Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Adieu, Portitia!

Sunday they told me I would be sprung on Monday. Not only was that less than the expected 3-4 weeks, it wasn't even 2 weeks after my transplant! And my poor parents had just returned to their home city that morning. So I spent most of Sunday sobbing, bereft. The other thing that happened Sunday was that I surrendered my hair: I knew for several days that it was falling out in clumps. Rather than wait til I looked like a Sesame Street fugitive, I asked the nurses to buzz me. By Sunday night, I was splotchy and puffy-faced, bald and swollen-eyed. I looked like the ugliest baby eaglet on the planet. (Now that some of the puffiness has abated, I'm probably the third or maybe even fourth ugliest baby eaglet.)

Monday morning they came and told me I had a one-day reprieve. They weren't going to just kick me off a moving train. Besides, I still had to get Portitia removed. Good timing: the fatigue everyone talked about -- the fatigue that will forever give that word a new meaning -- hit me Monday and it was too taxing to simply sit up in bed. Now, because the Big Plan was to take out Portitia on Tuesday, I was also ordered "NPO" or whatever it is that means nothing to eat or drink after midnight. I survive Monday, barely able to get to the bathroom and back.

Tuesday, I was waiting waiting waiting to go visit the IR Pricks. And I knew exactly what was going on. I had once again dared to anger the gods by requesting anesthesia for the procedure, so they were going to teach me a lesson by making me wait wait wait all day. By 6:30 pm, I surrendered. I just didn't have the strength to fight them any more. And POOF! Within minutes, I was transported down to IR and prepped for removal.

Last problem: they wanted to take it out without even using a LOCAL!! "Oh, gosh, it stings and hurts more than if you actually let us just yank it out." "NO!" I roared "I WANT A LOCAL!" So she gave me a local, all right, and it stung like @#!!, and then... she didn't even wait five SECONDS before she started tugging. "WAIT, WAIT! Give it a few seconds to work!!" "Oh, it won't make any difference, you'll still feel the pressure." More than anything in the world, I wanted to be one of those people who can puke on command, and hurl all over her. She tried to make nice with me afterwards "That wasn't so bad, was it?" "How many central line catheters have you had YANKED out?" I snarled.

I never would have guessed it, but I think those nurses in transplant class were right: the IR Pricks just aren't that careful, and they certainly aren't very caring or compassionate. I don't know if they see the different between a human chest and that little plastic tub.

Let it go. Ohhhhmmm. I want to emphasize that while I have elaborated on a few bad/difficult experiences, for the most part, I have received outstanding care here, especially from the nurses. This is such a physically and emotionally draining job; it's easy to forget that they also have spouses and children and pets and whole lives outside of this little sphere, but when they are here, they are 100% patient-focused.

I will soon start getting dressed and trying to pack a bit. My ever-helpful friend Chris will help me today. Sis is taking the day off tomorrow, and the folks will be back on Friday. I'm hopeful that, by the end of their visit, I will be able to manage on my own -- heat up something to eat, manage my daily meds, snipe back at snarky comments. Just the basics.

7 comments:

Kathy from NJ said...

Nil per os is latin for nothing by mouth. Those IR people know that you'd barf on them if given the chance so they make sure the NPO order is given.

Anonymous said...

You did it, you did it! We are proud of the strength you've found even through all the awful bumps in the road. You've come through the transplant with your (shaved) head held high (well, maybe drooping a little) and you're now on the road to recovery. Needless to say we're so proud of your grit and determination to get through each hour of each day......and you'll be home and we'll be with you with our love and chicken soup.
Ma

La Cootina said...

Orneriness = "grit & determination." Isn't my mom just the BEST?

Anonymous said...

Welcome home! Got the scoop on your homecoming from Chris, who says your "numbers" are good, which is happy news indeed. Mom's awesome, alright -- but remember, grit is passed down through the maternal line.
Best in your recovery...
Nancy A.

Laura said...

So glad you are home and the worst is behind you. Now just spend some time relaxing, recovering and taking care of yourself.

Cathy C said...

So glad that you are home!! I'm sure I can't begin at all to know what you have just gone through. Take Care

susan said...

And when will you be ready for a visitor? I can be extrememly useful at cleaning and laundry, but I suck at cooking...
Lean Cuisine?