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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Turning the Corner

My Day Three post breakfast nap was definitely a turning point in my post kidney donation hospital recovery. I would give credit to the red Jello except I didn't eat it.

I woke up to find myself surrounded by almost the entire Doctorpalooza  crew, smiling away at me. It was the first time in my stay at Foothills where I had been "caught" sleeping and hadn't woken up to people entering the room. Dr. Y seemed to be in charge that day vs. Dr S or Dr. W. I kind of wonder how they determined who was alpha doctor each visit-rock, paper, scissors? Dr Y did the usual check of my incisions, asked the gas and poop questions. He asked how my pain was and I told him my arm hurt way more than anything related to the surgery. They all kind of leaned in, glancing at it and there were a few cringes.They told me I should be off the morphine now-and I was. I did ask them why the nurses kept offering it to me if I didn't need it-they just grinned and didn't really answer. Dr Y then got a very serious look on his face, paused and then asked me why I hadn't eaten my jello. "Really?" I asked, "Do you want it?". They all started to chuckle and he waved his hands, backing away from the tray. "Exactly" I said. More laughs. 

Then he gave me the best news ever. I was allowed to shower, the IV could probably come out (they had put a needle in my hand after the other arm failed but hadn't hooked me up to anything) and the catheter could most certainly come out. Yahoo! On top of that, they were buying my "If you want me to poop give me more than consomme and jello" argument. While I was still going to get that for lunch, I was going to get to have dinner! I mean it was still going to be hospital food but I had learned to appreciate that some levels of food were better than others.

Doctorpalooza left. I was already feeling a million times better just knowing I'd soon be free of all the machines and gadgets. A nurse came in later and I asked her when the catheter was going to come out. She looked at me blankly. Seven or eight doctors and not one had communicated this to her or put it in the system. Awesome! She did have good news though that someone was going to come in and help me with the shower and also change my sheets. 

Moments later that person did arrive. Now, I have never felt fatter, more bloated, greasier, dirtier-I think you get the point-as I did at that moment. I'm also normally a fairly modest person-even if you are a nurseor a doctor, I'd still feel weird being naked or partially naked around you. But as this lady helped me out of was most certainly a stinky gown, and helped me turn on the shower, passed me the shampoo etc from my makeup bag-I didn't care. I was going to get to wash my hair! I was washing my face! I didn't care what she saw or how awful I looked. I was clean. Another huge uptick in the recovery status. If I could have done a happy dance I would have.

Feeling fresh and new I did several laps of the floor that day, each one bringing me less discomfort and higher spirits. The catheter didn't end up coming out till mid afternoon. The awesome "floater" nurse took the time to call the doctor after 2PM when an order still hadn't been put in the system. She said he razzed her a bit because he is a "surgeon" and they don't normally deal with those things but she pointed out to him he was the one to tell me it was coming out and his name was on my arm. Good woman! She came in my room waving the tools to help her take it out. I think she was as happy as I was. She also took the time to shut my door to make sure no one barged in on us-that was a nice touch. When she was done I yelled "I'm free". I think we just about high-fived.

One thing I was really reminded of in this process is how awesome the little milestones in a journey can be and how the simplest things like a shower, a few laughs and some nice people can make such a difference in how you feel.

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