How did I ring in 2012? With an outpatient surgery followed by an additional emergency surgery, an ambulance ride to the hospital, a CT, three blood transfusions, 8 people sent to my room to revive me when I had shortness of breath, another CT scan and an unexpected three-day hospital stay. Here is my story:
The end of the year seemed like the perfect time to finally fix my umbilical hernia, a simple outpatient surgery that would eliminate the imminent risk that my bowels could become strangled…yeah, good idea to get that fixed. As long as I was going under, my OB could also perform some necessary repair surgery I needed along with ablation since my periods were at least two weeks every month. Things would be slow at my job, Breezy Mama was on “vacation” and I already had my first week of January posts ready to be emailed, the holidays were winding down and my appointment was made.
While my three big kids spent the night with my dad and his wife Leslie, the hubby and I headed down to the surgery center at 7am after my mom arrived to take care of the twins. Though a little nervous of the pain I was forewarned about that I would feel after, Maya reminded me that I would be put under, not feel a thing and then just take my pain meds, so I was actually fairly relaxed.
First, we met with a nurse and I was put in a robe that filled with air to keep me warm, which my husband and I had several jokes to make about. The nurse and I discussed the cover of National Geographic was about twins and I lamented that I hadn’t bought it the night before when I stocked up on magazines in anticipation of my recovery. It was all very casual when I was told it was time to go in.
My husband walked me as far as he was allowed to go and we hugged good-bye and I headed in when I just had this slight moment of hesitation that I had given him a wimpy hug and, JUST IN CASE, I better make it a better one. I turned around, walked back and gave him a bigger hug and he gave me a kiss when one of the five or so people in scrubs waiting for me yelled, “Get a room!”
Next I was on the operating bed and met the anesthesiologist and the staff of nurses. Everyone was incredibly sweet and I was fast asleep in a matter of minutes, with visions of my husband and kids.
When I woke up, I was in a recovery area and my husband was by my side and I immediately started joking around. I felt great. Then a nurse I was meeting for the first time raised my bed… instantly I felt a tremendous amount of pain and told her. She upped my pain medication, but it wasn’t working. Noting that my bladder may be full and putting pressure on my lower pelvic area, she suggested I try to use the bathroom… nothing happened in there… but she did have to send in the janitor because of all the blood every where. I really, REALLY wish this would have raised a red flag for her.
Two tries in the bathroom later again followed by this poor janitor, I was really beginning to think something MUST be wrong. She then sat me in a recliner in a TV area next to my husband and across from another couple where a woman had just gotten out of surgery and was moaning. It was hell.
My pain was now so intense I was doing all I could not to scream and the nurse finally decided to put in a catheter as she was convinced if we just drained my bladder all would be well.
As I was directed to lay back in a gurney in a recovery area separated only by a curtain, something just seemed wrong! At this point, I turned to my side and was holding onto my bed rails for dear life as my pain was so intense – and this is while I was fully medicated. My husband lifted up my blanket and was floored by my blood filled bed and ran out to the nurse insisting something was wrong and that she call my doctor…NOW.
Unfortunately, my beloved doctor actually had the day off and had come in just to do her portion of my surgery earlier that morning and was now with her baby frantically trying to find someone to baby-sit, meanwhile sending her partner over.
Once her partner arrived and saw me and the blood, it was a matter of minutes before I was sent back to the operating room and my buddy the anesthesiologist was there and I asked, “ARE YOU PUTTING ME UNDER?” and when he responded yes, I said “THANK YOU. I JUST CAN’T TAKE THIS PAIN.”
This time, I woke up to nurses scrambling around to get a sandwich together, then stressed about finding chips… they were doing all they could to get my husband food because they were really worried about all he had been through. It was incredibly sweet.
Turns out one of my stitches had come undone and there was a blood clot inside me the size of a football at that point that had to be removed. NOW, everything was okay but I had lost a lot of blood and would need to be taken to the hospital, so the hubby and I were boarded onto an ambulance and on our way.
In order for my husband to be able to stay the night with me, they decided to put us on the labor and delivery floor. Um, we have five kids… we were back to a place we never thought we’d be again and laughing about it.
That evening I had a CT scan to make sure everything was okay and it was, but I would need blood transfusions in the morning. The next day, my hubby headed to one of his all time favorite places: the hospital cafeteria. Now, you may think I’m joking, but it is literally one of his favorite places to eat. When he returned, he had bought me a National Geographic with the twins story. I love him.
Later, my bestie Leslie came to visit and though she and her fam originally were going to come to our house for New Years along with Eli’s bestie and family to ring in ’12 by 9pm –a.k.a. New York New Years – as I rocked my PJs in recovery mode, we were joking that we MAY need to cancel. It was the 30th. Les left when my first blood transfusion started… followed by a second and my vitals were looking up and things were looking good.
As I was making pain medication induced jokes about Millionaire Matchmaker that we were watching on TV around 8pm, I suddenly had no breathe. None. When I gasped, I told my nurse, “I can’t breath” and within minutes at least 8 or so people were in my room, one holding paddles as I faded in and out, breathing through an oxygen mask.
When I saw my husband’s face, I just kept saying to myself: don’t die. I realize that’s a bit melodramatic, but in the moment, I really did think that was it for me… and I was pretty annoyed about it.
“THIS is how I’m going to die?!” I thought… as my poor husband watches… that’s so F’d up to do to him… and I don’t even know if my brother Cameron is okay or not… and at my age?
Before I could even fathom thoughts of my children or anything else, I decided to size up the people in my room to decide if they were going to save me or not. There was the woman checking my vitals… no, she wouldn’t be able to pull it off. There was a guy checking my heart… he just didn’t give me the vibe he’d be able to… the few other women in the room didn’t seem like they would be able to… but the one woman by the door ready to go with the paddles looks like she could do it… And then I saw HIM. The slightly overweight dude at the end of my bed that was practically bouncing off the walls ready to go at a moment’s notice. THAT dude was NOT going to let me die. So I calmed down, focusing on taking in the air from my oxygen mask.
Meanwhile, though I couldn’t quite catch my breath yet, I was trying to keep my husband calm and tell him I was okay… it wasn’t really working with 8 people surrounding me.
Once I was breathing steadily, they replaced my mask with those lovely tubes that go in your nose, the emergency staff went on their way and I was readied for another CT scan… which meant I needed yet another IV in my arm (there were already two in and another two that had been removed). At this point my arms were black and blue, with needle marks throughout them, and my left arm was swollen from an IV that was entering my system incorrectly. With my luck at this point, it was not surprising that the first nurse couldn’t get the IV in my right arm after poke one… nor could the second nurse who tried. It wasn’t until poke number three by an anesthesiologist that there was success and the results of the CT coming back normal made it all worthwhile.
Ultimately, I needed a third blood transfusion and would receive one in the morning. It was now 1am.
Feeling woozy the next day, my third transfusion was ordered and I have to say… Twilight’s Edward is onto something as receiving blood made me feel about 1000 times better. Though I was finally ready to admit I would not be having our friends over for New Years.
As I spent the day resting, my hubby headed home to see the kids. We are SO LUCKY that my parents were such troopers dividing and conquering our five for an unexpected few days. After taking the kids to pizza for dinner, my husband had me on speakerphone in the car and when I heard their voices I lost it emotionally. My heart ached so badly and I needed to see them. As a result, they were now on their way to the hospital.
Words can’t describe how good it was to see my tiny troopers! Just feeling their skin against mine made me feel so much better. When they headed out – after some cafeteria treats of course — I just had to had to had to make it back home. It was 8pm on New Years Eve and the only thing stopping me was I couldn’t be released until I was able to… well… pee.
After my husband got the kids home and in bed and my mom now had allll five at our house, he headed back to the hospital to a New Years date who was drinking more juice and water than you can imagine while determined in the bathroom. Two hours of trying later, I did it! And I rang the nurse and our check out proceedings started. It was 11pm.
Admittedly, I was exhausted, my head was spinning and my pain was kicking in, but I just focused on my bed that I would soon be in and the five extra faces I would get to wake up to.
As we finally arrived home, it was 11:30PM, December 31st and my mom was walking down the stairs… in my PJs! Um, when you’ve done all you can to get back to those cozy PJ’s, the first words out of my mouth were: WHY ARE YOU WEARING MY PJs?! It turns out she has the same PJ Salvage pair I have… we have since laughed hysterically about this moment.
It felt sooooo good to be in my bed and we turned on our TV just in time for the ball to drop… happy 2012.
The next week was pretty grueling… it wasn’t the pain. Hello – I’ve delivered five kids including having a C-Section – I’ve known some pain, but I was incredibly dizzy and nauseous every time I attempted to be out of bed. It turns out it was all a matter of my blood count coming back up and would just take something I’m not all that used to lately: rest. If you ever wonder how much you REALLY do, the best way to find out is when you can’t do any of it. Though it was a week of lots of tears (just ask Maya when she came to visit… or my mom who wiped a few…) out of frustration, having my 5 buddies and hubby to cuddle with as we watched TV in my bed was the best feeling in the world. Life is good.
Ever thought about saving a life by donating blood? To learn how to donate, please click here.
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