Unsurprisingly, when you stop doing something, you lose the ability to do it. Use it or lose it, that sort of thing. Writing has definitely become that for me.
I've been in great pain for the last five days, to the point where Kris said, no, these pains are not normal. I figure he knows a thing or two about surgeries and recoveries, but this is my first time, maybe this is normal. "You're in a lot of pain," (yep) "call your medical team." I don't know this isn't normal. "Doesn't matter, you're in a lot of pain, and it's been a bit. Call your medical team."
Here's the thing about telling someone in a lot of pain to call their medical team: they don't know what that means, they are in pain.
I did the best thing I could do. I asked Jonathan what to do. "Tell them you’re in a lot of pain. They’ll tell you if that’s expected. Maybe you’ll need to come in and they can examine. Or maybe they’ll tell you it’s nothing." I called the number on the post-op instructions and used those words. I'm grateful for those words.
Turns out, the pain isn't normal and I have an appointment for tomorrow with the surgeon.
Here's hoping for some relief soon.
Went to the hospital for surgery today. I've been to this hospital many times as a caretaker, but never as patient, a joke I made with pretty much every who asked if I had been in before. "As an observer," I'd say, "First time as a patient." One could say, roll the dices enough, and everything happens. For me, this is best summed up by my mother, "You always get the weird ones." Yuuuup.
I was restless in the morning, having woken at 3:30 to pee, then being unable to fall back asleep afterward. Up, shower with the anti-bacterial solution I was given, small cup of tea (liquids allowed until three hours before surgery), and a bottle of pre-surgery carbohydrate drink, which was also the most sugar I have had since Ash Wednesday. Was incredibly sweet, and not in delicious way. Dressed, checked my list, everything was set up already, so put on shoes, grabbed the mask, and off I went to the hospital with a fly-by dropoff.
I was not expecting the hospital lobby to be as empty as it was. Two people were visible, a greeter and a registration checker, and I talked with both of them. Up to Patient registration, where, after filling out some paperwork was told three (THREE) times that the surgeon was not a hospital employee, he's a contractor. Did I mention he's a contractor? Contractor.
After signing a bunch of paperwork, I was directed up the elevator into the Surgical Waiting Room, where I had the briefest of waits. Led into room 12, I did the usual strip down, wash myself down with a couple of delightfully warm wipes, then into the bed, where I answered a lot of questions about my health (for the third or fourth time), had an IV line installed (also delightfully, along the inner part of my left forearm, which meant I didn't have worry about not bending my arms. A heat pump was attached to my gown for air to blow in to warm or cool as I needed. I liked that part, as I was both warm and not sticking to the gown's plastic inners. My forehead sported a lovely temperature-reading sensor.
"Have you been with us before?" "Not as a patient." again.
This entry is going to read very weird to me when I read it after the anesthesia has worn off.
I was all ready to go at 9:30. The nurse said, hey, you're ready to go, we will wait for your doctor to come in and talk with you first.
I put everything into my patient bag, lay back down, and fell asleep. I have no idea how many other people fall asleep before their first surgery, but based on the conversations around me as I drifted off, I'm guessing very, very few people sleep before a surgery.
I woke just before 11:00am, and rung the nurse to walk me to the toilet to pee. Again. Little did I know how much harder that seemingly easy act would become.
I was back in my bed not five minutes before Brian, my anesthesiologist, came in and talked. My surgeon came in just after, along with my OR nurse. I had one more document to sign, giving consent for any interesting images to be published in a medical journal with my name kept secret. I hesitated to sign. "You don't want to be in a journal?"
"It's not that, it's that I want a copy of the journal if I'm in it."
Everyone laughed and collectively relaxed. The doctors left, leaving me with my OR nurse. "You've gone to the restroom recently?" "Yep, five minutes ago" . "Okay, off we go."
The OR was close by, I met the two other nurses who would be helping me move, slid from my gurney to the table, and watched as the four others prepped for my surgery. After I was introduced to my robot, Xena, and heard about the other robots in the other ORs. I have to say that I was glad to hear the chatter and the joking. Such behavior is exhibited in a cohesive team, reducing whatever anxiety I was having, which was very little already.
A medicine was added to the IV, to relax me. I looked up at the ceiling, was lower than I thought it would be. The medicine from the IV started to hit, I saw the overhead lights start to spin. "Wheeeeeee! Look at the lights!" I must have said that out loud, as very quickly I heard, "Well, she's having fun!"
The oxygen mask came on and I woke up in the recovery room around 2:40pm. I know that people say under general, there is no sense of time. When I was coming up from the depths, however, I was dreaming. From my point of view, I was inhaling into the mask, then woke up elsewhere, but I still had a sense of time passing, just not the full amount of time that had passed. The surgery was shorter than expected, so the surgeon made up time, I suspect, on my surgery.
My surgeon had only one repair to make, and "it was tiny!" Which has me wondering if I had a misdiagnosis or something really weird is wrong with my body? Clearly the latter.
I fell back asleep until 4pm, when I woke and a flurry of activity happened. I am uncertain if I woken up more than these two times. I struggled to stay awake, but managed to stay awake. A nurse came back to check on me. As she was checking the monitors, I asked her if she observes Lent. She said yes, she does. I commented, "I've given up sugar for Lent," and was delighted when she brought me sugarless drinks and crackers. The drinks unfortunately had aspartame, which I didn't report was an allergy, so I waited for more water.
Turns out, anesthesia not only slows down your GI tract, it also closes your bladder, which means no going home until one urinates, and one doesn't urinate easily. Which is to say, my inability to pee wasn't performance anxiety as I thought it might be.
Eventually, I was able to go, after two glasses of water, two large cups of peppermint tea, and at least one bag of IV fluids, along with a locked door (not appropriate in a hospital for a patient), and about 15 minutes of concentration. While I was downing those liquids, I listened to the hospital movements. Indeed, there was my Mary, along with her usually two. I was amused, recognizing how different my experiences with the healthcare systems have been, compared to most people's.
On my wheelchair riding way out the door, I thanked the nurses for taking care of me. They were kind, and I appreciated the help recovering.
So, here I am, I've had surgery. My eyes are incredibly dilated from the drugs, and I can't walk yet without pain. I'm here on this couch for the next two days at least. Here's hoping I recover quickly.
I almost feel I should have a new category here called "Things I understand why I don't understand." There are a lot of things that affect my life directly that I just do not understand. Almost all of them center around people. I'm not the only person who doesn't understand most other people.
As for the things I understand why I don't understand, however, my first entry would be the results of pondering why people sleep with their bedroom doors closed.
For the longest time, the fact that people sleep with their doors closed puzzled me. Mom sleeps with her door closed. Jonathan would close the bedroom door at night even when the boys weren't around. Kris closes his bedroom door these days, though I don't recall if we closed it in the Before Era. I doubt it though. I'd win that argument, as I sleep with my bedroom door open. Closing a bedroom door, why would you?
The why bugged me like one of those niggling things that exist, but one doesn't really pay attention to.
Until one does.
Instead of wondering why everyone else closes their bedroom doors at night, last night I considered why I actively do not close my door, why I need that door open.
And I realized, most people do not grow up with a sibling with health problems that, if you are not able to hear their distress and come rescue them, they will die.
Okay, let's look at this realization from an adults perspective, and not from a child's perspective. Said sibling likely wasn't going to die. Per se.
Taking from a child's perspective, however, things change. That one time, as a small child, your door was open, and you heard sounds from the other room. With the moonlight streaming in from the faceted windows in your bedroom, you walked to the door and across the hall, where you heard your brother thrashing in his bed. You hurried downstairs, woke your parents, who then rushed upstairs to find your brother, what? From the child's perspective, something very bad. The brother ended up in the hospital. You didn't see him for days (FOREVER it seems). You had to explain what happened to your teachers, his teachers, they were the same people.
And so, the door stays open. You don't sleep with the bedroom door closed.
Something Might Happen™.
Okay, sure college dorm doors are closed. And the doors close when you don't want your roommate to walk in on something fun happening. And the hotel room doors are always closed. And when your host tells you, "Close your door, otherwise the dog may eat all your underwear," well, okay, you close the door then, too.
But normally, that door is open. I understand why I sleep with my door open.
After the pondering, I somewhat understand why everyone else doesn't. I understand why I don't understand [this thing at least].
Before an afternoon walk today, I looked at my phone to see the local temperature. Was I going to need a jacket? If so, which one?
I opened up the weather app, and saw this:
And realized, I had no idea what jacket I need for 61°. Was that the cotton hoodie or synthetic fleece temperature? Maybe wasn't either?
I had to flip the units back over to Celsius to see it was 16° out, and oh, right, no jacket needed for a walk, grab the cotton hoodie if I'll be stationary for a bit.
I can't say I was expecting to lose Fahrenheit this quickly. Next up, losing miles.
I've been doing an okay job at not eating sugar this last week. Not perfect, not great, but an okay job.
I'm also doing an okay job at a nominally Whole30 diet. Not perfect, not great, but also not bad. The lack of protein sources outside of eggs and animal flesh that is doing me in there. I really do not want to be eating cows and pigs and chickens for every meal.
I've been doing a FANTASTIC job at no alcohol, actually. Perfect, one would say. That one is still the easiest one to give up. Chocolate, not really. Alcohol, yup.
While I intended to start a Whole30 thirty days yesterday, and again today when I missed yesterday (having missed it in retrospect, not at the moment), now seems the best time to start actually. Rather than waiting until tomorrow morning to start, now is fine.
Best time to plant a tree and all that.
Jonathan and I had a lovely chat this morning. We don't talk as much as we used to talk, I miss his voice, him, which causes me to appreciate these conversations more.
Today he was talking about the delicious cup of coffee he had made. Talk about bringing vicarious joy to me!
I have often lamented my dislike of coffee. The only good coffee, I assert, is muted in tiramisu. In other words, with lots of sugar and lots of cream.
What I do like a lot, however, is Jonathan's like (love?) of good coffee and his ongoing enthusiasm for the drink. I love how coffee houses became our way of exploring new cities, and old ones alike. Often the coffee houses would have tea, sometimes not. They would always be a destination, multiple destinations, that enabled us to find new areas, to walk to new destinations, to expand our knowledge of our temporary home.
Jonathan had recently been to a Starbucks downtown, and, hooboy, was awful he said. It was like milk and sugar with essence of espresso, that they had forgotten to add the coffee. Explained, he said, why Matthew often asks for quad shots with his order, just to have a coffee flavor. "Is that," Jonathan went on, "two double shots, or four double shots?"
"Something like a double double?" I asked,
Oh, no, to be sure. A double double in Canada is not, as one might expect, a double stacked cheeseburger. It is, instead, a coffee with two creams and two sugars. Now, tell me, how did I live in Canada for years and not know this?
Right, not a coffee drinker.
One of the reasons that I wish I were a coffee drinker, aside from the plentiful coffee houses, is the mouth feel I imagine coffee has. I might be imagining that the mouth feel of coffee is different, heavier, than tea. I've taken to adding cream to a cup of tea in the morning, the cream definitely changes the flavor and mouth feel, more like what I think coffee has.
My comment about coffee's mouth feel prompted Jonathan to share James Hoffman's video, Crema Explained video, which goes into details about the foamy stuff that is deemed A Good Thing™. Jonathan commented that crema is considered "good" in espresso circles, but James goes into the deets about how, well, some things are for show, and not necessarily done to make the coffee taste better.
Like many things, done for show.
A lovely chat.