Thursday, September 01, 2005

Day After Surgery

What can anyone do or say
To make this pain go away?
It’s not about mine . . .
But those who are left behind
In Hurricane Katrina’s way . . .
All we can do is pray.

I’m having a hard time writing today only because all I can think about are the people left behind in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I’ve been recuperating from my surgery in front of the TV and am watching all the news broadcasts about the devastation in New Orleans and the South . . .

Hurricane Katrina had quite an impact on my surgery. Steve was trying to fly home from California and his flight was delayed on Monday night. He got to the hospital about 9:20 a.m. after I had already gone into the operating room. The hurricane came through Knoxville during my surgery and knocked the power out in the hospital three times – once while I was still in surgery and twice while I was in the recovery room! Thank goodness for generators!

Marissa and I arrived at the hospital just before 6 a.m. and they got me started right away taking my information and prepping me for surgery. They kept me so busy so the time went by quickly before they wheeled me into surgery. The nurses were all so sweet and wonderful and took good care of me. The anesthesiologist introduced himself and was so funny. After he told me what they were going to do, he told me to put my chin up, open my mouth wide, and stick my tongue out. Then he said, “Do you know why we do that?” I said, “No.” He said, “No special reason. I just get a kick out of it!” They told me that they would be putting a breathing tube in during surgery and would be careful with the crowns in my mouth. I appreciated that. Then the Dr. came in for some last minute questions and information. Before I knew it, I was done and in recovery! Surgery started around 8 a.m. and took about 4 hours. My very first pain that I had was not in my head but in my feet! The nurses kept rubbing them for me and gave me a shot for pain but nothing seemed to help. I was so happy to see Steve when I woke up because I had not seen him since Sunday morning. I saw Dawn and Susan at the end of my bed and got hugs from them, too. Steve, Dawn, Marissa, and Susan all stayed at the hospital for part or all of my surgery. I did not get to see Dawn before I went in because she got stuck in traffic and then had trouble finding out where we were. I missed her by about two minutes. But, she stayed with Marissa in the waiting room. They had a funny moment in the waiting room because they had not seen each other for a long time. Dawn called Marissa on her cell phone to find out where she was. As soon as she heard Marissa’s voice, they realized they were sitting across from each other! Everyone around them in the waiting room had a good laugh about that! Dawn and Marissa had a good visit and had breakfast together. Then Steve showed up and then Susan. Susan and Dawn became fast friends and chatted the whole time while I was in surgery.

Dr. Merwin said that the surgery was a great success and everything went well with no complications. The sensor/electrode array slid very nicely into my left cochlea, which is very good. I had a very tight pressure bandage around my head and had some trouble with dizziness and a bad headache. It wasn’t too bad, though. Steve took me home about 4 p.m. and I went straight to bed for a while. A friend from church brought the most delicious meal of lasagna made with ham and mushrooms, organic herb salad, homemade breadsticks, and some kind of cinnamon/apple cake. I had not eaten anything all day except for a few crackers and it tasted good. My jaw is still very stiff and sore and is hard to chew. One thing I have noticed is that there is a constant roar in my head. I'm wondering if it is tinnitus or some phantom sound. It sounds like a train, loud fan or something drilling in my head. I haven't had any trouble with tinnitus before and it is bothering me a little bit. Hopefully that will go away soon. I've been using a foam neck pillow to help me sleep and it has been a real lifesaver for me. My friend, Kim, from work gave it to me last year for Christmas.

Yesterday (the day after surgery) my best friend, Dawn came and stayed all day with me. I was so glad to have her here. When I told her that my feet were hurting, she immediately said she would rub them for me. She wasn’t surprised and said that another friend that she had taken care of after surgery complained of the same thing. So, she washed her hands, got some lotion and just rubbed my feet for about ½ hour while we talked. I was so grateful for that special touch and it helped to make me feel better. It just doesn’t seem to make sense that my feet would hurt after having surgery in my head! It meant a lot to me that she would do that for me and all I could think about was how Jesus washed and tended to his disciples' feet so long ago. . .I napped for about 2 ½ hours while she took care of phone calls, etc. After lunch, Dawn helped me take the bandage off my head and brushed out my hair for me. Susan came later with some wonderful chicken/spinach soup and chicken salad. Her husband and boys came with her. It was so nice to meet her boys for the first time. Susan has been so great for me about letting me know what to expect and how to handle things. We had lunch together on Monday before my surgery and she told me to EAT! She said I wouldn't feel like eating later and she was right. I had a nice, big juicy hamburger that day. . .something I haven't had in a long time! I am so fortunate and blessed to have great friends to give me the support and strength that I need. Someday I hope to be able to "pay it forward" like Susan has done for me.

Last night I took a bath and Marissa washed my hair for me. I feel a little bit more normal this morning. I still feel like I need to hold on to things when I walk around, like I'm off balance. I guess it is because the loss of fluid in one ear can make one lose their balance. My hearing sounds funny, like I'm in a swimming pool or something. My jaw hurts, making it difficult to chew food. The surgery site on my head is numb and feels like there is a lot of pressure inside. I cannot feel anything on the outside. I cannot even find the site of the implant. But, it is in there somewhere.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey laurie! this is Jill Stinnett! i am glad the surgery went well!!!! i had been praying for you and was glad to hear that everything went well! i will keep checking for further updates!!!