Wednesday, May 6, 2015

All The Cool Kids Are Born With *Some Assembly Required: Part 2

Remember how I said I felt pretty good Sunday night when I went to bed? I woke up Monday morning feeling like I got hit by a Mac truck. The nurses came in to get me out of bed at 6 AM, so I was ready for rounds and I was extremely nauseous. Around 4 AM the nurses had come in to do labs, and give me another dose of my pain killers, so I think the pain killers were finally starting to get to me. I've always had adverse reactions when taking any sort of narcotic. I sat in the chair for while, until I couldn't take it anymore. The nurse practitioner came in and said they hadn't seen my surgeon yet. I asked if they could give me some Zofran for the nausea, and if I could stop taking the narcotic since it was making me nauseous. She was fine with that and started giving me Tylenol instead. Of course the Zofran made me drowsy, and I could barely keep my eyes open sitting in the chair.

The nurse came in to check on me and I asked if I had to stay in the chair. They said yes, until the doctors came to round on me, they did not want me getting back into bed. The thing about that is I was almost positive my surgeon was in surgery, and chances are I would not see him until early afternoon. I text my parents to tell them not to rush to get to the hospital as I was not feeling well. I somehow managed to fall asleep in the chair, and I woke up around 9:30 feeling a little better, so I ate some yogurt and peaches, and drank an orange juice. Shortly after I woke, one of the cardiac sonographers I know stopped in to visit me. She brought me a small bag with some of her favorite snack bars! She and I chatted about running and her son for a few minutes, then she was back to work, it was busy for them especially being a Monday.

My nurse came in around 10, and I took more medication, then she asked if I would like to get a shower. The magic words!! I could not wait to take a shower!! The nurse took the dressing off my incision to take a look at it. It looked good, I was impressed with how clean the sutures were! Then she attached my telemetry to a longer cord so I could shower. This was my first time showering since my surgery on Friday, and of course it took twice as long for me to do anything.

(Feeling like a new girl after my shower!)

By the time I got out of the shower I was feeling much better than I was when I got out of bed at 6 AM. My nurse put a new dressing on my incision, and new telemetry patches on me. Shortly thereafter, my parents came to visit. Right as my family came the Physical Therapist came wanted to work with me. She watched me sit, stand, lay down and get out of bed. Then she walked with me around the nurses station and up and down the stairs. She told the nurse I was free to be independent, and the nurse was not surprised. This was great because now I didn't need to call the nurse to do everything.

I got back to my room and visited with my parents for a bit. They didn't stay long because I was still tired, and they wanted to do some things around town and at my house. Around lunch time two of my coworkers stopped by to visit. They brought me a nice little basket of flowers, and I filled them in on what was going on with me. They also filled me in a little about what was going on at work. They didn't stay long because they had to get back to work. I was still tired, and I had a headache, but my lunch came, so I ate some of that hoping it would make me feel better.

My surgeon came in early that afternoon, and he said it sounded like I could go home on Tuesday. I told him I was feeling horrible, and if I still felt horrible I did not want to go home. He did have much to say otherwise because I was doing really well, and he was happy with my progress. I told him I stopped taking the pain killers, and he was fine with that. After my surgeon left, I decided to crawl back into bed and take a nap. I was still tired from the Zofran and my headache was lingering. Shortly after I got back into bed, my moms cousin came to visit me. She brought me a small gift, slippers and Princess jelly beans!


She was telling me about her upcoming trip to go see her granddaughter out in San Diego. She stayed for about 45 minutes, after she left I took a nap. When I woke I still had the headache, so I started drinking more water, thinking that maybe I had the headache because I was dehydrated. That did the trick, after I drank a few glasses of water, I was starting to feel better. I got back in my chair, and turned on the television. Around 4:45 another one of my coworkers came to visit me. She brought me a thing of flowers as well. We chatted for about 15 minutes, and then she was off.

Now that I was free to move about on my own, I got up out of my chair and took my 6 walks on my own. Since I wasn't feeling well earlier in the day I still had about three to do. So I decided to take a walk after my coworker left. I had a small loop out I always did out to the elevators and back. Then I sat back down in my chair to watch some television and relax before dinner. I don't pay for television at home, so while I was in the hospital I was binging on HGTV. The rest of the night was low key and relaxing. I went for my remaining walks and then crawled into bed. Around 4 AM, the nurse and patient care tech came into take vitals and draw more labs. My poor arms and hands had had enough of needles. They could not get anything out of my right arm, and went to my left again. I had even been drinking a lot of water because of the dehydration earlier on Monday.

Tuesday morning, one of the Cardiology Attendings came in and woke me up around 6 AM and said he was going to get me ready for discharge. I was feeling much better than I was Monday morning, and I felt I was ready to go home. Shortly thereafter, my nurse came in got me out of bed and into my chair. she took my vitals and gave me some medication. She said I needed to get a shower, chest X-ray, and echo before I could be discharged. I had ordered an omelet for breakfast, and actually ate most of it. I sat in my chair and watched some television for a bit, and enjoyed the sun that was shining into my room. It looked so nice out, and I was ready for some fresh air.

(The beautiful sun shining on my flowers)

The Attending came back in. He was going to remove my drain tubes. Oh god. Everyone had been saying to me that getting the tubes removed was uncomfortable and even hurt. He was getting the dressing around and I asked him if it was going to hurt. He said it may at first, but it was probably going to feel more uncomfortable than anything. He removed the sutures around the tubes (I had 2 separate tubes), he twisted them to make sure they were lose, then he said on the count of three I want you to take a deep breath in and hold it. 1-2-3 {Inhale} as he yanked and pulled both tubes out at once. I gasped, and looked down... seriously, the tubes were each a foot long laying on the pad he had laid on my lap. I thought to myself, Where the heck did those come from?! He was right though, it didn't hurt, but it did feel really weird. 

After getting the tubes removed, the nurse came in to help me get ready for the shower. She attached me to the longer telemetry wires, and got me a new top to put on after. It felt great to move about without the drain tubes! While I was in the shower, the RT stopped up to take my chest X-ray. Oops, they would have to come back. Shortly after I got out of the shower, my parents and my brother stopped by. I told them I was going to be discharged, but I still needed a chest X-ray and echo beforehand. It wasn't long and transport was there to take me for my echo. Mom and dad stayed in my room while I went for my echo because they still needed to be interviewed and get lab work for a study that I had decided to be a part of. A study to see if there is a genetic link or mutation that causes congenital heart disease.

Once down in the pediatric echo lab, the sonographer came to get me and wheeled me around to her room. I knew the girls in the lab from either having my echoes done, or from shadowing there the many times that I had. She had me get on her bed and roll on to my side, it took me a few minutes. I told her I had stopped taking the narcotics because they made me sick, so I was just taking Tylenol. She agreed that the aching I was dealing with was probably better that the heaving from vomiting. While doing my echo we chatted, it was nice to talk to her again, and hear about what had been going on since I had shadowed that past fall. We talked about me passing my pediatric echo boards. She also said she was in the OR before and after my surgery to do the TEE. I thought it was great that she was also doing my baseline echo, and I loved seeing my new valve in actions. She even got an awesome shot of the valve where you could see the leaflets opening and closing! She had me roll into various positions, and she said she was amazed at how much I was moving about. She said she has had adults patients come down for their discharge echo still on narcotics, and they refused to roll for her, and here I was rolling around all over and only taking Tylenol. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, even my primary said that.

After my echo, she got me back in the wheelchair, and wheeled me back out to where transport would pick me up. A few minutes later, my cardiologist walked around the corner and saw me sitting in my chair hugging my cough pillow. He smiled and laughed, and we chatted for a few minutes. He asked if I was still taking anything for the pain, and I said only Tylenol. He said I could take Ibuprofen instead, but to make sure I took something before I went to bed at night to make sure I got a good nights sleep. Transport came and got me, and wheeled me back to my room. Just as I was being brought back to my room, my mom was coming back from the lab. She said my dad and brother went to run errands and said they would be back in a bit.

Back in my room, my lunch was waiting for me. I had ordered a turkey sandwich on wheat with lettuce mayo and mustard (that was quite the ordeal too, since I was only on a dysphagia 3 diet, I technically was not allowed to have lettuce for fear of choking. I told the diet tech I was going home today, and my nurse initialed the order saying I could have lettuce on my sandwich). I munched on my sandwich, and my nurse came in to go over some discharge paperwork. I told her I still had not had my chest X-ray, so she called them up STAT. They came, took my X-ray, and then after that I was able to get dressed to leave. I already had pants on, as I had been wearing them the majority of the time I was in the hospital. Mom helped me put a tank and t-shirt on. I decided to wear the T-shirt my parents had bought me while I was in the hospital.

(It reads, I'm stronger than you think)

Mom helped me pack up everything I had in my room. My nurse came back in to go over everything with me for the last time, that took about 20 minutes. For the first few weeks I'm not allowed to list anything over 10 pounds. I can't pick up Coco, or even walk her. Once we were done with the paperwork, transport was there to take me down to patient pick-up. Mom called my dad to make sure he was on his way back since they were wheeling me down. The woman who transported me was really nice, and we talked about how much we both loved the Golisano Children's hospital, and how much it had done for our families. Thankfully, there was a little waiting area that had a screen that showed what cars were pulling up in the circle. Once we got to the waiting area, she went behind the desk and brought me a carnation that had a little card attached and read, "Thank you for entrusting your health care to Strong Memorial Hospital." We sat there for about 5 minutes, and then my dad pulled up. She wheeled me out, and said goodbye. Mom helped me into the car, and she and my brother loaded my belongings into the car and then we were off!

The weather was beautiful, and I was so excited to get outside and breathe in some fresh air!! Once we got home, I sat outside with my family for a bit before heading to my bedroom to rest for a bit. It felt great to lay down in my own bed. I turned on Ellen, and ended up falling asleep about 20 minutes later. Even though I had not done a lot that day, it was still a busy day with testing and being discharged.

QOTD: Have any suggestions for things I can do during the day with my limitations? I have coloring books, cards, and Netflix.

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