Sunday, October 26, 2008
The Journey - post op
With all the Marathon talk around here, I've been thinking more about the surgery and how I really just need to suck it up and write it down. It has been cathartic, but also a memoir of the event. Things like this are important. It's important for me to get it somewhere other than inside my head and I think it's important for Mr. Snob to hear my version, just as it is for me to hear his. Someday, Booger will be old enough to really understand how rough that time was for us. She remembers, but not really, you know?

So. I think I left off after seeing him in the cardiac recovery room. He was still sleeping, on a ventilator, naked as a jailbird and covered in iodine. I left at approximately 8:30 with instructions to call around 1:30 - he should be off the ventilator by then. My mom dropped me off (everyone decided I shouldn't drive) and I took a shower immediately. The next few days I remember showering the second I got home, that way I would always be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Showered and somewhat rejuvenated, I fed the Wonderdog and tried to watch TV. After a few minutes, I realized I really should try to sleep, I set my alarm for 1:30 and fell asleep. It was a fitful sleep and I awoke every few minutes (at least it felt like I did.) I checked my phone every time I awoke, terrified I missed a call. At 1:30, I called the nurse's station and talked to his nurse. He was still sleeping, still on the ventilator. She explained that due to the extra time required in surgery...you know....because his heart wouldn't beat....they had to use more anesthesia than expected and it just takes a little more time. She assured me this was all normal and his vital signs were excellent. I could call back at 3:30 and check on him if I'd like. She was so nice as I explained I would really like to call back then, but didn't want to bother her, or take time that she didn't have. She was so kind...told me I could call as often as I wanted to, but there would likely be no change for at least 2 hours. I hung up and cried. This was just so hard and I was emotionally exhausted. I was so tired from putting on a strong face for everyone else, when I felt so defeated. The times I was alone were the worst, for sure. I did sleep some more and woke up in time to call at 3:30.

When she answered my call at 3:30, she said he was awake!!! Still on the ventilator, but he was responsive and they just had to go through some formalities in order to remove the vent. Things like following directions (move your toes, squeeze my hand....that sort of thing). She said he had been cleaned up and they would be removing the breathing machine soon. If I called back at 5:30, she should have excellent news by then. Well, I was so happy to hear that he was waking up, I couldn't sleep. I turned the TV on and watched some news, I sorted some clothes for the week and put them all in one location in case someone had to come home for me, I could tell them exactly where to find something. The phone rang at 5:15 and my heart dropped. I answered and it was the nurse saying he was off the ventilator and the very first thing he said was "Please call my wife, I'm sure she's worried." Does he know me or what?!

There are very strict visiting hours in the Cardiac Recovery Room and I wasn't allowed to go until 10:30. I slept, I cleaned, I snuggled with Wonderdog. And I watched the clock.

I arrived at the hospital, meeting my in-laws in the lobby. We were allowed in a few at a time. I stayed and everyone else took turns. I stepped out so his parents could come in together, but otherwise I was there. Visiting hours were only 30 minutes. I wasn't leaving! Mr. Snob....14 hours post op was sitting up in a chair! He wasn't happy about it, though. :-) His sister, a nurse, came in and we talked clinical for a bit with the nurses. He was doing well, except he wasn't handling the pain meds. This became a theme of his recovery. He was up in the chair, but couldn't speak really well because of the ventilator. He said later he appreciated the way I seemed to anticipate his needs and read his gestures so he didn't have to speak.

The next visiting hour wasn't until 6:30 - this is pure torture for the family, by the way. I certainly understand the medical need for it, but holy crap. Luckily they called me about 3:30 and said he would be moving up to a room - where I could stay all day - shortly. I rushed to the hospital and met him just as he was arriving in the room. Our pre-admission request for a private room was granted and we moved on in.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

You tell this so well, Snob. I can imagine exactly what you're saying.

I think that the act of telling stories - of remembering and of representing - is vital to our existence. I'm glad you're doing this, and I'm grateful that you're willing to share it so publicly with the rest of us.

Much love to you, my friend.

xoxox

Chili

Anonymous O' Mama said...

Not only do you share your intense story so well, but you make it a permanent testament to the journey. I went back there with you - a very powerful piece!

Big squishy hug!

OpenID twoblueday said...

This sounds all too familiar right now.

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