Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Of Snakes and Surgery

A number of people have inquired how the surgery went, and I must say in the end it went smashingly. I feel like a brand spankin' new person - one who can smell, taste, and go for a walk without getting winded. Who knew what a difference one nostril would make? Sadly though, now that I have my tastebuds back in full working order I can no longer eat my food "thai hot" and I sometimes seemed to have super smelling abilities forcing me to cry out "My god, what IS that stench?" to which everyone else looks at me blankly.

Though the end results were good, the surgery itself was not the least fun. It started out well enough with them slipping an IV in my arm and me being out two seconds later. I had forgotten that it's the waking up that sucks. The first thing I remember post surgery is that I was being wheeled into a room (known as the recovery room) and that the left side of my head felt lighter, hollow almost. And also that my right foot was ice cold because, somehow, I had lost one of the little surgical socks during the surgery. It is a special gift I have that I can lose things even while unconscious.

The next two sensations to wash over me simultaneously were 1) pain and 2) nausea. The recovery room should really be called "the room where people writhe in pain and then vomit." The pain was not in my nose or head as expected, but in my throat. It felt like someone had run a rotor rooter down my lovely esophagus.

A fuzzy nurse then drifted into view - fuzzy because I was not allowed to wear my glasses or contacts. "On a scale of one to ten what's the pain like?" she asked me. I considered this question rather philosophically in my blearly, groggy state: I did not have a limb amputated, I thought, and they didn't crack my chest or anything. Therefore I would be a total wuss if I said ten, though I'm going to put it at the top of my personal top five painful experiences.

"Seven" I finally croaked. Fuzzy nurse then pumped morphine into my IV. "We're going to give you something for the nausea" she said, and put something else into my IV. Anti-nausea medication never works for me - all it does is make me more groggy.

(OK, warning it gets a bit gross from this point forward)

When nurse came back I informed her that I had to vomit. "That's good" she said. "You've got a lot of blood in your stomach and it's better if you get it out." Her statement grossed me out and I promptly vomited into a small kidney shaped dish she provided.

And then I filled up the kidney shaped dish.

Another nurse, who was in fact the largest scariest looking african-american man I have ever seen in person (albeit without my visual aids) appeared with reinforcements of another kidney shaped dish. Though he looked like a scary bouncer, he held me gently and then even more delicately cleaned me up with a damp towel after I had proceeded to get blood everywhere. As my sister put it, he was like the guy from The Green Mile. He is my favorite nurse ever.

The female nurse asked me again what my pain level was, and since it hadn't decreased in the least I said "Seven" again and then she gave me more morphine and more anti-nausea drugs. She then brought me some crackers and water to eat so I could take some vicodin. I should have warned her that this was a bad plan, but I dutifully ate the crackers, took the vicodin, and then promptly threw it all up about 15 minutes later.

A bit later I was moved to a chair where more anti-nausea medication was pumped into my IV. My mother appeared and a different nurse began giving us the post surgery instructions. The anti-nausea meds made me so groggy I can remember swaying back and forth in my chair unable to process any instruction. A few moment later I remember shouting at the nurse "Have to vomit" and she helped me to the restroom because I couldn't really stand up. I was so groggy I thought I might pass out.

I think after I returned that the nurse taped a gauze mustache to my face to catch all the "drainage." I was then discharged from the surgical center and wheeled to my parent's van and we began the 45 minute trek home. I passed out in the van only to awaken at the Walgreen's drive-through. My mom was saying we should wait for the scrips to get filled and I shouted "No, home now!" because I could feel the nausea rising.

My Mom drove away reluctantly and when we finally got to the house, she lingered at the driveway sorting the mail and fiddling with our gate and what not. "Hurry" I shouted because I wanted to vomit in our own gleaming porcelain goddess. My mother did not understand the urgency so I was finally forced to get out of the car and leave the rest of the crackers on our driveway.

The next several days were spent in a semi-conscious state punctuated by the taking of medication and the changing of the gauze mustache. That pretty much covers the excitement of surgery. However, you may wonder, what of the snake?

Well, 4 days after the surgery it was mother's day and we ventured from the house for brunch nearby in celebration. I generally had the energy for one small activity a day before returning to bed. When we got back to the house, I went up to my room and noticed what looked like a ribbon on the floor of my bathroom.

On closer inspection, it was a very small snake. My mother is afraid of snakes the way I am afraid of cockroaches. We are very much like Indiana Jones and his father in this way. Knowing my mom would completely freak out and ruin her mother's day I called my dad (who was puttering around outside) on his cell phone and informed him of the snake.

"What do you recommend we do?" he asked.
"How about bring a stick and a paper bag up here and I'll wait here and watch it so it doesn't get away."
"Good plan. I'll bring my putter."

When dad arrived he promptly squished the snake and did not heard it into the bag as I had planned. The snake didn't move and we concluded that it was already dead. How and why, was a complete mystery. Dad kept muttering "I don't like the looks of this at all" meaning he thought it was poisonous. We definitely didn't dare tell my mother at that point.

And that was my exciting four days.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home