Okay, so this is Day 5 of surgery recovery and I’m on heavy dosages of pain meds. Meaning I have medication brain fog/hangover that lasts all day every day. I feel all crazy and loopy trying to get my brain to focus instead of “oh look it’s something shiny” or “all of a sudden I feel tired”…(then I’m asleep seconds later).
So I’m going to do my best to spit out the mess of surgery chronicles that are running around in my head out into a blog that makes sense to people. Let’s do this before I fall asleep again…
The details: on Monday Nov. 2nd I got a total wrist fusion on right hand with bone graft from my right hip. Translation – bone from hip used to fuse bones in my hand/wrist, and vertical metal plate in wrist with bunch of screws holding it to wrist and hand bones.
This equals a world of pain and utter chaos rampaging through my physical being.
Day 1: Surgery. The day of reckoning. The “oh shhhh this just got real.”
It wasn’t until the nurse called my name to bring me to my room that I got really nervous and scared. I’m no stranger to surgery, but it never gets easier. I cried as I hugged my parents and boyfriend and said our “I love you’s.” Off I went behind the hospital doors to the land of surgery hell, in slow motion.
It was crazy how fast the nurses were in prepping me. I was grateful though because I didn’t have much time to freak out about going under. Met probably eight nurses/doctors, all asked me how I was doing. “Scared… Nervous.” They fixed my paperwork to reflect the bone graft, and then had me sign it. That’s the last thing I remembered.
Woke up hours later in recovery, not really aware of what just happened or where I was. First thing I remembered was one of the machines I was hooked up to going off, and the nurse yelling “Dina keep breathing.” I was confused because I thought I was breathing. Apparently the combo of anesthesia and pain med Dilaudid put me into respiratory depression. At one point I heard someone say my heart was only beating 12 beats per min and dropping.
Yeah, so that was terrifying. I remembered seeing my boyfriend and then Mom. Next thing I knew I was in the car hearing my mom and boyfriend Lawrence telling me to keep breathing. I would take these deep breaths and it would scare me because I felt as if I had to force the breaths but at the same time I couldn’t stay awake.
Made it home at some point and all my caregivers were moving so fast around me, asking me questions but I was so out of it I don’t remember answering much. Talking was really difficult. Most of the pain I was feeling was in my hip, because the pain shot block they gave me for my arm was still working. This made my whole arm feel numb, which was awesome because I was already in a lot of pain even with the block.
Not 100% sure, but I think I was dry heaving a couple times before bed time. Would have been vomit but I didn’t have anything in my system except medications. During the late night/early morning the block started wearing off. I started feeling my arm/hand…the numbness was fading away and the pain was taking over by the minute.
The pain. Oh Lord, the excruciating pain. Having chronic pain conditions/disease for 13 years, has made me a professional at managing high levels of constant pain. I can honestly say that I had never experienced such excruciating, horrific pain before in my life until that block wore off. Felt like my arm was being crushed in between two metal blocks.
I knew going into this surgery that the pain was going to be derailing. But I never expected it to be so incredibly intense. I was shaking from the pain. It was difficult to breathe. Non movement and movement alike had me crying uncontrollably. Trying to get to up, or sit down, or walk made me feel like giving up, I kept crying out “I can’t. I can’t.”
I was taking morphine, but I literally felt no relief. It was like taking a Tic Tac. The next day the pain was still there, not getting better not even a tiny bit. I was suffering badly and I knew that something was wrong, that I shouldn’t be suffering this much. On top of the pain, I was not getting any sleep and hardly keeping any food down, still dry heaving/throwing up. I had to keep my eyes closed a lot and talking was a struggle.
To top it off, my parents and I had an argument because I felt like they were more concerned about telling me that my suffering was normal and that everyone does after major surgery like this, instead of being concerned with how I was telling them I was feeling. I guess it made me feel as if they felt I was overreacting and that my pain wasn’t valid because it’s normal to hurt after surgery. Like many people with chronic pain/disease, we know surgery hurts and we know we aren’t the only ones and that some have it worse than others. BUT, that does not take our pain away or make us feel better. And it doesn’t make our fight any less valid or real.
Sometimes it can be hard for my parents because it kills them to see me suffering so horribly and they feel completely helpless because there’s nothing they can do to take it away from me. Which makes it even harder for them to say the right things? I can understand that…. And I wish that they could understand that they actually don’t need to say anything at all. That all I really need is for them to hear me, hug me and let me cry, and to say, “We love you. We are here for you.”
And so they did, for three days… all day and all hours of the night. Cooking me meals, keeping me on my medication schedule, holding me up as I drug my legs to the restroom crying uncontrollably, getting me in to a wheelchair at the hospital as I cried like a baby in public, cleaning up my vomit off the driveway and off of myself, and holding me, and telling me that I CAN do it when I was in tears saying that I cant.