You know how everyone who has surgery has to tell you EVERY BORING DETAIL? Well, this is it – the one you’ve been dreading!
Ted took me to the hospital, they put me to sleep, and I woke up – minus my gizzard, and with other innards repaired and renovated.
In the recovery room the nurses kept trying to get me to “pump your little buddy” (I am not making this up. This was their cute term for “give yourself demerol for pain through a pump that the patient controls”).
I would say, “I’m not hurting.” They would say, “Just give it a pump!” I would say again, “I don’t need it!”
At one point I overheard two nurses in the hall talking about me, saying, “Ms. Horton hasn’t given herself any pain meds. I’m not used to a patient talking and cracking jokes. They usually just moan and snore.” Which, of course, made me more determined to not “pump my little buddy”.
Six hours later, after having some really funny chats with the nurses (they finally decided I wasn’t crazy, I just was not in pain), I was taken to my room.
After getting me “situated”, the floor nurse came in, hooked me up again to the IV, and said, “Here’s your pain pump. The pain pump is your ‘friend’. Use it as much as you want.”
I said, “I’m not in pain.” She patted my hand, and walked out.
Ted was going to spend the night with me that first night. Frankly, I was afraid I would wake up, not realize where I was, and decide to stroll downstairs for a Starbucks latte grande (no kidding, there is a Starbucks on the first floor of this hospital). But, once I realized I had been taken to the Women’s Surgical Floor, I sent Ted home (he begged to stay, but I insisted). I had been on that floor before, and all kidding aside, the care you get is unbelievable. It is only for women patients who have had “women” surgeries – like gizzard removals.
By the time I said goodnight to Ted and sent him on his merry way home (excuse me, after they carried Ted kicking and screaming in protest out the door), I was beginning to feel like I needed a little help from my “friend”. I pumped and watched as two drops of liquid ran into the IV in my arm. I waited for instant relief. Hmmmm. I pumped again, and nothing happened. After trying three more times, I called the nurse and told her my “friend” was off duty, and I needed another “friend”.
The nurse came and explained that the “friend” only works a little at a time. Once you pump, you can’t pump again for 15 minutes – at which time you get two more drops of friendship. This explanation was all very exciting, but by then all I was interested in was a friend that could MAKE ME STOP HURTING! The nurse patiently explained that the secret was to stay “ahead” of the pain. On a scale of 1 to 10, with one being no pain at all, and ten being screaming upcontrollably for relief, my task was to never let the pain get beyond a four without starting to use my “friend”. I, on the other hand, had let the pain get to a twenty (my words, not hers), before I had asked my friend for help – obviously a no-no.
“Ok, ok, ok,” I said, grabbing the nurse’s arm. “Do you think my “friend” might have another “friend” she could buddy up with for some instant relief until friend # 1 decides to DO WHAT SHE’S SUPPOSED TO DO?” The nurse pried my fingers off her arm, smiled, and said, “Of course! I can give you an injection. Are you sure now that you understand about ‘staying ahead of the pain’?” Yes m’am, I certainly did.
By the middle of Thursday morning, I was disconnected from everything, and Ted and I were walking the halls holding hands. Why this caused the nurses’ station such mirth I have yet to figure out. Don’t people hold hands anymore? One nurse asked how long we had been married, and we said 21 years. Even knowing that, she actually wrote on my chart for the doctor to read, “Patient has been walking up and down the halls several times with her boyfriend.” I didn’t get it, but whatever gives them a smile.
Seriously, I have done so well, and I give all the credit to God’s answer to prayers that were lifted up, Ted will be driving me into Albany on Thursday for a doctor’s appointment, and I’m hoping the doc will think I’m doing so well he will ease up on some of the restrictions.
And there you have it – all the boring details. By the way, I took some “friends” home with me from the hospital. I’m no dummy!
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” . . . Leo Buscaglia