Friday, November 30, 2007


I was out cold for much of yesterday. They decided to give me general anesthesia instead of the twilight, so my stay in the recovery room was lengthy. I went in for pre-surgical procedures at noon and didn't leave the hospital until 8:30. The attending nurse gave me extra barf bags for the trip home, which came in handy at the Osco prescription counter. "Would generic (Vicodin) be OK?" asked the pharmacist. " excuse me," and as discreetly as possible I horked into my bag, which turned out to have a leak in it. Oops. "Cleanup on Aisle 18."

The biggest ordeal of the day was the pre-surgical guidewire insertion, where two radiologists labored for nearly an hour to insert needles into the parameters around the tumors and then thread thick wire into the insertions. One of them, Dr. M., was sweating profusely by the time they were done. I really wasn't prepared for what came next, which was a very gory mammogram. I'm not good about seeing my own blood, and nearly fainted. The radiology technician, who seemed unnerved herself, put ice packs on my neck and I gradually got my legs back. I bled all over my gown, and had to be given a new one. By the time that was done, I was looking forward to being put under.

The scene in the prep room before my operation was amusing, as one person after another came in and asked me the same questions. Are you allergic to latex? Did you take any aspirin or ibuprofen in the last week? Then the surgeon, Dr. B. arrived, looking exactly like one would expect after watching countless TV hospital dramas. In fact, he is a rather good-looking, lean man with striking blue eyes, who wouldn't seem at all out of place standing next to Hugh Laurie, or any of his fictional counterparts. The fact that he was in full surgical blues, including cap and booties, didn't hurt the impression. He described the procedure to me and my husband, and then turned me over to the anesthesiologist. "I'm going to give you a little something before we put the tube in," she said. They started the drip in my IV, and I remembered nothing until awakening three hours later. I couldn't open my eyes, but felt the breathing tube being removed, and a choking sensation. Someone, probably the anesthesiologist, asked me how I felt. I had just been drinking with Dr. B. at the Green Eye in Bucktown, and resented the interruption. I then told her as much, and she laughed. "He would be fun to go out drinking with!"

Today, thanks to Vicodin, I can move around and not think about the huge dent in my right breast too often. The dressing is still on, but I was told I could remove it today and take a shower. Not sure if I want to see what's under there...

Thanks to all who contacted me before and after the surgery to send their best wishes. I even got "flowers" via text-message! I could thank my husband online as well, but words on a screen do not suffice. He's been a rock.

I will be back on here, soon.


Larry said...

Erica and I hope you are feeling better real soon. And bless J. for being such a model husband - a true man's man!

Anonymous said...

Yikes, what a procedure. You've succeeded in making your brother squirm and even gag a bit--two life-long goals of yours, I believe. Glad you've got this behind you and glad you've got a long-life ahead of you. And double-glad that you've got the ever efficient, ever logical Joe there to offer an assist where lesser mortals would....squirm and gag. Talk to you soon.


The Fifty Foot Blogger said...

I could get a lot grosser, bro. The drainage bulb alone could gag a maggot.

Louise said...

When I had surgery years ago the anaesthetist said as he injected me "you'll just feel a little prick" to which the assisting nurse said "he's not kidding I've seen it". A regular little anaesthists joke apparently to relax the patient. Very 'Carry On Doctor'!

Grotty procedure you've been through - hope you perk up soon Erica.

The Fifty Foot Blogger said...

That's a hoot!
When I was a child, a tv station in Cleveland used to play Saturday afternoon movies...almost anything from old horror films to the "Carry On" series. I'm sure many of the jokes went over my head, but I remember enjoying the general naughtiness of it all. I especially appreciated, as a ten-year-old, a scene where a nurse gave a difficult patient a rectal temp. using a daisy instead of a thermometer.