Joy (cithra) wrote,

Joy and the Knife: a saga

(predominantly as told by faintheart on Codex Griffonage, with occasional annotations by the principle)
7/4/2002 - 3:52 p.m.
I'm going in to have hernia surgery tomorrow afternoon. I'll be in the UW
Medical Center overnight, coming home some time Saturday. It shouldn't be
too big of a deal, but if I'm moving a little slowly next week, you'll know


[Ed. note: Little did I know at this point how entirely inaccurate a picture this would be of the next few days. Originally all this had been scheduled for June 26th, but there had already been some emergency scheduling conflicts that required delaying things until July 5th. You remember that whole "patience" issue I'd been whining about earlier?]
7/5/2002 11:08 p.m.
After a very long day, Joy is alive and well, and, um... uncut. Her doctor had to perform an emergency surgery this morning, so they asked her to call at 3. At 3, they asked her to call at 5:30. At 5:30, they said to come in at 7. We went in at 7 and were told they'd be coming to bring her down to the operating room around 8. 8 comes and goes, then the nurse comes in with bad news: a second emergency has pre-empted the operating room. They move her to another room where she can lie down, and a little later the doctor comes in with a choice: they can get the operating room around midnight, or she can eat now and have the operation at 9 tomorrow morning. Bearing in mind that Joy hasn't eaten since 9:30 the previous evening, she opts for choice 2.

Her room is SS417, and her phone number is 206-598-7256, though it's probably a little late to call now. I'm not sure if she'll be back in that room after the surgery or not.

[Ed. note: This translates as nothing to eat since 9:30 p.m. 7/4, nothing to drink since midnight with the exception of 8 oz ginger tea and about 5 oz of lemon-lime soda, which they instructed me to drink at 1 p.m. 7/5 during the first phone call of delay unmentioned above. So between 9 p.m. or so and midnight on 7/5 I had a small portion of veggie lasagna, 6 oz of diet soda, 6 oz of orange juice, and probably 4 oz of water - welcome to tiny stomach rehydration hell...]
7/6/2002 11:07 p.m. - act II
Joy is alive and well, with a nifty new kevlar mesh covering the length of her incision. Surgery took slightly longer than expected; turns out she had two other minor hernias above and below the one they knew about, so the doc decided to reinforce the entire thing. A little slow in the recovery department - blood pressure is lower than expected, but then Joy never quite performs up to expectations. No, wait, that's me. Um.

Apologies to Sharkins for not properly communicating that we were still at the hospital before handing the cell to Joy. Apologies to Lisa for not properly expressing my appreciation of your calling from Hawaii to check on Joy. Chalk both up to happening at the end of a very long day - I was up at 7, out the door by 7:15, and just got home around 10:45.

Joy is currently in room 4224, phone number is 206-598-6637. The section she was in before (4 South) closed for the weekend, so they put her in 4 NE.

[Ed. note: so, instead of 3 incisions I have 13, in sort of a dinner-plate sized circular formation. Maybe I'll add a sundial motif to the belladonna/morning glory tattoo I had planned for the area of the gbs scar to incorporate them - depends on how everything heals up. I cleverly convinced Sharkins that I was looped out of my head - yay morphine - by the expedience of babbling incoherently about being looped out of my head. Morphine 2, Joy 0 - yeah, they took me off the PCA again pretty early, then put me back on it when they moved me up to the ICU. But I'm getting ahead of myself.]
7/7/2002 9:04 p.m. - act III
Another day and Joy remains in the hospital. She is awake and alert, however, and on the mend. Her blood pressure is up, but she's still not producing enough urine for the amount of fluids she's taking in. Everything seems to indicate she was just dehydrated. Really, really REALLY dehydrated, but nothing worse.

She is currently in room 538 of the ICU, but only because the nurses at the old room couldn't monitor her properly. I say currently because she changed rooms twice today, who knows where she'll be tomorrow. Her (current) phone number is 598-4545.

[Ed. note: Nothing worse as in no perforated bowel, internal bleeding, pulmonary edema, or any of the other nasty hydraulics problems that can develop. This might have been the day they put 13 litres of fluid into me intravenously and got next to nothing back out. It's kind of a blur - I managed to lose a day in here somewhere myself, which is a good deal of why I'm using Ted's posts as the backbone for this.]
7/9/2002 9:00 p.m. - act IV
Sorry I missed the update last night. Joy is off the morphine as of last night, and as of tonight is looking like her old self, although still a little on the sleepy side. I can tell she's on the mend because she looks annoyed at my jokes, as opposed to looking wanly annoyed. Word is she'll be returning home sometime tomorrow, time still to be determined.

I forgot to note her new phone number last night, and as a result she's still in the same room today. So I forgot it again, just to be safe. She's in room 4234, you can reach her by calling the main line at 598-3300 and asking for her.

[Ed. note: Somewhere in here I think the hospital staff realized that if they had been measuring sweat produced in addition to urine produced, their fluid intake/output numbers might have come much closer to balancing. But when you bounce around to as many rooms as I did, there's a lot of linen changing that happens automatically under conditions that make it less likely for excessive sweat to be noticed/noted on the chart.]
7/11/2002 11:45 p.m. - Epilog
Joy is no longer in the hospital. She is at home, and can be reached at her normal number. I hereby turn her story back over to her, to continue or re-tell from her perspective.


So now I'm here at home looking at email and noodling about on live journal. My arms are covered with bruises and tape marks from various IV lines and blood draws - blessed is the phlebotemist who uses the small needle, for they shall make thee neither jump nor cringe, and thy veins shall remain accessible. My cat is alternately deliriously happy to see me and giving me the cold shoulder for leaving her... I always forget just how many daily things involve abdominal muscles. They sent me home with a big red bottle of oxycodone elixir - despite my being on the pill form in hospital. I suppose that's to keep me from turning it over on the street? Whatever. It doesn't do much for the stomach cramps either, but those seem to be a matter of relaxing muscles I didn't/don't remember tensing, or avoiding startlement. For a while in the hospital it was pretty nasty, since I have muscle twitches already, and apparently the anti-nausea drug they were giving me exacerbates those as a side effect, so I'd spend long periods of time lying there trying to hold VERY still, then going through a *twitch*/wave of pain/wave of cramps/wave of pain cycle... when I was picking up my discharge meds they mentioned this side effect, to my horror - so we passed on the anti-nausea stuff. Humans are complex biosystems, and don't you forget it.

At least I'm not having the ugly nightmares I had last time (yet). Not much by way of remembered dreams at all. I'm to go back to work Monday earliest.

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