Another Edition Of: True Stories In The Operating Room
The last time we chatted about medical procedures I told you about the time I got an epidural line threaded into my ass cheek while a herd of medical students watched, so today I thought I would tell you about what happened after that.
**If you did not read the post “True Stories From The Operating Room,” I suggest you read that post before continuing on with this one**
Now for those of you that are just jumping into this story, I had some major surgery on my feet several years ago which consisted of sawing my heel off, moving it over half an inch, and reattaching it with a really big freaking screw. The docs then placed two three inch screws through the top joints, two one inch screws in the arch joint, packed the joints with cadaver bone to fuse them permanently, and then cut out three of my tendons and reattached them elsewhere. Oh yea and they
shredded lengthened my Achilles tendon which is the large tendon that runs from your heel up the back of your leg.
So eight hours later I woke up from that freak show (twelve hours since I had checked into the hospital that morning), and the Dr. released me into the arms of my
loving overly annoyed and utterly inconvenienced husband.
My then husband was so incredibly angry that the surgery had taken so long that he actually got into a fight with the hospital staff while I was still being filleted open on the operating table (like a real fight, like they threatened to call the police and everything). He got into a fight with them because he told them he was leaving and they told him he needed to stay, seeing as how he was my ride home and all.
Yep, I’m having my bones broken and drilled and my lovely husband wants to go home for lunch.
So needless to say that by the time I was ready to be discharged, aside from his usual ass-like demeanor, he was functioning at a whole new level of jackass which translated into him shoving me in the backseat of the car where I repeatedly vomited from the anesthesia, and yelling at me the entire way home.
When the car finally screeched to a halt in front of our rental, he angrily yanked me out of the back seat so fast I almost fell on my face in the parking lot.
Now if you remember, I had a 24 hour nerve block in place meaning that I had absolutely no feeling or control of my body from my hip all the way down to my toes. I couldn’t even use crutches because I had no way to hold my leg up.
So there I am, leaning against the car, sick to my stomach, groggy from the 8 hours of medicated sleep, and I’m trying to figure out how to get from the car into our townhouse. I’m begging him to carry me or give me a piggy back ride, and all he agrees to do is to have me crutch along while he walks behind me, holding my foot up while my leg is bent at the knee.
He does that for all ten feet to the front door until he, without warning, lets go of my foot. My completely lifeless leg hit the cement so hard that I felt the jolt of moving bones travel all the way up my spine where it exploded into my brain with a rage I had to choke down.
I must have given him a look that said “I will actually kill you” because he looked a little shocked as he sputtered out “I got you to the door, you’re on your own.”
I got into the house and crawled up the stairs, literally dragging my leg behind me. After nearly thirty minutes I had finally managed to climb into the bed where I buried my face into the pillow and fell asleep.
When I woke up a few hours later, he was gone.
He was gone and I couldn’t figure out what to do next. If I thought that climbing into the bed was hard, climbing out of the bed seemed near impossible.
I couldn’t figure out a way to get out of the bed because sitting on the edge my feet were still about 18 inches from the floor. I was, still groggy, weak from hunger, and afraid that if I slid down in my unstable state, and my lifeless foot hit the ground first, that I would do more damage than my ex already had. Then, even if I got out of the bed I wasn’t sure how I would crawl down the stairs like that. It’s one thing to sit backwards on the stairs and sort of bump yourself up them, but going down would have been lead by a dead leg.
I didn’t have my phone with me and so I really had no other option but to wait. So I waited. Then I waited some more. Then I waited longer. After 7 hours I realized that waiting around for him was not going to be a feasible option any longer. He had been known to disappear for days and I certainly couldn’t sit on a bed until my leg decided to come alive, eventually I would need to eat or pee, so I did the only thing I could possibly think of to do;
I opened the window that was within arms reach of the bed and called out to someone walking below on the sidewalk. In what was one of the most mortifying moments of my entire life I asked a stranger if he could call my mother, tell her there was an emergency, and tell her that I needed her to come over.
Trust me, forget the “yelling out the window to a stranger” part, if I was calling my mother you KNOW I was desperate.
The next week was hell. HELL. If you were to combine the moment when one of my kids was literally coming out of me during their natural birth, with a couple of black eyes, it might meet about 25% of the physical pain that I felt when that nerve block wore off. It was by far, more pain than I would have ever thought that a human being could endure, and if I never feel pain like that again it will still be a lifetime too soon.
When it came time to do the duplicate surgery on the second foot my doctor brought up the suggestion of doing it inpatient. “I wasn’t happy with your pain control last time Eden. I actually felt really bad that I had sent you home. I didn’t know the surgery was going to be so involved when I took you in to the OR and I should have admitted you after. Why don’t we do this one inpatient and then we can remove the hardware from the first foot at the same time.”
Ok, sign me up.
He did the same surgery on the second foot and while I was under he removed the hardware from the first foot.
When I woke up, I was hooked up to a morphine pump that had a little button that I could push every few minutes and it would release another dose of pain meds through the IV.
I was like an absolute junkie. I was pushing that thing with the speed and intensity that someone with an anxiety disorder would click a button on a pen in a nervous situation, and all the while I was screaming at it to GIVE. ME. MORE.
I heard the doctor talking to the nurses in the hallway the next day after he left my room. “Can you guys check the line? She is supposedly on the highest dose we can give her and yet she is still having full conversations with me. I don’t think it’s in right because she should at least be slurring her words if not sleeping, and she seems aware enough to drive a car” he said. The nurse replied “it’s in right, I checked it three times. Sometimes that happens when the pain overrides the drug.”
It took about four days before I was even able to see through the pain and let me tell you, the first thing I realized when my brain finally stopped screaming PAIN, was “oh my gosh I am so gross.” No seriously, I was GAH-ROS. Some nurse had been coming in once a day to give me a sponge bath (another of my most humiliating moments) but all she really did was wash my armpits and fluff my pillows.
When my then husband finally came by, for the first time in two days, I begged him to bring me everything that I would need for a shower.
To my surprise, he
thought he did!!!
To my horror, it was not what I was expecting. You see in my minds eye I was visualizing a bucket, water pitcher, shampoo, washcloth, deodorant, you know, the works.
What I actually got was woken up by a WET Q-tip being stuck into my ear and the smell of linen spray.
“Uh….what are you doing?” I asked him in a tone that said “accusation” more than “curiosity.”
“I’m cleaning your ears” he said as if I was the stupid one.
“You know that you aren’t supposed to get the Q-tips wet first, right?”
“Stop complaining” he responded.
“What is that smell?” I asked him.
“It’s linen spray. I sprayed you while you were sleeping” he said again, as if I were still the stupid one.
Now personally I was fighting the urge to roll my eyes at him, but trust me, since he was even remotely making an effort I wasn’t about to rain on his parade.
He finished moistening my ears and covering me in grandma scented couch perfume, and then he left.
Apparently while I was sleeping, he ordered my lunch, ate it, sprayed me with linen spray, and then right before he left, he woke me up by sticking wet q-tips in my ears.
The next day I signed myself out of the hospital against medical advice. I asked the doctor if I could leave and he said “no,” so I signed myself out against his wishes.
I have no idea what I was thinking. Literally, none.
My discharge paperwork actually says “patient signed out AMA to take a shower. She was informed that we will not be held legally liable for any medical outcomes of her decision.”
So I guess that whole experience really taught me a few things.
#1 Having your bones smashed and subsequently drilled back together really hurts.
#2 If you are going to have surgery don’t do it while you are married to a douche bag.
and lastly, I am left with a question:
Why would a hospital let someone on a high dose morphine pump make medical decisions?