Time to cut me open! My husband and mom accompanied me to prep. It took 4 tries to place my IV, marking the beginning of my transformation into a human pincushion. Wait, I wasn’t one already?
They took me back. The drugs kicked in, and I drifted into peaceful sleep…
A choking sensation woke me, my body gagging in reflex, burning my stomach. The nurses or doctors or someone yelled something, and I passed back out.
I woke again, this time for good. As I came to, I felt an uncomfortable, foreign object up my nose: the infamous NG tube, which runs up the nose, down the throat, and into the stomach. Not allowed to eat or drink, my husband kept sponges at the ready for me to wet my lips and tongue.
Once I was able, I did laps around the hospital. I kept myself busy. I tried hard to ignore the round of heparin shots, stinging little buggers used to prevent clotting. Nurses and techs came and went, disrupting my sleep.
By day 2, they clamped the tube to see if I could handle it. I started chucking my guts out by the end of the 6 hours. It took a few more tries, but I finally managed it. On day 3, the sadistic nurse came in to yank out the tube, the round plastic stinging my nose and forcing me to gag, however briefly.
I held down food like a champ. I walked more laps. The nurses began to prepare my discharge papers. This wasn’t so bad after all! I was going to be out of here and onto a normal life in a matter of hours. My husband drove back to Columbia to check on the kids and get some work done. He planned to come back for me and take me home, and I couldn’t wait to get back in my own bed, with my kids, pup, kitten, and gadgets.
Then it happened.
I was walking around, talking to my mom, then suddenly back in bed, shivering. Everything turned foggy. Pain pushed my body under water, and I couldn’t quite feel myself. Then I would surface, the overwhelming weight of it crushing me back down. My brother, the doctor sat next to me. When did he get here? Or had he been here all along, stopping by for a visit when this nightmare started?
My mother grabbed a nurse. 104F fever. Woah that’s high!
The surgeon and his team of residents swarmed in, an argument ensuing. I managed to catch the gist, but most of the meaning was lost on me.
“We have to prep her for surgery!”
Surgery? No, no I don’t want another surgery.
“We should run a CAT scan first to verify what’s going on.”
No, please no CAT scan. I don’t want to drink that contrast. I CAN’T drink that contrast.
“That will take two hours. It will be too late by then.”
Thank you so much for not making me do a CAT scan right now!
“If you need to use the bathroom, you should go now.”
Wait, what? The urge to pee suddenly eclipsed my lapse in consciousness. How would I? I couldn’t walk…what would I do? Pee myself? With my brother right next me? Next thing I knew, a portable toilet was next to my bed. Only the nurse and my mom were in the room. I was going to have in pee in front of them? No time for shame now…Getting up felt excruciating. They had to hold me in place. I fell back into the bed weak, as though I had just run 10 miles.
The bed jostled; elevator doors slid shut. When did they start moving me? A face, one of the residents, bent down and muttered in my ear. “It’s ok. You’re going to be fine. This will all be over soon.”
Then everything turned black.