Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Wound Is Where The Light Enters

"The wound is the place where light enters you."  ~Rumi

 A dear friend posted this to me on my Facebook wall and I thought it was incredible.  I kind of collect quotes in my head and I had yet to come across this one.

You could take my wound figuratively or literally.  Let's take it figuratively for now.  My wound is most undoubtedly my heart.  Or perhaps even dead dreams.  I've talked about both in extreme detail on this blog.  My wound is especially deep because of the extent and life-changing seriousness of the trauma, which, in turn, causes the brightest light to enter.  The light floods in, bringing with it moments of wonder but also, most often, tears.

I dream many days that my heart will be a source of courage and wisdom someday.  That I will be able to draw upon the experiences I've had to endure and the resulting feelings and share with others the wisdom I've learned and the courage that has taken root in my wounded heart.  In the meantime, I continue to search for what is the wisdom in my experiences that hides within the extensive heartache of them as well as finding the courage to face what I know of my life now as a burn survivor.  Most often my wound, my heartache, is suffocating me with heavy melancholy and I'm desperate to find the light in my heart that can lift it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Good #37

Surgery #37 is over and it was a quick one.  Also one of my easiest from check in to my dreaded being put under.  Check in went smooth.  Only little hiccup was getting my IV in, of course.  I'm a hard stick.  They immediately brought in the IV team and the first person tried twice and couldn't get it in so they wrapped my hands and arms up in warm blankets and I waited for the second person on the IV team to come in and by this time it was starting to get close to my surgery time.  Finally the second person on the IV team came in and was able to get a really good IV in in my upper forearm on the first try.  Right immediately after she was finished my anesthesiologist came in and he was great from the start.  I didn't hear from him the night before so this was the first time I met him.  I hadn't had him before in the past.  Many times I have repeat anesthesiologists cause I've had so many surgeries but this was our first time together.  And I really liked him.  He was bright, talkative, and funny.  Anesthesiologists who don't talk to me bother me.  But Dr. Chiu talked to me plenty :)  Then soon the head surgical nurse came in followed by my awesome doctor who was in good spirits that morning so we had some fun joking around with each other.  And then the nurse, anesthesiologist and me were off to the operating room.

Once inside the operating room everyone was busy getting ready but the head surgical nurse, the anesthesiologist and my doctor were with me getting me ready.  As Dr. Chiu was putting my blood pressure cuff on my left forearm he noticed my tattoo and asked about it.  I explained it and suddenly The White Stripes were blasting over the speakers in the operating room and I knew who had done it: my doctor :)  He truly is the best.  He always remembers and knows it helps relax me.  Dr. Chiu wasn't familiar with the White Stripes so when it came on I yelled out, "All right!  Rock it!" and Dr. Chiu said, "So this must be the White Stripes, huh?  Well, let's rock it then!  I like!"  It made me smile.  Then he said, "Good music is on and I'm about to put some good drugs in your IV, all is well," and suddenly I could feel the relaxation drugs hit me all the way in my legs and I felt nice and relaxed and my favorite band was playing.  I wasn't feeling so anxious anymore.  Then the oxygen mask went over my mouth and nose and because the IV was up in my upper forearm, I never felt the sting of the anesthesia so suddenly I started to feel warm inside my body (anesthesia will make you feel an inner warmth) so I knew it was going in and my eyelids started to feel strange all the while listening to The White Stripes until I was out.  It was a good way to go under.

The surgery was only an hour.  The only other surgery I've had that's ever been that short was the one I had done on the contraction beside my right eye.  I woke up quick from this one, too and I didn't feel too bad.  I wasn't in too much pain, just a little uncomfortable so I had a couple shots in my IV of pain medication.  Not too long after I had woken up I suddenly felt a hand rubbing my left shoulder and I looked over and it was my doctor coming to check on me.  So sweet.  He said everything went really well, gave my arm a touch again and went out to talk to my mom again about when he wanted us back for a first fill.  He had talked to her earlier when he was first done with the surgery but he forgot to talk to her about when he needed me back.  And not too much later I was headed back to the Day Surgery area to recover some more.  I was actually going to have a day surgery.  For the first time in 37 surgeries I didn't have to stay in the hospital.  My mom fed me some diet Sprite and some crackers once we were back in our Day Surgery room and I got some more pain meds along with some prescriptions from my doctor.  Soon I was getting unhooked from everything, getting dressed and being wheeled out in a wheelchair to the car to go home.  I was in and out of the hospital so quick I barely felt like I was there.

So overall, surgery #37 was a breeze with everyone in good spirits.  I now have a tissue expander in on the right side of my neck with a JP drain coming out for drainage.  The JP drain only has to stay in for a couple days and then my mom can pull it out.  She's done it before so she knows how to do it.  The tissue expander is small right now with only a little bit of fluid in it but it's a bigger expander than I thought it was going to be.  And it's really hurting me good today so I'm not feeling all that well.

 (Tissue expander just underneath the skin on the right side of my neck.  It's small right now so it doesn't pull on the stitches.)

(The JP drain, which was just emptied before this picture was taken so you didn't have to see gross drainage.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Surgery #37

I'm having surgery again this morning.  My fifth one in six months and 37th overall.  But it's a smaller surgery. Should only take a couple hours and it's supposed to just be a day surgery but I've never had a day surgery in my life.  Even when I was scheduled to have a day surgery once before they still decided to keep me overnight in the burn center.  So we'll see if this really is going to be a day surgery today. I really hope so.  I don't feel like another hospital stay.

So this surgery is to put a tissue expander in my neck, the right side of my neck.  And the intention is to blow up the expander with saline solution over time so that it gets bigger and bigger and stretches the skin in my neck.  Once the doctor decides there's enough skin, I will go back into surgery to have it taken out and the stretched skin will be pulled around the right side of my neck where I keep having problems with that contracture.  This way it is less likely to contract.  That's the theory anyway.  This will be my fifth expander so this process is not new to me.

Once again I am nervous and anxious to do surgery again.  I don't like being put to sleep.  It frightens me the most.  Surgery is at 10AM with a check in at 8AM.  So I guess I better wrap it up and get ready cause we'll be leaving soon.  Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.  They mean so much to me and I really need them so thank you.  See you after.