Sunday, June 24, 2012

Role Reversal is a Bitch!

June 8, 2012 I temporarily gave up my job as Nurse, Wife, Mom, and Gramma. I returned to the role of CHD PATIENT! I arrived at the hospital at 5:30 am to check in for my Open Heart placement of a Plulmonary Valve. Pre-op went as smoothly. I did have to get another EKG as Hoag did not send it to St Joseph. Much better than having to redraw labs. After all was done Dr. Happy Drug gave me my Versed. My dad and mother-in-law came in to see me before they took me to the OR. Jim said we had a sweet conversation that I have no recollection of.

In my pre-op tour with the Nurse Practitionor, I told my biggest concern was waking up still intubated. She reassured me that if I did, ,they would remove it ASAP. I do remember it and using pleading eyes and my thumb to beg them to get it out. I remember them telling me to relax, not fight it, so I begged again. I don't know how long it was before they did, but so grateful when it was out.

Two weeks later my sister-in-law asked me if I remember seeing her after that. Not one bit. I only knew she was there because she signed my Heart pillow. When Jim told me she was there, I asked him to have her come to the foot of the bed so I could see her. I then whispered "Fix my bangs". She came over and fluffed my new short hair back into shape. I said "Thanks, it's a girl thing." I also kept asking someone to "get me a cocktail". I wanted was ice chips. I guess I was pretty funny. 

I also saw my Dad, mother-in-law, sister, niece, Jim and my friend Mike. I spoke to my son and daughter on the phone. I had an awesome nurse Paz that I have a very slight memory of. Pain medicine was my friend that first night.

I will be forever grateful to my friend Mike. We were best friends in nursing school 20 years ago. He became a CCU nurse. Several years ago he aorta disected and had emergancy surgery, nearly didn't make it. I couldn't have had a better person to have at my bedside when Jim could not be there.  Because of his experience as a nurse and a patient, he anticipated my every need. 

I would pass on to my nurses that I was also a nurse. It was never to say "hey, I'm a nurse, treat me special", but to let them know I understand the pain scale, the need for all those deep breathes, how accurated do you want this I&O, I know I have to get out of bed. Having nurses take care of me, I tried to be the kind of patient I would want to take care of. One who did not do too much or lay there like a lump, call light too much, follow instructions, not let the pain get out of control.

When I got home it was even more difficult letting others do things for me. BUT I did. I let Jim help me into bed, fluff my pillow, rub my back, get me things. I let my daughter-in-law clean for me even though I hate anyone having to clean up after me. She colored my hair and even painted my toenails. As a wife, mom and gramma I love doing things and making things for my family, but this time I let them do for me. Weird....

So far, my recovery is going really well, and I think it is because I am going along with this role reversal thing.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Thank you to the Internet!

When I was growing up, the only time I ever saw another kid with CHD was at my cardiology appointments. I certainly did not have anyone in my everyday life. I had my surgery when I was 16 and I was very alone in that aspect. My parents also did not have other parents to talk to. I don't think they ever sought others out either.

As a face surgery in less than 24 hours I am humbled by the love and support from the friends I have met in the online CHD community. Facebook, blogs, online support groups have all become a great source of information.

Also because of facebook, I reconnected with a sorority sister from college. I hadn't seen her in 35 years. Out of all my friends and relatives, she was one of three who has my she blood type. She took time to go donate blood for my surgery.

Today I got the last of my pre-op tests done. Tomorrow I will go see my dad, pack my bag, clean my house and try not to think about Friday. I will let everyone else worry about it.

And when I have recovered, I will RUN around with these kids.
Xavier, Jane, & Jimmy, the center of my heart.