Well, it’s been a year since my last surgery and apparently I must want to start a tradition that involves pain, pills, and
blackmailing enlisting friends and family to help take care of me and my family during the recoup time. Luckily, this year I decided not to have half of my guts ripped out and opted for a simple outpatient procedure (note: outpatient does not actually guarantee simple- learn from my misinterpretation).
I should have guessed that the path was going to be rocky just by the pre-op visit. Have you ever noticed that when a doctor/nurse/anyone with a needle tells you “this will pinch a little” or ” this will be uncomfortable” it is actually code for “this will feel like acid being pushed into your veins” or “this will make pouring gasoline in your eyes feel like a spa day”? So, my brilliant Brazilian surgeon (Dallas based-not operating out of the laundry room of a Mexico motel) walks in, looks at the bulging muscle under my boob that has to be reattached (has to only if I don’t want to look like the fabled 3-boobed women of Zathron 7- hey, the diazepam helped come up with that one), and flat-out says in his heavy accent, “This be very painful. I’ll be sewing to bone. Lots of pain. You need pain pump.” I do not give a shit if he has to harvest a kidney while he’s in there to pay for it, I immediately ask, “Where do I sign?”
So surgery day arrives. The day before I’d received a call from the scheduler that my surgery had to be moved to 2pm because he had a reconstruction case that morning. My gluttonous self that knows I can’t eat after midnight wants to stomp her little foot and say that the car wreck victim should just embrace the fact that not having a nose just means less bogies (oh, just laugh- I made that part up), but I man-up and realize that half the time I forget to eat until after 2pm anyway. So, I make it through the morning with my anesthesiologist-approved, pre-6am glasses of water, cup of coffee and Pepcid ac and try to ignore the fact that 2/3 of all commercials are about food. We get to the hospital. I put on my lovely robe with 37 ties, get marked on with a sharpie, and then moved to the most comfortable bed I have ever been in. This is no normal hospital bed. This is the lovechild of a wine-fueled tryst between a Tempurpedic and a Sleep Number bed. It has a warming mattress cover and a fluffy down-filled comforter. By the time I snuggle in and they plop a stack of trashy fashion magazines on my lap, I am in Nirvana. They could graft cow udders to my forehead and I wouldn’t give a flying crap as long as they let me stay in that bed.
And things go well for a while as I enjoy my muscle relaxer and thumb through magazines; picking out furniture I can’t afford and picking apart models who probably poop things out with less lumps than my thighs. But I don’t care about cellulite, I have my angel-crafted bed and genius crafted meds. All’s good as my hubby sits beside me, pretending to listen to me and occasionally laughing when I say something obnoxious enough to entertain him. But then I notice his attention is completely absorbed by the big screen tv hanging across the room. This is not unusual behavior for a man until I realize it’s a weather report. A big map is splashed with reds and oranges that rival the modern art I pass over at the Dallas museum. Soon nurses are stopping and staring. Another nurse comes in and announces that the tornado sirens are going off. The news man starts pointing out all the places with confirmed tornadoes on the ground.
The bed is not as comfortable as I think about my three kids who are at school. The anesthesiologist is with me and beginning the arduous process of starting an IV. I have tiny veins that I inherited from my grandmother. I had a procedure done once that literally took twelve sticks and 6 blown veins before they got a good line. Needless to say, I’m not a fan of needles (Oh, I’m such a pun master on meds). But she is a kind anesthetist, and despite the fact that she just watched live video of a tornado tearing through the city she lives in, she gives me some numbing medicine so that I can only barely feel her dig around in the crook of my elbow with a pediatric size needle. When she finally strikes, blood bubbles out of my arm like a scarlet oil well.
We talk about how she’s worried about her kitties because she knows they’ll be terrified, but she stays very calm and so do I (thanks to the new push of relaxers into my drip) until I see the receptionist running around and pulling lanterns out of cabinets. LANTERNS!?!?! Uh, don’t you have emergency generators? I am suddenly terrified that Florence Nightingale is going to show up with nothing but a hack saw and a leather strap for me to bite on.
But I don’t have much time to think about field surgery on a Crimean War battle ground or being carried off to a village of little people who sing about lollipops and dodge flying monkeys, because the drug fairy has just said “Ok, You’re going to start getting sleepy now.” I barely stayed awake (yet, still talking the entire time-lucky them) long enough to see the O.R. lights above me.
I wake up with an annoying tube in my nose pumping oxygen down my nostrils. I pull that crap out of there and only hear bits and pieces of things going on around me until my nurse tells me it’s time to sit me up while my husband goes to get the car. With the first movement I broke into tears and came close to screaming as it truly felt like a hot poker was being used to split my ribs open. The nurse just kept reassuring me and acknowledging the pain. Somehow her agreeing that I was in the 4th ring of hell didn’t make it feel any better. Anyway, they got me into the car, got me home and into the bed where my husband (bless him) kept a diligent record of giving me my Dilaudid every 4 hours and my Diazepam every 6 hours. I was in a happy coma until my bladder would force me to move and bring the tears back.
I honestly don’t remember much about the next couple of days. It was best for all involved to keep me as sedated as possible. So I slept, got up and hobbled around to prevent blood clots and forced my husband to make me Cream of Wheat because that’s what my mom always made me when I was sick. The entire time I’m wearing one of the ugliest nightgowns you can imagine. I bought it in the grandmother lingerie section of Wal-Mart for my surgery last year because it had a zipper up the front for easy access to my bandages and drainage tubes. It is yellow and quilted and I didn’t give a crap. The magic bag of fairy dust that was attached to my pain pump hung in a bag around my neck. I looked like a Lindsay Lohan mug shot especially since I wasn’t allowed to shower for 5 freaking days (which makes me think my husband’s sense of smell is damaged considering he still slept in the same bed with me). And I will say right now, that shower was one of the best showers I ever had. It was created in the same universe as the magic bed and the fairy pills. It didn’t matter that my husband was having to wash my hair for me. It just didn’t matter.
After getting all squeaky clean and deodorized, I went back to my happy place on the couch and searched for electronic entertainment. During my first surgery I texted people inappropriate things at inappropriate times. This time I used Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook to alienate my friends. Twitter got random tweets like “Holy ouch balls!”, “*wipes drool off phone and smiles at the pretty fairies”, “I’m pretty sure Richard Pryor made me pop a stitch”, and the classic “Oh, Josh Brolin, you had me at Goonies. #SNL”. (If you want to punish yourself on a daily basis, follow me on Twitter by clicking the button on the left.) Pinterest (which is some addictive evil designed by aliens to overtake all of the earth women one imaginary wedding at a time) was blessed by me creating the new boards “Things I’ll never make my husband wear” and “Crafty crap I’ll probably never do” ( you can follow me there too if your a true masochist). But it was Facebook that got my best work and that’s what I’ll leave you with:
Facebook post on Ash Robbin’s account April 14
Yep, that’s all folks. Wicked wishes- Ash
And as a side note, RIP Adam Yauch. You helped to produce defining music of my generation. I’m pretty sure I still know at least 90% of Paul Revere by heart. I’m listening to you now.