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Posts tagged “holiday

Slice and Dice With Minions – Part Dos

Ah my friends, I have returned, later than planned, but back nonetheless. It’s early morn on Christmas eve, and I am still a little amped up from crafting like a loon as if I could ever finish everything I want to before Christmas day. As we know I am a grasshopper in all things. I did however, finish a project for the tree I have moved from project box to project box for two years now, so I’m kinda stoked. Now the tree just has to go up. Again, another attempt to get Christmas right gone awry because of the stupid pufferfish — which leads us to today’s entry where the minion encounters the pufferfish for herself in the operation remove and apparently realizes that I wasn’t kidding about the torture it was inflicting on me.

When last I wrote, I left you with a cliffhanger about how I was going to see Dr. K on Monday to discuss the future of pufferfish residing in its pouch. I hope you googled pouch of Douglas so you can visualize the pain I endured from leaving the ER and enduring the rest of the week lying on my side because it was no longer possible to sit or stand for very long after that no good horrible very bad day. Monday arrives and Andy drives me to my appointment. LONGEST hour of my life. Every bump stung. We could not get there fast enough. I am sure Andy was doing at least 80 but it felt like 40mph, and every stupid person who could possibly be on the road was on in front of us slowing us down. I get to the appointment. Dr. K is running late. I can’t sit. It hurts too much, so I am standing and pacing and squirming and just generally miserable. Did I mention by this time I have also run out of percocet? Yes, well I was out on Saturday. I have seriously pondered removing this thing myself. FINALLY my name is called. I jump on the scale, and guess what? I am down 30lbs. Since October. Being unable to eat has its benefits. Onto the exam room.

Again, no one is taking my pain as seriously as I am, even when I tell the nice nurse I am at an 8, pushing a 9 on the 1-10 pain scale. I am lying down on my side on the exam table, my blood pressure is “going to pop a blood vessel” level. I am rocking and crying and waiting for Dr. K. He will save me. He arrives. I blubber about how this is now unbearable and I cannot go on, this monster has to come out. He nods and says, yes, I agree. Finally!!! Someone is taking me seriously. He’s gong to get me on the surgery schedule for tomorrow. YAY!!! And even though this means I cannot have anything to eat or drink from now until after I am gutted, I am elated. I would not eat for weeks if it meant I was going to have some relief. Whatever it takes, I tell him, just get it out of me. I pause in my blubbering to complain about his new associate and the minions and how they wanted to keep me overnight on psych hold and how his associate should never ever use the words sympathize and/or empathize ever again because she is clueless about what my pain was like and it came off as cold and uncaring, and they sent me home in the exact same pain I arrived in. And also, please let them know I know the difference between “the pufferfish is trying to assassinate me” and “constipation”. So there.

I meet with the necessary folks to get all my surgical ducks in a row and get some sodas and water from the kind nurse Sue. She’s the best. They will call me with a time for the surgery tomorrow. No more eating and no drinking anything after midnight. Fine, what ever, just give me another ‘script for the happy opiates and I’m on my way. Oh wait, you need to go to anesthesia. No, not them, Dr. Doogie will say I have a heart murmur again. Damn. Okay fine. Whatever it takes to be released from my bonds of pain.

I go find Andy in the parking lot and give him the news. Now we have a dilemma. Do I go home, an hour away and usually 20 degrees colder than Hershey with a winter storm pending, and risk having to drive at a super early hour to the hospital in snowstorm, or do I stay in Hershey? It seems logical I stay here. I have clothes in the car since the ER trip. I have friends I could call and stay with, but with a storm swirling off the coast, I don’t want to inconvenience anyone, so I decided to book a room. I get one at the Simmons Motel which I will plug here as a very nice, quaint, clean and comfy room and a 50’s feel and a super soft bed. And quiet except for the damn train. But I am getting derailed. (see what I did there?) In the meantime, Andy makes arrangements for his friend Tom to pick me up and get me to the hospital in the morning so he doesn’t have to come down and just sit around all day. Now some may say it’s odd that I don’t want anyone with me – but frankly, it’s easier to be by yourself, in my opinion, you don’t have to make anyone feel OK, and comfort them. You can just get shit take care of. We go hang out with Tom for a while, I get my pain under control with some medication, and head back to anesthesia. I meet with the goofy anesthesiology associate – I think you have to be a bit odd to work in that department or working in that department makes you a bit odd, because she asks me this litany of questions but doesn’t put down the answers as I tell her as I find out later. She asks me about my “heart murmur” and I ask her to keep reading so she can see that I had an expensive EKG after that diagnosis, and that there was no heart murmur. Her response? Oh, right I see that now. Then she asks me about my anemia following my surgery. I tell her continue reading, so she can see that I lost a ridiculous amount of blood from my tumor and that once I got some blood bags hooked up, anemia gone. Again, Oh right, I can see that. Then she asks me about my thyroid. Again. I tell her to read ahead, and again, she sees the answer I was going to give her. It takes forever. I want out . I just want to go to the hotel and sleep until I get the call. Let me go. Please. Finally, she leaves and the Dr. comes in. She checks to see that I am still breathing and I still have a heart. I sign the papers. I get to leave. I go to the hotel and check in and send Andy on his way. All is going to well, see you in two days. We hug, and give the usually mother/son affection. I tell him, no worries not gonna die.

I find that my surgery is scheduled for noon. Oh good, I could have gone home – but hell, the room was only $50, I don’t have to worry about being tempted by food or drink because I have none, and I can just lie there, in an opiate haze and do my bowel prep. Those of you with previous abdominal area surgeries or in the medical profession will understand that this means a lot of time running back and forth to the bathroom, typically in the middle of the night. I drift in an out of pain riddled sleep, literally counting the hours until I will be rid of this nightmare inside. I finally doze off for a few solid hours until BOOM. The medication for the bowel prep sends me running to the bathroom. Now the fun starts for the next 4 hours. I get through night, and though I’d like to remain in this super soft and comfy bed, I have to go. Tom comes and picks me up and takes me to the hospital around 10, because he is squeezing me in between work, and I wait. Counting. I am all checked in and they tell me a volunteer will come get me when I need to go to the surgical wing. I am stoked because I can then get a wheelchair ride instead of having to make that long walk. I connect to the free wifi, and get down to the business of saving baby pandas from the mean dragon. I will save you baby pandas.

Noon. Gee, all the volunteers have gone home, so here’s a map and off you go to same-day surgery, ma’am. What? I have to take myself? No wheelchair. Walk? Oh fine, and I head off. (please make no mistake, I love Hershey Med Center, they are awesome and I would not go elsewhere for my health care) I get to the elevators when I encounter on of the Sons of Anarchy Pennsylvania motorcycle club members. I can tell this by his hoodie, that reads “Sons Of Anarchy – Pennsylvania.” He has a pager. He must be a MD too. Why else would he have a pager, being in a biker club? He notices my Spamalot t shirt I am wearing from the musical. He shares with me that Spamalot is one of his favorite musicals too. If only I wasn’t about to have surgery, I may have just met my soul mate, a biker who loves musical and is clearly a doctor to boot! But as my luck would have it, after we exit the elevator on the surgical wing, he turns left and I go right, and our potential love affair is over. Sigh.

At the unit, I am escorted to my prep area and given a gown and some special washing clothes to prepare. The nurse shows me the chart and tells me how to wipe down for surgery and says when it comes to doing my back, ring for her and she will do it for me. I do that and a different nurse comes back to help. I tell her what I need, and she says to open the last package, place the pad against the wall and rub up and down against it like a bear scratching its back on a tree. I look at her surprised, about to question her, but still ready to follow her instructions, when she says, “just kidding”. I laugh with her and said that I guess they have to get their fun anyway they can, and she said she was gonna see if I was going to do it, but she decided against it. I told her had she not stopped me I probably would. I hope on the bed and entangle myself in my blankets and listen to an Anxious and Angry episode on my iPod I guess my laughing to myself troubled the nurse and one comes to hang out with me and get all my vitals and shit. She hangs out for a while, and finally I am ready for the big surgery, when they ask where my ride home is. I said I am not going home til tomorrow, and she’s all – well it says here that you are going home after surgery – I look at her and say, uh no. That’s not what the Dr. said. She leaves to go get that worked out. Time check. 2:20PM. Technically I am supposed to be in the ER in ten minutes. She comes back to assure me that I am indeed staying overnight and informs me that surgery is running about 45 minutes late. I tell her it’s cool, I was a last minute add on, and as long as the pufferfish is dealt with, I will wait. I pick a movie to watch on Netflix and wait.

3:45. Still waiting. Me and another woman are the only people left in this holding area. She’s crying and whimpering, and I am am just happy that gutting will occur. 4:30. I’m on my way. Next stop the OR. I tell the operating room nurses that they better keep Dr. K focused and don’t let him mess around, I want be in and out and in recovery before the Season Finale of SOA at 10pm, so no dilly-dallying around in there. They assure me they will keep in him in line and before you know it, I am waking up in the recovery room to another nurse asking me if I want ginger ale. And this Mennonite lady in a rocking chair smiling at me. I wasn’t sure what was going on at first and then I slipped into full awareness once I noticed there was no pain. JELLO!!! I could have JELLO!!! It’s JELLO heaven. I immediately order up a few orange jellos and some water and eat like I haven’t eaten in days. Oh wait I haven’t eaten in days. I inhale the JELLO and begin to keep the nurses and the nice Mennonite lady in stitches with my sense of humor until they determine I can go to secondary recovery down the hall. The doctor will see me then. My “sister” Paige calls me and we chit chat for a bit as the anesthesia wears off. I assure her I am fine, and think about getting more jello. The little boy in bed across from me belongs to the Mennonite woman, and needs to go to the NICU, but there’s a problem getting enough people to help transport him – I tell my nurse she can go help, I have things under control, I’ll be fine. She is about to do when word comes down, I’m off to the next stage of recover and away we go. At this point I realize I still have a catheter. I am not please by this. I ask for its immediate removal. Denied.

I get settled in my room. I have some sort of inflatable bed. It’s very comfy. I have the special massaging boots I love so much on, and my phone. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is about to start and I can have all the Jello I want, and when I am ready, even a sandwich. I make sure I am not dead, because it seems like heaven. Especially the no pain part. No pain. Did I mention NO MORE PAIN. I get a new nurse. Like all of the nurses, she is super nice. She tells me I am staying there all night as there’s been some sort of influx of patients on the Women’s Health wing and there’s no room for me there. I see all kinds of people walking the halls – they aren’t stuck with a catheter. I ask again for mine to come out. Wish Granted. I am even allowed out of bed. I get up and head to the bathroom, just for fun. I have no pain. I am so happy I can’t even explain. I jump back in bed, watch the final episode of SOA, call Andy and eventually get my sandwich. I take several trips to the bath room, roam the halls for a while and finally fall asleep around 2 am. I still have no pain. If I didn’t know better, I’d say I’m still not awake and this is all a dream.

I get up around 6 when the female minion arrives. I remind her that in the ER she said she said she would not be gutting me. I ask her what happened in the ER, because none of the nurses knew the exact details. She tells me that they went in, it was hard to get to, they just drained it and did a bunch of biopsies. I ask about the C monster due to the what I read in the CT scan and she tells me that they are pretty positive that things were normal, but they won’t know until the reports come back, because you can’t tell those things with human eyes. I ask where Dr. K is. She tells me they will be back between 8 and 9 to discharge me. At this point I am starting to think he called it in, and let her do the surgery because I didn’t see him before surgery or in recovery and now he’s sent her in here and I am not even sure he didn’t go back to Disneyland. But I’ll wait to see.

I alert Andy to come fetch me. I am starting to have pain from surgery but not pufferfish brutality. I am told to wean of the perocet first and then the morphine. I get up and head to the bathroom to produce enough pee to be allowed to go home. After succeeding in that area, I am provided with a delightful breakfast of eggs with salsa. I can’t really eat, but I try. The nice nurse who was with me through the night tells me that Dr. K and the minion aren’t coming back but I can go home. I find this odd, and now I am sure he is just a figment of my imagination, but I am going home. I get freed from all of the IV tubes and machines and dress to go home. Run to the bathroom again. When I get back Andy has arrived. I am free to go. Still no pain. It’s a early December miracle. The minion comes back with my note for work, and a pretty prescription for percocet and I am turned out into the cold. Andy and I head home, after stopping for chinese and a chocolate croissant. I am cured.

This brings us to today. The pufferfish remains. He is still under the watchful eye of Dr. K and my close monitoring of my body. There are more tests to be run, but I remain pain free. I am weaned off the morphine (yay) – I have no debilitating pain – I had my one week check up – wounds are healing very slowly, and there was a lot of bruising inside and out. My incision did not start spouting fluid like they did during the last surgery. I can eat a little and sleep a lot. I have lost 40lbs now. Things are looking okay, but I cannot go back to work until the 6th after my 4 week check up and I can’t lift things. This means no holiday baking, not decorating, and only doing things that require sitting or lying down. I drove the car to the Dr. yesterday – I am still recovering from that, but the bottom line is I am recovering and will be able to enjoy the holiday with NO PAIN.
And that my friends, it the second part of the story. I will relay the story of my one week check up at a later date, but it involves minion 2 (the male one). It’s time now for me to return to watching White Christmas and sleeping. Have an awesome holiday and be sure to savor every minute you are with those you love. Eat, drink and be merry. I know I will be when I am gnawing on the bone of my rib roast on Thursday. Tomorrow (actually today) is the annual family Christmas eve dinner. Pictures will be forthcoming and I bought a special surprise that will bring joy to the hearts of many and make the family photo spectacular. I will share that debacle with you all later. Merry Christmakwanzakuh. I hope it’s all you wish for an more.

The Christmas That Didn’t Suck

It really didn’t. It was almost good.

Now, I know I had you all amped up for a wretched tale of drama, sorrow, and treachery about Christmas Eve with my family. I mean, I know I had a serious fear of what was coming and I should be used to it by now, but much to my pleasant surprise, it was pretty ok. It was not without some sniping, but all in all, there were no tears, no obnoxious drunkenness, and with the addition of my crab curry, food was pretty good.

And there was reconciliation. For which I was pretty glad. And for my new hot dog toaster. Because I didn’t know I needed one until I actually had one in my sights. That was my Christmas gift. Then we came home before things got too out of hand.

Andy and I were going to do mother/son bonding and decorate the tree together. So he went upstairs to check his phone and when I asked him to bring down the star and other box of decorations at 11:15PM, he said yes, and then next I saw him was 3:35AM. But whatever, I decorated most of the tree, and we had a tree up and Santa slung some things under it for Andy.

Christmas day was super quiet. No family but me and the boy, and he went out to a concert that night so it was just me. So yeah, sorry to let you down. The boy even made brownies. Which were more delicious than usual. And while it was a major plus for me, for you it sucks because there’s no humor in it.

But I do not want to disappoint completely, so here’s the story of last Dr. visit. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll have sleepless nights. And all because – I went to see a new PCP. Because I guess I should have one. And I needed a flu shot. Because I like pain. Emotional, psychological and physical pain. Which I guess is the real reason I went to see a PCP in the first place.

As I skid into the parking lot, because I am sure that the appointment time that I forgot to write down and didn’t remember until last night, is 1:40P. Woot woot. I am only 5 minutes late. I get redirected to my pod area, and enter the bright cheery waiting room with fish decals all over the wall. You know, to make you feel you are in a fish tank, being stared at by strangers. Exposed on all sides. Kind of like how it will feel in the exam room. So perhaps this is subtle desensitization? Or maybe there are kids who need to see the Dr? Perhaps, but aside from me, it appears the waiting room is full of fake fish and very old people. Who may or may not see the fish. The receptionist/desk person reminds me of my Aunt Julie. She also lets me know that my appointment is not until 2. I can resume breathing – well, shall we say, stop breathing so heavily? Because I am, from run-walking to the office. She does not appear to be thrilled with working, but she does it none the less. I am afraid to touch anything and eager to get back to my hand sanitizer. It’s not that the office appears unsanitary. It’s very clean, even the wall fish. But you know how old people are, what with germs and all.

I fill out a questionnaire. You know the usual, the-whole-write-your-whole-life-down-on-this paper-that no-one-will-really-look-at. They will ask you the questions when you see them in person and no matter what you wrote down, they will not even look at the paper. I want to write down hallucinations, tail, third eye, delusions, inappropriate laughter and elephantiasis as my presenting symptoms. Arsenic poisoning. Viper bite. Whatever, you are still gonna ask me what’s wrong no matter what I put down.

The summons comes. I go merrily to the scale. I get measured. It says I am an inch shorter than I was last year, and now two inches shorter than I was two years ago. I believe it is wrong. I get weighed. Verdict? FAT. Yep. Just write that down. FAT. Or REALLY FAT. FATTER THAN LAST TIME. It really doesn’t matter at this point. It won’t be going down anytime soon, maybe by the next appointment, but with cookies, ham and candy on the horizon for the holiday, it isn’t gonna be in the next few days. So yeah, write that down and let’s move on. On to the exam room.

I don’t have to undress. There will be no prodding. Hurray! Why am I here? Well, I quip, Ebola or black death, some sort of plague, not really sure. No, really, just to establish a PCP. I will one day have to part ways with my gynecological oncologist, and radiation oncologist, and endocrinologist and treatment team, so you’ll be stuck with me. Some day, I will need someone to just give me a Z-pak instead of irradiate or poison me. And that is what brings me here today. And flu shot. I need to lose the use of one of my arms for a few days in the name of not getting sick. Then the litany of questions. I answer them all appropriately. Then temp and blood pressure. Blood pressure’s a little high. Okay, more than just a little BUT I was rushing around, I’m stressed about work, I ate a bag of chips on the way in, drank a cup of coffee and rushed in here after speeding down here so I wouldn’t be late and then you weighed me and I discovered that I’m STILL FAT, and you want me to be calm? Let me meditate for five minutes, and we’ll be normal again. Okay, fine. Send the Dr. in.

I wait. Not long, For in enters Dr. Doogie Howser’s younger sister, Doogette Howser. My new Dr. (If you have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll recall my encounter w/ Dr. Doogie Howser, the young anesthesiologist who discovered my non-existent heart murmur before the gutting – I did not know he had a sister) Dr. Doogette seems nice. She pops open her laptop and starts to ask me questions. You know, the questions on the paper, and the questions I just answered for the nurse. She seems nervous. I am absolutely positive my electronic chart says this patient has no uterus, I think I wrote down hysterectomy, cancer, etc. etc. on my paper and told that to the nurse who I watched type it into the magic chart, JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO. Wanna guess what the next question was? Go ahead. Give it a shot. It’s my favorite question, the one I get asked when no one reads my chart. Give up? Already? Okay, here goes : When was your last period? What is regular? HELOOOOO, no girlie parts, no period. Even if you were really asking the date, I think the fact that I was opened like a giant pumpkin and carved for the entertainment of a surgical team and had all the parts that once had seeds taken out and put in little jars or plastic bags or Tupperware for further dissection kind of says that that last period probably wasn’t normal. Really? You just asked me that? Um, hello, two years ago, GUTTED. No female apparatus, no uterus to shed a lining. Move on.

Next question. Do you know you are FAT? Why, yes, I’ve noticed. Would you like to change that? Why, yes, I believe I would. What three small changes could you make to your lifestyle to start changing that? The answer I want to give is Ritalin, Vyvanse, Adipex. But I think she means stop eating ice cream for dinner. Let me interject here and say, I know everything I need to know about losing weight and getting healthy – I am capable. Right now, I have an emotional attachment to my blubber layer and until I feel I don’t need it, I am not going to let it go. But sure, I’ll play along. I think I will give up lattes. And eat breakfast, I’ll do that. We spend an inordinate amount of time talking about my diet. I know it sucks, how about we give me that flu shot, and let me get to Hardee’s for some onion rings?

Now we’ll talk about the blood pressure. It seems high to her. I know, I usually run a little high. This is not as high as I have seen it. If you take it again, I am sure it will have gone down. It’s not usually this high. But Dr. D. says, it was this high in July 2013. Yes, I say, it was – that was the day it was taken by the furiously mean auto-blood-pressure machine in radiation oncology. It is a torture device. Just being near it makes my blood pressure high. They took it later and it was fine, but of course, that’s not in the chart. Hey, wait a second, the only reason you knew that was because you looked at my chart. So wait, you know what my blood pressure was in July, but you don’t notice that a huge clump of my internal organs were unceremoniously removed? Um, ok.

Dr. D. excuses herself. She will go confer with the attending. I think my diagnosis is fat. She vanishes. After a while, okay, 40 minutes, the nurse comes back to stab me with the needle. She then retakes my blood pressure. It’s 20 points lower. She assures me Dr. Doogette will be right back to me. 30 minutes later, she’s back. With the attending. The attending introduces herself and tells me Dr. D will be discussing my weight and blood pressure with me. Then she leaves. Dr. D now turns to me and says, well we talked about diet, you will get some blood work and we will now put you on high blood pressure meds.

No, no we will not, Dr. D. No more meds today. You met me one time. I have no other symptoms of hypertension. Oh, swollen ankles? It’s 4 pm. I ate chips. I have been driving all day and then sitting in here for almost 2 hours. No, you do not get to say that I certifiably have high blood pressure after meeting me one time. I am not questioning your diagnostic ability, I just believe that before you have me swallowing another set of pills each day, you see me at least a second time. I have as much access to my medical chart as you do, and I have seen a Dr at least every 3 months for the last two years. In fact, I’ve seen them sometimes as much as twice a week. I think if they were not concerned and they see me that often, maybe we should see how this plays out in a month. So go back and tell the attending I said no.

She does. They will agree if I agree to check my blood pressure every day. Of course I will. Sure. First thing. And I’m lying, but hey, if you feel better, you can believe that. I’ll come back in a month, we’ll have this conversation again then. In the mean time, I’ve got a few weeks to meditate and get it where it should be. And you have time to read my chart. All of it. I have to do a survey for Dr. Doogette. I like her, she is nice and answered all my questions. There is no spot to guess her age. I say 15. All I know is that I wanted to give her a sticker that says “good job” on my way out. And maybe a note to her mother on her performance today.

I go back in January. So please, hang on every day between now and then, until I can write the sequel. I have a mammogram that same day, so we’re talking good times. Nothing like a good boob smash and interrogation to end the week on. I go back to work on Monday. Then my excessive blogging should end because I’ll be too tired at the end of the day to do anything besides fall asleep with the lap top on my lap. Thanks for traveling with me today blogsketeers. But now, stuffed with cookies and curry, I must sleep. If you want to see the pictures from Christmas, they are on my facebook page. Bon Soir.