Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Heart Surgery Part 2

Day 2 - Feb. 21, 2007
Cardiac ICU

I'm still very doped up on morphine. Most of what I have to relate is from what my family tells me. I just remember being in and out of consciousness alot.
I'm still hooked up with stomach tubes to drain the blood from the surgery. I have an IV still lodged in my neck, not sure what that one was for but it's bothering me.
I have no appetite but I'm extremely thirsty. It's a while before I'm allowed to suck on some ice chips. I subsided on ice chips and cherry and orange popsickles for two days.
They were heaven.
An IV called a 'pick' is inserted into my right arm today. All my meds and any blood that has to be removed for testing is taken from this IV.
Visiting hours are only two half hour sessions, from 10:00 am to 10:30 am and from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm. My husband and family stay at hosp. all day, even when they can't see me.

Tom tells me that Dr. Joe Rossi who is head of the Cardiac ICU told him that I am considered to be a VIP and will get the best of care. I have the only private room. I know that the reason I was given such 'special' attention is due to my good friend Teddie R. who is a head nurse at the same hosp. 9th floor. Teddie knows Joe ( we are on a first name basis) very well and once he found out we were friends, did his best to make me comfortable at all times. Joe is such a sweet man, that I am so very sure even if Teddie and I weren't friends, that I would have received the same care. He takes his job and position seriously and is well respected.
Joe looks nothing like what you would expect a Dr. in his position to look like. He's in his early 40's, has long golden blonde hair that he wears in a ponytail. He has tatoos on his forearms and is very muscular from working out. He looks more like a biker than a doctor.
In fact, if you've ever seen
Dog, The Bounty Hunter , that's who Joe has been compared to many times. I didn't know who Dog was until today when I looked him up on the computer and they are right, Joe is his spitting image.

I think I should explain that I may not have had the 'right' attitude upon going into surgery. I was very scared that I was never going to wake up. Irrational maybe, but that's how it was. Tom knew how I felt and he hid his feelings well, never once letting down his guard that he also shared those same feelings.

In a moment alone with Diane, my younger sister, she told me what a wreck he'd been while I was in surgery. He told her that I was his 'best friend' and what would he do if I didn't make it. He cried. I think I would have liked to hear that he had said I was the love of his life and he couldn't live without me, but knowing Tom as I do, I think that is exactly what he was saying. He couldn't eat, couldn't drink, couldn't sleep. Our daughters and my sister made sure he got nourishment. If he wouldn't go get food, they brought it to him.

Everyone kept telling me how 'good' I looked, for having gone through what I did. At the time I didn't realize that my entire body was bloated from the fluids. My face was at least twice it's normal size and my hands and feet and legs were like sausages. Not the breakfast kind, but the 'big bun' size.

Teddie comes in to visit me today and said that she tried to prepare Tom and the girls for what to expect when they saw me for the first time. I'm sure it was still a huge shock.

I find out that my tongue had been pulled out to the side, to insert the mouthpiece for the respirator and that it had grotesquely swollen to three times it's normal size. GROSS.
And for the family to keep repeating how 'good' I looked, you know they love me. I'm surprised no one puked.

I get my first bed sponge bath today. It takes two nurses. I'm orange all over my chest, abdomen and thighs from the Betadine. It will take weeks to completely wear off. It feels good to be washed, but I hated that they don't rinse, like you would do if you were bathing yourself.

Joe keeps popping in to see how I'm doing and wants to know on a scale of 1-10 what my pain level is. I tell him a 9. He isn't happy. Says I am letting the pain get ahead of me and that I should be asking for the morphine every two hours. I don't understand why they just don't schedule it like that themselves, but I'm just the patient. I learned though, I began asking for it more often. Mrs. H rather liked being in La La Land. She rarely spoke and slept alot.

A few different nurses who were caring for me on different shifts, just couldn't do enough for me when they found out I was a good friend of Teddie's. She must have more pull in the hosp. than I ever realized. I really did feel like a VIP.

I'm pretty sure I was in bed that entire day but the next day, the third, I was in for quite a shock. The stomach tubes were going to be removed as well as the catheter and I had to take a little walk. Lord help me.

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