Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yes, I Am The Warrior (And Victory Is Miiiine...)

A disclaimer for the squeamish: I may get graphic.

Up with the chickens this morning to get ready for my hemorrhoid surgery, which means I got up early enough to wash and straighten my hair for the occasion. And, in this hellish weather, that ain't easy. Not that I'm complaining! You may recall that I made a vow that I wouldn't complain about my out-of-control hair when I found out I got to KEEP said out-of-control hair. It's just a fact. Of course, my husband had to say, "Why are you bothering to do that?" BECAUSE THE REST OF MY DAY HINGES LARGELY ON HOW MY HAIR LOOKS! Men....

I brilliantly chose to wear a little knit skirt to the hospital, and I am not being facetious here. I do have my moments, and in the end (pahahaha!) wearing a loose garment was ingenious. Kissed my sleeping kids goodbye, and we were on our way to the hospital before the sun was even up.

I love the efficiency of the hospital staff during the entire surgical procedure. It would seriously ALMOST be fun to be there, if it weren't for the reason you were there. The pre-op nurses have you in your gown, tucked into the bed, and an iv started before you know it. The operating room staff literally swarms over and around you like ants on an anthill. And your recovery room nurse is kind and watchful (especially mine, but more on that later).

While one nurse was putting in my iv and hooking up my monitors, the other was going over my health history. She started ticking off everything, which runs the gamut from tonsillectomy to cancer, with c-sections, d&c's, endometrial ablations, cyst aspirations and biopsies, irritable bowel syndrome, a touch of tmj, and nodules on my thyroid (also known as a goiter, but that sounds creepy so I don't want to call it that) in between. She stopped then, turned to look at me, and said, "You look really good for a sick person!"

Dr. Dodson came by then, and about the only thing he said was, "It's going to hurt." He wrote me a prescription for hydrocodone, then asked if I had any leftover pain meds from my previous surgeries. And since I don't like taking pain meds, the answer was, "Yes." I have an untouched bottle of oxycodone and three-quarters of a bottle of tramadol. He said I could use those if I wanted to or fill the prescription. My choice. He did say the same thing I heard in the hospital during the bilateral mastectomy/tram flap surgery, "Keep ahead of the pain." 

I totally scored with my anesthesiologist. His name is Dr. Green, he is darling, and I suspect I am old enough to be his mother, or very nearly so. He was my anesthesiologist for my colonoscopy as well, and if (God forbid) I have to have some other surgery, I am going to formally request him. Personality and bedside manner go a long way with this frequent flyer, and he has both. And knowing how many patients come and go through there, it made me feel good that he remembered me.  After going over my history again, he told me it would be pretty much like last time, only different, with the same end result that I wouldn't remember any of it. For the colonoscopy, he gave me propofol (a/k/a Michael Jackson's "milk"). This time, however, he would need to intubate me. Why, you might ask? Because this surgery would be performed with me jelly-side down. Honestly? I hadn't given any thought to the logistics of how this surgery was going to be performed. And since the mental image of it was so very horrid, I went all Scarlet O'Hara and decided not to think about it today (probably won't tomorrow, either).

Dr. Green broke this to me by telling me that IF something happened and he NEEDED to intubate me, it would be problematic to do so with me face down. He didn't anticipate any issues, however, especially since the procedure itself would only last about ten minutes. Ten? TEN? That's IT? He then went through all the disclaimers associated with the anesthetic in general and the intubation specifically. He looked in my mouth and down my throat, then gave me a grin and said, "Now, I'm not saying you have a big mouth, but I'm not concerned about being able to insert the breathing tube." 

And then I was off to the operating room, where the army of ants was waiting for me. I was eyeballing the operating table and wondering just how very awkward it was going to be, clambering on the table from my cot and assuming whatever hideous position I would need to be in, when someone told me they would start my anesthesia and THEN move me over themselves. Thank you, baby Jesus! (Nothing beats hauling my 10-months pregnant, catheterized self from cot to table 17 years ago. See? I DESERVED this!)

Next thing I knew, it was over and my lovely friend Michelle was taking care of me in the recovery room and fretting over my pvc's again. I could feel a little bit of stinging, but that was it. Quite frankly, the iv in my arm was 10 times more painful. My calves felt as though I had either walked six miles on the Nashville greenway trail OR had had charley horses in each of them, and Michelle said it was probably from the position I was in on the operating table (don't think about it, don't think about it, DON'T THINK ABOUT IT).  I was pleasantly drowsy but very cold, and I was given one of those deliciously warm blankets to snuggle under. I laid there listening to the nurses chat about their dogs, and after maybe an hour in recovery, the husband was brought back to see me and hear my discharge instructions and then it was time to get dressed and go home. 

This is where it gets ugly. 

My sweet Michelle walked me to the restroom to help me change into my clothes, because all the iv solution they had been pumping into me had filled my bladder and I needed to GO. Dr. Dodson had folded several layers of gauze (hereinafter the "toast") and placed the toast in between my butt cheeks (hereinafter the "toaster"). He then taped the toast into place so it wouldn't pop out of the toaster. Michelle untaped the toast and removed it, then said, "Oh! You're bleeding quite a bit. Go to the bathroom and I'll be right back." I had no idea what she was talking about until I sat down to pee pee and saw the floor where I had been standing when she took out the toast. GAHHHHHHHH!!!! Then I peed (like a tall horse on a flat rock), and when I finished, I continued to hear drip drip drip drip. Took a little look-see between my legs and GAHHHHHHH!!!! At least it didn't hurt. Michelle came back with some of those wickedly sexy gauze panties, ob pads and more gauze. She put more toast in the toaster, sans tape, while  I stuck the ob pad in the panties, apologized for turning the restroom into a bio-hazard (she said it happens all the time), and put on my clothes (see why the little skirt was BRILLIANT now?). She took me back to my recovery room cot and called Dr. Dodson, because she said USUALLY patients don't bleed like that. Within ten minutes, the doctor had called, said I wasn't bleeding when he made the toast and that it was probably just the work of gravity when I stood up, and said I was good to go home. 

Since my husband had already been dispatched to get the car when I went to the bathroom to get dressed, he was waiting by the door for me when Michelle wheeled me out of the hospital, dumped me on the curb, and sped away, begging me to never again ask her to be my recovery room nurse as she disappeared inside. Okay, not true. She does push a wheelchair like she drives, but she was an absolute dear, explaining the ordeal with my toaster to my husband, helping me out of the wheelchair, and giving me a big hug (although I'm probably right that she is hoping I never ask her to be my recovery room nurse again). 

Home and enjoying a relaxing afternoon. Minimal pain so far. The bleeding is negligible. I AM a warrior!


  1. Second most hilarious description of hemroid surgery I've ever heard. Toast in the toaster is truly inspired, and would be the first most funniest description of that I've ever heard!

    1. A million thanks. Amazing what you can write when you're laced with oxycodone! Someone probably should have taken away all forms of electronic communication for the ten days or so that I was on narcotics....

  2. No, no, only once! That was enough! That which doesn't kill you makes good fodder for a blog post.

  3. Oh, you are a Warrior! A mighty Toast Warrior!

  4. Oy...is there any part of that bod that hasnt been surgically assaulted????