a real mother

Bionic Woman

After all the hoopla, travel and what seemed like waiting longer than a full-term pregnancy, surgery is over. I am officially a Bionic Woman. I was scheduled first up at 7:30 on Valentine’s Day, what a way to get that little sparkly something. We’d scheduled a cab for 5:20, since the forecast was for snow (again) and apparently cab drivers in Wisconsin still find it to be a surprise in winter. Of course, they were not on time which raised the anxiety level tremendously. After several phone calls and increasing blood pressure, the cab finally arrived at 5:45. Luckily it was a fairly short trip so we made it on time at 6:00 as scheduled.

There was no waiting around as I’d experienced with my dad’s prior surgeries. Went through the check in process and they sent me up to the surgical floor where there wasn’t even the chance to sit down. They whisked me back to a private room where I answered more health questions, marked the surgical site with the doctors initials and gave a little blood just for good measure. At 7:20 they were wheeling me out of the room to the pre-surgery area. We dropped Gus off at the surgical waiting room and it just broke my heart because he looked so lost. But he was trying to stay calm on my behalf, which of course was greatly appreciated. But after 20 years together, I know that look of nervousness.

In pre-op, the anesthesiologist hooked me up to the IV, they asked my name and birthdate about 50 times. At 7:30, they were wheeling me into the OR, which didn’t look like the OR that I remembered from past surgical experiences. The room was a bustle of activity, Dr. Rogerson said hello and I tried to make a joke about the beach scene picture on the wall considering the snow outside was measured in feet. Renee, the PA, helped me scoot over onto the OR table from the gurney and that is absolutely the last thing I remember. No mask, no count backwards from ten – I was out.

When I woke up in post-op, strangely enough it was like waking up from a refreshing nap. Now when I had my emergency c-section 12 years ago, I remember being groggy for days. But not this time. In fact, I asked the nurse if they’d cancelled my surgery for some reason – had something gone wrong- because I was fairly certain I’d only been in there a few minutes. She just laughed and said surgery went great and it took 2 1/2 hours. But I just couldn’t figure out why I felt no pain.

When they took me up to the room, Gus was shocked at how alert and awake I was considering my post c-section out-of-it experience. They hooked me up to a PCA for pain management. I did use it, only because I was scared of pain (and after my 2nd c-section experience where the post-epidural line kinked and I had no pain relief whatsoever for several hours) I didn’t want to go there. But I if I had to do it again, I would definitely skip the morphine and ask for oral pain meds instead. While the morphine doesn’t have awful side effects for me (all it does it make me sleepy), I think I would have felt much more alert and been fine without it.

Since it was not a private room (with one shared TV in the middle no less), I was glad we brought a poratable DVD player. My roommate had knee surgery and felt compelled to share the details, and her displeasure with the whole experience, with anyone who would listen or had the misfortune of being within earshot. She exuded negativity that was not exactly conducive to recovery. So I was glad I had earphones, movies and my MP3 player.

They had told me that PT would start the day after surgery but that they might get me up to use the bathroom. So that evening, two assistants sat me on the edge of the bed and got ready to spin me over to the bedside potty. I was feeling fairly dizzy but they said that was normal and to just dangle my legs for a bit. When they got me up and over, I was holding onto one woman’s arm telling her not to leave me, that I was really dizzy now (the kind where things are fading to black and you are pretty sure passing out is in your near future). I don’t remember it, but my husband told me that I threw up and promptly passed out. He said they called for help and about 8 people were in there in pretty short order. All I remember is being back in the bed.

I’m so relieved this is over!