Day 4: A Lovely Afternoon Transformed into an Evening of Hell

Day 4 Photos

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How many pillows does it take to lodge yourself onto your side? There 10 pillows here...and no, mom, I'm not really the Princess and PeaMachines, machines, drugs. Yippee, skippee!Sleep...my main activity.Sweet Nurse Sara demonstrating to the world how to take care of a drain.Phew...I'm on my feet. Steady, steady, now.Lilly described my hair as doing this sort of Victorian thing.Here's my goal...making it all the way to the nurses station.Thursday night dinner...I ate a lot of the green beans.
How many pillows does it take to lodge yourself onto your side? There 10 pillows here...and no, mom, I'm not really the Princess and Pea
How many pillows does it take to lodge yourself onto your side? There 10 pillows here...and no, mom, I'm not really the Princess and Pea
Machines, machines, drugs. Yippee, skippee!
Machines, machines, drugs. Yippee, skippee!
Sleep...my main activity.
Sleep...my main activity.
Sweet Nurse Sara demonstrating to the world how to take care of a drain.
Sweet Nurse Sara demonstrating to the world how to take care of a drain.
Phew...I'm on my feet. Steady, steady, now.
Phew...I'm on my feet. Steady, steady, now.
Lilly described my hair as doing this sort of Victorian thing.
Lilly described my hair as doing this sort of Victorian thing.
Here's my goal...making it all the way to the nurses station.
Here's my goal...making it all the way to the nurses station.
Thursday night dinner...I ate a lot of the green beans.
Thursday night dinner...I ate a lot of the green beans.

And day 4 started so well...

Yes, I was getting up and walking past my door and down the hall to get some circulation back into my buttocks; my butt cheeks were killing by the morning after having fearfully remained in one position all night. I had a sponge bath. I even brushed my teeth.

In fact, I brushed my teeth just in time for my best friend (best friends since high school) to walk into my room bearing gifts. She brought a bouquet of gorgeous peonies (to sit next to the fragrant star lilies mom brought in) and a bag of bubbles to blow when I want to feel silly -- bubbles that very cleverly camouflaged a wicked variety of dark chocolates,

After a walk down the hall, Lilly brightened my spirits and we chat on about all sorts of girl and mommy stuff for more than four hours. I actually sat up in the big chair while she lounged on the end of my bed. It was just like we were hanging out in one of our bedrooms at our parents' homes when we were kids. Happy times.

And how good of a friend is she? You don't find many friends who would readily offer to massage your butt cheeks because they are so sore. Without hesitation, she grabbed some lotion off the counter and happily offered her kindness. I don't even think my mom would do that after I haven't had a proper bath for four (now, five) days.

Toward the end of her stay, the pain-management guy came in and said it was time to pull the epidural out of my back. At first, the worst part was all the taped being pulled off my back and up over my right shoulder. I'll surely look like a lopsided Cha, Cha, Cha Chia Pet when that hair grows in.

He assured me, with the medicine I'd been taking and small amount of meds I'd been receiving from the epidural at the point, I shouldn't feel much. Well, I didn't right then.

It was time for Lilly to leave and me to get some rest from the big afternoon.

Once a lifeline...

This is the epidural that had been feeding pain meds into my spine.
This is the epidural that had been feeding pain meds into my spine.

In Joey's World, the Deer Always Gets Wacked

Within 30 minute's of Lilly's leaving after our wonderful visit, the shit hit the fan.

I started feeling a burning sensation in my abdomen. I thought, maybe the catheter just got backed up. But then, the burning spread. Then, terrible cramping along the incision. I kept thinking of what one of the nurses said to me the other night when I asked what it would feel like once the epidural was removed. She took my hand in hers and calmly and compassionately responded, "You're going to feel your body, honey. But we'll have drugs to help you through it."

Where are the fucking drugs!

It didn't take long before I was feeling all the pain the epidural had been masking since Tuesday. It didn't take long before I was crying (attempting to hold back the convulsive crying because it hurt too much). Staff was running around trying to figure out what had gone wrong; why there wasn't a back-up pain push button for me if the pills didn't take hold.

I called Mark. I called my mom. Mom was on the phone with the doctor trying to find out what went wrong and what they could do immediately to fix it. Some time you've got to hear mom use one of her "immediately" speeches. She's a force to reckoned with. Sort of Mother Theresa meets mommy dearest who wants her way right now, dammit!

"You've got to calm down, Joey. Take deep breaths," my family tried to console me over the hospital phone and my cell phone.

"I know, but it hurts so much. It hurts so much," said through tears.

"Calm down, Joey, or you're going to hurt yourself." Okay, mom, now do you get why I was scared of this day and being alone when it happened?

After a while, the staff had me doped up and asleep. But then the nursing staff changed and suddenly this guy comes in when I ask for some help rolling onto my side to alleviate the buttocks pain. He calls in another guy and they start yanking the sheet beneath me with such aggression (certainly not gently enough for someone who has just gone through my type of surgery), I am crying in agony again. And no, it didn't help for the second guy to slap a pillow to the side of my new left breast; the point that has been hurting extra since the beginning.

More drugs.

Day 5:

I think I had so much dope in me, by the time Mark and the kids arrived for their visit today, getting up (probably too fast so I could show them, mommy is getting better) made me feel nauseated and dizzy. I had to reach out for the wall to steady myself. My big walk got turned around quickly and the drugs for the nausea knocked me out for most of the afternoon.

No matter...aside from getting the upgraded hospital bed that is a computerized air mattress that changes with your shifting body, the kids got to bring me Sophie's favorite giant butterfly balloons, hear me say I was on the mend and get gentle hugs. Their worried expressions upon their arrival nearly transformed to, can we go yet? Once they began arguing over the use of a chair, it was time to go.

It was healing to see my kids and spend time with my best buddy, always talking about any subject because we are that close. The pain management guy on the other hand...I might have to sick my sister on him. I could even deal with the five dig-around tries it took to insert a new I.V. in my veins that seem to be hiding today. But that pain guy...growl!

Walking all the way to the nurses station.

Nurse Sara displays how to clean post-op drains

Cleaning the drains, Part 2...Oops, forgot a part

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I hope you'll make comments here, but also go to http://hubpages.com/hub/Nugget-Fever and vote for my story "Planned Maintenance" which has been nominated as a 2 comments

Laurie 7 years ago

Hey thanks for all the info. I am cancer free 3 years and had a minor set back. My reconstructed implant got infected so we are now opting for the tram flap surgery. I handled my last 3 yr roller coaster ride in stride and hope this surgery will be the same. Thanks for sharing. If you have any tips or do's and don'ts you would like to share please send them my way laurie1969@hotmail.com


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Joelle Burnette 7 years ago Author

Laurie, I'm so glad if any of my stories help. That's wonderful that you are cancer-free. I'm sorry you have to go through more reconstruction. My sister has had implant problems as well. I don't know if you'll see this post, so I'll email you with more info.

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