Monday, October 6, 2008

The Big Day - Surgery


My Last Day
I am not sure why, but my younger daughters were pretty concerned about the surgery. I did everything I could to keep things calm and act as if this were just a normal trip to go see the doctor. No such like. My second oldest had to have her picture taken with me, just in case, and wanted to spend the last day with me just in case. So we watched Chicken Little. As soon as I get the picture I will post it.

The Day Before
My sister-in-law came up for a couple of reasons. She is an officer in the Air Force and was going to be giving the "Oath of Office" to another officer at the Iwo Jima Memorial. She also came up to spend the night with the kids while I recovered from surgery. She would leave for DC upon my return. I think it worked out well.

The Wedding
That Saturday, after surgery, a young woman from our church was getting married. My mother-in-law, my wife, and my oldest daughter all had part in making sure the wedding went well. I was informed that with the friend taking the "Oath of Office" and the wedding plans, it would not fit into the schedule to also have a funeral so I was forbidden to die (jokingly of course.) I decided to not disappoint anyone and live.

The Joke
I mentioned this to several people, but first told it to my daughters. No-one thought it was funny though. I was having dinner with my daughters and of course the subject of the surgery came up. This time it was how they were going to put me to sleep. Anesthesia was going to give me an epidural. I explained that they would give me drugs in my back to numb me and they would operate that way. I left out a lot of details on purpose and as a joke. For example, there would be a sheet between me and the doctors so I would not be able to see the procedure. I told my girls that I would get to watch. Not only would I get the epidural, but they would give me a number of other medications to relax me, and allow me to sleep. I told my girls that I would be awake. So here is the joke. I told them that I was going to wait until the doctor started cutting on me, then at the moment he touched me with the knife, I would scream "OOOWW!" then just say "Sorry, just Kidding." My girls did not find that funny and listed the reasons why that was I a bad idea along with everyone else. I thought it was hilarious and would make a funny scene in a sitcom. I jinxed myself though.

The Big Day of Surgery
So I show up at the hospital at 8:45am with my wife and Mother-in-law. I fill out some paperwork then head to the waiting area for surgery. I check in at the waiting area and wait for them to call me back. They gave me a pager and wen it beeped I was to return to the surgery prep area and the beeper was to stay with my wife. That way if they need to her (i.e. when I was ready for surgery and done with surgery they could just beep her.) They beeped me I went into and curtained off area with a bed and a chair for my wife. They gave me a robe, a hair cover, and socks. I got dressed and waited for anesthesia. They came and asked how I wanted to be put under and I chose the epidural. (By the way, if you are ever going to deliver a baby, I say take the epidural asap! it was great.) They tested the epidural my placing and Ice cube on my arm and asked if it was cold, and of course it was. Then they placed it on my stomach near the surgery site and asked if it was cold. The first time it was. They gave me more medicine and then the second time, I could hardly feel that they touched me. Once that was ready, I met the surgery staff and we went over the procedure. We even wrote on the area to be operated on and designated what site to do the procedure and what side not to touch. Shortly there after, they wheeled me back for surgery.

What We've All Been Waiting For - Surgery
They wheeled me back onto the operating room and moved me off my bed and onto to the operating table. It felt really weird because my legs were numb. The strapped me down to the table, tapped my feet down, taped my arms down, and even put a seat belt on me. Then they place a drape between my upper body and the doctors. They gave me more medicine through the epidural that would allow me to relax and sleep, but they could wake me and ask me questions if they needed to. I fell asleep. All of the sudden I woke right up and screamed! I had not received enough medicine through the epidural and I have never felt such pain when they cut me open. See I jinxed myself with my joke. They gave me more medicine waited about 20 minutes then continued without any problems. Surgery was supposed to take about an hour. It ended up taking 4 1/2 hours. The plan was to put in one stint. It would block the lower hole in the aorta and flow would stop through the second hole and the first. Well it didn't work they way. When they blocked the lower hole, blood started to flow into the upper hole and form a new channel. They ended up putting to stints and each had a small extension, make 4 pieces of hardware in all. They woke me up to let me know it was over and wheeled me to recovery.

Recovery
I have had surgery several times and recovery was the easiest with the epidural. Shortly after returning to recovery I woke up and talked with the nurses. All of the sudden I felt dizzy. My heart rated dropped from 71 bpm to 31. I went pale, they laid me down, prepped some drugs, then it went right back up. I ended up staying quite some time in recovery. They monitored everything. I eventually got my own room.

Spending the Night
The only room they had was a one person room. They brought in one of those fold out chairs that turns into a bed, so Stephanie was able to spend the night. As usual every two hours they woke me up for vitals. I could not sleep. At about 2 am. I started to feel really sick so I paged the nurse. Took them quite some time to respond. The doctor (looked like a young intern) on call happen to come in to check on me. Because of the type of procedure I had, nausea is a really bad sign, so he ordered and EKG and blood work. I knew it was going to be bad when the nurse asked if she should call phlebotomy. That means she can't or is really bad a drawing blood and wanted someone else to do it. The doctor said that they weren't going to be around until 4 am and that the test couldn't wait that long. So the nurse drew the blood. Oh my gosh! Let's stick in the needle and see how much we can move it around. In, out, in, out, wiggle left, wiggle right. It was so bad, my wife had to turn away. I thought to myself "She has 5 seconds to get that in or I will asked her to get someone else to do it." Then I started to count. She got it in before I got to "4". My hand still hurts were she did it. Another nurse came in and did the EKG. The setp-up took longer than the proceedure and everything looked good.

No Sleep
The nurse left the heart rate machine in there and it started to beep because the batteries were running down. So I called to have them come and get it. No one did. It beeped for a half an hour before it finally died. Plus the constant come and checking in on me, I actually didn't sleep until I got home.

Going Home Well, were were told that the doctors would do rounds and if everything looked good, then I would go home. Doctors came by at 7 am and everything looked good. Then they wanted an ultra-sound before I went home. So we got it done. Then they wanted an x-ray before I went home. Got it done. Then the surgeons wanted to see me. They did. I finally got to go about 3 pm instead of 8 am like I was told. Oh well.

Home
I am very tired and I have a few incisions that are healing. The stitched up the inside, but they used a glue on the outside. I am still pretty sore, but I will be just fine.

3 comments:

The Ziegler Family said...

I am very glad to hear that you are doing well and that the surgery went well. Keep us posted on how you are doing.

Mellissa Ochsenhirt said...

Thanks for the update. I am glad everything went pretty well.

Mindy said...

ok, OUCH!

Seriously, glad to see you walking with les pain these days.

I think the boys need another playdate, don't you?