Steve and Alicia help me off the cart and into the "Lazy-Girl Chair" as Steve called it. Alicia has opened yet another warm blanket into the chair, and I, kind of wobbly-like, with Steve on my right and Alicia on my left, totter over and be seated. I feel like somethin'. She wraps me in a few more warm blankets, Steve raises the footrest, says goodbye and good luck, I thank him again for taking very good care of me, and he's off.
Alicia wraps the blood pressure cuff around my arm again, and the O2 sat monitor is clipped onto my left thumb. The numbers are the same as earlier. She has waiting for me a fresh soda, a pack of saltines, and one of grahams. Hm. That's nice. She busies herself with documentation, I fumble my way through the package to the saltine cracker. That's funny/odd, being clumsy like that. I smile at my awkwardness, knowing it will pass. I nibble on my cracker, and sip my soda, and Alicia asks how I'm doing. Pretty good, I think, Great, compared to last week. Yeah, she agrees, saying I look so much better. Do you need anything more for pain? No, thank you, I'm good for right now, maybe a 2. I ask Alicia for a huge favor. Could you write out a list of the meds that I was given today, pre-, intra-, and post-op?? I had thought of asking for a list last week also, but didn't. Sure, she agrees to do that. Are you ready for your family? Yup, bring 'em in.
A few minutes later Dan, Polly, and Jim file in, all with smiles, but with that hidden look of anxiety, not knowing what they're going to see. Well, let me tell you, the surgical cap is off, and I still have good hair. I'm sitting up, taking nourishment (such as it is), not puking, not painful, and happy to be doing so well. They are too, and the relief shows on each of their faces. Thanks, you guys, for worrying about me. Jim comes up and kisses me, Polly comes up and kisses me. I don't remember her looking at the first dressing, so I show her this one and we check it out together. Daniel comes up and kisses me and checks the dressing. He looks a lot better, too.
Polly and Jim leave after they are convinced I'm doing well. Thanks for coming.
The blood pressure cuff inflates again, Alicia comes in with the anesthesia record to show me. (Whoa, thanks) Vitals are good. She removes the BP cuff and sat monitor. On table time, 1200. Off table time, 1300. Hm. 1 hour, like Dr. said. I scan the format of the form, it's very similar to ours at Foote. So I take my time and read it over. Remember, I'm post op, and the only way I can read is to take my time. I will add the list of meds to the end of this post. I see the iv bag is about a quarter down, is it the second or third bag? Alicia checks, it's the second, and she goes out of our cubicle, telling me to use the call light when I'm ready to get up, that staff need to help me. Ok, I've had 1200 ml iv, most of this 14 oz soda, and I think I might be needing to go. I'm hungry, and she exited like she had something else to do, so I consumed those graham crackers. Isn't it queer, I miss those packaged graham crackers. (Does anybody know where those individually wrapped grahams can be purchased?) Now I gotta pee.
I say this out loud, and Daniel reminds me to use the call light. Ok, like, I know... I press the red button and hear a faint beep in the hallway. (don't miss that noise) I ask Dan to put down the footrest, he reminds me not to get up by myself, Yeah, I know.. and I scooch forward in the chair. It feels good to move myself. I am perched on the edge of the seat, holding the ice pack in place, when someone came in. It was a different someone; she may have told me her name, but I have forgotten. She and Dan help me up and assist me to the bathroom. Much better than last week. They both help me turn around and move the giant gown's fabric (and yes, I did take my slacks off today) get my panties situated, and sat on the pot. She leaves (thank you nice lady) and all goes as is expected. And goes. Finally the bladder is emptied, the paperwork is done, and all fabric gets replaced in its proper places. I go to the sink, wash up, and of course, have to check that dressing. Looks good, no bleeding or drainage noted. I poke at it a little, kind of feels numb on the top of the breast. Hm. Time will show what that's about.
Dan and I return to Patient 19, and I'm walking pretty good and wobbling very little. This is great. Alicia comes in with discharge instructions for Dan, the list of medications, and a prescription for Darvocet. Eww, thanks, but I don't like that medication. She offers to call Dr. Sanchez for a new med, Tylenol #3? Ok, I agree. She leaves and comes back in a bit. She goes over the discharge instructions, and asks if we'd like her to call the script in. Ok, thanks. CVS in Holt. She smiled, that's what I thought I remembered. I need to urinate again, so we get me up and over to the restroom. Still improving, and I can see that Dan is visibly relieved. I go, wash up, and Alicia brings my clothes in. Dan helps me dress, he's so cute putting my slacks and socks and shoes on. We get to the bra; my shoulders are a little stiff and slow to move. Alicia pokes her head in to see how we're doing. We're cautiously getting the shirt on--she makes a comment that he's accustomed to taking my clothes off, not putting them back on. He turns a faint shade of pink. We get back to the Lazy Girl chair, and Alicia calls for transport. She says all the pleasantries, then turns back and hugs me. She holds me just a bit longer than a "I liked taking care of you" hug. As I closed my eyes and recalled this moment, it seems that we breathed several breaths together. What a gift, Alicia, your sharing your vulnerability with my fear.