Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bloody Pricks and Pills - Surgery Adventure Part 4

The second day after surgery, I received more visits and more flowers. I remember still feeling crappy and weak. My hair was greasier than it has ever been. I was craving for a shower but wasn't sure that was physically possible at that point. Yeah that's another thing about hospital living. Showers are a treat. I tried not to think about how many of my pores were getting blocked. Later during the day, the nurse offered to help me shower and boy did it feel good to be fresh again. I usually wash my hair every single day, so imagine… They were giving me normal food again but were still very conservative about the fluid intake. Ice chips were my best friends. Apart from the pretty flowers that soon filled up the space, people brought me books and magazines but my brain didn't want to process anything. Apart from my phone, I had no distractions. Not that I needed any. I slept most of the time. Again the cycles of sleep, sweat, feel cold, wake up, dry up, sleep. All day, all night. No fun. And I was still somewhere between 66-68 kg.

When the blood technician came after breakfast, I panicked again. They never find my vein the first time… Mary convinced me that this guy was good. Indeed he was. Got it the first time. Dried up my tears. Too bad it's a different technician everyday... The needles were much more emotionally draining than the idea of surgery itself. At least to me. They told me that most heart surgery patients are older, their skin isn't as tight, and their veins are more visible. Surgery ain't for youngsters… Blood work is done every morning when you're in the hospital. Sometimes, they would try one spot: the nurse pricks the needle in, taps it and gets no blood. She'd then move it around prowling under my skin trying to find a vein. No luck. She'd take it out and try another spot. At some point they ran out of spots and tried near my wrists instead. It felt like the needles were poking holes in my bones. I was traumatized. If there was one reason why I wanted to leave the hospital ASAP, it was my dread for blood work every morning, and my dread for the belly injection every afternoon.

On Monday, Dr. Degen came to see how I was doing. He said that I had lost about 45% of my blood during the surgery and my HB was at 70. I would feel better if they gave me two units of blood. The only thing is there's a tiny risk of HIV. In my mind I said "wth are you waiting for?!". I was given two units of blood and sure enough, I started feeling better. However , I was still nauseous from all the medication. At each meal I had a cocktail of 4-7 pills to ingest. Pain killers, blood thinners, diuretics, and a whole bunch of others to counter the side effects of the above. It seemed all I did was sleep, eat, take pills and munch on ice checking facebook and messages. Thank god for smartphones. Keeping in touch with the outer world somehow made me feel a bit better.

As I wondered whether I would be depressed and hate the world post-surgery, I thought about how it would have been if this had all happened in Mauritius instead. The hospital stay would have been much more depressing. Or the clinic stay would have been ridiculously expensive and just as depressing as a result. I was lucky to have landed at TGH instead, yay OHIP. Any consolation is good. As much as possible, I do try to see the brighter side of things in each situation. Being negative brings us down, makes us unproductive and causes us harm in so many ways. Sometimes, it's easier to be negative. It's tempting. But resisting is usually worth it (from personal experience). So I try, I try. Needles hurt, but they're making sure I get better. I can do this. Not without tears and momentary hatred for the nurse but I can do this. I kept telling myself that every time I closed my eyes, turned away making a face as someone attempted to find a vein under my skin.

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