Thursday, September 26, 2013

Post Op Follow Up

Yesterday was my follow up. It was really hard to keep calm, but thankfully Shadow came with me so that was a huge help. It was kind of cute because he asked the medical assistant if he could come back before I even asked.

I saw Dr. Johanson's PA (physicians assistant) who was really really cute! I mean REALLY cute. He was also closer to my age and had a very good energy. He was very calm and informative and gave me more info about what all was done.

I was honest with him, even though before that I was petrified about a pain questionnaire I'd filled out. I felt like I was being a baby and over exaggerating. I went over everything with him because I knew Shadow would flick my nose if I didn't. The PA said that everything I was experiencing was perfectly normal. He said I needed to stay on the percaset and not be so scared to take it when I needed. He really put me at ease about it. I've been having a hard time sleeping because of pain in my shoulder blade as well as not being able to sleep on my sides because of pain and feeling like things where being pulled on. I also asked him about when I can wear a bra again and he just laughed and said it would be a few more weeks. I'm really not ok going back to work without that key piece of clothing. Though the look on Shadow's face was priceless.

He asked to see my incision sites next. This was another concern because I have one area that wasn't closing and was oozing. I know, nasty, but I was really concerned because I've never had anything do that before. The cut along my neck has healed enough that I really don't need to keep it covered, but the oozing one.... yeah, no way. So while he's looking at the site after peeling off the massive waterproof medical grade band-aid i've had covering most of my shoulder, he says in the calmest manner possible that my body is rejecting the stitches in that area. This was the first I heard about having stitches at all. All that was there was glue. A LOT of glue. So as he was preparing things to close my wound, he explained that I actually have A LOT of stitches under all the glue. I have 2 layers of a lot of stitches which is why I've been feeling the pulling sensation when I move certain ways. They had to cut through other muscles to get to where the scalene muscle connects. One of them being my pectoral muscle. So, I know have those nifty waterproof medical tape things covering the area that wasn't closing.

Neck cut is mostly healed with my tiny little angle kiss of a bruise.

While the top part looks oogy, it's mostly the glue and minor bruising. The oozing part is about a half inch.

While he was patching me up, the PA also told me that I shouldn't be lifting anything over 5 pounds. Shadow started laughing but told him he'd make sure I stuck to it. When I asked why my weight limit was being further limited, he told me that because of the amount of damage to my nerves and how weak I am in my right arm now, 5 is my absolute limit until I see him again in November. I was also given a prescription to start physical therapy, but weight/strength training is out until November.

Shadow assured him he'd make sure I followed orders. So we left and I had my meltdown in the truck. Shadow was actually really supportive at that point in telling me I'd done really well and didn't have my usual attack in the office even with what had happened Friday the week before with my prescription.

I'm cleared to go back to work, but the PA was pushing for me to do half days. He wrote me a note saying that 8 hours are as tolerated for awhile. My therapy part I think I'll be doing close to work. A number of people have said they would feel better if I went that route because of me being on the meds still and with how exhausted I've been getting still being out and about. This way I'd be close to work and near people that can pick me up instead of me taking the bus through the bad part of Seattle alone.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Part 2, Life at Home

This one will have more fun pictures but I'm going to put a disclaimer here because I will be showing one of my incisions. I'll warn before they show up.

My bestest Irish twinkie boo had great timing! This was waiting on the door step. There's like 5 packages here!

When I got home, I had a pile of packages on the porch waiting for me. Mom had grabbed lunch for me, so while I ate the best freaking happy meal of my life (let it be known, I really hate McDonalds. I was craving a cheeseburger though.) Seriously, I don't know what it was, but that cheeseburger was amazing. I opened the mountain of love that had come from my twinkie, which required me to use scissors. I was able to use scissors guys! I haven't been able to use scissors in months! In my excitement, I took the glitter brick case off my phone. I could hold my phone with no pain and no case to make it fat. I could text even! Needless to say I cried. I took a shower and that was really hard with a garbage bag taped to your shoulder and not able to fully use your arm. It felt good though.

I settled in and read about my newest fashion accessory, the pain pump.

Upside down photo and I'm to lazy to fix it. Deal :p
No one told me that if I used the button on this, it would release more meds to the nerves. They also didn't tell me that that button is a bracelet. They ALSO didn't tell me that this thing was super mounted to me so that there was no way I could rip it out like I was terrified of doing. It was put in during surgery and my dad took it out on Sunday when the medication ran out.  The clear circle part was filled with a doughnut of medication that was slowly released. The bracelet part stored medication as well to give you a boost when you needed it. It was super helpful, but I was terrified to have it taken out. It turned out to just be a wire, about 7" of wire, that was inside me releasing meds. Didn't even feel it taken out. I was so happy to take a shower after without having to mount the damn thing in the shower with me!

I was given percacet when I checked out of the hospital. A LOT of it... I've never been given more then a few. I had strict instructions to take them on schedule. I've had too to. The first couple days I was taking 2 every 4 hours. I couldn't have managed otherwise. I was still struggling with being short of breath and I was finding that when I ate anything that was soft, my throat would swell. Sunday, I got cocky. I wasn't taking them on schedule. Monday was about the same and I started only taking 1 every 6 hours, maybe. I payed for that Tuesday.

Tuesday the pain was horrible. I hadn't been sleeping again because percacet I've found makes me hyper. Tuesday I woke up at 4am, or more over I gave up trying to sleep at 4am. I took a pill at 6 am even though I was long overdue for a pill. My throat started to swell after a few bites of applesauce so the bowl took 2 hours to eat. Shadow came over to babysit me that day. By the time he came over, I was really trying to hide the fact I wasn't comfortable at all. He tried to massage out my shoulder blade and neck. He was scared he was going to hurt me but he was working far away from any of the entry sites. It was such a bad day and I still was thinking it was a mind over matter thing until around 10pm when i broke down and took 2 pills. Life improved and because I'd relaxed with Shadow, I actually slept that night for 9 hours.

So Wednesday I stayed on top of the meds. Took 2 every 6 hours and life was good. Still tired to do dishes, but aside from that, things where as good as they can be. Now... here is the part where if you have a weak stomach, just scroll passed.

Yesterday the waterproof bandaids my dad had put on on Sunday after taking out the pump had been compromised. I peeled them off and decided to get a picture since I didn't when I'd had the pump taken out. I can't look at the close ups myself and that's my shoulder, so I won't be posting them. I'm glued together pretty much, no stitches. I'm actually really happy to not be stitched together. Stitches suck when they are in areas that you actually bend and use. the one along my neck is about 7" long. the second one is just short of 5". I can't turn my neck fully and it does cramp up from time to time. I don't notice as much as long as I keep up with the meds. I'm still swollen though from about my shoulder blade to my armpit.

About the meds... not only was I yelled at by The Doll for trying to go off them, but also the doctor office when I called to get a refill and told them what I'd tried to do. Apparently with the amount of damage done and how long this has been going on, I shouldn't be pushing to get off the drugs because it's not happening for a few weeks while my body adjusts. While I'm still a little numb from the pain pump, as it wears off, the nerves make themselves very much known. 

It's still not sunk in that I've had major surgery. I still have 2 weeks off and I'm going crazy. The doctor had really wanted me to take 4 weeks and I'm starting to think maybe I might have too. I have my follow up appointment on Tuesday and will find out when I can start physical therapy. I'm really scared of this recovery. I'm scared of the day that it will hit that this was major surgery and just what I'm facing to get back that 90% of function and strength. I'm really scared and it's not something I feel I can opening admit to family.

I've been blessed however. I've realized just how many friends I do truly have. While Bunny Boo had sent me a mountain of goodies, my work family have given loads of support and love as well.

This appeared on my doorstep on Saturday and made me bawl. They are lovely and still holding strong. THEY ARE SO PINK!!!! I really love them. My dear B has checked in with me almost daily as well as a few other of my work friends and of course The Doll. I've never felt so much love before from so many people. So many people have told me just how much I've helped them in the past and what it meant and have offered help and support. I've just been speechless and needless to say weepy from it all. Thank you to those who've been there pre and post op. Your all wonderful.

Luna B as been super supportive too, even if she doesn't understand why she can't sleep in her spot on my chest at night.
I'm not going to die but I've still got a road to recovery. :) I've seen just what I'll be gaining back once everything is settled. I can't wait to be covered in thread and paint again. I know it's coming soon. I know I'll be able to do illustration work again. Things will get better... they just suck right now. :P

Part one, Surgery Day

It's been a week today and I've been slow to do this post. It's been a bit of a rough week and things really haven't sunk in still. I'm going to try and not get to side tracked on this post. I'm warning now that I'm still on a lot of percacet and still in a lot of pain and not able to do much... or anything really :/

The adventure started at about 9:45 when we left for Seattle. I had to check in at 10:45 and I wanted to be early because things happen and traffic is unpredictable once you hit downtown. I brought my medical folder with me with directions and everything I'd been sent up until that point. I was told to check in at admitting, but when I got there, there was confusion. I wasn't even checked in yet and I was lost. After showing my the directions I'd been sent and about 20 minutes of the poor receptionist making phone calls between departments, things got sorted out and I was escorted to a room.

What had happened was that the nurse I'd done my per-registration interview with had set things up for me to be admitted into the hospital instead of going through day surgery. Normally, patients who are having TOS release go through day surgery and are then admitted after surgery for an over night stay. Because it was noted in my chart that I was a difficult patient and I'd also asked if it was ok to bring Korick along, she decided it would be helpful for me to know where I had a room. It was too. I knew I had a room to go back too. I could leave my things there instead of having Shadow and my mom cart them around and I could have a meltdown in private. I was really grateful for this because I was petrified to stay overnight at the hospital.

I had Shadow take this one after I'd changed. You can see how thrilled I am...

I was not in good shape. Because I'd been so stressed the weeks leading up to surgery with getting work settled and just trying to make it through every day things, my stomach had been horrible. I hadn't been eating much of anything for about 2 weeks except for coffee and crackers. I hadn't been sleeping on top of it. It was just not good. I really tried to eat the day before too, but my stomach wouldn't have it. Since I'd been admitted a bit backwards, there was blood work I had to do before hand which was not entered in the system for me to have done. Because of this, my 12:45 surgery start time was pushed back while labs where run. I'd not been eatting, I'd tried really hard to hydrate because I'm a hard stick and I was freaking out since my support team (Shadow and my mom) where having meltdowns of there own. By the time I was finally taken to the pre-op, I was sure I was going to die. I had a horrible migraine and hide under a pillow the whole time and was in tears begging for meds. I hate being medicated. It was bad, really bad.

The staff though, the nurses and doctors where wonderful considering I was in such bad shape. Dr. Johanson held my hand even and kept reminding me it was going to be better when this was all said and done. One of the nurses stayed with me until the anesthesia doctor came by to have me sign the last form and I was finally given something for the pain and nausea I was having. The staff kept telling me that despite the pain I was in, I had still been polite, but I honestly felt I hadn't been. I'm use to being chatty with medical people because I work in the field. Of course I was apologizing and chatting it up right until I was put under. That was the best 2 hours of sleep I'd had in about a month.

When I woke up in post op, I couldn't breath. I freaked out. Dr. Johanson rushed over and explained that some of the nerves that had run to the outside of my lungs had been within the bunch that had been crushed. my right arm was completely numbed during the surgery and I woke up with a pain pump in my shoulder. The first shot of morphine was given, but it was still hard to breath. Shot 2 was given and they started to wheel me back to my room.

I was bawling, still couldn't breath and in mass pain and confused. First words out of my mom's mouth are screaming I needed to eat. Shadow was laughing about morphine. Mom kept insisting I needed to eat and I finally yelled at her that I was far more concerned about being able to breath and for the pain to stop in my chest then about eating. Shot number 3 was given and the wonderful nurse brought me a cup of crushed ice. Shadow sat by me and tried to spoon feed me ice. That ice was amazing, I was horrible dehydrated by this point and it was nearly 6pm now. I was still hearing mom pushing food. I was grateful for Shadow at this point because he gave me the calm energy I needed right then to focus on.

To shut mom up, I had Shadow call in an order for mash potatoes and mushroom gravy. When it got to the room it sat there because I was bent on eating every last bit of that ice. Somewhere in there my dad had showed up, mom was still screaming about eating. Dad calmed her down finally and got her off my back finally. I finally got around to eating and even though they where fake potatoes, that gravy was amazing. Shadow ordered me applesauce at my dad's suggestion for later. People started leaving then. It was about 8pm. Shot 4 was given with my first 2 percacets. I was mostly comfortable at this point... but I did not sleep at all. It wasn't because people where in and out of my room, I just couldn't get comfy.

Taken at 3am about. You can tell one the right side of my face is really swollen. This is all from the nerves that had been crushed.
I hadn't realized just how many nerves had been affected. Dr. Johanson explained the next morning that a lot more had been pinned by the muscle then originally thought. There's a high chance that my asthma attacks, at least a good chunk, have been because of the crushed nerves. My throat swelling closed every now and then would also be from the nerves having those brief moments of getting released from the muscle. My migraines fall along the same track as the swelling. Over 10 years of pain and random conditions that no one could give me a straight answer on. One muscle was the cause of so many problems. I still  have no idea what I would have done if not for The Doll pushing me to see this doctor.

Let's call this part one. Next will be life at home. Hopefully, not as huge a thing to read.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

mini post surgery update

I've survived... mostly. I will give the full gory details in a couple days when I'm not so medicated/in pain/actually know where I am. I've been laying low since released late Friday morning.

In other news, I forgot to put my Etsy shop in vacation mode and one of my dolls sold on Friday the 13th! She's one of my older ones too and one of my favorites! So while I'm sad to see her go, I'm super excited she'll have a new home! I had a bad feeling this would happen too!!! I'll have to figure out a way to get her dropped off and to sew her a quick blanket for traveling to North Dakota.

Miss Casey will be on a trip in the next couple of days! Thank goodness i stocked up on shipping supplies in advance!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Permission to not be ok

So last week I had a very high pain day. I just couldn't seem to get it under control and I was way stressed by it. I was shattered and of course I was at work. Out of frustration, I emailed the Doll asking for help. It just wasn't clicking with why all the sudden, everything hurt so so much.

She emailed me back quickly. I can't even remember what she had emailed, but it made me run down to her office and give her a big hug. Of course... I started crying again. The Doll sat and listened but then she told me the things I truly needed to hear at that moment. She told me that I needed to realize I have a condition that causes chronic pain. I will have good days and I will have bad ones. On those bad days, I need to celebrate the little achievements. She told me it was ok to be in pain. I've been suffering for years and just delt with it, but now my body had an answer. It had been given permission to be hurt.

I had another friend that told me I hide my pain well. She'd had no idea until I'd come back to the billing office just shattered. It was so hard to to admit it. I've been so lucky and so fortunate to have people that truly care. I've had a few that... I could do without, but the ones that have been there and have listened and supported and just ask how I'm doing. That means so much. I know I'm down to the week mark until surgery. I really really really can not wait. I know recovery will suck. I know I may well come back to chaos when I come back, but I know I'll feel better then I have in years. I truly can't believe just how much this has effected me, down to the migraines I get.

I promise this blog will get back to the artsy stuff. In fact I plan on trying as soon as I'm able to hold a pencil or even a damn crayon. Little Nightengale will come back, but as a much stronger person.