So, of course there's the moment you don't prepare for, or, you've prepared for it wrong. I had assumed I would wake up from surgery free of pain. I thought I would be so doped up on narcotics or whatever -- there would be no issues. I had been wheeled reassuringly into the NICU and Dr. Shaffrey had asked me to do some strength tests on my left side. I was fine for the moment but would eventually lose motor function in my left hand. Nurses were everywhere being busy. My head hurt. It was like someone pulling my hair in one spot or like I had been sunburned on my head. And I just didn't know I would feel this. I panicked and started to cry. I said: "Can I have some pain meds or something because I thought when I woke up I wouldn't feel any pain and I am and I just need help. This is the only time I will say 2 RNs were in the room who I never wanted near me again. There was one in the corner going through supplies in drawers and dropping stuff on the floor. She made a comment about dropping stuff and then said something like -- "well, we'll have to roll you over" and then the second (a hairdresser for 30 years who decided to go to nursing school AND one of the ones who roughly wiped iodine off of me on Monday) said: "Don't cry, you'll just make the pressure worse." I was at a loss, like, get these women away from me! And it was only ever these two out of all of the wonderful RNs who I did not like and never saw again.
Kendall arrived and crouched down beside my bed. There's no way to describe how beautiful this woman was. She had white blonde hair and turquoise eyes which matched her nursing uniform. I thought of those bright blue icebergs you see in fjords. Intense but so sympathetic. I remembered Robin, the salsa-dancing neuro-nurse saying "I hope you get my best friend in the NICU, she's like this Nordic beauty". She looked at me with those eyes and said "Catherine, we can give you Fentynal, which doesn't last long, or we can give you Percocet which may make you sick." I chose the Fentanal since I felt sick from the anaesthesia. It worked of course. Kendall had saved me!
Ethan was there at some point beside me. And I think I just laid there the rest of the day. Until of course the catheter incident, which I swore I would not blog about -- but it just seemed so typical that it would even happen, and that I would find it funny somehow...well, here it is in print! I guess I have no shame. I had spent a large part of the day trying to pee, just to relax you know, and be comfortable. I thought I just couldn't do it, I was too high strung to just let it go. I mean, bodily functions and such are so public in the hospital. So finally I was able to go. So, the catheter failed, miserably. I completely felt like I was 3 and peed all over myself. Oh yeah, it was horrible. So embarrassing! Like, I'm already so helpless you know -- let me prove it! Whee!
I used the call button and a nurse came to the room. I told her what had happened and she said she would go get Linda, who was specifically my nurse that evening. I waited 10 minutes. Linda luckily came in and said "How're we doing?" and I told her I about my "accident". She hadn't even been told yet! She couldn't believe it and felt horrible. I could hear Led Zeppelin's Communication Breakdown in my poor, sore, head. Or maybe Neil Young's Helpless was. I was covered in pee and feeling so sorry for myself. Ethan was mad with the first nurse who had answered the call. But, you know, whatever -- Linda (my first night nurse after my surgery) got me all cleaned up and tried to figure out why the catheter had failed. I think (gross I know) it had been full and no one had checked it since surgery. But now I had new sheets, Linda to care for me and hunt down lemon Jello, Ethan, and the Olympics (though I was stuck on the wrong channel and perpetually watching curling, feeling stuck in hell). All curling, all the time...and I still could not figure it out.