Monday, March 11, 2013

Post-Op Post

It's been a rough week, Paul had the stimulator surgery last Tuesday and it was a success. There was a snow storm coming but that wasn't going to stop us. The hospital was only the next town over. In anticipation of the storm, Paul's parents picked up Jesse Monday night and were keeping him until Wednesday. That was a huge weight off my shoulders. Knowing he would be taken care of and I didn't have to worry about anything with him. Last time Paul had surgery, my family was able to help.

We arrived before dawn, and strangely the storm that was supposed to start at 3am, was delayed. So we got there without issue. It was a standard pre-surgical morning. I have been through this process 5 times at this hospital, so I have the drill down. I don't need the instructions to follow the Orange X and I know I am going to see the overly nice volunteer guy when I get to the end of the Orange X's. He checks you in, gives you the Patient ID Number, takes down my name and cell phone number for emergency and so they can tell me when I can see him. Then they take us back so they can do his vitals, get him in a gown, start the IV, etc. When they wheel him off to surgery, he goes in one direction and I in the other direction, back to the waiting room where I see the overly nice volunteer guy again and wait.

I hate the wait. I always go back out to my car. If any thing's going to go wrong, I assume it won't go wrong in that first hour. I'm probably wrong, but that's what I do. I sit, reflect, send out texts to the appropriate people and tell them he's in surgery. I usually eat something before my stomach will no longer accept food, then head back to the waiting room. After a few hours I am met by a young man in his blue scrubs. This time he sat down next to me instead of taking me into the dreaded Panic Room. The Panic room is that room on the side of the waiting area where the doctor talks to you. This room is usually for when they tell you bad news or something private that they won't tell you in front of the other people waiting for their loved ones. I've been in this room before, it's small and comfortable, but is sound proof and has no windows. I met with Jesse's doctor in this room after surgery, not because anything was wrong, but because he was an infant and hospitals usually take privacy much more seriously with children. I was relieved when the doctor sat next to me. No Panic Room = Good News.

Surgery was a success and I can see him in about 45 minutes after he wakes in recovery. Deep breaths. It's going to be ok. I head back out to the car (the only real place to get some privacy at this point), call his parents and make the appropriate texts and updates that surgery was a success. That 45 minutes turned into an hour and a half, but that's ok, I knew he was safe.

I walk into recovery and he's there with the representative from the stimulator company. She was programming it. She briefly told me how to use it, but my mind was already so drained, that I didn't retain much. Then we headed to a room and got him settled.

 My view from his room.

After a few hours of watching him and the snow accumulate out the window, I decided I need a break, lunch and to run home before it got too bad out there. It was about 2:30pm and it had been snowing for hours, but I could still see the traffic moving on the clear busy road below. The news said the snow would be the worst during rush hour, so I took the opportunity to go. I hit a drive-thu for lunch and headed home. I ate, shoveled some pathways, let the dog out and packed a bag in case I was in for the long haul. I headed back around 4 and stayed until 11:30pm. The snow was starting to come down heavy, I made it back just before the roads got bad.

My buried car
The front of the hospital, about 9pm

When I returned, Paul had already been up and walking once, he got an appetite back and was on the road to recovery. The first night's never easy. I hate just sitting there, watching my best friend and the father of my son sit there in pain. You would think it would get easier when you've done it before, but it doesn't. It may even be harder because it brings up memories of the past. I didn't even want to leave him, but I knew I needed a break from all of it. I went home for the night and was greeted by an excited pup who was dying for a run in the snow. So I geared up and tried to shovel some more. It was thick and heavy. I think the official count was 7-9 inches of snow. Not THAT bad, but the biggest snow we've had this season. I slept a few hours and headed back to the hospital. Of course I missed the stimulator tech and only caught the tail end of the surgeon's visit. He was released to go home.

It was easier for both of us to relax at home, but Paul was definitely experiencing a lot of discomfort. I've been doing my best to keep him comfortable. Playing, nurse, wife and mother is not easy, but not impossible. I picked up Jesse Wednesday afternoon. He doesn't understand, except that Daddy has owies on his back. Finally, yesterday he seemed to be better. Good enough to be out of bed for more than 15 minutes and getting his personality back. The hardest part is over and we can start looking into the future again.

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