I spent much of the day in a mental fog.with physical pain in the center of my chest. Couldn’t bring myself to eat a lot, either, but I did try It simply hurts too much to swallow, even with tiny tiny bites mixed with lots of water.
Yes, I realize it could be another 4-6 weeks and I’m just barely at my first full day home.
The original surgery was scheduled for Tuesday morning. I was out, and awake in ICU when they discovered I was still bleeding and they wheeled me back into the O.R. for a second surgery, and installing a second drainage tube. And the nasal feeding tube was in place several days longer than it should have been, so when it was finally extracted, there was some scratching and tearing of the lining of the throat. This led to what they suspect was some sort of thrush, and this in turn led to my taste buds being all sorts of wrong so that everything tasted bad. And, of course, I wasn’t able to bring myself to consume things that tasted like shit, so I wasn’t really eating much. When I got home I made a cup of coffee that I knew would taste just like coffee should taste. I was mistaken.
There were so many layers of problems that I was not warned about. But now I am home and I can hibernate into my own safe space. Having desecrated my chest with a razor, the delivered a scar from just below the sternum all the way down 3or 4 inches below the waistline. They warned me to tuck a slip of gauze under the waistline elastic to avoid chaffing the scar.
There will be a Home Health person coming 3 times a week to assist with meds and to make sure I’m doing various appropriate exercises. But for the most part the position shown above is pretty much how I will be for the next month or two, doing very little of anything. All of the doctors and nurses drilled it into me that I cannot lift more than 5 pounds or apply any sort of pressure. While the scar may appear to heal, the layers underneath can continue to split and then create a massive hernia. This would not be a good thing at all.
More than one person suggested I should let the scar heal and then get one of those zipper tattoos. Nope. No way. I don’t do tattoos.
It is now later into the evening, and I’ve taken a pain pill along with my regular evening meds. Not sure if I’ll make it into bed, or just veg-out here on the couch. My wake-sleep cycle for the last 9 days has been so fucked up it is silly to even call it a ‘cycle’.
I have a lot of things to write about about, but not for tonight.
Time is getting ever-closer for surgery, and I am getting increasingly antsy and anxious.
Thanks to my daughter’s clever brain, I went online and paid all my regular monthly bills that will come due while I’m in hospital or rehab. Two of them I normally pay online, but the other two I get a print out, write a check and mail them because the water board and the gas company both charge a few bucks for online payment. And the notices for them won’t come out for a few days, so I was fretting about missing them and then having a late payment getting mailed out.
So, anyway, I got the monthly bills paid early. And I washed my bedsheets. My instructions are to shower Monday night, then use a special cleanser solution on my chest and abdomen area (without mixing with soap), sleep on clean bedding, then get up and do the shower and cleansing routine again just before going to the hospital. And I’m not supposed to sleep with pets. 🙁
So, I’ve done all that I could do, so far as I know. I did get a new supply of the blood pressure medication so my b.p. will be adequately lowered until the surgery. I have my Rx medications list printed out for the hospital to use, as well as my supply of meds all packed neatly and ready to carry with me in case I will need them.
I have clean pajama pants and safety socks (with anti-slip dots on them), plus a few extra underpants to wear in the hospital. I also have a button-up nightshirt in case I get to cover up more fully than with the stupid hospital gowns, but we’ll see how that goes.
I have a map printed out for Donna to find the hospital and get me there on time.
I don’t know what else to do in order to prepare at this point. Tomorrow I have a liquid-only diet, plus Dulcolax in the morning and an enema before bed, and nothing by mouth on Tuesday morning. But they did say I could have a small amount of water to take my medications, but no insulin since I won’t be eating on Tuesday. Once I’m there, the hospital is supposed to monitor my blood glucose and food, except I won’t be actually eating for a couple of days — I’ll have a gastro tube up my nose and into my stomach for a couple days. Ohhhh goodie!!! (not!)
I finished David’s hat, so I started fidgeting a shawl. I don’t know if I’ll have Donna bring it to me later or not. The surgeon said I won’t feel like doing ANYthing for a few days, anyway, so I won’t take it with me. I will try to take my phone with me, although that is discouraged since phone activity can interfere with hospital electronics and stuff. I don’t know. Once I get out of SICU and into a regular hospital room, it will be nice to be able to post on Facebook once in a while. Anyway, I don’t even know if I’ll ever finish this. It is a fidget project to occupy my hands and mind while I wait to go to the hospital, just random stitch patterns, no goal in mind or anything, randomly changing as the mood hits. . I also plan to take a pad of paper and some pens in case I want to write or draw or something. I’d rather have it available and not use it than to want it and not have it.
So that’s how it is on this Day Before The Day Before surgery. Or Surgery Eve Eve. Whatever.
Awwrighty then, so we learned early yesterday that my surgery was moved forward a day.
And I learned in mid-December that I had an aneurysm on my aorta. Last Friday (a week ago), I learned it is not “an” aneurysm, but multiple trouble spots.
And I’ve talked with or seen multiple people in multiple offices and discussed various aspects of this surgical visit multiple times.
So, last night around 7:30, p.m. …. Friday, the last business day before a 3-day weekend, and my surgery is Tuesday morning of the first business day after the long weekend … so Friday evening the hospital calls to finalize my registration. And to announce…….
“And your co-pay will be $500.00, you can pay that when you come in on Tuesday.”
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?
You wait until the last possible minute to spring this on me? How many seniors just happen to have that much money lying around and ready to pay a medical bill on short notice?
If they had told me, at the start of this process, that i would have a large co-pay, I would have asked, “What will happen if I choose not to treat this?”
As it happens, through a surprise benefactor last week who made contact through an intermediary to preserve their anonymity, I will be able to cover this co-pay, so y’all don’t need to open a GoFundMe. At least not just yet. I have no other what other surprises may be coming.
But it just galls me how the American medical system works. And how many people would be forced to skip necessary treatment because they don’t personally have the funds to pay for it?
This morning my daughter came by to drive me to the bank, and on the way back we stopped at Walmart (YUCK) to get a cheap pair of slippers to wear at the hospital and rehab. Most of their offerings were cheap tacky plastic shit with slick bottoms, not slip-resistant. Then we went around a corner and she found something else. I was sitting on a little bench and she was digging through a display of slippers. And I suddenly flashed back to a time when the kids were sitting still while I tried to find something to fit them. Today the tables were turned and I felt very small and vulnerable as my daughter became the grown-up helping me find slippers. It was only a split-second of time, but it dawned on me how things have changed. Strange. I’m not ready to be old and vulnerable, needing regular care. I will be so glad when this shit is over and I can get back to more normal activity and some semblance of vitality.
The last few days have been sort of intense for me, and I’ve not been diligent in posting. Partly because it’s sort of boring posting the same thing every day — my daily finger-stick numbers are going to fluctuate and I don’t need to freak out or get super-excited when the numbers are noticeably good or bad. And partly because my blood pressure is fluctuating, mostly because of changes in the blood pressure meds to keep it really low to protect the aorta until after surgery. And partly because I’ve been using a nicotine patch instead of smoking — I deliberately ran out of cigarettes on Tuesday and switched to patches. I know what it’s like having to sneeze or cough after abdominal surgery, and this upcoming surgery is waaayyyy more involved than the hernia surgeries I had back in 1997. I figure putting the cigarettes aside early would help me deal with the surgery better. I’m not yet committed to actually quitting smoking forever and ever, just not smoking for now and we’ll see how it goes.
There was a nice thing yesterday — I had decided that Saturday would be the last planned shipping day for getting yarns out until I am able to get back to dyeing again. There weren’t very many remaining, anyway, but getting them moved out would mean a few extra dollars in my pocket and I would be able to start fresh when I do get to start working again. And so all the yarns that could be sold have been sold. So, yayyy.
I tried to go to bed at 10:00 this evening, but it’s now after midnight and I’m still awake. I lay in bed an hour and a half, but finally had to admit defeat and got out of bed.
The upcoming surgery is looming over my head — it will be on Wednesday. But there is prep work I have to do on Tuesday. And there are things I’ll need to do on Monday. It just feels like every day until then will require some other new thing from me. And I get cranky and anxious. Probably understandable, of course, so I am trying to take it all in stride. But holy shit this isn’t easy, when there are still everyday things to do as well — laundry, dishes, feeding myself, and all the rest. And trying to get the house in some sort of order so that when I come home it won’t all be a chaotic mess. This would all be more tolerable (I won’t say ‘easier’), if I didn’t live alone. On the other hand, I would probably be a horrible person to live with if there was someone else here.
Oh well. I guess I’ll try to go back to bed soon. I just ate a spoon of peanut butter, so maybe that will help.
Since my number was so low this afternoon, and I’d been feeling soooooo bad, I did another finger-stick. What the fuck?? 218??? I’m so confused! Well, I’ll have my before-dinner insulin and eat a little something.
Ate the remainder of a fried chicken breast and a drumstick at noon. Just did the mid-afternoon (2 hours post-lunch) finger-stick — 103! That’s a great number.
I’m sort of craving a delicious Pompeii Salad from Iguana Joe’s, but I’ve noticed my numbers after one of those aren’t the best they could be.
an hour after the afternoon reading, I’d been lying down. I got up to fix a tuna-and-cheese sandwich and I felt sooo weak and trembly. I got the sandwich eaten and kept it down, but holy shit I feel so bad this evening. I’ll need to take the pre-dinner insulin and then eat something. Probably a frozen dinner or pot pie. But damn I feel like shit. 🙁