Thursday, September 10, 2015

Night at the hospital

Posting from home!

Apologies about no blog update yesterday. Didn't think anyone wanted to know anything after the fact of the completed surgery but caught flack from Janie (fortunately not a shoe flung to the head this time from her!) Trying to do a blog post from the iPad is - well - interesting to say the least.

So here goes. Updating you through the two nights and today spent at hospital. The end of this post will carry a warning so anyone squeamish can avoid scrolling past the "safe" stuff.

Yesterday (Sept. 9) was interesting after very little sleep during the night following surgery. My alarms and monitors kept going off since stuff attached to all four limbs and blood draining tube coming out back of the head out of the incision.

I tried sleeping, then playing games on the iPad, doze a bit, chat a bit - technology helped to pass the night, for sure!

Around 1:00 am during Tuesday night, which is 7 am Wednesday morning in South Africa, I phoned my dad to wish my brother success with his own surgery.  Complicated bladder procedure.  He was just getting changed so couldn't talk to him but good to set my dad's mind at ease about me so he could concentrate on the next child in surgery!

The ICU room was fabulous.  My night nurse, Catherine, a jewel. Within minutes of coming on duty, she had sorted out my blood collecting container from the wound by pinning it to the front of my surgical gown - it kept slipping off my shoulder and tugging the draining tube inside the wound.  Sort of like a mini-suction tube like you have at the dentist. Pinned to the gown, it magically didn't move and pull!

She didn't want to smile for a picture, though. But gave me a hug when she went off duty the next morning. Truly a sweetheart.

Catherine helped me brush my teeth in bed, since I couldn't get up yet.  Towels and dishes, water and wash cloths were brought.  Such a little thing, but makes such a difference I how you feel.  In the previous blog post you could see my liquid meal. Catherine went hunting for apple sauce to add to the bounty.  She came back with six little packets she had "stolen" from somewhere.  Just a little more substantial than lemon jello and cranberry juice! I snacked on those during the night.

7:41 am, Sept 9, 2015 (less than 24 hours after start of surgery): 
Surgeon came by to visit, took one look and stood smiling like a proud papa at the foot of the bed.  Guess that's a good sign! He also removed the head draining tube which was a huge relief.

Biska wanted to know if the wound was covered or not, so I took a picture.  Then Fi reckoned it was covered to protect my brain from zombies! My nurse, Jerry (who used to be a lumberjack in a previous life), told me to go look at YouTube to find how to avoid a Zombie Apocalypse. Such good and supportive friends, dragging new people into the void, right? Lol 

8:50 am, Sept 9, 2015 (24 hours after start of surgery): 
I have COFFEE! and it tastes good, not like the muck served up at Brampton Civic Hospital.  If Trillium can serve "real" coffee to patients, why can't Brampton? Same county and all that. 
Catheter removed and monitors off. Finger thingy to measure blood oxygen off. Yay! That thing bugged me squeezing my finger all night long.
Catheter was removed and Nurse Jerry said I should want to go to the washroom to drain my bladder in about four hours. Nope! My body, as usual, had its own ideas. Less than half an hour later he helped me stand and I went potty all by meself. Twice in one hour. Still swollen enough not to be able to get rings back on. 
Bat comments: I'm astounded! God is awesome!
She reckoned I deserved a sucker. Friend Bev came by with a Fortinos Cranberry-oatmeal cookie as prize. And another Timmies coffee. Hubby had already brought one earlier that morning when he stopped by. 

Green prayer shawl made by friend Sue H. kept me company in bed.

The DVT pump cuffs from ankle to thigh on each leg
around 7 pm, Sept 9, 2015 (31 hours after end of surgery): 
Walked with Arno through the hospital to the Timmies at the Main Entrance to visit with Jaco and Chelsea since my new room had barely enough space for two beds, never mind visitors. By then the wound dressing had come off and I had 25 staples and a very funky new hairdo on display. (Picture will be at the end of this post, so if you don't want to see, don't scroll pass a clear warning I'll insert!) 

Biska: Was your bum hanging out your green gown at least?

Answer: No! As soon as I was upright during the morning after surgery, I went to wash myself from forehead to tail and dressed in my own pink pjs. Nurse came by to help me wash --- and stood in the door with hands on hips, smiling and frowning at my attire. But she couldn't have been too mad. Called me "sunshine" and came by to visit in the new room. 

Between 1 am and 3:30 am, morning of Sept. 10:
My new roommate was noisy and complaining from the start when I got to the new room at 7 pm. Every time my nurse came in to do the paperwork to get me checked into the new ward, roomie would set up a wailing and demand for attention. Nurse would look at me apologetically and go over to her side. That's when hubby and I left the room to leave them to it, visiting with the kids elsewhere. Roomie was waiting for surgery but we couldn't understand why she was kept in a room instead of down in pre-op. 

Finally by 11 pm I had my last meds, put in my foam earplugs and donned eye mask to try and sleep. It worked - for about two hours when nurse shook me awake to give another pill. After that, sleeping was a joke, what with roomie kicking up a fuss as soon as her family walked in the room, setting off her IV alarm with her antics and then not pressing the bell to get the nurse to quiet the thing again. Piercing through the ear plugs. They kept telling her it was a sensitive thing and not to carry on so, but she would have none of that. 

I kicked up Netflix and put in the earbuds to watch Lilo and Stitch and not try to antagonize Morpheus! Then roomie  pooped the bed. Poor nurse had to clean up while I could pull my head under the sheet. By 3 am they bumped and moved my bed to get hers out to go to operating theatre. 

Sleep came after that, until once again I woke to bed being pulled and moved around to get her back in the room after surgery. She was on a morphine pump and I could hear the thing going constantly, again with the IV alarm going off every few minutes. 

By 5 am I slept again, only to be shaken awake again at 6 am for a pill and taking of vitals. A really good nap to about 6:45 am was enough to make me feel a little more human again. 

** Rant over ***

7 am, Sept. 10 (47 hours after start of surgery):
Took my trusty and beloved small Norwex cloth into the teeny tiny bathroom and started wiping some of the hard, dried blood out of the front part of my hair. Amazed at how much came out and how much better I felt after that! 

Breakfast arrived shortly after, and now knowing that the coffee was good, asked if there was maybe an extra cup around meant for a patient who was discharged. Roomie, probably trying to make up for the night, offered hers since she wasn't going to drink it. So I returned the favour by sharing lotion with her for her feet and a bendy straw I had brought from home. 

About 9 am, Sept 10:
Surgeon stopped in, smiled broadly and said he's "telling other doctors about me" - not sure what, since I was really trying to behave and not be difficult! He said he is leaving it up to Arno and I to decide what to do, going home today or staying until Friday morning. And I finally got him to smile for a picture with me after begging since before surgery! Thanked him for relieving the pressure in my head that felt like a tight helmet for the last few years. My head certainly felt lighter, after son Theo asked me to pay attention to that. 

Around 11 am, Sept 10:
Friend Rouxline came by after merrily driving down to the Lakeshore instead of turning on Queensway. LOL She had a goody bag in hand, but took one smell in my room and we departed to Timmies again to visit and have a steeped tea. Friends Carolyn and Bill called to say they are dropping by and joined us, her with a container of her 99-year old dad's homemade date squares which I love, and a container of more goodies. I thought I was going to go on my blubber during this surgery ... no such luck! 

After Carolyn and Bill walked me back to my room, knowing Arno was on the way, I enjoyed lunch - which was again too much to finish. I had the cauliflower soup, fruit and salad and left the pasta for Arno.

Told the nurses I'd vacant the bed and go sleep at home for the night. They started the discharge process, I waited for another friend to drop by --- thanks, Alexa! Took only about three years and a brain operation to see you again .... and then we were on the way home.

Peace and quiet, a nap on my own bed, cats saying hello, rooibos tea and Theo's homemade buttermilk rusks -- life is good!

From brain surgery to home in about 55 hours - not bad, I'd say. And not at all what was expected. Thought I'd be out of commission for days. Prayer at work.

MRI to be taken in about 6 weeks and back to the surgeon for checkup after that.

THANK YOU for all the messages, care, thoughts, prayers, emails, calls and interest from all over! I'm truly humbled and buoyed up by many people.

Now we concentrate on preparing Arno for his surgery on Sept. 16.

Oh and brother Andre came through his surgery, originally in a lot of pain, but now under control. He was still on bed rest and liquid diet when I talked to him earlier today. But sounded in good spirits and on the way back to health now that it was all over.

Thanks for all the thoughts surrounding him too!

Picture of wound with staples showing will follow below.  
Stop scrolling now if you don't want to see. I'll post small and those who want to see details, can click to enlarge. 

Still scrolling? Okay, here's a "safe" picture of the pink pjs and green prayer shawl. But below that is the staples. 

Front view

Back view with 25 staples and funky hairdo
The black marks and yellow-green bruises are where the prongs were stuck into the skin to hold the head absolutely still during the drilling and sawing process, as well as the surgery itself. 

Staples come out next week, about ten days after surgery. I got a special staple remover! My usual doctor will remove them. 

Good night, sweet friends!


janie1 Gus said...

Thanks for the update and of course I would NEVER throw a shoe at an invalid!!! No promises for later, though.

The Dr. gave you a horseshoe on your head for luck! :-)

I'm so happy you're on the mend and prayers go out for both you and Arno for next week. I'll be in touch when I get home.

Lots of love to you both.

Bat said...

You are the most inspirational person I know. Thanks for sharing. Love you lots. XXX


Nyree Ruiz S. said...

Now, if you ever has contemplated moving to a monastery you have the haircut to do so! ;)

Yay! Commenting from the computer works - guess the phone doesn't like the popup comment system Blogger uses...

So thrilled to read about how quickly you're recovering; setting the bar for future patients! ;)


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