Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Crazy hair and surgical tape halter tops are "in"

...lower girlie parts are "out". Surgery went really well yesterday. I went under at 7:30am and woke up around 11:30am with a new left boob, a revised right boob, and no more uterus, ovaries and cervix. Woot! Once in my room I had to launch into my role as my own patient advocate rather quickly when I learned I was not getting any iv pain medication (just vicodin which didn't work for me last time) and I was only being permitted to have ice chips for 24 hours! I called a meeting with the RN and the in charge nurse and explained what happened last June when my pain wasn't proactively controlled and they agreed to order that the nurse on duty is to come offer me pain meds (demerol by injection) every four hours rather than wait for me to ask for it (because by the time I would really need it, I'd be behind the pain and in trouble trying to get caught up like last summer). Ever since the meeting they've done a wonderful job tending to my pain med needs and I'm very grateful for that. So...if this post is rambling or in any way confusing, I blame the demerol. I went without food or beverage of any kind (only allowed ice chips and sips of water) from Monday night at 9:30pm til lunchtime today (Wednesday)! Not cool. Apparently they were starving me so that I wouldn't vomit even though I've assured them I had no nausea whatsoever. Thank God for my lovely friend, Jessica, who brought me some contraband - an organic blueberry smoothie, organic blueberries and some other goodies that I could slowly consume while waiting for the doctor to change my dietary orders so I could have a real meal. Thank you, Jessica!!!! My dietary needs had to be taken up with the doctor. When one of the residents came to talk to me about it he explained the main concern was that I'd get nauseated and vomit (my translation of that was that they didn't want to have to clean up the mess so it was easier for them to starve me). He advised that I shouldn't eat anything, including the beautiful organic blueberry smoothie that Jessica brought me. Since they were mainly concerned with me vomiting but not expecting any other gnarly side effects of consuming something I thanked him for his advice and proceeded to cautiously sip on the smoothie. Thankfully, I've never had any nausea or vomiting from anesthesia and this is my fourth surgery since June '09 (all performed here UCLA). The subject of the catheter came up and I explained that I was feeling pressure and the need to go to the bathroom. He told me to use the bed pan (by the way, sadly and hilariously funny is the fact that the bed pan is pink). I raised both hands and showed him how on one hand I'm tied to an iv tube and the other hand a pulse-ox cable and then lifted the blanket off my legs and showed him the compression garments and cables attached to both of my legs and asked him to instruct me on how exactly one should go about wiping their rear end while laying down and tied to all this stuff. He suddenly realized I was serious and not some little kid trying to get out of doing her homework. I seriously considered using the bed pan and I seriously resolved not to. I recommended he take the bed pan home with him and try it out so that he'll know how patients feel when faced with that as their only option for relief while tied to the hospital bed. He laughed, nervously, and admitted that really every doctor and nurse should be required to do that so they'll know how patients feel. I agree. Somehow I doubt that he'll follow through to find that out. Oh, and in addition to both arms and both legs being attached to tubing, I had a catheter attached to me too and that thing was really cramping my style this time. I tried to convince them to take it out last night but they wouldn't take it out til this morning. I really did not want to use the pink bed pan and was determined not to and thankfully I managed to avoid it. I was visited by several doctors today, including my favorite Dr.Crisera (plastic surgeon, aka Dr.McHotty, aka Dr.C) :) and we agreed I could/should spend one more night because they want to see to it that I can handle solid foods and once I get home Cooper will be all over me and wanting me to pick him up which I can not do for 2 weeks. Dr. Heaps (OB/GYN surgeon, aka Dr.H) came by shortly afterward to check on me and he too agreed I should stay the night and he told me that everything he removed appears to be benign PRAISE GOD! but that official pathology results weren't in just yet. I had barely any blood loss during surgery - he told Bob it equaled a tablespoon or less. I told Dr.H about how hungry I was and how I had no issues with the sips of the smoothie last night so he changed my orders so I could have a regular meal at dinner time. Once I heard that I started nibbling on the rest of the fruit Jessica left for me. Besides the two surgeons, I've been visited by two teams of residents assigned to my case. I forgot which team belonged to which division (plastics or gynecology) so one time that a team entered the room I asked them if they were here for the hooters or the hoo-ha. :) Now that I've finally had a meal (first full meal in 48 hours), I can say that it's been a good experience - nurses are on top of everything around the clock. I also just received the pain meds and my eyes are heavy and about to close (actually I think I dozed off halfway through composing this haha) so it's time to wrap up this update and get onto the very important business of sleep. :) Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts! I am praising the Lord... for everything...including my crazy hair and surgical tape halter top! ;) Before surgery: After surgery: Love, Julie


  1. Julie -
    thanks for letting us know how are doing. It sounds like very, very well, and I am so glad. I've been keeping you in my thoughts in prayers. I admire the culture of open communication you are establishing with your physicians and caregivers. I'm sure it will improve care for others. Have you considered becoming a patient advocate after this? :)

  2. Thanks for the update! I'm so glad you're recovering so well and advocating for your needs. You are a rockstar Julie!

  3. Julie,
    you are a blessing!
    and i'm sure you taught the staff at that hospital a thing or two.
    i'm glad things are going well.
    i'll keep you in my prayers.

  4. I think the "halter top" looks like one of those fancy designer dresses people buy! lol Glad you are sailing right through! Oh and be glad you aren't at a military hospital. They would call you a drug seeker and give you Motrin. :oP

  5. Julie,

    So glad that you updated.Very glad to hear that all went well. I like how you are such a great advocate for yourself. I am going to take some lessons from you!!

    Lunch in a few weeks would be great. The timing we can figure out. You know this cheno thing is no fun. They are changing my chemo again. No, more Gemzar it is bothering my liver.

    Praying for you and a very quick recovery. God Bless!


  7. Avid reader, first time poster! You look AMAZING before and after your surgery!!! I pray for you and your family often and am so happy that things went well and are looking good. Wishing you a quick recovery and healthy reports!!!!

  8. Hey you, good to see you smiling... glad the surgery went well. Take care!