Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm back, y'all!

Well. It's been kind of an interesting summer.

On the first weekend in July, Mr. Nerd and I were looking forward to our upcoming week of vacation. That Friday night, dinner out at a Mexican restaurant for my aunt's birthday left me with a terrible stomachache. By Saturday afternoon, the stomach pain sent me to the local walk-in clinic, which sent me to the ER for a CT scan. I had suspected appendicitis, and the walk-in clinic folks agreed; when the ER doctor walked into my room looking really freaked out, however, I knew something else was up. He told me that my CT scan showed several masses in my abdomen...and then he wasn't the only who looked freaked out. After that, Mr. Nerd and I spent our week of vacation going to various doctor's and testing appointments, and trying to have a bit of fun when we could. One of the blood tests checked for cancer markers in my blood, and it came back elevated. I saw a gynecologic oncologist, who reassured me that it might not actually be cancer, and scheduled me for surgery.

So, two weeks ago today, I had major surgery to remove a whole mess o' lady parts. It turned out that everything was okay--no cancer whatsoever! Obviously, I am incredibly thankful that everything is going to be fine. I am currently sitting at home, trying to combat boredom, and doing the required four- to six-week recuperation period.

This whole thing is so new to me--I've never had surgery, spent the night in the hospital, or really had any medical problems, except for a bout of scarlet fever when I was little. I was pretty nervous going into the surgery, but, for the most part, being in the hospital wasn't too bad. With the following exceptions.

Your modesty suffers
I am modest. Nearly to the point of prudishness. I've heard many mothers claim that, once you've gone through the process of labor and birth, you lose all modesty. Well, I've never had kids, I hate discussing my (ahem) personal business with anyone, and being in the hospital was just mortifying because of it. It was not at all unusual to have a perky patient care tech bop into my room and ask several embarrassingly personal questions (in front of various family members, deacons from my church, whomever): "Ms. Absepa? Are you peeing? Have you passed gas yet? Would you like a stool softener?" Cripes, people. Couldn't you write me a note? Or at least whisper? And that doesn't even begin to cover the mortification I felt anytime someone wanted to take a look at my incision, which is on my lower, lower, LOWER abdomen. Mortified, I tell you.

They might kill you trying to take blood
I did not sleep the first night in the hospital. At all. Any time I started to doze off, someone popped in to check my vitals, IV, incision (gah!), etc., etc. So naturally, after my sleepless night, a girl showed up to take 4am. I am not kidding. She made two tries on my right arm, but came up with less than a thimbleful of blood, probably because I was so dehydrated. (No food or liquids after midnight before the surgery; ice chips only until late afternoon; and clear liquids for supper. I truly thought I was going to turn into a human-shaped tumbleweed and just blow away.) At 5am, she came back, and took a stab (well, two) at my right hand. She was getting mad by this time, sweating and growling at my uncooperative veins. She finally gave up, threw me a disgusted look, and left. ANOTHER girl showed up at 5:45, and went to work on my left hand. Apparently the additional thimbleful that she was able to extract was enough, because they left me alone after that. I came home looking like I had gone a couple of rounds in fight club.

Some medical procedures are just evil
While I was in the operating room (but, thank God, after I was asleep), the doctors set me up with a Foley catheter. If anyone ever tries to do that to you, RUN as far and as fast as you can. This was, by far, the worst part of my surgery experience. As the nurses explained to me, your bladder can kind of "forget" how to do its thing after you've had a catheter. Well, mine forgot for a while, and it was no picnic. Things went on for so long that the nurse was on the phone with my doctor (talking about putting the evil thing back IN), when my bladder suddenly came to its senses and did what it was supposed to do. A huge relief, in every sense of the word.

Honestly, although I'm making fun, everyone at the hospital was really nice. I have been blessed with a smooth recovery and not too much pain. And Mr. Nerd is totally jealous that I get to sit at home, waste time on the Internet, and nap whenever I want. All things considered, I'm feeling pretty grateful lately. And glad to be back to my blog.


Junk Drawer Kathy said...

Oh, boy, and are we glad to have you back! You were sorely missed.

I'm so thrilled to hear no cancer, which I'm sure will make you forget all about your lady part invasions during your stay.

My niece just had surgery and her catheter is the worst part of recovery, so I don't doubt for a minute that is no fun at all. I'm so happy your bladder finally cooperated. I think it was scared.

So glad you are on the mend. I say milk the downtime for all its worth. I'd do the same.

Welcome back, my dear.

cardiogirl said...

Um, that's terrifying, absepa. So relieved to hear that there's no cancer.

I also had a catheter once in my life and gah, the feeling of constantly feeling like you're p*ssing yourself sucks. I. HATED. THAT. THING.

Like anyone is going to say, "Yeah, the catheter was awesome. I could drink as much as I wanted without having to get off the bed. Sweet. Now pass the Diet Coke."

Welcome back!

absepa said...

Kathy: Thanks! It is nice to be able to take a nap in the afternoon if I want. They kind of frown on that at my office. :)

CG: "The feeling of constantly p*ssing yourself" describes it exactly! It was even worse when I was up walking around, which they wanted me to do as much as possible. HATED it.