So sayeth my surgeon! Indeed, last night was not terribly fun. Actually, there were some fun times yesterday, but really, it mostly sucked.
The day started at 5am, and I was hungry and thirsty. I took my second of two pre-op showers using stinky scrub solution. My overall thought for the morning was – I DON’T WANNA!
Then, we made our way to the hospital, where I got admitted. I took off all my clothes and put on a most fashionable paper gown. Then, I went down to the breast center where a radioactive dye was injected into my breast so that the sentinel nodes could be located. At this point, a caffeine deprivation headache began to develop. Then, I went to imaging, where images of the sentinel nodes were taken (not always successful – success for me – yay!). Then, back upstairs, where they put in the evil hand IV (hurts, especially when you’re dehydrated). Then, off to surgery, where they did the bilateral mastectomy and sentinel node biopsies.
I guess I came out of the anesthesia pretty fast. The very kranky recovery room nurse told me that people don’t usually remember the recovery room. True, there were things I didn’t remember, like telling my surgeon how fucked up I felt (in a drunken sort of a way) or the extubation (thank goodness!), but I sure as heck remember her kranky butt! And I remember the patient next door was really struggling, and I felt really bad for her. I also remember wanting to see Cheryl and that the kranky nurse was annoyed that I asked when I could see Cheryl.
I remember being transported up to my room, and Cheryl was there within seconds of my arrival. I actually felt pretty good for a few hours… and then started to feel tired. I’m sure there was some drug in there that started wearing off at that point. Couple of friends came for short visits, which was very cool… I had some delicious jamba juice… YUM! Thanks Kathryn!
But then there was the attempt to sleep. Forget about it! Hospital rooms are full of noise and lights, some of which blink nonstop, and all sorts of anti-sleep things beeping and so on. I did have a drain issue in the middle of the night – eeeewwwwww!!! But that was resolved relatively easily.
The biggest problem was the caffeine headache. And by headache, I mean a headache that made all the other pain pale in comparison. Unfortunately, the pain med for the surgery didn’t touch the headache. Eventually, the nurse gave me something specifically for the headache, but it never really went away… I wasn’t really sure whether it was a caffeine headache or a side effect from anesthesia or whatever… Until…. This morning, when I had the delicious latte brought by Cheryl, my headache was completely gone within 30 minutes.
Note to self – if I ever end up in the hospital again, have caffeine as soon as possible, even if it’s late in the afternoon or even in the evening!
Another problem was the need to pee nearly every hour. They really load you up with the fluids during surgery and after. I haven’t peed for about an hour and a half – whoa….
OH YEAH – and during the sentinel node biopsy, the surgeon uses a blue dye to confirm the locations of the nodes imaged using the radioactive dye… LOTS of blue dye, apparently. My first pee was soooooo blue – it literally looked like ink. NUTTY! After about two liters of peeing… my pee had returned to a more normal color.
Anyway, once the horrid headache was fully resolved, I started to feel like going home was realistic. And – viola! Here I am. Home with Cheryl… Tre will be home from school soon. Cheryl just made me some food – actually, she made herself some food… and I wanted some, so she literally gave me her bowl of food… and went back to the kitchen to make herself another (thanks sweetie)….
It seems that bilateral mastectomy WITHOUT the immediate placement of tissue expanders is MUCH EASIER than with the immediate placement of tissue expanders. One of the nurses was telling us that people who get those often stay three days in the hospital and have more pain than I did.
Anyway, I’m glad to be home, where the internets are reliable and supposedly secure and there are not beeping and blinking things all over the place… Glad to be home. Pain totally under control. Headache completely resolved. Food I actually like eaten up…. Yup – home is good.