Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 -- More Drama!

Hello Bloggy!

Yes, far be it from me to have a quiet week... any week! There's always some drama going on! Well, after the surgery, which should be enough drama in anyone's life, I come back home which has got to be better than suffering in agony at the hospital. I still can't get over the fact I couldn't get anyone to hear me, when I say I'm in pain... then listen people, I'm in pain!! I think the medical profession, no matter what position, has gotten so used to hearing people complain about pain that they no longer listen... and that is a sad state of affairs. Ok, granted, I realize that there are people who will complain over a hangnail or a paper cut... and they will whimper and complain as if this is a life-threatening situation... so I can understand where the doctors and nursing staff tend to turn a blind eye... but to the point that everyone who complains is obviously guilty of whining and sniveling over "nothing"??

Ok... so what was my next drama?? It happened yesterday, Tuesday afternoon. I had called my doctor on Monday to tell him that I had about 10 or more staples in my 4 small laproscopic incisions and they were suppose to come out a week after the surgery... which would have made them due to come out on Monday.. the day I was calling. The only catch, contrary to popular belief and the fact a whole week had passed, I was still in intense pain and there was no way I could get up to his office to see him and have him take out the staples. No problem... he will come over to my apartment on Tuesday, around noon. Problem solved.

So, sure enough, he came over but it was closer to 12:45pm... which now has put him behind schedule since he has an appt. at 1:00pm back in the office. Anywho... he did take the staples out and I was trying to explain to him my trials and tribulations of the last week... meanwhile, each staple he plucked out really hurt! Especially from the larger of the four incisions. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!! And I don't think he was really listening to my complaints of the past week because he was in a hurry to get back to the office.

So, he left and I ended up falling asleep because I do get tired pretty easily. I woke up about 2 hours later, and with a little difficulty (because of the pain factor), I got out of bed and went over to the mirror. I thought I should check the incisions to see if I should put on a light dressing or if they were all looking fairly dry and having them uncovered would be best. Well, I'm not sure if any of you can imagine this... imagine as you touch the area, before your very eyes the longest incision just up and opens up... so now you are looking at a gaping hole. HELLO??? 8 days of staples and it's as if not a bit of healing had happened!

Well, you will be proud to know I did not panic :) It was more like, "Well, sheeeeeit! What more can happen???" I figured that this isn't something I should now just slap a dressing on... I better go to Emergency and have them deal with it. So, I called Mimi upstairs and asked her if Nathan took their vehicle to work or not... turns out he hadn't. So I asked her if she would take me to St. Paul's Emergency just up the street? Of course she would! I told her to give me a few minutes... that I wanted to change into more suitable PJs for going to the hospital. Also, Toby and Bridget were out for their afternoon hiking adventure so I had to make Bridget's dinner and leave a note for Toby to explain where I was and for her to feed Bridget when she got home :)

Of course, now it meant having to go down the 9 stairs and then into Mimi's vehicle. It is a small van, so we took a Rubbermaid step stool that I have. Considering the pain I was in (nothing to do with the incision), I was very pleased with how I managed to get down the flight of stairs... and then into the van. Once in the van, I changed our plans... let's go to Emergency at VGH rather than St. Paul's since VGH is obviously going to have the latest medical reports on moi since I was there last week for the surgery that caused this incision.

Well, as is known in Emergency units across the continent... the US and Canada, there is nothing "emergency" about them. You KNOW you are going to have to sit and wait! So, I am glad I brought my book (still reading Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett). There was a LOT of waiting around before I was actually seen by anyone.

4 hours later, the end result was they agreed that the incision was now open and that there was nothing that could be done about it. Apparently, once an incision is open after having been stapled or stitched... they can't re-do the staples or stitches. The doctor had a nurse put teri-tape strips across the wound/incision and apply a light dressing. I can change the dressing as needed (IE: after a shower should it get wet). Obviously, I won't be allowing the shower water to hit directly on the area, but should it get damp, then I would change it to keep the area dry.

So, I then called Mimi and told her I was ready to be picked up... and she hopped in her van and came back to pick me up. By the time I got home, I was tired... but more so, I think I was tired from the pain, not anything else!

This morning, I woke up and felt a lot better. We shall see if this lasts through the day. But the pain this morning appears to be in just one area. Does this mean the worst is over??? Keep your fingers crossed and those positive thoughts coming in that we are seeing the end of the pain!!

Dad is coming over this morning to check up on me. I'm not sure if I have time to have a nap before he gets here or not ... we'll see :)

Ciao for now!


Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday, July 7th, 2008 -- I'm HOOOOOOME!

Bloggy, I'm hooooome!!

Yes, I'm home and what an experience this has been. Since I can only sit for very short periods of time, I'm not going to be able to go into any big detail of this past week for awhile, but I did want to check in to let you all know that I am home now.

Pat and Dad picked me up on Saturday. I'm not sure if my favourite Ikea commercial is aired down in the States but for those of you up here in the Vancouver lower mainland area, you'll know which one I'm talking about. It's where the lady who dresses sort of out of the 50's, has those retro 50's glasses and she looks at her bill and thinks that the cashier has made a big mistake since she paid so little... so next thing you see her... running out of the store in a mincing kind of run because she's wearing high heels, shouting, "Start the car!! Start the car!!!" Her husband is in the car in the parking lot, reading the paper when he hears his wife shouting this, so revs up the engine picks her up and they speed off, with her shouting "Whoooooo! Whooooo!" It is such a stupid commercial but it makes me laugh every time. Sooooo, as Pat is pushing my wheelchair down the hallway, she starts running with it to get me out of the hospital (I had such a horrible time at this particular University hospital) and I'm shouting... "Start the car!! Start the car!!" :D Ok, I guess you had to be there .

Anywho, as Dad said, I came back on Saturday late afternoon. Was I ready to be discharged? I don't think so, but by then I was soooo fed up with the staff and their lack of common sense, not to mention the intense pain I was in that I kept trying to explain to them and not one of them seemed to take me seriously. They all pretty much figured that I had had this laproscopic surgery so the pain I had should have been gone in 2-3 days. The problem was, it HADN'T left and although the surgeon put me on two very powerful narcotic painkillers, they didn't appear to be working, yet no one would believe me.

I don't know what they thought... but I do believe some prejudice came into play here. I think the staff in this second hospital were thinking that I was this "fat" girl who obviously was lazy and didn't want to do stairs and preferred to stay in the hospital... because their textbooks said that after surgery it would take X amount of days to get the pain under control and since I didn't fall into a classic textbook case, then I wasn't to be believed. Oh, the stories I could tell you about my 2 1/2 day stay at UBC Hospital, the hospital out at the University of BC... and once I have a bit more stamina and can sit at the computer longer, I'm sure you will be hearing about it. Meanwhile, the staff and Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), well, I have nothing but wonderful things to say about them!!

As for my surgeon, Dr. Meneghetti... I'm torn here. On the one hand, he did a FABULOUS job of the surgery. The adrenal gland is a gland that is very difficult to get at. There is an adrenal gland attached to each kidney, but in an awkward position. There are a lot of blood vessels and arteries in the area, plus other organs. To get at it, they have to blow the area up with air, so they can push organs around and out of the way... and then they have to get through the multiple blood vessels and veins, to detach the gland (when they do get at it) from the kidney, then sew up the kidney. This is all done laproscopically with a camera and tools. He told me that they had to dig deeper and move things around more, BUT he managed to get the gland and tumour out in one piece. Later, a resident who was in the OR during the surgery came into my room to talk to me and he seemed really excited about how the surgery went. Obviously, this is not a surgery that a lot of residents or surgeons get to see/do since taking out an adrenal gland is not a common surgery. So he told me how exciting it was to see Dr. Meneghetti get at the adrenal gland that was very difficult to get at and managed to extract it with the tumour intact... as well, they cut a large section around the tumour of tissue from the kidney as well as the tissue surrounding the gland. The tumour appeared to be very hard and the margins very clean which is a good sign the tumour is intact and has not spread anywhere. We won't know for sure until the report comes back from pathology, but the resident was very hopeful that all was clean. It had never entered my mind that it wouldn't have come out all intact... wow ... I never thought of the possibility that it might have already started to spread! Anywho, I seemed to get more information from the resident than I did Dr. M. Apparently Dr. M. is a man of few words... so I know I shouldn't take any of this personally.

But, the pain went on and they did try me on different pain meds to try and get it under control. Now, for those who know me, I have always had a high tolerance to pain, which means the pain has got to be pretty strong for me to notice it as pain. For me to be in intense pain, well, this is just something I have never experienced before in my life... and I have to wonder how someone who doesn't have a high tolerance to pain would do?? Because of this high tolerance to pain, it means I also have a high tolerance to drugs.. it takes a lot more for them to work on me when I need them... so I know Dr. M and the hospital staff were having a hell of a time trying to get some and at a dosage that would work on me. We never did really find it. While I was on the pain pump at VGH and they were giving me Hydromorphone (the next level up from Morphine) and Oxycodone, I was doing somewhat ok, but only sporatically. They took me off the pain pump when I was being transferred to UBC and put me on two kinds of Oxycodone... a slow releasing oxycodone over 8 hours and then a break through oxycodone (15mg every 4 hours). So oxycodone was in my system 24/7! But this just wasn't working... and that's when I ran into trouble. By now I was at UBC and they thought this amount of narcotic should be working, so they never did try anything else or go back to the pain pump with the hydromorphone. So I really had intense pain... and I never did see my surgeon again because he was in surgery at VGH Thur and Fri.

Anywho... I could go on and on... and I am journaling this experience, so once I have finished writing it all out, I will more than likely bore you all with the journal so that I have it documented online.

BUT, the good news... today when I woke up from my afternoon nap, I actually noticed a huge difference! Oh sure, I've still got pain, but this was the kind of pain I was expecting on Day 2 or 3... not on Day 8. There's a definitely huge improvement!! So, the way I see it, it is finally starting to heal and that I bet I see a huge difference in the next couple of days. I think it's going to be one of those things where it doesn't slowly get better every day, but that it has been super intense and voila! almost overnight it will seem like it got better :)

But, for now... I have been up for the past 4 hours. I am about to have some dinner (I heated up some pre-made canneloni and Rose sauce) and then will go back to bed to read a bit. Hahaha.. I still have to write about how Bridget was soooo excited to come home, until she saw me. She ran over and put her front paws on my knees (I was sitting at the time) did a couple of excited whimpers, then looked at me as if to say, "I went for a walk with Auntie Joan and I never came home... and you didn't come to get me, so you abandoned me!!" She literally gave me the cold shoulder for the rest of the afternoon/evening. Hahaha... I went to bed and she stayed sleeping on the couch. So I went to bed. Sometime in the night, she came to bed... and I've been forgiven since :) Hahaha... I have lots of help with Bridget! Mimi takes her out for her morning walk to do her morning constitution and while they are out, I make Bridget's breakfast... then when they come home, Mimi puts her breakfast down for her. I can't bend to put the dish on the floor. In the afternoon, Toby comes and takes Bridget out for a 2 hour hike through the trails in Stanley Park... then same routine. I make her dinner and Toby puts it down for her. Then around 11pm, Jenn and her dog, Lexi, come downstairs and the three of them go out for the last walk of the evening. I'm usually in bed by then, but that's ok... Jenn takes the two dogs out and if I'm awake, comes by and sits on the bed for a visit. Bridget comes up on the bed and Lexi has a snooze on the bedroom floor :)

So there you have it... all is good! I can now tolerate the pain... and I have a goal. Not sure if I'm going to make it but it's something to work towards (being the lazy person I'm sure that UBC staff thought I was. Grrrrr!). I am hoping to be comfortable enough that I can go to the Opening Night of Annie Get Your Gun at the Park on Thursday night. I think the opening of Jesus Christ Superstar is pushing it a little since it is Wednesday night... but if I am really good and rest Tues, Wed and Thurs... I just might be able to pull it off. If not, I will still see it later. I am not going to work any of the performances until July 16th, so all is under control.

Ok... enough babbling... off I go to bed to watch a little tv and read a little (Pillars of Earth by Ken Follett... fabulous book!!!)

Ciao for now!


PS: Addendum: So much for a short note because I'm not sitting at the computer that long of a stretch