Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A week since surgery...

Wednesday, 17th of June we arrived at the surgical center a few minutes before my scheduled arrival time of 6:30 am. A few minutes later and I'm in my cap and gown. Roger is on my left side asking me if I'm right handed and starts putting a band of rubber around my left arm. As he does so I tell him it doesn't matter, the doctor is operating on my left shoulder. Roger quickly goes over to my right side and puts the band around that arm. The newbie gal to the surgical unit says okay, I get it... he is operating on the left, so the IV and cuff go on the right. I reassure myself that I have the best shoulder surgeon in the area... just joshing; they were good at their jobs.

Roger thinks he has found a vein that will work. I have drank extra fluids for a week so my veins might be easily found. Evidently I could drink a waterfall of water and it would not help. The IV was not to be in that vein. Another vein will have to be found. Roger tells me that maybe I should move my hand around a bit this time... he is used to putting in IVs while in the back of a moving ambulance. I give him a half-hearted smile.

I thought Roger was a nurse, but he is an EMT? It's early and I have a right to be confused.

Roger finds another vein in a place I really hate for IVs to be placed... the back of my wrist. It turned out not to be too bad though.

Roger places the blood pressure cuff upon my right arm. He then places the heart monitor on. He leaves and someone brings Frank into the cubicle.

We have just a few minutes together and the surgeon comes in to talk with us. He decided to send me home with a pain med pump. I will have to have the IV tube left in for a couple of days.

The doctor leaves and the anesthesiologist enters. He appears to be a teenager. He tells me that he is going to give me something to relax. Thus, I am asleep by the time he gets the words out of his mouth. While I am asleep he puts blocks in my surgery areas to prevent pain. Thankfully, I am asleep and Frank is in the waiting room. We both saw the four big syringes and the very big needles.

Then everything is foggy and distant as I try to awaken. It took me a while to come to this point... longer to come out of the sleep than it should have.

Nurse Amy propped me up just a little and leaves my bedside. I see the doctor leaving and wave and he waves back. Nurse Amy is propped against a counter writing in a chart. I wonder if she is writing in my chart. Nurse Amy looks towards my way at the machine keeping tabs on my vital signs.

I started to hear different beeps coming from the machine as I started to feel hot. The machine made more strange beeps as I became sweaty. The nurse quickly put the chart down and ran over and laid me flat and started pushing buttons on the machine. She said in a loud voice that my blood pressure was crashing. My blood pressure had dropped from 158/90 to 70/30.

The newbie gal came over to help. She was asked to test my blood sugar. It was okay. My blood pressure went back up. Nurse Amy sat me up some again. I tell her that I really have to pee. She said I'm not allowed to get up yet and will have to use a bedpan. I don't like bedpans. It seemed like forever before the bedpan arrives. Nurse Amy says that me having to pee so badly might have been why I had the episode.

I feel much better having an empty bladder. Nurse Amy tells me she is going out to tell my husband that I am fine. The newbie gal tells me that I was looking better than a few minutes ago when I had so little color she could not see my lips.

Nurse Amy is now talking with someone about photography. She was just beyond the curtain and I had nothing better to do than eavesdrop. When Nurse Amy came back to my bedside checking the vitals machine I told her that I too liked photography. She told me that she rented some really nice lenses when she went to New York City and got some great photos. Umm... I had never thought about renting a lens.

Nurse Amy takes a phone call and goes to the parking lot for just a minute and comes back in with golf clubs and shoes. I thought she said they were for her ten year old son, but the clubs and shoes seemed too large. She tells me of a picture that she took of her son on the golf course... one that I'm sure he finds embarrassing.

It has been a while since the episode... I don't know how much time has passed for no clocks are to be found. Nurse Amy places the shoulder pad on my shoulder that ice water will be pumped through later and tells me she is taking me to a chair. After I get up from the bed and take a few steps I tell her that I need to go to the restroom again. She said that I had gone through three bags of the IV fluids.... so my bladder was filling up fast. She said I was not allowed to walk down the hallway to the restroom, but they had a wheelchair....whee no bedpan!

I come back to a hard recliner covered with a bed sheet and get to sip on Diet Coke. Someone goes and gets Frank and he sits with me. Nurse Amy gets me some saltines to nibble on. Nurse Tammy came in to hook up the pain med pump to my IV tube and explain how it works.... then another episode happens. I get hot sweaty then nauseous and lose the saltines and Diet Coke. I'm surrounded by several people and now have a cool wet washcloth on the back of my neck and one over my eyes. Nurse Amy is writing down blood pressure after blood pressure reading on the bed sheet. Frank stepped behind the curtain so I could be taken care of. This episode passes. Frank, Nurses Amy and Tammy are there.

Nurse Amy is thinking I may have to go to the hospital for the night. She steps out and calls the doctor and he tells her to keep me another hour and if nothing happens I can go home. Of course another trip to the restroom was needed. I did well for the next hour.

Nurse Amy gave instructions on my care when I go home and tells us if another episode happens to go to the hospital. I was released at about 2:30 pm. Nothing exciting happened after we got home... lots of trips to the bathroom. I felt a little queasy and took some Phenergan and along with the pain med pump and my regular meds I slept a few hours... got up for a bathroom visit and the process repeats itself each night. The really bad part is that Frank has to unhook the ice machine each time I have to get up.

The IV tube started holding blood on Friday morning, so the nursing service came and the pain med pump and IV tube were removed. The ice pack, Tylenol and Phenergan along with my normal doses of Lyrica and Zanaflex the pain is very tolerable. Tolerable; until I try and move my arm which is in a sling. The sling does not keep my brain from trying to move my arm.

I am doing well. Frank detaches me from the ice pack machine and I take brief walks around the outside the house. It is so hot outside that the walks have to be brief.

I have a personal chef aka Frank. He has prepared me delicious and nutritious meals. Yesterday it was takeout from the WalMart deli... the cook needs a break sometimes.

I have a personal assistant aka Frank. He has helped me bathe and dress. He has given me my medications and kept track of when I've taken them. He has kept my family and closest friend informed of how I am doing. He has dialed the phone for me, brought me cool beverages and plugged and unplugged the ice pack machine.

Frank has encouraged me and told me many times that we will get through this.... and we will.

This has been written over a couple of days. It is now Wednesday, 24th of June. This morning we visited my surgeon. I am doing well and only need to leave the sling on for comfort. I am to try and stretch my arm in positions to get the stiffness out. The progress is good in this short time. I think I will be able to shower today without Frank's assistance. I am hoping to actually sleep in our bed tonight, but we'll have to see on that.

I go back to the doctor in three weeks. I start physical therapy next Tuesday. I will go twice a week until I'm good as new... which I'm sure won't be long.

It is a sure sign you have been to a place too many times when they get to know you by name. That is the way it is with the physical therapy group we are using. Unfortunately the therapist that worked so well with me has moved on to another job. I'm sure I will do well with whoever I get.

I appreciate everyone's prayers. I am on to a speedy recovery and Frank's Uncle Henry was suppose to come home from the hospital on Monday. Frank will call later to verify that he has.

It will take me a while to catch up with your blogs. I hope to start by tomorrow. It is nice to be back to almost normal.



  1. Nice to hear from you Zaroga. I hope you continue to improve and that this surgery will make you feel so much better. Tell Frank all of your blog friends appreciate him taking such good care of you. You two are very blessed to have one another thru the hard times.

  2. Well, Hi Zaroga! Glad you are back and recovering!! It's so nice that you have Frank for your caregiver! I enjoyed the humor of this writing, although I'm sure it was quite serious at the time. I hope it's not long before you are not only back to normal, but better than ever!
    Hugs and Prayers,

  3. I'm glad your doing well. I've missed you:)

  4. Frank is a keeper :)

    Good to hear from you and sure hope your healing goes fast. Thinking of you and remembering you in my prayers.

  5. I am so glad you are doing better...I hope you don't have any more episodes like that. I'm glad to see you posting again...but take care of yourself and don't overdo it. Let Frank take care of you.

  6. Oh Zaroga! I was worried at first that you should have stayed a bit. I am so glad you are ok.I did the ice thing with my daughters knee surgery. I am also glad to here you have a wonderful hubby. I wish I would have got your phone number. Or gave you mine. Big hug. Blessings to you both.

  7. Glad the surgery is over for you and hope physio helps. Sounds like Frank is doing a great job!

    And your back blogging already! I guess two handed?

  8. So great to hear from you! What progress in just one week. Take it slow (I'm sure you are), and God bless you and your sweetie:)

  9. God bless your recovery from surgery.

  10. Zaroga, so glad to see you again! I hope you start recovering soon. Sounds like you're on the path. Man, you have been through a lot! Take it easy and slow, okay? :)

    Lots of hugs...

    Michelle, Mocha, Quincy and Emma

  11. Hi Zaroga, I don't know how I missed your post about your surgery- I guess when I was not on the computer much during and the week after Amanda's graduation. I kinda did a restful slow-down.

    But not excuse-- I will now be praying for your speedy recovery!:) And it's so wonderful to hear that you are under such capable hands as your hubby! None better- and he cooks- wow- you are blessed!

    Take care and
    God bless you my friend,



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