treacherous conditions.

So...Monday came and went. Was a great day, my best day yet. I felt awesome (in an obviously relative way), hardly any pain at all. I wasn't on the pain meds much at this point...only (as instructed) before PT. I slept well, I ate well, and I went through some really good PT where I  used the walker and walked all the way down the hallway and learned some exercises for my leg. It was nice to be doing so much!

Monday night I didn't sleep very well, I had a new roommate who was rude and inconsiderate of my needs. Won't go into details...but many times I fondly referred to her as "The Wench." I think I was also anxious because I knew I was getting out of that place. While the staff and everyone was SO great, I really wanted to get home and start the real road to recovery.

Tuesday came and went so fast. I had PT in the morning to see if I could pass my last tests before being discharged. The major test was stairs, to see if I could go up and down stairs with the crutches. I passed the test with flying colors.  I did have breakfast and lunch in the hospital, which was nothing write home about...but it kept me occupied while I waited for all the discharge papers to come through. It took until 3 for everything to be settled for me to leave the hospital...I can't understand that! But...that's okay. I keep telling myself...I know a lot of people have to sign off on it...and everyone is very busy.

Anyway, the couple main things I took away from this surgery and hospital stay were as follows:

- I think they serve better foods to inmates.

- Nurses/CNA's are BUSY. Unbelievably busy. And while I appreciate every single thing they did for me...the one piece of advice I would give someone going into and extended hospital stay is this: the very SECOND you feel like you have to pee (or whatever), push that call button like it's going out of style. On average, I had to wait almost 15 minutes for someone to come help me go to the bathroom. And after I had the catheter taken out, I needed to pee really often. I couldn't get out of bed on my own (for obvious reasons). That may not seem like a super ridiculous period of time...but when you've just gone through a traumatic surgery...where they cut a series of muscles in your thigh and better believe that holding it is not your strong suit. There were several instances where I really thought I wasn't going to be able to hold it.

Lastly, and most importantly:

- The nurses and CNA's and the staff at Rhode Island Hospital are top notch. Unbelievably nice, helpful, knowledgable and extremely selfless. I was amazed, time and time again, at how caring they were, even to the cruelest patients. It takes an exceptionally caring person to be a nurse. Makes me even more proud that my brother went into that field.

- I am so THANKFUL to blood donors. I always knew it was important...of course...but it puts into a whole new perspective when you're staring at a unit of someone else's blood dripping into your body for your health, that someone so graciously donated to a stranger. Seems like such a small thing...but it really was a touching moment for me. Not to mention, I had to have 2 transfusions, so that's 2 different people who gave me a piece of them...not even knowing me. Really amazing stuff...if you ask me.

So, that is that! Please, please, please feel free to ask me any any all questions you may have. I had a great experience, overall...and would love to help anyone else preparing for this to understand the in's and out's of my journey.

Thanks so much for reading!

1 Day until I go under the knife!

I’m writing this in past tense because the few days leading up to the surgery were just too crazy to blog at the time. I had to get a lot of things in order before the 26th, many of which were not actually surgery related...I’ll spare you all the details and just let you know what my last day on my bum hip was like.

I took the day off from work, and had a day all about me. I slept in late, had some Dunkin’ Coffee and a breakfast sandwich, and then went for a 90 minute massage. 

The massage was the most amazing thing ever, EXACTLY what I needed. I’d never had a real one before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Let’s just say, it’s worth every single penny you pay. 

After the massage, I went and got a pedicure. I hadn’t had one in an age and I kinda wanted the extra pampering. It was really nice to just sit back and be taken care of. Ahhhh, it was so relaxing.

When I left the salon, I came home and rotted on the couch while watching some junky TV, it was GLORIOUS. And after a couple hours of that, I changed into cooking/baking mode.
Hubby arrived home from work around 5, and found me BUZZING around the house. I couldn’t keep still. I had made a list of things I wanted to accomplish before the surgery, and I felt desperate to complete them. He had to stop me several times just to try and calm me down. I was so anxious and nervous that I didn’t want to sit still...or all I would do is think about the next day. That would make me crazy. 
I ran around the house most of the night, baking cookies and finishing goodie bags for my nurses, making a couple meals for us to eat, and packing my bag for the hospital. 

We finally went to bed around 11:30, but I don’t know if either of us really slept at all. We had to be at the hospital at 6:30 am the next day...and we were just so anxious to get things going and get it over with.

The moral of this day was to just relax and prepare, so that’s really all I did. 
Read on for info on the actual surgery day.