Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pre-Op Appointments and Surviving One Year Post-Event

Friday I spent nearly the entire day with doctors. Not a horrible way to pass the time, usually, but today it began with my quarterly check-in with my primary care physician, who took blood for the usual labs, and updated some prescriptions for me. Then, it was back in town to see Fuzz and the anesthesiologist staff.

At my PC's office, my blood pressure had been up (158/82) which surprised me, given how light headed I'd been feeling. I'd honestly expected for it to read low as a potential explanation for the dizzy/woozies.The nurse at the surgical clinic got the same reading, so it seems it was correct; perhaps I'll chalk it up to stress?

The three-week-pre-op diet is doing it's thing though, I was down nearly 13 pounds, over 16 since they'd last gotten a recording at my last visit to the nutritionist. The PA put me on through without any issues, apparently the first of the day. Someone else got detoured back to Amber the nutritionist for not having lost any weight, someone else had missed an education session, etc. I signed a bunch of consent paperwork both for the surgery and for the potential to receive blood products in the unlikely event it became necessary, and then it was time for Fuzz.

Did I mention before what a hunk he is? Seriously, that's one of the first comments people make about it - is he's gorgeous. Sometimes I look at him and think 'You can't possibly be old enough to be out of medical school, let alone as accomplished as you are'. He's definitely got a bit of a baby face, but an amazingly handsome one at that. He came in smiling and shook my hand, am I'm just sitting there thinking 'You can cut whatever you want out of me, I'll just sit here and enjoy the view'. I suppose it can be comforting to have that distraction when you're talking about major abdominal surgery. But to business, Fuzz was very happy with my progress, and we're all set to see him in the OR on the 29th.

Next up? Pre-op anesthesia. My appointments were scheduled that I had almost an hour between them, but I went in early, filled out all the paperwork, and then sat in the consult room for over an hour before they came back to see me (kindle to the rescue!). When she finally arrived, I went over my health history for the third time that day, and thankfully got to describe in detail what to me was a bit of a misadventure in anesthesia the last time I went under. They had me fully prepped, and as strapped down as they do to you when they put you under general anesthesia, and the mask came over my face and suddenly, I couldn't breathe. I don't know what was supposed to be coming through that mask, oxygen, a mix of oxygen and some anesthesia agent to knock me out, or what - but if you're a scuba diver, you'll know exactly what I mean when I say that suddenly I was "sucking a dry tank". It felt like there was nothing coming through that mask. I know my eyes flew open in a panic, in my brain at least, I started flailing to get the doctor's attention, and tried to tell him I couldn't breathe - I only remember him putting the mask more firmly over my mouth and then passing out. I'd really rather not have that experience again. She looked up my surgical report from that day (procedure was done at the same hospital), and while there were no notes, she recorded my story in detail, and encouraged me to say something to the anesthesiologist in the OR as soon as he arrives. 

Finally - I get home about 5pm. It's a dangerous hour - by day of the week, if not the day on the calendar, a year ago on Friday night was the worst day of my life - the Event. I tried to distract myself with some video games and Warehouse 13 on Netflix, cuddled my husband and took an Ambien to knock my ass out and go to sleep - at home, comfortable in my own bed.

Saturday the 19th, by calendar, the anniversary of the Event. Today's mission was full-on distraction, and in order to do that, I planned that I was going to cheat on my pre-op diet. Not that I needed to eat specific foods that were not allowed, but instead I needed a day where I simply didn't have to think about it or worry about it.

I started by heading out to Catherine's, a local plus-size clothing chain. I needed a new nightgown or robe to take with me to the hospital. My comfy long winter nightgown/house dress thing has gotten a bit ratty - a few holes have grown from what were originally tiny kitty claw holes. I was happy to find both a long night shirt and a zip-up robe-like garment that I was happy with. I also dared to buy my favorite kind of jeans, but in a size smaller than the smallest one I have in my closet. I don't expect to be buying a lot of clothes on the way down, particularly while I still work at home, but I'll need at least one pair of pants that fit that can be worn in public, so I decided to be prepared with that pair of jeans - if the estimates are right, I could be wearing it by New Years!

I grabbed a pair of sesame bagels and cream cheese from my favorite indie bagel shop on my way home - and reveled in the yummy carbolicoiusness of them, with only a few guilt pangs. When the Man arrived home, we had about an hour to get changed and over to the movie theater for the afternoon showing of Tower Heist. Reviews had panned it as "over done", whatever that means, but I was really hoping for some light-hearted fun, and that's exactly what we got. A little fluff of a movie, with some great comic timing as always from Eddie Murphy, and Gabourey Sidibe - who knew she had great comic chops! It was the perfect choice out of the movies playing.

We then went to dinner at Vincenzo's, a local Italian restaurant built in the 60s, and that still looks like the Rat Pack might show up at any time and ask for the corner booth. I love the place. Unfortunately, it's not somewhere I'll be eating at again for quite a while. Post op, there are some choices that are higher in protein and not all pasta, but it will probably be well over a year before I get to go back.

We talked a little about the girls - the Man told me again that he wished he could teach me to compartmentalize things (box them away mentally), because he hates to see me in pain. In many ways I wish I could too. I don't want to forget - I could never forget, but I'm still working hard every day not to let it haunt me every day, and that's exhausting. He said he truly believes that things happen for a reason, and perhaps our role was to give J the best possible beginning she could have, get T out of her shell from the frightened nearly non-verbal child she was to the curious chatterbox she became - though troubled and having much work to do as she was. That as Fuzz offered, that once I reach an acceptable weight loss level, that he'll be open to an early attempt at getting pregnant (they normally want you to wait 2 years, but at my age, every month counts). With the help of Dr. Yalcinkaya (the reproductive endocrinologist at WFU we consulted before), we could actually have our own through IVF, or at least do IVF with donor eggs. The Man's not given up hope, he believes that maybe this is where we were supposed to be all along.

I don't quite yet have that strong of convictions, we went through hell over the last year, and if that's a trial put before me that I needed to pass, I'm not sure many other women have ever been tested so deeply in order to achieve motherhood. I survived it - I know some people think I didn't "pass", but they also don't know the full truth. I know I need to find a way to move beyond what happened, and I told the Man honestly, that I think I did as well as I did yesterday because I have the surgery and the hope of how life will improve immediately before me. If I didn't have that to focus on, I think yesterday would have been a very different kind of day.

And for that, I am thankful.

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