Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bumpy Ride Part 2

In the operating room, I was lifted to a metal table.  They covered me with blankets.  My port was already access before I had flown to Stanford and the surgeons were talking about using it.  I remember thinking that something must be wrong with me because I wasn't afraid, not even worried.  I was completely calm.  A nurse put some warm blankets on me.  I was given something through my port.

The next thing I knew was someone was trying to wake me from a good dream (I can't remember the dream now, just that it was good).  I didn't want to wake up because I wanted to finish my dream.  I heard a voice say that it was after noon and that the surgery was a success.  I thought, "What surgery?"  I had completely forgotten that I had gone in for a transplant.  It took a while for my drugged brain to put things together and realize that I had just gone through transplant surgery.

I heard my mom ask if I knew who she was.  I nodded what I thought to be a strong nod (my mom says I barely moved my head).  I could hear my sister's voice in the background telling me she was right there.  I couldn't open my eyes to look around.  I did manage strong hand squeezes to questions, but that was the most of my moving capability.

I was still on the vent. The nurse told me I needed to stay calm and not fight it, that the vent was helping me breathe.

My mom and sister left to get some sleep (they had stayed up all night waiting for me to get out of surgery). SB came in to keep me company. He joked and kept me calm the rest of the time I was on the vent. I was so glad when they finally took me off the vent. The nurse had me cough while he pulled out the tube. I tried talking, but my voice couldn't even whisper.

The nurse was awesome. He kept explaining to SB what he was doing and why. I kept trying to pay attention, but was still tired and would doze off.

The ICU was pretty nice. I had a glass room with a sliding door. A nurse was by my side at all times, constantly watching monitors and making adjustments to my IVs. I wish I could remember the names of the nurses there.

They tried to keep me well medicated. Some of the meds had weird side effects. At one point I was trying to show SB where "glowing purple flowers" were. At another time I had to keep my eyes closed, because if I opened them everything seemed to be wobbling.

The surgeons came in to check on things. They let me know that things went really well, and that they couldn't have found a more perfect fit. I just kept saying, "Thank you." They might have gotten sick of me thanking them so much.

Unfortunately, I was in quite a bit of pain. To say I felt like I had been hit by a MAC truck would be an understatement. I felt like I had been hit then backed over and then run over again. Loki getting treated like a rag doll by the Hulk is nothing compared to how I felt.

The transplant doctors didn't seen to want patients to get rest after surgery. I was still in the ICU and they were wanting me to get out of bed and try walking. I did try, but it was definitely a failed attempt. I didn't have strength to stand. The nurse had to hold me up so I wouldn't pass out.

I also wasn't allowed to eat yet. I had to see a swallowing specialist and get cleared. The specialist wasn't ready to risk me choking on anything so I was only allowed to have ice chips and suck on these lemon flavored Q-tip things. When you are so thirsty and hungry, those Q-tips are like chocolate.

Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy came in to see me and give me tips on ways to move and dress so I wouldn't hurt myself. I received a bunch of rules about sternal precautions. Most of which, I knew I wouldn't remember so I did ask them to give me a sheet with the precautions written down.

I spent a few days in the ICU before they transferred me to the transplant ward.