It is more important to know where you are going, than how long it takes to get there.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another Day, Another Day Surgery...

Yesterday I had a day surgery to insert a port-a-cath. This device will be used in lieu of a vein for receiving chemotherapy.

I arrived at Beverly Hospital, 15 minutes down the road, at 7:45 a.m. for an 8:00 appointment. Chubba and I only had to wait in radiology for about 5 minutes before a nurse came to escort me to the pre-op area. (I find it interesting that the radiology department at Beverly Hospital has two waiting rooms, just across the aisle from one another. One waiting room is lit with the usual hospital bright fluorescent lighting, has the typical sea bluish upholstery, the walls are painted a yellowish white, there is a large tv is mounted in the corner - always on, and an available computer sits on a sterile-looking desk on one side. The other waiting room is about one-third the size, has soft recessed spot lighting, the color of the upholstery is warm fall colors, the walls are painted a warm taupe color, and the mounted tv is rarely turned one. For some strange reason, the majority of people sit in the large, bright room that is so unflattering, and makes everyone look like they feel miserable. No surprisingly, I always sit in the small room with the warm, soothing colors - it feels more like someone's living room than a waiting room. I think that I have only seen one other person sit in this room during my 6+ visits to radiology.)

I think there was only one other person in the pre-op area when I arrived. I am glad that I brought a book because I didn't get wheeled into the operating room until 10:10. My eyesight may be going, but my hearing is still keen because I could hear a lot of stories going on around me. One elderly woman who sounded like she was in her 80's, had to be sent home before her procedure because she drank water in the morning before she went to the hospital. She was confused by her instructions, and thought she was supposed to drink water. The nurse explained to her that is she drank water, that she could vomit during the procedure. Gross. Her son had to pick her up. I felt sad for her.

One one side of me was a girl that sounded like she was in her 20's or early 30's that had a ton of things going on with her. I heard her father say that she just got out of the hospital after a 6 week stay. When the radiologist asked the routine questions, that usually have "no" for an answer, she had "yes" with long explanations. For example, when asked if she's allergic to any medications, the answer was yes - and then a bunch of words (I tried to not listed to closely, but she was just on the other side of the curtain.) She had problems with some of her organs, and all I could think of was how sad this must be for someone so young to have so many physical problems, and how lucky I am to only have breast cancer. Sounds strange, doesn't it? - lucky to only have breast cancer?

I know that I was wheeled into the operating room at 10:10 because a big digital clock with electronic red numbers hangs on the wall. It has the hour, minutes and seconds running. I don't know why, but my first thought upon seeing this clock was, "I wonder if they changed to a digital clock from the traditional clock so that they can more accurately assign the time of death." Morbid, I know, but I wasn't thinking as if it would pertain to me and this procedure. After they wheeled me into the operating room, I was transferred onto the operating table. Did I mention before how narrow this operating tables are? The table and room were both very cold. One of the nurses brought his iPod, and asked what kind of music I would like to listen to and that I find relaxing. He had everything except country & western. I chose the blues. He had a nice collection of the was perfect. Once I was strapped on the table, it was on with the procedure. I was given anesthesia that made me sleepy, but not totally put me under. I felt like I was asleep and awake at the same time. My body was draped from head to toe, and they put a plastic plate above my head so that the drape made a little tent over my head. The doctor inserted a needed into a vein in my neck, and then followed it down into my chest where he inserted the port. It is on my right side, about 4-5 inches below my collar bone. I have two bandage, one on my neck and one on my chest. They only part of the procedure I can remember if the doctor pushing down hard on my upper chest. He must have been inserting or placing the port at that point. There was one oops during the surgery; the blood pressure cuff was put on my left arm. Because of the recent mastectomy and lymph node removal, I am not supposed to have blood drawn from my left arm, nor have my blood pressure taken on this side. I mentioned this after the surgery when they were removing everything, and we all kind of said "oops." I guess I should have remembered to tell them during the set up to the procedure. Oh well, no harm done.

I have high regards for the nurses at Beverly Hospital. I had my gall bladder removed there four years ago and thought the nurses were great. Both Molly and Riley have spent overnights at Beverly Hospital for complications with asthma and flu - nurses were great. My experience yesterday was that the nurses at Beverly Hospital are still top notch!

The recovery was fine, and Justin drove me home around 1:00 p.m. I went straight to sleep and woke up around 5:00p.m. I had a head ache and neck pain when I awoke, but Tylenol took care of it. I puttered around they yard, dead-headed some plants, picked up some beach towels. We ate dinner and were watching Ocean's Thirteen when it hit. (By the way, isn't Andy Garcia so sexy?) I got very sick. Without getting into the ugly details, I was throwing up while sitting on the toilet. Yes, gross. I had unbelievable cramping and stomach pains. After 30 minutes of this fun and games, and sweating out of every pore, we decided to go to the emergency room. All of this sickness was due to the anesthesia. (Anesthesia has made me sick several times before this procedure.) Riley was having terrible problems with asthma, so we thought she should come along to be checked for pneumonia...a family outing together! At 10:20 p.m. my wonderful neighbor, Biz, came over, picked up Molly, and the three of use headed off to the emergency room. On the way to the hospital, both Riley and I started feeling better. The cold air of the air conditioner helped her breathing. (I forgot that her asthma needs cold air, and she had been sitting in her warm, humid room all day.) I, on the other had, was shivering and teeth chattering from the air conditioner. I put two jackets over me. However, my cramping had stopped for 20 minutes by now, so we decided a block before the hospital to turn around and go home. With medication and my air conditioned bedroom (the only room with air conditioning) we both made it through the night, and avoided a long night in the emergency room.

I am still sore and tight on the left side from the reconstruction, and now I am sore and tight on the right side from the port-a-cath. I feel like a train wreck.

So reality is sinking in - this chemotherapy thing is really going to happen. Three more days.

Whacky thought for the day...
Who came up with the saying, "sick as a dog?" My cats throw up way more that our dogs ever did.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry you had such a bad reaction to the anesthesia. I hope both you and Riley are doing better.