Friday, October 26, 2012

Surgeries #35 and #36

Well, surgeries #35 and #36 are over.  I spent 15 days in the hospital, four more than was planned.  I was scheduled to be discharged on the Friday after my second surgery but when the doctor took down the bolsters and the dressings for the first time since the second surgery to take a look at the grafts, he was not too confident about what he saw.  The grafts were too fragile yet to send me home.  So he planned to keep me in for a few more days and release me on the following Tuesday.  I was a little devastated at that news.  After about two weeks in the hospital, maybe even just a week, I'm ready to go home.

My first surgery was a bit of a blur from the moment we checked in.  Apparently the person scheduled for surgery before me just didn't show up so they were hurrying to get things ready with me to get me in there so I ended up going into surgery an hour earlier than I was scheduled for.  I was a little put off by my anesthesiologist though and I like to feel comfortable with my anesthesiologist since I have such a thing with being put under.  He was just very cold and brash and didn't really talk much to me.  All business.  And in all my previous surgeries, I'd say all of them always prepared me for when they were going to put me to sleep.  I mean, I've been around the block and I really know when I'm about to be put to sleep - oxygen mask goes on and then pretty soon the anesthesia is hitting my veins, stinging as it flows through the IV.  But I just like my anesthesiologist to talk to me.  At the very least, let me know they're about to put the anesthesia in and I should be out soon.  Just gives me about 8 seconds to prepare myself for what frightens me most about surgery.  But this anesthesiologist said nothing.  The oxygen mask was put over my face and soon I felt the sting of the anesthesia, my eyelids became heavy, my body began to float and then I was out.

It took me a little longer to wake up than normal but soon I was reunited with my dad and heading back to the OBC.  I was put into an ICU room first.  A couple days later they transferred me to the other wing where I would have my own bathroom and shower.  My neck was not in too much pain but the backs of my axillas (my armpits) were in the most pain.  I even got to have a day with one of my most favorite nurses, Jerri.  I just love her.  She's wonderful.  Her favorite thing is to find a picture of a hot guy in a magazine ad and tape it up in my room.  Hehe...

My second surgery, surgery #36, started off a little late.  I was scheduled to be in surgery at 8:30am but they didn't even come to get me until 9:15am and then I waited a little longer down in the waiting room for inpatients going into surgery.  I was not pleased with my anesthesiologist this time again either.  She knew that this was to be my 36th surgery but she talked to me about things like I'd never experienced them before.  Telling me that the donor site was going to be the worst part of it all and I'm thinking, "yeah!!  I know!  Done this 35 times already!  This isn't my first rodeo."  Then when I told her I liked to be told when she would be putting the anesthesia in my IV she overdid it saying things like, "Now you're first clue you're about to get the anesthesia is when we put the oxygen mask on you."  Yes, I know.  I know!  I just like a heads up before I feel the sting of the anesthesia!  And soon, once again for the 36th time, the sting hit, my eyelids became heavy and didn't feel like my own anymore, my body began to float and I was out.

After this second surgery of this two part surgery it took me even longer to wake up.  But eventually I was awake again, in great pain, and headed back to my room in the OBC where I continued to sleep more, having a hard time waking up.  This time I was also put on a Dilaudid PCA.  I'm almost always put on a Dilaudid PCA after each surgery but for some reason after the first one I wasn't.  But they smarted up and remembered how tolerant I am to pain meds so they got a midline in me before the second surgery and after the second surgery got me on the Dilaudid PCA to manage my pain better.

A couple days after the second surgery, I was visited by Garrett's new physician's assistant and was told that if I could wean off the PCA I could go home Friday.  So I did just that and as I said in the beginning of this, Friday didn't work out and I was pretty upset.  My mom had come up to take me home so I felt bad that she took time off work to come get me and then it didn't happen.  But she stayed with me through the weekend which was nice.  By now I was ready to go home and sick of sitting in my room, mindlessly watching bad TV as the days passed painfully slow so I wasn't sure how I was going to get through the Monday before I was to be discharged on Tuesday.  But somehow I got through it and before I knew it, Tuesday arrived and they were pretty quick in getting me discharged.  Finally I was going home.

My grafts look pretty good for the most part and my neck feels better where it had tightened up so badly.  But I'm afraid already that it's going to require further action.  We'll see.  I don't know what's next.  I have a post-op follow up appointment with Garrett next Thursday so I'll know more then.  But what I do know, is I'm still in a great deal of pain sometimes.

 (Neck release and graft) 

 (Back right axilla release and graft)

(Back left axilla release and graft)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pause And Sit With It

There are many things that I either immediately react to in anger or I close up so I don't let any kind of feelings get in.  This way I don't have to feel any pain, emotional pain.  My therapist and I have been working on this for the past few weeks.  And she's on a roll with something that after my most recent session I'm really going to try.

This is something that many of us may do on a daily basis, a weekly basis, but it's something many of us do.  We try to avoid some kind of emotional pain, avoid it at all costs so we don't have to feel the heartbreak that will result in feeling the emotions, in feeling the pain.  But heartbreak in life is inevitable.  We usually experience our first heartbreak at a very, very, and I mean super young age.  Like 4 or 5 years of age.  They of course are simpler forms of heartbreak at younger ages but as we grow older they become more complicated and we usually do all that we can to avoid it because it hurts like hell.  But if we do experience it we usually put some sort of blame onto ourselves like "if only I had (fill in the blank)" and we analyze the shit out of it to try and solve what went wrong or what we did wrong.  And we do all this to block out feeling the pain of the heartbreak because we don't want to go through the horrible feelings that accompany heartbreak.  I do this.  I've gone through many heartbreaks and the pain of them in my 30 years, the worst of course is the heartbreak of the fire.  But I have done a lot of "if only I had (fill in the blank)" and analyzing my life before and after the fire, where I went wrong, what things I did right.  And I do all of that to block out actually feeling the heartbreak of the fire, of the accident.  Even though there are many times when the pain slips through the cracks in the walls I have put up but for the most part, I don't sit with my heartbreak.  I don't sit and feel the feelings that come with the heartbreak.

There's another heartbreak I endure but because the person it involves would suffer from me speaking about it, I'm not willing to make that public right now.  But this other heartbreak involves breaking out into anger and frustration and putting up the wall to prevent feeling any emotions instead of pausing and sitting with what feelings come up, and most specifically sitting with the heartbreak that the situation with this person has brought about.  Just pausing and sitting with my heartbreak and let the feelings come in and see what comes of it.  See how I feel after the feelings and the pain has passed through for the time being.

I know the pain of any heartbreak is wickedly painful.  But what would happen if when I get my heart broken again and again through the process of the recovery from the fire or from the fights I get into with this person, if I just paused and sat with the feelings of that heartbreak for a minute and let come what comes of it.  Feel the pain, let the tears fall and sit with it.  Pause and sit with it.  I've never really tried this method before.  I've either forced the wall up or the pain has been so overwhelming that I couldn't help but feel it.  But even when I couldn't help but feel the overwhelming pain, I never really just sat with it.  I tried to battle it and stop it cause it hurt so bad.  But on the advice of my therapist, the next time my heart breaks (and your heart can break over and over again for the same reason or different reasons), I'm going to pause and just sit with the emotions and pain that comes with it.  See how that fairs with me.  And if you're like me and many other people who try to avoid heartbreak or put up a wall when it does break, try to kick down that wall and pause and sit with what you're feeling.  We can't avoid heartbreak.  It's inevitable.  But we can decide how we deal with it when it happens.  And though pausing and sitting with it may seem like the more painful way, it may turn out to be less painful over time.