23 Hours Becomes 4 Days

Can you believe my insurance company thinks a mastectomy is an outpatient procedure?

So I was originally scheduled to be in the hospital for 23 hours, and I planned on being home Tuesday morning. It’s called a “simple” mastectomy, so I expected it to be a breeze, except for the actual losing a breast part.  I even asked my kid to bring me a good cup of coffee at about 3:30, a couple of hours after surgery.

I was wheeled from the recovery room down a hallway, I must have dozed because I remember waking up and seeing my friend Tammy.

“What are you doing here? You’re a maternity nurse!”

“You’re on the maternity ward, and I’m your nurse.” (So lucky! My friend was my nurse, and being on the maternity ward meant having a private room.)

There were 5 visitors waiting for me to come out of surgery, and there were texts and phone calls to answer.  And I was wasted. And I had some complications that showed up pretty quick, extreme reactions to anesthesia and excess bleeding.  The bleeding started while the visitors were there.  And later that night I passed out (on my way to the bathroom) and projectile puked on 3 nurses.

Oh, and remember Raj?  My gynecologist? He showed up around 7 AM.  Tammy followed him in.  “She’s not your patient!”

“Yes she is!”

“Hey, Patricia!  I wanted to follow up, but I wanted to wait until after your surgery.  We found some unusual cells on your cervix, if it’s cancer, we can cure it easily with a hysterectomy.  When you get out of here, I want you to come in to the office for an internal sonogram.” It was not such a good time to get this news.

The hospital stay was actually quite pleasant.  The combination of blood loss and Vicodin had me pretty wasted.  I hardly noticed the taking of vital signs every 15 minutes. Or the numerous blood takings.  I did notice how they had to keep moving the IV as my veins blew up.  I also noticed the 3 transfusions-getting a stranger’s blood is pretty disgusting, and it hurts.

There were lots of visitors, I tried to watch TV (I could not pay attention with all those commercials), I brought a book and my knitting.  But thank God for netflix,wifi, and my laptop, because I watched the entire first season of Sister Wives.  With all the trauma, drugs, and tubes, that’s about all I accomplished during the hospital stay.

Notice I haven’t mentioned pain?  The actual surgical site never really hurt very much; maybe a 3 or 4 at its worst.  The IV sites? 9 or 10.

Oh, and the food sucked.  I went home Thursday afternoon.



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4 Responses to 23 Hours Becomes 4 Days

  1. susan (from DM) says:

    You’re a strong woman. Keep it up. I’ll be thinking about you.

  2. Aunt Snow says:

    Over here from Derfwad Manor. Your story is so compelling now I’m going to go read it all.

    Heal up. I’m remembering my recovery from a less complicated surgery this past May – take it slow, don’t rush it, and heal up. I chuckled when you wrote “that’s about all I accomplished” – because I, too, felt like I had to be doing something while in the hospital – but that’s totally not true! you don’t have to accomplish anything but healing.

  3. The Zadge says:

    With all you have going on, it was so nice of you to comment on my blog! I had surgery two months ago and can confirm that IVs SUCK. Also? I don’t know how anyone gets addicted to Vicodin – for me, it was the WORST! Made me feel totally weird and sick and didn’t even put a dent in the pain. Vodka tonics work much better.

  4. annie says:

    You don’t sound like you did much better than me with your hospital stay! I told my nurses they sure knew a lot of ways to torture people while telling them they were trying to help them get better! I am glad you got that behind you!

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