Monday, October 22, 2007

Waking up from surgery 1 month ago

Today is the original date my surgery was to be scheduled. However, due to the onset of trigeminal neuralgia on September 11th the surgery was moved to an immediate date of September 24th at about 3 pm.

I remember waking that evening to a convulsing, shivering body and vomiting violently. I recall medical staff rushing around my body while Harley and our friend KC stood by trying to help. Then I recall looking at the clock and a time after 10 pm (in my mind somewhere around 10:25 pm sticks in my mind). Things are vague but I do remember that I did not like waking up in that state. From what I was told I was yelling that I wanted to go home. Because I was sick, I was kept in the recovery room for a couple hours before being moved to ICU. My mom said when the nurse called I was yelling so loud that she could not hear her over the phone.

Harley stayed until about 3 pm (normally family is not allowed in ICU after 8 pm but we got around that). Apparently I must have been out of it because I awoke alone, sick, and in ICU when nobody was there. Prior to the surgery I was worried about this happening as it is not abnormal for me to wake in the middle of the night.

It was rough. Imagine not being able to hear anything, waking up and being horribly sick, your throat is totally dry from not drinking anything in over 12 hours and a breathing tube down your airway for 6 hours, and then what seems like time standing still on a clock in the middle of the night.

I don't know if I pressed the call button. I may have been too weak to. I could see the window to the nurses' station adjacent to my room. I think I just yelled. It does not seem like I slept at all. It was such a long night.

I recall begging for ice chips and for the nurse to write to me on the paper pad as I could not hear and she kept speaking to me. It was just so horrible. I pleaded with her again for both and she wrote to me that I had to stop yelling. Then she finally brought the ice chips and wrote to me that she could not give them to me before because I was sick and needed medicine. I remember getting upset in my mind because the ice chips came with a spoon which dropped on my bed. I had read in a report on hospitals prior to the surgery that germs are on bedding and reusing utinsels which have touched the blankets can encourage infection. Yet I was so damn thirsty that I finally gave up getting a new one and just said the heck with it and used it.

Everyone appeared to move in slow motion on the ICU floor. It seemed to take a long time for anyone to come and when I did see them through the doorway and window they would pass by without any urgency. I must have kept yelling as finally some man wandered into my room and wrote to me "What do you need?". I have to admit that the question totally threw me! I could not stand how sick I was and wanted to be knocked out of my misery. I do not even know what my response was.

Unfortunately there was no putting me out. I think they must need to keep you alert to monitor you. I really am unsure. I was expecting to sleep through it all which never happened. Being awake through it all was unbearable. I just kept looking at the clock while the tinnitus vibrated through my skull. It was so loud in my brain that I forgot I was deaf and thought I was hooked up to all these noisy machines that I wanted to stop so I would get some peace and rest.

Again I begged the nurse. I pleaded with her to please write to me and tell me what was going on. I wanted to know when I could have visitors and see my husband and my family again. I told her I needed to know so I had something to hang on for. And from that moment on I watched the clock and waited. The image of them arriving and me getting out of there is what kept me holding on. At one point I felt so sick and the tinnitus resonated so loudy through my head that I prayed the "Our Father" out loud.

I was so incredibly relieved when told that I was getting out of ICU that morning. A wave of comfort overcame me when my sister showed up and told me that my room out of ICU was ready and I was to be moved. Even though I was still very nauseous and had double vision, the news was all I needed to hear to have a glimmer of hope.

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