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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Surgery Eve

With visiting hours essentially over and the evening winding down, it was time for the nurses to do a few things to get me ready for the adventures of the next day. The first step was to get me hooked up to an IV to give me some extra fluids to prepare me for the surgery. My nurse came in with some warm blankets to wrap my arms in.  Apparently this makes the whole IV process a bit easier.

I've only ever had IVs for day surgery and those have always gone into my hand because of the short duration they are in. However for more substantial surgeries or length IV time, they don't like to use the hands, I think because they hurt more and the sites don't stay viable as long.Two nurses came in the room about 10 minutes after the blankets has been wrapped around my arms. After a few false starts due to missing IV parts (that they had to source from other units in the hospital) we were ready to get the job done.

Now whenever I have given blood, had blood drawn or have had the aforementioned hand IVs, I've always been told I have beautiful veins that make it easy to get the job done. The nurse on Surgery Eve made the same comment. Until she tried to find a vein in my forearm vs. in my hand or at the crook of my elbow. Basically I found out that in my wrist area, my veins weave and go deep into my arm, away from the surface making it difficult to find a good spot. They need enough of a straight portion of vein that the needle will go in before the vein curves again. We had an epic fail with one on my right arm (resulting in my hospital bracelet looking like it had been present at a massacre). She tried with the left. I have to say that I have never seen a nurse more focused and confident that she would get the job done.  She really knew what she was doing. She finally found a spot and with great determination, ripping packages open with her teeth as to not lose the vein by letting go, she got the IV in painlessly. Just as she was about to hook the tubing up to the bag of basic saline solution, the EKG man finally showed up. Apparently there were a lot of emergency patient issues throughout the hospital that had kept him busy. He did his thing (in under 3 minutes) and off he went.  The nurse finished hooking everything up and I  was officially tied to a portable IV pump stand.  I know I named the stand at one point but for the life of me I can't remember what I named it-I think it may have been Walter.

A little while later the nurse came by with the best gift ever - an enema kit. By that point she had decided for me that I would just do it myself.  She gave me the instructions, unplugged Walter and told me I could get to it whenever I was ready. I don't really feel like explaining how it works, so if you are really interested, there is more information here. The purpose of this is to make sure your insides are as cleaned out as possible so that there are no accidents while you are in surgery and also because they will be operating near the bowels it's a safety thing (in case something gets nicked). Again, I don't want to get into details but it is a very weird sensation both during and after. I wonder a little bit about the sanity about the person who came up with the concept of enemas. It doesn't hurt and isn't overly uncomfortable-just strange.

With all of that done it was getting late.  I was actually feeling pretty tired.  I did my best to wash my face and brush my teeth. Doing anything in the bathroom attached to my room with Walter in tow was kind of amusing.  The room has a walk in shower, slightly sloped downwards from where the toilet and sink were. Walter, unlike everything else in the hospital with wheels, didn't come with brakes so he was almost always rolling away from me-there wasn't enough IV tubing to stretch the distance so I had to keep pulling him back and using my foot to prevent his travel. It was funny that first night but I wondered how it would be when I wasn't feeling fine and a lot weaker in the days to come.

I was still in my t-shirt and yoga pants I had arrived to the hospital in. I couldn't get anything off the top of me because of the IV (bra included.  I put p.j bottoms on and did my best to unhook my bra and push it aside (very classy). Not ideal but I didn't realize at the time that there was anything I could do about it (I found out later the IV could easily be unhooked by a nurse). I tucked myself in, found a good position for the bed and surprisingly fell asleep fast.

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