Friday, December 11, 2009

The Goal

Is to fart.

That brings life down to it's simplest components. I have to fart. If I can manage to eke out a fart...I will be allowed to eat, more than the liquid diet that I am on now.

Once I'm eating, the next goal will be to get on a "regular bowel schedule" as Dr. McCourt says. My heart sank when I heard that and I told her that last time it took almost two weeks to get me "regular." She told me that they would be a lot more aggressive with the meds this time to get me back to regular.
I hope so. If not, I'll be spending Christmas here in Providence.

Yesterday Sandy brought Rocky to visit me. I have the dog's pictures hanging up on the bulletin
board here in my room and all the nurses and aides love them. They were very excited at the prospect of seeing Rocky. Sandy just had to take him to Security, show them that he was all up to date in shots, etc. Then they took his picture and issued an ID badge with the picture on it. He wore it on his harness.

I heard the nurses in the hall yelling, "Rocky's here!" It was a good five minutes before they let him come in my room. My nurse Janet, had taken him away from Sandy and she carried him in to see me, kissing him and he was kissing her. That fickle guy!

Rocky and Sandy went for a walk with me, around the corridors. He was SO GOOD! Everyone loved him and they were buzzing about him for the rest of the shift.

Last night was a little tough. They discontinued my "on demand" morphine and are giving me percoset and oxycodone. Thankfully, those meds work. But when they start to wear off......YOW!

So, I have my liquid breakfast, lunch and dinner, run back and forth to the bathroom to pee (like a race horse); take my meds and walk, walk, walk, to get the gas moving down and out.
That's my day.

Last night I slept in three hours increments, so it was almost like "normal." I do doze quite a bit during the day. It's not a bad life, really.

The "sound machine" app that I downloaded (at Lynne's suggestion) works great! I use it every night. Last night I used "white noise #3" and it put me right out. It was well worth the $1.99 I spent on it.

Tomorrow Sandy is coming up with more supplies and with Jean. I think she might bring Rockster with her too.

So, I'm fading now. Think I'll take a little nap, then get my meds, then a shower. It feels so good to shower. Yep, that sounds like a plan!

Nighty night.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The prone position

Monday night I heard from lots of folks, it was SO NICE. People sending emails, texting me, calling me, from all over the place--Peggy in Maine, Carol and Jim in Tennessee, Steve en route to Montreal, Maggie from Delaware. That felt so good and I really got energized by it all. Made me feel like I had a whole Army getting "my back."

Everything went like clockwork yesterday. Sandy got home a bit early thanks to Lindsay (one of her co-workers) coming in early and letting Sandy get out of there. She got to sleep for an hour and a half or so and then it was time for me to rouse her and we got on the road.

We brought Lily with us so she didn't have stay in the kennel all day. She and Sandy slept in the car while I was in surgery.

I liked the gas-passer, an Asian guy named Joe. He and I exchanged a few yuks....we have same type of humor. Dr. McCourt explained that the description of what she planned to do was being kept very she wouldn't know the whole story until she got in there. It reminded me of the exploratory surgery my mother had when her cancer came back, they opened her up, messed around inside for hours and then closed her back up and stop fighting, she was "full of cancer." That gave me a little chill...but I shook it off quickly as everything was moving fast.

I signed up for another Tissue Study trial. No skin off my n ose to help out....get it? No skin....
Then they gave me the good stuff....Versid and wheeled me into the OR. I got a little treat as they had to wait for my blood type test to come back. So, we all chatted about music and such. Dr. McCourt even sang a bit of "Whole Lotta Love" when I said I liked Led Zeppelin. I had asked what kind of music they would be playing and they said whatever I if I was going to be hearing it. I told them I like all kinds of music and of course they whip out the "even opera?" wise guy question. So I told them I DO like opera! And Led Zepp and Sinatra, blah blah.

Then they got me on the table and I got to see how they put you in the "cruxifiction position"....your arms straight out on table extensions. Then the tests came back and they told me it was time to go under. I said, "oh, the big stuff." To that Joe said, "you're getting the Michael Jackson stuff" and I said, "cool, just make sure I wake up!" He said, "no problem" and the next thing I know I'm waking up in the Recovery Room.

The surgery was quite involved and took five or more hours. Dr. DiSilvestro came in and helped Dr. McCourt. She was very happy about that as she said it was a "mess" in my pelvis, which is where she focused her efforts.

So, I lost my uterus, my left ovary, my cervix, part of my colon and they had to do a resiection of my small intestine. Sandy told me that they had to remove part of my rectum, but they left enough that doodies won't fall out while I walking down the street! And that is a good thing!

I got up to my room around 8:30 and started appreciating the beauty of the pain pump right away. Ah, morphine......

I slept in five minute increments all night, until around five...then I started sleeping for about 15 minutes. There were people in and out all night, doing all kinds of things to me. Some of it good, some not so good. I started itching in the most inconvenient, hard to reach places. That drove me nuts for I got the iPhone out and played Bejeweled Blitz...another maddening thing, but it took my mind off the situation.

In the early morning I read all the response from folks to the update post Sandy had made on my FB page. That really perked me up. I've said it before but I must repeat it...I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family and so many supportive friends. I get so much energy from them.

Dr. McCourt showed up early, looking beat. She was exhausted after the surgery Sandy said. It took a lot out of her. I told her she really earned her fee yesterday. She didn't argue with that.
She gave me the good news that I can't eat until I pass gas. Now, as most people know, farting is not a problem for me...unless farting too much is considered a problem...which is how Sandy looks at it. She gets annoyed with me and my gaseousness.

But after surgery, I have trouble farting. I am really going to have to apply myself. First have to get the catheter out so I can sit on the toilet instead of peeing in the bag. That's another conundrum for me. Ordinarily I can pee my lit. tle heart out....24/7. Yesterday they said they needed a urine spec from me. I had JUST peed not 10 minutes before, but I was still able to produce a goodly amount for their test. It's just a talent I have. Hard to be modest about it. Not everyone has this talen
Anyhoo, after surgery things are different. I have to really focus, meditate, will myself to pee. So, I'm still not doing enough to warrant them pulling the catheter out and I can't fart with the catheter I don't get to eat until this is all resolved. I think the catheter will come out pleadings and focus exercises are working. Once that is out, my focus switches to farts.

It's all about the basics in life.

When the Resident and Fellow came in to do their morning rounds, the Resident was looking at me oddly. I asked her who she was and she immediately lit up and started gushing, "I know who you are, I know who you are!" Turns out she graduated from UConn School of Medicine and knew me because of my job up there. Not only that, she says I was the one who worked with her to learn the complete physical and she also had me for a few scenarios. She said I did a great job. I told her, "that's nice, we don't get much feedback on how we are doing." She said "are you kidding, you were our favorite Standardized Patient!" I don't know about that, but it was nice (and smart) of her to say it.

She was so excited about seeing me, she was telling everyone on the floor and her fellow residents. I heard from people all day about her telling them about me.

So that was a nice start to the day. Mostly I layed in bed, playing games and dozing on and off all morning. Late morning they got me up; washed me; changed me and changed the bed. I got to sit in the chair by the window for a few hours, which gave me the chance to get the laptop out and get on the "net.

Then I went for a little stroll down the hall with Janet, my nurse. Since I had no idea where my room was located in relation to my old room, it was fun to see what was out there. I did get a bit nauseated walking, so we came back and I got back into bed. That felt good. I didn't blow my vomiting since 1986.

One goal I had for a long time went by the boards yesterday. I had always said I wanted to go through life being a blood DONOR not a blood recipient. Well, I had to have two units of whole blood that dream is over. SOB SOB! Ha ha! I just hope the donors lived "healthy lives" if you know what I mean.

My nurse just came in and told me they are stopping the morphine. They want to give me percoset...and I'm leery about it. I wanted the Tramadol I had taken last year, but she said that "wasn't enough for the surgery I had." She suggested vicodin! That really got my attention. I do NOT want vicodin....I'll take the percoset thank you.

She's coming back with the pill and we are going to go for another stroll. Hope I don't get the nausea again. I can take just about anything, but nausea levels me. I'll keep my eyes on the horizon as we walk, so I don't get seasick!

The walking today did get the bowel sounds going. I can't wait to be unhooked from the catheter so I can walk, walk, walk. Walking cures a lot of ills.

Sandy is going to bring Rocky to see my tomorrow. They will let him come in if she brings proof of his shots, etc. It will be so much fun to see my little guy running around here! I know they are going to love him. I just have to keep him off my abdomen....which is where he likes to sleep.

Huskies playing Kentucky tonight. I can't stand Calipari....I hope the Huskies paste Kentucky! Of course, they had trouble with Harvard this weekend, so who knows how it will go. I'll be watching, 9:30 on ESPN.

Big day tomorrow--nighty night!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Prep work

Today's the big day....for sitting on the potty and purging for the surgery. I screwed up right away and dropped one of the two pills I was supposed to take and it promptly disappeared. I crawled around the kitchen floor with a flashlight, searching for it, no dice. So, I took the one pill and hoped that my bowels would respond.

Lynne came over for "lunch"...which I can't have. She was nice enough to bring me a jar of boullion so I have something to have for supper. She crawled around the kitchen floor with a flashlight, looking for the dice. She boldly predicted that Sandy would find it when she got up from bed.

After Lynne left, the trots started. I guess I only needed one pill after all. Then the process demands that you drink 8 oz glasses of that "golightly" stuff EVERY 10 minutes! OHMYGOD! I have found something that is worse than the CT scan stuff. I dutifully set the timer for 10 minutes and follow the directions to the T. Guess what? The stuff works!

So, Sandy got up from bed and found the second pill. I just took that one and we'll see what happens. I mean, everything is moving quite nicely on just one pill...that second pill will probably rocket me to the moon!

I'm all set for the hospital. I even downloaded a sound machine application for my I can use it in the hospital. It has lots of neat sounds on it...I have a big choice.

Jean and I went to Sears yesterday to get tires put on Sandy's car. Sandy was sleeping at home. Jean told me that she bought me a Blue Ray DVD player...UNBELIEVEABLE! It is a Sony, so it is compatible with the new TV. I hooked it up last night. I tried a Harry Potter movie in it and Deanna is can't believe how it improves the picture! Parts of movies that are dark are so lightened up that you can see so much more detail.

Jean is so good to me. She said that when I'm stuck home this winter because of the flu fears...she wants me to be able to enjoy DVDs on the player. Isn't that the most wonderful thing? I have to come up with something special to do for her. It's so hard to do anything for her, I'll have to put my thinking cap on.

So, next time I write here I should be post-surgery and probably loopy. Who's knows what I will write? Can't wait.

Nighty night