Thursday, January 5, 2012

Waking up and then some.

According to my parents they got the call that the surgeons were "closing" around 7pm. So from start to finish that makes for a little over four and half hour long surgery...not too bad, the surgeon had been estimating five to six.

The first time I can remember waking up was in the ICU. I know it was the ICU because I woke up mid transfer from stretcher to bed. I was not intubated and I don't know if I spent time in the PACU/recovery prior to going to the ICU. If I did I don't remember it or remember when or where they extubated me.

It was chaotic, the lights were bright and there were at least six people around me though I can only distinctly remember three of them, but I remember other bodies and voices. I. Was. Mad. I remember my head killing me like someone had just drilled into it...oh, wait, they did. I couldn't talk because my throat hurt and was so dry and scratchy but I was trying to scream "my head!". The anesthesiologist was on my right holding my arms down as I tried to grab my head, a man was on my left trying to get EKG stickers on me and hold me down at the same time. My poor sweet nurse (I'm so sad I can't remember her name) was at my bottom right trying to hold my legs down and probably keep me from kicking her in the stomach. Finally (but it was probably only a second) someone asked me if my head hurt. Duh! I remember nodding my head vigorously, probably not a good thing, but I got something good then and slipped back into unconsciousness.

The next time I woke up it was quiet, the room was dim, I was covered and tucked in neatly. My nurse was on my left, hanging a med. As soon as she saw I was awake she introduced herself to me, told me my surgery had gone really well and that my parents were on their way up to the unit. She did a neuro exam on me, which I got every hour through the night, and asked how my pain was. It was a 7/10 I decided. It was a different kind of headache from pre-surgery, it didn't hurt much inside my head anymore but around my head, my scalp & skull throbbed. She told me I could have Fentanyl every hour if I needed it. Fentanyl was a good thing, for a little while. I was not on a continuous pain med or anything like that, and fentanyl is one of the shorter acting meds, they don't like to let neuro patients get too sedated.

I was kind of in and out of it for a while, I don't know if I ever actually slept. My parents came in, they told me they got there around 8:30 which was only an hour and a half after they got they call that my surgery was almost over, so not a lot of time was passing. I didn't have much of a sense of time. I was able to talk to my parents a little, but mostly dozed. I don't know what time they left but it was before my nurse who was off at 11. I felt bad she had to admit me at the end of her shift (the things only a nurse would think about). Sometime before she left I asked for the one thing I had actually thought about pre-surgery. Before surgery I told myself I wasn't going to ask for water, no matter how dry my mouth and throat were, I wasn't going to do it. But I did. I had been a little more awake and talking to my nurse, she was asking me about where I went to nursing school and where I worked. Well, it was getting harder and harder to talk because my throat was so dry and sore, so I asked for a wet swab. I told myself I wasn't going to swallow the water, just wet my mouth and lips but when she handed me that big old green swab, soaked in ice water, well I sucked it dry. It was the best sip of water I think I'd ever had. The pleasure was short lived though. A minute later I knew I was going to pay for it, luckily there was a basin close by and I threw it back up, and then some. I became very nauseous but got anti-nausea medication around the clock after that (note to self: don't ever forget my kiddo's zofran!). We also discovered, shortly after another dose of fentanyl that the medication was bringing on my nausea and making it worse so that was the end of that great med.

That nurse left at 11 and I don't remember the nurse I had through the night as well. The only conversation I can remember having with her was when I asked when my a-line could come out (ok so maybe I was obsessing over something trivial, I'll try not to be annoyed when parents do that anymore). Here's the other thing about the a-line though that was bugging me. Mine was positional and my wrist had to be facing up for it to work. Try sitting up and sleeping with your wrist facing up, I couldn't do it, or remember to do it and every time I turned my wrist down my monitor alarm would go off and someone would have to come in and tell me to keep my wrist facing up. She was drawing labs off of it at the time when I asked and she said if my labs were ok she could take it out. She must not have gotten the heads up though that I was a nurse because she went on to explain all the benefits of having an a-line and I remember saying "I know, I work in an ICU, I just don't want it". Gosh, I hope I wasn't too obnoxious to her that night! I'd hate to have been "that" patient, ugh.

At some point in the night was also when my right eye started swelling and I had to start my continuous ice pack treatments (I must have used over 50 ice packs during my stay, I hope they don't charge!). My surgeon came in early, it was still dark, per usual. I wasn't really alert enough to ask questions but he did explain to me that a majority of my tumor had been directly behind my right eye and he did a lot of work in that area - hence the swelling & black eye. He told me that he thought he had gotten most of the tumor out but had to leave some because it was too close to a major artery, but he estimated at least a 95% resection. Of course at five am the day after surgery I couldn't really process too much so we'll get to that later.

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