They wake me up when the surgery is over and ask me to slide onto the stretcher. I thought they were joking. (note to self Ė when you think people are joking odds are they are QUITE serious.) Nope. Not joking. Slide yourself over. I canít. Sure you can. Umm. No. I canít feel my limbs. Oh wait. Yep. I feel my leg. Did he use a chainsaw on me? Okay, slide over. Umm. Gonna vomit. Okay, maybe not. I slide over and thatís all I remember until I awakened in Post Op next to a row of patients. Was I in a MASH episode? Was I dreaming I was in a MASH episode? Apparently not.
The nice nurse that did pre op testing on me had warned me that anesthesia causes depression. That was an understatement. I was crying hysterically. I didnít think I could stop. It was awful. When the nurse asked me if I was in pain, I remember stopping to think about it. I would have loved to see the look on her face, but she was all blurry. In fact, I canít be quite sure that she was a SHE at all. Hmmm? I try to focus on my body for a second. Was I in pain? Quite a bit, in fact. Thanks for asking. My leg hurt so much that I donít believe I could accurately describe it with a few words. Thus, Iíll size it up to the best of my abilities. It stung. It burned. It throbbed. It ached. It felt like it was going to explode, and Iím still wondering if he used a chainsaw. So yes, it hurt. Can you rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10? Have you been stealing my painkillers, lady? He just screwed things into my bones. Try 20! Alas, a shot. She JABS the needle into me. Maybe I said that comment about her stealing pain painkillers out loud. (note to self Ė think before you speak, or at least try to.)
The morphine did wonders for the pain and horrors for my stomach. In about a minute all my pain was gone. In about two minutes I was sure I was going to vomit an organ. Time for another shotÖ this one for the nausea. I swear she aimed for the same spot as the last needle.
My mother called while I was in post op. I heard the nurse talking to her. I remember telling the nurse not to let her talk to my doctor because she was going to yell at him for making me wait to get into surgery. I would have loved to see the expression on her face but she was still blurry.
My nausea dissipates, and I go back to sleep. I think I woke up once more in post op. I was there till around 9 pm, or so I was told. The next time I awaken, Iím in a room on the unit. As I look around, I realize Iím in the same room I was in when I was admitted after I broke my leg. Or was I? Shit! Iím delusional. And my leg hurts. Another shot. More nausea. And now my mom is standing there. But she was blurry too. And Iím not quite sure how she appeared there so quickly. No sheís been there for a while, she says. Hmmm? Sheís telling me a friend called and wants me to call her back. And then sheís asking me questions and every time I say something I feel like Iím going to vomit. Oh yes, I remember this feeling. I think Iím going to be sick. Somehow the nurse reappears. Or did my mom get her? I didnít see her leave. Nor did I see the nurse enter. Man, this is some screwed up shit they have me on. Morphine? Hmm? Well, I donít feel pain, but here Iím sure going to vomit up a storm if they donít give me something for it. But wait, the nurse gives me another shot for the nausea. Not injected in the same place. As long as I donít have to swallow them, who cares?
Mom says itís raining out. I hear the thunder. Okay, go home mom. I donít want you driving in bad weather. God forbid you get into an accidentÖ we could end up roommates. Geez. I blink and sheís gone. Or did I doze off again? The beeping IV wakes me again. Two bags of saline fluid later and I feel like Iím floating. I must have rung for the bedpan 10 times. Did they put a diuretic in the IV bag? Probably. Oh well.
Ah look, itís midnight. Woohoo! Time sure drags in this place. Might as well ring for the nurse and get some food in me. Itís been over 24 hours since I ate or drank anything (minus the ice chips Ė all three of them Ė and minus the two tiny bits of cracker). She brings me toast, jelly, apple juice, and vanilla ice cream. Exactly what I requested. Easy to chew, easy to swallow. But NOT easy at all. I gagged every time I put something in my mouth. It was awful. I couldnít even chew. And the apple juice tasted like orange. I tried to read the container, but my vision was still blurry from the drugs. Ah, but there was a picture on the container. It was of something that resembled an apple. Good enough for me.
I dip the toast in the juice then eat it. Disgusting? Yes. But I had to eat or this nausea would only get worse. And chewing seemed to make me sicker. Two hours later, I finally finished my meal.
Itís 4 am and I canít sleep. My cast feels like a vice grip and Iím reasonably certain that at any moment my foot is going to explode and take the cast with it. I try to imagine the trajectory and calculate that part of the cast should hit the window, part will probably hit the door or perhaps shoot out into the hall and knock out a nurse, and part will torpedo right for my head, but hopefully it will miss me and hit the cross over my head. Does that make me a heretic?
5 am and the nurse tries to coax me into taking more painkillers. NOPE. Doc will be in soon and I have many, many questions. If he has to wake me, I will forget half of them, ask the other half, and then forget all the answers. Nope. No painkillers. But arenít you in pain? Hell yeah! Then donít you think you should take a pain killer? No way! Getting these docs to materialize is like hoping for the Virgin Mary to appear above the altar of some third world countryís dilapidated church. How dumb do I look? No pills. No shots. Just sober little me and my doc. But she persists with her logic and my throbbing foot wins. One vicodin please. Sure you donít want two? Donít push it tootsie!
7 am Ė ďGOOD MORNING!Ē doc proclaims in an absurdly chipper mood, and I awake with a scream. Now thereís a way to greet your doctor! He looked like he wanted to laugh. And Iím sure I looked like I wanted to die. Just as predicted, I forget half my questions, but amazingly enough I remember his replies to the half I asked. And yes, I may go home as soon as I am ready. TAXI!