Ah, yes, the five month anniversary of the surgery. Lovely! I don't have too much to say about that riviting subject that hasn't been drilled into this blog before, so I won't write a long rambling post of where I'm at, other than to say that I am still getting stronger, and working on balance. Yesterday's accomplishment is that I can stand on the balance board, with only my thumbs touching the support I use. That was pretty cool.
Instead, I want to focus on the things that made a difference when I had the surgery. The people who worked with me the day of, and the day after the surgery were absolutely wonderful, and although I am avoiding any other surgical intervention for the rest of my life, I am so grateful that people were so caring, enpathetic and competent.
To give you an idea of how nervous I was, I had a blood pressure of 150/100. That's pretty high, even for me. The nurse who did my intake was excellent, asked me if I was nervous.
Me: "Yeah, I'm pretty nervous."
Her: "You don't look too bad.">
Me: "I just finished finals. I BS well."
Her: "A girl after my own heart. Just don't ly about anything I need to know okay?"
This kind of humor and energy helped me a lot. It made the big hospital environment seem a little less scary.
After surgery, as several people know, I wasn't exactly with it. I am so glad I don't know what I said just before surgery, or if all of my recollections are the only things that happened. I do remember wondering if the surgery had happened (yay good nerve blocks). I also remember asking for coffee from Brewberry's. I also remember crying, and trying to ly about the fact that I was crying. The nurse, who I suspect was a lot smarter than my drugged brain, just said okay.
She was nice enough to give me ice chips, and wipe tears away. I don't cry easily, even when I need to, so if I am crying, I'm hitting where I think the bottom is, even if it's a false bottom. Since I expected bright lights, I was frightened that I'd gone blind because they now dim lights for patient comfort. The nurse's calm was incredibly helpful, and she didn't even laugh at me.
Getting to the room was when all things broke loose. For some reason, the naussea and vomiting got really bad after I was moved. The nurses were great about taking care of me, even though I doubt I was the most compliant patient ever, since I couldn't think straight. But the little things made the difference; a chance to use a toothbrush before bed, a cold washcloth on the back of my neck when I felt so awful, a piece of gauze over the call button so I'd know where it was, help getting an audio book in the morning when I felt better and needed something to do, little compliments about my ability t orient aroung a room while on pain meds and hopping behind a walker, reassurance that medicine is supposed to burn when going into an IV. All of these thingcombined made the hospital stay more bearable.
If I were to do anything differently, I would ask to have Julio stay over night, and possibly a human too. I was incredibly disoriented, and felt that way, partially because I couldn't be oriented to the room in my state. Having someone there to reassure me that the nurses were at the nurses station, not having a conversation in my room would have been helpful. I would also have taken a talking watch, or something so I could tell the time.
I didn't experience much ablism, and for that, I'm incredibly grateful. I've been vocal about that topic before, so I'll be quiet about it for now. But it's the little things that made the difference. Ideally, yes, the consent forms would be available in Braille. And there would be more information available for patients with disabilities, so that there wouldn't be so much disorientation. But overall, the experience was good, minus the whole surgery thing, of course.
I just felt like I needed some closure on that experience from this standpoint. So, as usual, I wrote about it.