The second my husband walked into the room after I woke up I began to cry. He hugged my head and gave me kisses and said I looked great, he was really surprised. He put all of our stuff down and just held my hand for a long time. I had a “magic button” for morphine that I could push every 6 minutes if I needed to for pain, and push that sucker I did. Most of my time in the ICU is hazy thanks to the morphine. I remember Joey having to leave close to midnight. I remember being SO thirsty but not able to drink anything just in case I had to for some reason go back to the OR. My nurse snuck me ice chips because she said I was doing amazing and would not have issues. I was in and out of sleep throughout that first night, waking up to push my magic button and fall back to sleep. I was so worried in the morning because throughout the night there had been a snow storm so I was worried Joey wouldn’t be able to make it back to me safely. The new nurse had come onto shift and ensured me the roads were perfectly fine and he shouldn't have any problems. I kept in contact with Joey through texting and he let me know he was going to see the kids and Hershey then head my way with stuff to stay with me the next couple of nights. I tried watching TV but kept falling back to sleep, which was good because my whole body hurt and I was exhausted. Joey got to me around lunch time and we were a bit peeved because they still didn’t have a recovery suite available so we had to camp out in the ICU. I remember at one point I was so itchy and my hair was driving me nuts so I had Joey attempt to put it in a pony tail. EPIC FAIL. He couldn’t do it right and was pulling my hair so I started heavily crying. I thought I was going to pass out from the pain in my stomach and started hyperventilating to counteract the crying hiccups. Somehow Joey got me calmed down enough and put my hair up. The nurses would periodically come in and check on me and jokingly tell me I didn’t belong in the ICU. FINALLY after dinner time we were told there was an open room on the 15th floor, the highest floor in the new hospital. They had to disconnect me from my morphine drip and move me to my new bed and that wasn’t as painful as I thought. All of the nurses that helped move me were so comical, they had me laughing, which hurt my stomach, but was much needed. I was wheeled to my new room, which was pretty nice. I had to wait FOREVER for my nurse come in because it was shift change time. I was in so much pain and quite pissed off.
Finally one really nice nurse came in and got me situated, explained a couple different things to us and fixed my catheter. She said her shift was up and they were extremely shorthanded so sorry for the wait. My new nurse came in shortly after. I remember her the most because she was this short cute Asian lady who was pregnant. I could hear anytime she would come to my room by how she walked and shuffled her feet. They switched me from morphine ( I was sad to see my magic button go) but the pills lasted a lot longer and didn’t make me quite as groggy. Joey brought stuff from the car including his 3000 piece puzzle and his Xbox. He got himself all set up and we were good to go. They had finally given the go ahead to eat, but all I really wanted was something to drink, so I had cranberry juice and lots of it. I was told this ahead of time to help in preventing a UTI from the catheter. I attempted to eat a veggie burger, but eating just made me feel sick so I couldn’t get more than a few bites down. After eating I was in and out of sleep thanks to all of the meds and I was PISSED when my nurse came in and announced they wanted to take my catheter out at midnight. I had barely slept the night before because of the pain so now they wanted me to have to GET UP in the middle of the night when I had to pee? NOT cool. I was so angry. She explained that most people wont be able to go to the bathroom for several hours after the catheter is taken out, so I wasn’t to worry. Well EFF them. I had been pumped full of fluids and had drank all of that cranberry juice so low and behold, about an hour after the catheter was taken out I had to pee. Getting out of bed was excruciating. I had immense pressure and pain in my chest which in turn effects use of your arms/pectorals. I had incisions in my abdomen and my muscles had been messed with so there was no use of my stomach/core. Also anytime I moved the tubing from the drains would pull and hurt SO bad. Joey and another nurse had to literally lift me out of bed and I had to walk hunched like an old lady and crying out in pain, and sat down on the toilet. I couldn’t stand up straight because they had closed my stomach up so tight. THANK goodness I have a very big bladder because I would hold it as long as possible before repeating that process. The good thing was the bed was easily moved up and down and I was able to find a comfortable position. I had one pillow under my legs, one behind my head and one under each arm on my sides. The next two days run into each other. They are a blur of pain, meds, shots, IVs, nurses and lots of sleep. They had me up and sitting in the chair on the second day post op. Sitting up made me sick to my stomach and sweaty all over, but I knew it would help make me stronger. I even got up and walked around the halls several times. The nausea seemed to be the most frustrating at times. They would give me so many meds in the morning. An antibiotic in my IV which I could actually smell and taste when they put it in. A VERY painful heparin shot in my leg three times a day to prevent blood clots going to my lungs. Aspirin to keep my blood thin and flowing easily to my tissue flaps. Of course a stool softener thanks to the stoppage effect from all of the pain meds. I believe they had me on pepcid and milk of magnesia as well. I had two different IVs, one coming out of my right hand and the other coming out of my left arm. Good thing I had two because whenever they would put me on a vitamin bag IV it hurt SO bad going in the one in my hand. I was SO miserable at some points I regretted ever getting the surgery done. Yes, it sounds awful, but I really did. I had to keep reminding myself why I did it all and that the pain would pass…..the pain would pass…
One afternoon I was sleeping quite heavily and I woke up and felt like my entire chest was on fire. I started screaming and pushed the button for the nurse. I couldn’t stop screaming and crying that my chest was on fire. I have never had an anxiety attack, but the nurse believes that’s what it was. She checked my dopplers and my temp and felt my breasts. I couldn’t for the life of me calm down. I had this absolutely overwhelming feeling of dread and pressure and burning in my chest that felt like it would never go away and things would never feel normal again. I think it was one of the most awful moments of the entire experience.
After a few more times of getting up and sitting, getting used to getting up to go to the bathroom and walk the halls I began to stand up a bit straighter. It was really hard to focus on anything like TV or the computer. Whenever I tried reading Facebook I would just cry, which hurt my stomach, because of all of the love and support and amazing comments from friends and family. I started to eat a little more. I was even able to skype with my children and best friend Sara, that brightened my spirits immensely! I had posted a picture of myself pre and post op and couldn’t get over how everyone thought I looked beautiful. You sure do NOT feel beautiful hooked up to all those IVs, without a shower for several days and sans makeup! At the time in the hospital I thought it would never end, I thought the pain would never go away and I would NEVER get out of that place. Well the time passed and Monday came and during their morning runs, the plastics team came in and said it was time for me to go home as long as I could eat a decent lunch THANK GOD! Joey couldn’t stop laughing at me because at the mention of going home I became myself again and no longer focused on any pain, but started yelling at him for paperwork and things I needed that I KNEW I packed but he couldn’t find.