Too Many to count

I’m not just talking about the number of speeding tickets I have had. (although that number almost equals the number of years I have been driving) YIKES!

I’m talking about the number of times I have been “put under”.  When you get general anesthesia, you’re “put under,” which means that you’re totally unconscious and immobilized. You “go to sleep” and don’t feel, sense or remember anything that happens after the drugs begin to work on your system.

My very first surgery was having my wisdom teeth removed when I was 16.  Between that time and my most recently scheduled surgery (having screws and a plate put in my right foot on 9/4/2018)  I have lost track of the number of times I have been put under.

I really do need to keep better records.

The most notable surgeries were:

  1. an emergency C-section with Thing One
  2. a hysterectomy
  3. CMC joint replacements in both my hands
  4. the power port being placed in my chest (on valentines day…smh)
  5. a laminectomy of my thoracic spine
  6. and my every few months Botox in the BLADDER surgeries.

You could almost call me a professional surgeree?  I don’t really think that’s a word though, so let’s stick with patient.

I’m not writing this post to elicit sympathy, but rather to share some of the things I have learned over the years to help me prepare for going under.  For me, preparation for surgery begins more than a week before surgery.

The FIRST thing I do is take a look at the amount of recovery or down time that the surgeon is recommending, then DOUBLE IT.  (Most people probably don’t need to double it, but I’m going with MY past experiences, AND the whole plan for the worst, but hope for the best scenario)  Make a list of all the things that you are responsible for during that time period and begin to look for someone to COVER for you.  Your list should include the basic necessities of adulting like eating, bathing, paying your bills etc.

In my case I have purchased enough groceries for a month.  I won’t claim that they are the healthiest options available, but this will allow me to be as self sufficient as possible.  All of my bills are set up for automatic bill pay.  I have hired someone to take care of my lawn.  My kids will be grabbing my mail for me a couple times a week etc.  As far as bathing goes, I just won’t do it.  I’M KIDDING!!!!!  I have a shower chair and after the number of  medical procedures I have had performed, I have no modesty left, so my kids and some close friends are helping with that.

shower clothsIf you are not comfortable sharing that much with your family, they do sell bathing wipes that you can use by yourself.

While on the subject of modesty, BEFORE surgery is also a good time to PUT away anything you might not be comfortable sharing with friends or a caretaker.  (Don’t put spare cash for food delivery in the same drawer you stash, “OTHER” things.  If you catch my drift.

Most importantly, don’t try to be a hero, super or otherwise.  Just because you THINK you can do something, try to error on the side of caution, at least while you are on pain meds.  If you wouldn’t do the task after drinking a 12 pack, maybe wait just a little bit longer or ask for help?!?!?

drivingWhile I have figured out, kind of, how to drive with my left foot, I will be relinquishing my keys for the next couple of months.  While I have proven to myself that it CAN be done, it’s really not safe and is against doctor’s orders.  I would hate to have the issue come up if I had a flat tire, or worse was involved in an accident.

I have more that I would like to share about preparing for surgery,  especially about the night before and day of, but I still have more to do and a few days before surgery, so I will write more later.

Have you ever had surgery?  Can you think of anything I have missed?  Any funny stories to share?

29 thoughts on “Too Many to count

  1. I’ve had several and there was nothing funny about any of them. I usually get sick if I am under anesthesia for an extended period of time, and once it occurred just after the closed an incision in my lower abdomen/groin area. That felt groovy! The other thing I remember is that general anesthesia makes me constipated as hell. So I have to load up on laxatives otherwise it will be like shitting boulders after a few days

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great points! From my various times ‘under’ I’ve learned a lot along the way, too. Definitely agree that whatever the ‘specialists’ consider to be the recovery time to double it! Also I think that it pays to be prepared, like you said with considering your responsibilities after surgery, shopping, putting away ‘stuff’ you don’t want others to see if they’ll be around your possessions during that time. Wet wipes are great, I used those when in hospital. I’d recommend to-do lists and ‘to take’ lists because if your memory is anything like mine I can’t leave it to my brain to remember! Online grocery shopping helped me after surgery, as well as letting people know I’d be unwell for a little while afterwards as pressure to do the basics like Facebook messages, emails etc can be a little overwhelming. Definitely a good idea to heed advice when it comes to driving though as these things can invalidate insurance (though I do applaud your ability to drive with one foot!!) xx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. TY Caz! Today I am spending the day navigating my house with the wheelchair, and use of only one leg… while I thought my house my wheelchair accessible, I found that my bathroom door is only wide enough for the chair (not my hands on the wheels) ouch!!!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I have crutches by the door now, and after moving my treadmill, I can position the wheelchair so I can navigate without my hands. Good idea though!… I’m sorry that you have had so much experience with surgeries too, but I am grateful for your company and suggestions!

        Liked by 3 people

  3. These are some great tips Grace! Making sure everything is planned and prepared for beforehand will give you the opportunity to do what you should be doing afterward — resting and recovering. I hope your surgery goes well and your foot heals quickly.

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  4. After the surgery – when you are home – DO NOT wait until you can no longer stand the pain before you call your doctor. If anything feels strange – out of wack – super painful – wet (leakage from the surgical site) CALL your doctor immediately. Infections can kill and for us the battle is even harder. Always better to be safe and over worried – than to just let it pass for now.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great post Grace! Always planning and preparing for everything is so important! I really hope your surgery goes well and you heal up fast! Just remember that REST is SO IMPORTANT!!!! Take care of YOU because YOU are so important!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I had 4 so I do remember the excruciating pain I was waking up to. Funny stories come before and way after the surgery.
    When in Germany, you have to get used to sitting or lying naked in that ice-cold room way before the doc finally shows up. So, I’m sitting there, trembling like a leaf and the anaesthesiologist keeps saying: Ma’am, you need to calm down….I know you’re scared, but you need to calm down. If not, we can’t proceed. This won’t hurt. You won’t feel a thing. Please come down.
    I keep interrupting him, saying I’m not afraid….But he’s obviously not listening, so I resort to my lungs:
    I SAID I WASN’T AFRAID. I’M FUCKING COLD. WILL SB GIVE ME A FUCKING BLANKET?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One of my favorite parts of being in the hospital are the warm blankets bring….omg did I just say favorite and hospital in the same sentence…and I really want a blanket?… I swear I am not a child! I think I asked them one time way the rooms were so damn cold, if memory serves me correctly, I think it was because the lights produce so much heat… I will have to try to remember to ask again. I hope your days of surgery are over!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve included a link to explain what a port is (basically direct access to a vein that goes to your heart that is implanted in your chest) https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https://www.cancer.gov/images/cdr/live/CDR756805-750.jpg&imgrefurl=https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/port-a-cath&h=600&w=750&tbnid=sOwZrCNeI5-ogM:&q=what+is+a+port+o+cath&tbnh=160&tbnw=199&usg=AFrqEzfCx-Fd2gnID9G0cOX61niq01YP-A&vet=12ahUKEwjWjtu3j5fdAhUFPK0KHcbRBDEQ9QEwAHoECAcQBg..i&docid=UkzbxdKDoRD7GM&client=firefox-b-1-ab&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjWjtu3j5fdAhUFPK0KHcbRBDEQ9QEwAHoECAcQBg The POWER part of it, is that they can push fluids, drugs, etc quickly and in larger doses

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  7. “If you wouldn’t do the task after drinking a 12 pack…” After a 12-pack there are very few tasks I don’t feel fully capable of tackling. 😉

    Knocking on wood as I write this, but I’ve never had a surgery or procedure. I’ve never broken a bone. I’ve had, maybe, 3 stitches in my life, all at the same time. I’ve never been “under.” Lord forbid I ever need to heed your advice, but I’m gonna bookmark it just in case. One never knows what the day may bring!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Knocking on wood is good Tom!… I wish I could say, “you don’t know what you’re missing”, but alas, even though the drugs they give you are strong, you get no enjoyment from them, and if you are lucky no memory of them either. Whatever you are doing seems to be working for you, so imo just keep doing what you’re doing! Hope you have a great weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. My thoughts are with you Grace! My dad had chemo and radiation and had to plan for the stinky days and further into treatment. He had a high school boy walk his dog after school/basketball, a neighbor feed his dog, and another neighbor throw his trash. He told my brother where all of his important papers were, made a list of books for my sister to weekly retrieve from library, moved his tv to a good spot, put a mini fridge in his room for cold drinks and meds. In the end, the process was much more manageable than he planned but you never know.

    Good preparation Grace!!
    When do you go into hospital?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Although this isn’t my first “rodeo”, I am sure I am missing or forgetting something, but I am definitely more prepared than I have been in the past. The surgery is on Tuesday, and they are doing it as an outpatient, but I won’t know the time until sometime this afternoon

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure you are Grace — it’s astounding to me how much work it is to prepare for a surgery. It’s like before you have a new baby— you feel so uncomfortable but have to ensure your house is clean for all the people that come to visit afterwards.

        Perhaps I can send a fairy 🧚‍♀️ maid to do that part 🏠 for you.

        So you have the long weekend to prepare and hopefully Rest In Peace.

        Are you in pain now Grace?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. self induced pain only. (If I wear the boot and stay off my foot the pain is manageable, but the boot is heavy and makes my hip hurt from uneven gait)… I have been my own worst enemy.

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  9. You are in my prayers Grace……….I have had surgery also, more than 5 less than 15…….not sure but it always sucks………sending you prayers of complete and quick healing!

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  10. Jesus, Grace. WHAT IS HAPPENING?! I am so far behind. My fog brain can’t keep up with all the posts so I am out of the loop. Going to keep reading to see if I can figure this out.
    PS…one of my favourite things about having days off is not showering. I LOVE IT! So, I support you.

    Like

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