A year in my life, from the day I was diagnosed and for the full year after. Walk with me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 42 I Am Healed

A nurse came through the curtain with a clinking bag of sterile supplies and asked me the same question everyone has asked me since I arrived: " How are you?"  I answered the way most people want me to: "I'm fine."  I wiped the wetness off of my cheeks and put on my "brave" face.  Usually that's enough to make most people disappear back to the other side of the curtain, but not this woman.  "You cry if you want to, feel down if you that's how you feel.  You can't stop those feelings, just let them out.  You are going to be OK.  I know because I've been there myself.  Then she asked me:  "Are you a believer?"  I answered "Yes, I believe in G.d." She wasted no time in gathering me up tightly in her arms and she started praying over me.  She prayed for me, she prayed for my health, she prayed for my husband and asked the Lord to give him strength.  She petitioned G.d with a strong almost ferocious voice as she made her belief manifest, and then she asked me to state what G.d has already done for me, she asked for a statement of faith.  I answered "I am healed."  "And so it is." says she.  Those strong loving arms loosened,  she stood up and left.  I was weeping and my husband was crying, but they were tears of relief.  I had staked my claim on a full recovery, and I was no longer afraid. 

Very soon after that I got my shot of Versed and began my trip to the OR, I remember nothing for the next 5 hours.

I woke in searing pain.  "Wake up now, you are in the recovery room, the surgery is over."  I couldn't open my eyes for the life of me.  The nurses were talking about people they don't like, where they had dinner last night, talking to each other like two High School girls, incessantly and with complete absorption in each other.  I felt like someone who didn't belong in their clique.  I took a difficult breath and said through my raw throat: "pain."  My nurse answered back "we'll get you something soon." and went back to her real job, which is to speak to the other nurses about their personal business.  "Pain."  She ignored me, I am guessing that transitioning people out of surgery must be very boring for her, we must be so tiresome with our catheters and requests for pain medication.  Just demanding shapes under warming blankets asking for stuff. 

Eventually I was handed a button I could press every 6 minutes for pain and was rolled to my room.  That button was my best friend.  My mother-in-law told me when  the allotted time had passed and I pushed that button like a cat jumps on a bird.  Morphine is my friend, I forget all about the teenagers in recovery, my world is that button in my right hand.  All my strength and attention is on crawling out of this crater of agony.

Eventually I am the victor.  My pain is managed and all I feel now is relief.  This part is over, I never have to do this again, the margins are clean, we must wait for the sentinel node biopsy to come back next week.  I am optimistic, because I already claimed my healing.  Amen.


Darwin said...

I am crying, and I'm not sorry. I have been in a recovery room with the same lack of compassion, with the weirdness of everyday life revolving around as if nothing is out of the ordinary, as if my pain is insignificant during a very traumatic episode. It is sickening, catatastrophic, and I have been there. But not after losing body parts. I am furious right now. But so glad that you are stronger than I am -- I put on my coat, picked up my purse, and stood in front of the nurses station (I was the only patient in the ER, after a face-first fall down 12 wooden steps, I call it my 12-step program, and I hadn't even been drinking), and after 3 hours of suffering immeasurably, I calmly explained that the pharmacy was now open, at 9:15 a.m., and I would be availing myself of some ASPIRIN or ALEVE or ADVIL to stop the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. A woman came in, her husband had hurt himself, and she gasped when she saw my face -- "Oh my God, were you in a car accident?" I looked that bad, but no one would help me. I can't imagine, Patricia. This needs to change. I had sinus surgery in outpatient facility, and the second I moaned, they doped me up. I was good to go home an hour later. That is ridiculous. I am so angry right now -- but happy that you have made it through, and at this point, your prognosis sounds promising and hopeful. You will make it. I love you. I am your "Muffin." You are my "Biscuit." You have a WONDERFUL, COMPASSIONATE, AMAZING, INTELLIGENT/BRILLIANT husband, and he's really hot, too!

I'm so glad you're writing again -- I will call soon, and send you something when I figure out what you might need. Yiddish For Dogs is a tough act to follow... :) xo Taryn

Darwin said...

Oh, P.S. -- my family physician put me on morphine AFTER I had left the ER, while for hours they let me suffer in agony at the hospital. That's how bad it was. So for you, and to listen to the insensitive babbling, I can relate -- but like I said, I didn't lose any parts. They x-rayed my broken toe 3 times, while I held it with tape in the "proper" position, but x-rayed my neck only once -- which is where the damage was. I went to the CEO of the hospital after I healed somewhat. I raised hell. I won. I'll tell you about it later. Drug seeking losers have ruined it for those of use who really need medication -- don't get me started.

Darwin said...

Take the pain medication as prescribed, stay ahead of it -- don't worry about getting hooked, you're not that kind of person. Your brain needs to understand that the pain doesn't exist anymore. It's like antibiotics. Don't stop until they're gone. Unlike antibiotics, you can always get more. Don't rat hole away pain meds. It doesn't work that way. Trust me. Once the pain is under control, you won't even think about pain meds anymore.

Darwin said...

Oh, final rant -- what about the Versed (whatever that is ...) AFTER the surgery? Why not THEN?

Darwin said...

I meant, I'm not sorry about crying. For your pain. That is so upsetting to me that they did that to you. Maybe it's just the way it is. I don't know. I feel your pain, that's all.

zenmama said...

I remember that incident. What a rotten experience for both of us, right? Now I want to put that experience behind me and get on with a life that is really much too short. BTW, my husband read your rant and said "you two ARE dangerous together I guess."

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Oh man. It is so barbaric what we humans go through. You had a wonderful nurse and you had two bad nurses. They are supposed to nurse, not yak to each other about what they're having for dinner tonight. I don't care that they've been doing this forever and it's boring to them. I wish I was there so I could have nursed you.

JPSumner said...

In reference to: "I have been in a recovery room with the same lack of compassion, with the weirdness of everyday life revolving around as if nothing is out of the ordinary, as if my pain is insignificant during a very traumatic episode." - I've had the same experiences myself and with my mom before and after surgery.
When I had my simple knee arthoscopy, I remember a nurse giving me a pain pill to swallow as soon as I woke up in recovery.

I hope you see that nurse that prayed with you again. What an amazing person!

I am glad to hear you will be rid of the other drains soon.

We are missing you at the gym. I have people asking me about you all the time. :)