That’s sarcasm, by the way.
After a new cat scan showed that my colon was obstructed, I spent a few hours in a morphine-induced haze before getting whisked off into surgery – sometime after midnight, I think. When I woke up, I had a nine inch incision running down the center of my abdomen with 30 staples securing the edges.
I don’t remember a lot about the next couple of days except the surgeon explaining that they’d removed the obstruction and examined my intestines. Fortunately there wasn’t any damage necessitating a colostomy bag. (Yea!) They said I would heal just fine and we even set up a scheduled appointment for the staple removal. (I’d be back in the hospital the day before that however.)
So I enjoyed the morphine drip, sleeping a lot, a couple visits from friends, and texting/talking to relatives out of state, but grumbled over the handful of working TV channels. (The Kaiser engineers were on strike so no one was fixing that system.) I didn’t really miss food – they don’t feed you right away after surgery – and when they did bring me food…. Umm… yeah… not sure that qualified as food. The broth and juice were okay, but their jello sucks. Gag. Word of advice: don’t even bother to try their strawberry flavored “jello.” Absolutely revolting. I couldn’t even swallow the first bite.
By Thursday, I was feeling good and wasn’t hitting the “more morphine please” button very often. My digestive track was healing and producing the desired results – meaning they make sure that you can poop AND fart. One of the nurses said they love the sound of farting – that means patients are healing. It’s like “music to their ears.” I was getting restless though and thought if I was going to lay around in a bed all day, I could do it at home where I had lots of tv channels. Plus, I missed my kitties.
So I was pleasantly surprised when the surgeon said I could go home Thursday afternoon. Because I’d been on antibiotics while there, they deemed it unnecessary to prescribe antibiotics for me to take home. In retrospect, that was the wrong decision. By Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, the skin around my incision had turned red and I had a low fever – so a quick email to the surgeon produced a prescription for antibiotics. But it would be too late to head off whatever was developing.
I had begun to feel better each day – that’s what we expect when we get out of the hospital, isn’t it? So I really couldn’t bring myself to believe that I wasn’t. Even though I felt okay enough on Thursday to eat Thanksgiving Dinner (small portions), but steadily felt worse as the weekend approached. I told myself the new antibiotics would fix it. So I convinced myself that I wasn’t getting worse. I enjoyed the visits from friends (thanks for doing my laundry, Marian!) and didn’t let on how bad I was actually feeling.
The rest of Sunday I don’t even remember. I was exhausted, and just wanted to sleep. Monday was mostly a blur as well except for being sick to my stomach. That’s when the staples around my belly button popped open and the incision started oozing snot-colored fluid, completely soaking my t-shirt. (So much so that they had to peel my clothes off me when I got into the ER.)
And that’s how I got to that moment when I was sprawled across the bathroom floor, telling myself to get up and call for help.
Lessons learned: ask for help when you need it, ask the doctor for antibiotics, and don’t even bother sniffing the clothes you had been wearing when admitted to the hospital after they’d been in a plastic bag for a week. Just throw them away.