Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Well I Survived

I have to say I am doing shockingly well. I mean it's a shock to me. I am in pain, swollen, and bruised but nothing that can not be managed. My mom is being amazing. Yesterday ended up being a really great day. Weird right?

I stayed at my mom's place the night before because she lives really close to the hospital. She got home from a dinner and we chatted, she filled me in on her new obsession with Mumford & Sons, I think she thinks she discovered them and then it was off to bed. I had to be at the hospital at 5:30am thankfully, I was one of his first surgeries. It occurred to me waiting for my surgery time, what if I was 4pm or something? I mean I can handle not eating ( I am lying) but no coffee?! Never mind the nervous nellies that would creep in.

I gave my mom a hug and kiss and was off. I I had to answer a few questions and then it was time for prep. I had to shuck all my clothes and get into my snazzy robe and gown ensemble, and put on a weird hairnet cap like thing. I got up to the ward and met Stella my pre-op nurse. Stella was amazing and Russian. I am a FREAK for Russian accents. I seriously can not get enough. I was not too nervous at this point because lets face it, train's left the station but I took it as a sign that my nurse was Russian and really funny. She welcomed me to their pyjama party and started getting me ready. The care at this hospital is really amazing. Everyone was so nice, I mean when they were settling me into my recliner bed chair I was given a blanket that was not only nice and cozy but Stella had warmed it for me! It was love at that point. It was a good thing I had not been given any drugs yet though because I had to keep telling myself do not mimic her accent, do not mimic the accent. I was watching the morning news, and starting to doze off when my anesthesiologist arrived and introduced herself. I thought it was pretty cool she was a lady anesthesiologist. She explained because of surgery being done on my arms that I would have the IV in my hand, she also asked me her pertinent questions, and made me feel like I was in good hands. She went ahead and put the IV in. No drugs just yet, still prep. My doctor then came by and marked me up and went over any last concerns. I think he was really surprised at my enthusiasm, he's like how are you this morning, I said GREAT lets do this! It's wings be gone day. I might have even said I'm pumped which is not really one of my words but tells you how excited I was.

I thought having a sharpie taken to my thighs would be one of the more embarrassing things that happened to me in this process but oh no. Stella handed me off to my operating nurse who took me to the OR. So I walking with her down the hall as she holds my IV, she says casually I tried to warm up the OR for you but it's probably going to still be cold. I think well that's jolly nice, but I am not connecting the dots. We arrive and there are two other people in there who I am not 100% clear on who they are or what they're doing but they're prepping. Introductions are made. She points to a towel on the ground and says I need you to stand there and disrobe. I'm sorry what? She again apologizes for the cold and then helps me shuck my gown and robe. She then paints me with cold betadine sponges on sticks from the waist down. It's funny I know these people are totally used to nudity but I still felt so weird. I also was starting to get panicked by all the surgical stuff around. I have never been in an operating room not a little knocked out so it was weird to be totally awake and aware that they instruments around were for me, the syringe being prepped for me, the guy was gracious and sat down with his down while I was painted and he was setting up their music. I welcomed the distraction of discussing pandora while poor Elena (also Russian by the way) painted my butt crack with betadine. Then I had to back up and carefully descend on to the table. Again naked being held by Elena and the anesthesiologist holding my hands, and painstakingly slowly telling me what to do and assessing if they liked my position, I mean no need to rush ladies not like I am naked or anything.There was some sort of sweet spot I was not capable of discerning I was just like can a girl get a blanket?! I am lying down, pretty much spread eagle, and then mystery lady who I believe was the anesthesiologist's assistant covers me with a sheet and then starts making burritos out of my legs. Not sure what it was about but I was very grateful. That's my last memory and then I woke up in recovery.

Recovery was not too shabby. I was just sleepy and in and out of it. The first time I got up however was not pleasant. Then I became aware of how sore I was. My legs were definitely not happy. I am so swollen and bruised it's sort of hilarious. I am getting a glance of what I would look like if I was half eggplant. I went through the first stage of recovery then to phase 2. Phase 2 they gave me the best cup of coffee I have ever had in my life, some water, apple sauce, graham crackers, and a pain pill. Then my mom showed up, I said to her first they gave me coffee, my legs are ridonk and I'm happy to see you. She's like hello to you to. I was really happy to see her. She helped me put my hair back and kept me company. As she's putting my hair back she's like please do not put the blond in again, I think it disrupts your look of dark hair, light eyes, and I said really? You want to have this discussion now? I just had surgery could you save the opinons and just put my hair up so I look a little less like a cavewoman. I had to take a stroll, and go to the bathroom to continue meeting the criteria to be released so she went to get me a starbucks while I did that.

So when I woke up my arms were bandaged and my garment was on my lower half. When I took my walk I did okay and actually moving around made my legs feel a lot better. Should you have lipo heed their warnings, move a little. It definitely helps. Now, the garment I have has an escape hatch for peeing, however when your thighs are swollen to 3000 their normal size this does not help you much. Lucky for me again, I had a nice nurse. I said we're about to really get to know one another. I never thought a woman would help me pee, but she did. You do not really realize how much you need your arms until you can not use them, and your thighs are sort of out of the equation. She's like for the next few days/weeks it's all about your core and glutes. She wasn't lying, it's surgery and a work out. Egon is not mad at this information.

I had help getting dressed, checked out, and wheeled outside and into a cab. I went to the tiny little grocery store next to my mom's place with her. I can not even imagine what I looked like. It's made me giggle all day, but the lime chicken yucatan soup I picked out was worth it. They told me to move around a little every 1-2 hours. The trick is to move around enough to ease the leg swelling but not so much it increases the arm swelling. It's a tough balance.

Mobility wise, I am walking like I am 80, and I can not put my arms fully down, but nothing horrible. The hardest part so far is putting on a bra and peeing. It's really tough for me to my bra clasp, and peeing wise well I have on the garment, my legs hurt, and well it's just a struggle.

The arm pain is weird. Yesterday it was not so bad, but sort of burning  and I was very aware of it in my arm pit. Today it's itchy, sore, and barks pretty quickly when I try to do something they are not pleased with.That being said I dressed myself today, managed to wash my face and put my hair back and took my dog for a walk. She is a little confused why I can not pick her up, but is loving being with my mom's dogs. My mom is also being an amazing nurse. She set me up with a sofa nest, and then helped me build a recliner like structure in my bed last night so I was elevated and comfy. I am a side sleeper so this on my back sleeping is a bummer. She made me roasted veggie soup and has been really great. I was nervous being at her mercy but she's been lovely. She keeps bringing me coconut water on ice. I feel like a horrible kid being suspicious of how it would go but I have my reasons. She's sort of traditionally set me up a wee bit. Oh do this I have your back, but then not so much. I was really happy to see her at recovery and really happy she was there for it, and not just to check me out. She really was going out of her way to be there for me. When she came back from her starbucks expedition she had an iced coffee for me and was so upset she could not find a starbucks but just had a deli coffee. Truthfully I was not so hung up on the coffee but thought it was really sweet how much she thought it would comfort me. I had to shoo her away to her art class last night. She's like are you sure, are you okay? I was like I'm going to eat some soup, take a pill and go to bed so GO! She's been really awesome and not just supporting the surgery but supporting me and it has meant a lot to me. I've even gotten a little teary over it.

My friends have also been amazing. So many people reached out before, yesterday, and have continued to do so today. It has touched me so much. Katie is coming over for a visit tonight and I am excited to see her.
For now I am keeping the hospital bracelets on because I do look like crap so I figure people might think I am an escaped mental patient and cut me some slack. Katie wants to take one and tonight have us go act stark raving mad in the park. I just might be feeling up to it. Nothing heals you like some amusing performance art.

All in all I feel pretty good. I am taking it slow. Resting, drinking water, and so happy I did this. I get to shower tomorrow which I can not wait for, and see my doc on Monday, in the meantime I am just thrilled. I feel really great to have the surgery behind me and feel pretty good about the healing moving forward. Now back to watching the stunning display my thigh bruising is putting on and trying not to pee on myself.

I think the arm bands make me look a little gangsta.


  1. YAY! Glad to hear your doing well and on your way to recovery Anna :)

  2. You're like a ninja! A mobility restricted ninja but awesome and kick-ass nonetheless.

    Safe and speedy recovery. Summer is just around the corner and tank tops are calling your name:)