Thursday, August 30, 2007

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I'm back online and almost raring to go. I chose green, because I feel green around the edges. I went to sleep telling the assorted and sundry operating room people medical jokes. Like the good news/bad news jokes of the surgeon hovering over his waking patient with good news/bad news.

The patient says, "Give me the bad news first!"

Doc says, "We had to amputate both your legs."

Patient says, "OMG, after that --- what could possibly be good?"

Doc says, "Your roommate wants to buy your slippers."

Needless to say, they shoved the sodium pentathol in as a bolus! The right carotid endarterectomy took almost three hours, because although the plaque was only at 55% --- it had begun to dissect (split away from a crater in the artery) and there was great danger of causing a massive stroke. Now, I really hate to brag, but will take poetic licence with this, because, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, you would cry, too, if it happened to you!" Seems to me I've heard that song before??? My doctor is a genius and people stack up in his waiting room on Tuesdays as though they were waiting for the Pope to bless them. I can't imagine that people from all over the country will come to Toledo, Ohio to see a vascular doctor, when there are famous places in big cities, who do vascular surgery. Ah, but his one does robotic surgeries like repairing aortic aneurysms with little bitty, band-aid incisions and he is an adorable Argentine. What a far cry from John Denver's "Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio, is Like Being No place at All".

So, I have bragged about the doctor and will rave about the nurses in Constant Care and the staff in his office, but for those of you who will ever go to a hospital ---- make certain that your own family doctor has privileges at the hospital where the surgery will be done. Number One -- (Oh, no!---this sounds like a pun in the making) They took my Foley Catheter out the morning after surgery and then hung around like eighty-five grandmothers waiting for me to tinkle. A round of Lasix is usually guaranteed to make anyone pee, but when I finally felt like I had to go ---I only dribbled, but knew that my bladder was full. The resident doctors have apparently not had enough experience with Foleys to know that people have a bad time going the first day after removal. There are cute little ultrasound machines that they rub over your tummy after you have tried your best and it tells them that you have a ton of urine in your bladder. When I was in nursing school, this condition was called retention with overflow and it eventually resolved itself after a couple of straight caths. My resident doc, however, hung around like I was about to go into terminal nephritis. He called in a real Urologist, who politely left his card and suggested that I see him in three weeks. I'm sure Medicare will get a bill for this guy and I am not very happy about it, since I started peeing on my own by the next morning. Resident boy was still rambling on about fun things like bladder cancer, etc --- I wanted to smack him! It might have been seeing my age on the admission chart, but I was really insulted when he sent in occupational therapy --- "Do you need help with your daily activities?" Yeah, were you considering a maid or what? Next came physical therapy ----What in the world were they going to do for me? I could probably use some help putting on my roller blades. Then, he sent in a nutritionist to see if I understand the proper nutrition for geezers. You mean that Hershey Nuggets are not a balanced diet? I thought I mentioned that I am still a card carrying nurse. These different areas of hospital expertise are probably a legitimate way of getting a few extra bucks out of Medicare. Look out "Baby Boomers" --- there isn't going to be anything left for you at this rate!

What started the whole adversarial thing was my saying that I wanted to go home on oxygen for a few days. Quote from the resident dipstick, "You're not going home on O2!" A funny thing happens to me when I have anesthesia, I breathe very shallowly for several days and my O2 saturation drops to levels that are incompatible with life. But, gee, I have asthma and COPD and I know how to compensate for these problems, except when I have had anesthetic. Last time I had a carotid done (three years ago---when I was a very young 68), I came home without O2 and sat up all night, trying very hard to get enough air to stay alive. We got some tanks of oxygen and I used them for 2 or 3 days and happily sent them back. My bossy resident decided that if I need oxygen after surgery --- I must be in great need of a pulmonologist. Enter another great one followed by half a dozen students in his wake. Since I had a pulse-oximeter on my finger and we watched it drop to 69 to 78% when I got out of bed or tried to walk in the halls, we didn't need anyone else to tell me that I was not exchanging or perfusing oxygen in my lungs, yet. Needless to say, I came home from the hospital after four days with a bunch of oxygen tanks and enough tubing to walk downtown. This gave me great respiratory support for four days and then I kicked that cannula to the curb. It's going back very soon, since I exhibited the ability to huff and puff my O2 sats up to 97% at my first visit on Tuesday.

Let this be a lesson to each of you---- don't let the hospital's errand boys get their hands on you ---insist on your regular PCP, who knows all the little weird things about you. For now, I am getting better every day. I can do without the O2, I am eating small amounts of food, I am up for small amounts of time, but if these dang headaches don't go away --- I'm going to call that idiot resident and have him call in a neurosurgeon for a consult!


Lisa said...


I'm sooo happy to hear you're up and running again!! You are too funny! Although I've never required O2, I don't feel great after anesthesia, either...almost like an anvil is on my chest. And I took today off because I felt a little scratchy in my throat and drippy...I think it's allergies...but if I get sick, they have to postpone the surgery, and I just want it overwith already. The fear and anticipation are horrible. I'm glad that you came out of everything alright. And I'll be sure to ignore those Doogies that come in and bug me!

Big Dave T said...

Good to see you back here blogging. Knew it wouldn't be long. Yeah, I work in medical billing so I know all about all those "extras." No wonder health care is such a booming business, even with the poor economic climate here in Michigan.

Carine said...

so glad to see you are home and up to blogging. Rest, recover and know that I was and am sending continued best wishes, despite your hospital glitches which may seem as if somewhere someone wasn't listening.

Matty said...

I can see you're back to yourself again! I really enjoyed your post...your sense of humour is wonderful! I had to laugh at the way you describe things. It's a good thing you're a nurse. I pity the poor person who has no knowledge of how hospitals work. All those specialists must have made a fortune just from you alone.
I'm so glad you're back. Get lots of rest...and by all means indulge!

Summer said...

Glad you are back online!
I know you will take care of yourself and stay healthy!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

my first visit here and this post made me laugh out loud. thanks honey, i really needed this today...

smiles, bee

Loving Annie said...

I'm glad that you have the knowledge not to let thier mumbo-jumbo freak you out !
An 02 sats at 97% is excellent, as you know !
Hope the headaches are gone soon -
*cyber hugs*
Loving Annie