Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Surgery Experience at St. Joe's

We left the house this morning in plenty of time and watched the sun rise as we drove to the hospital.  Not being a morning person, this is a treat for me.  Loved the pink swirly clouds and the light road traffic.

My outpatient surgery was for contouring the transplanted flap/breast with liposuctioned fat cells, (taken using a needle and taking the cells from my hipbone area on each side), and creating a nipple.  The new nipple will be tattooed later in his office.

The surgery registration at St. Joe's is a breeze.  I have to congratulate them for the expediency and coordination of the staff.  The nursing staff do a great job of getting the patients prepped for surgery, then the anesthesiologist comes in and after that the surgeon.  Then the patient gets wheeled in to the operating room and things happen very quickly.  Before you know it, you're waking up in the recovery room.

I woke up with a slight panicky feeling because I felt like I couldn't breathe.  It had something to do with the tube still being in my throat and was trying to get to it.  Never had that happen before.  After that it was ok.  In the recovery room I began waking up, but I was so dead tired I had a rough time coming awake.  I knew I was supposed to wake up, but my eyes were so heavy it took me a long time to come to.  I started shaking my head to clear it and did everything I could to try to wake up.  I had a great nurse who I had a conversation with.  Her name is Betsy, and she told me about a near miss she had involving her car, accidentally putting it in reverse, and her 18-year old daughter nearly being behind the car when it surged backward and crashed against a tree.  Then another near-miss involving her mother, but in my brain fog, that story is gone to me.

When it came time to get dressed and ready to go, she brought me a beautiful "chemo graduate" blanket that had been made by the nurses to give out to the breast cancer patients.  She asked if I had ever received one, and when I said no, I hadn't, she brought one out.  It's so pretty!!  I thought that was such a sweet thing to do.  She also gave me lots of advice and encouragement.  I had been telling her about my arthritis and how it's impacting my life and she told me that she also has arthritis problems, and how important it is to keep "filling your tank," meaning keeping your life active and filled with friends and activities.

Jim brought me home, and I crashed for several hours.  It's all becoming a dreamlike fog to me now as I try to put it into words.  The surgical bandages will stay on for a week until my office appointment with him, when I'll see how the surgery turned out.  I'll let you know then ...

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