So, on Thursday May 22nd, despite the fact that we were going to leave the house at 5:45 to be at the hospital by 6:30 which meant I could sleep until 5:15 and still have plenty of time to putter around the house before we left, I was wide awake before 5:00. Fred was, too, … Continue reading “6-2-08”

So, on Thursday May 22nd, despite the fact that we were going to leave the house at 5:45 to be at the hospital by 6:30 which meant I could sleep until 5:15 and still have plenty of time to putter around the house before we left, I was wide awake before 5:00. Fred was, too, so he came and lay down next to me and we talked until 5:00 had come and gone.

I spent some time with Kara and her babies, scooped the litter boxes, and then showered and got dressed. At exactly 5:45, we left for the hospital.

On the way to the hospital – in addition to the 145,000 times he’d said it in the week beforehand – Fred said “We could just cancel the surgery, you know!” and I said, as I had every single time before, “No we can’t, we’ve already paid the surgeon!” and he said “We could dispute the charge with the credit card company!” and I said “And then I would still have this big apron of skin and fat around my middle” and he said “I’d still love you!” and I snorted and said “SO?”

We got to the hospital exactly at 6:30, for we are punctual people, and then I checked in (which was just a matter of going into the registration area and getting my bracelet with my name and surgeon’s name on it, since I’d apparently pre-registered the week before when I had my bloodwork done) and then we sat in the waiting room and cooled our heels for, I don’t know since it’s all kind of fuzzy now, an hour and a half?

(And those of you who noted that we were in a fancypants waiting room, yes indeedy – that is one nice waiting room and hospital.)

Finally, my pager went off (when you check in, they give you a pager and when it goes off, you go back to the desk and someone is there waiting to take you back to where you need to be) and they took me back, told me to get undressed, started the IV, and then paged Fred back to keep me company. I think that from the time they took me back to pre-op to the time they took me off to be operated on it was about an hour and a half, but it went quickly.

Unlike the time I went in for weight loss surgery, I was having no butterflies at all. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t looking forward to the surgery, but like I’ve said before, the only way to the other side is through it, so I was ready and willing to get this show on the road.

While we waited, Fred hemmed and hawed and wondered just what the hell he’d do while he was in the waiting room, and finally I just told him he should make sure they had his cell phone number and go home. The surgery was expected to take 5 or 6 hours, and there was no earthly reason why he should hang around the waiting room when he could be home amongst his chickens and pigs. And it’s not like I was going to be awake to care where he was – or as if, he could DO anything if the surgeon ran into trouble.

(“My god, she’s crashing! Get her husband in here to do compressions or something! I’m sure he’s seen ER once or twice! Have him do a tracheotomy next door while he’s at it!”)

(Fred told me that part of the reason he wasn’t too worried about the surgery is because none of my major organs were going to be involved, just skin and tissue, which makes sense.)

The surgeon came in at one point to draw on me, and it was fairly uncomfortable to be standing there naked in front of a kneeling man who was drawing on me with purple marker, and he was pretty vigorous with the pinching and squeezing of the fat, but it was over quickly enough. What was funny to me was that they kicked Fred out of the room while the surgeon did his thing so Fred couldn’t sit there and laugh at me the way I laughed at him when he had his tummy tuck. Poor Fred, stymied out of a chance to laugh at me!

I was rolled back to the operating room and various people introduced themselves to me, and a couple of the nurses reassured me by telling me that they’d be with me during the entire operation. Which I found very sweet, but I wanted to say “I don’t care if y’all switch out every five minutes and bring strange nurses off the street, let’s get going!” Of course, soon enough things went fuzzy and I went under.

I think I was under for about six hours, which I’m pretty sure is the longest operation I’ve ever had – and I’ve had (counting…. knee, c-section, endometriosis removal from c-section scar line, cold cone biopsy, tubes in ears, weight loss surgery, gallbladder surgery) seven surgeries in my life. I’m pretty sure I remember dreaming during the surgery, but I don’t remember what I was dreaming about. I think it involved Disneyland.

I was in Recovery for about an hour, and I’d doze off, then wake up and look around. The nurse offered pain medication once or twice, but since I was feeling no pain, I turned him down. At one point I could hear the nurse across the room on the phone with Fred (I found out later that they’d called and told him to be back at the hospital at 2, then didn’t finish up surgery and come out to talk to him ’til about 3:45). The time in Recovery went pretty quickly, and then they rolled me to my room.

Fred came into the room and then they kicked him out so they could empty my drains and catheter bag (I loathe the goddamn catheter. And it’s not that it hurts or is in the way (especially when I’m just laying there), but the very idea of that goddamn catheter causes me emotional pain) and then the nurse was offering me something to drink, and the only thing I could think of that I wanted was water.

By that time it was about 5:30, and Fred stayed and gave me water and told me what the surgical nurse had told him in the waiting room (that she thought I’d be very pleased with the results, that she thought I’d probably go down about two sizes, and – this is what I liked hearing the most, and that I made Fred repeat at least three more times – I had a LOT of muscle mass.). I thought that they’d be getting me up to walk around fairly soon, then Fred talked to the nurse, who told him that they were going to bring me dinner and then get me up and moving, so I told him to go ahead and go home (being out that close to dark makes him nervous because there are chickens to be put up!), and then I dozed off.

They never did bring me anything to eat (which was okay with me because I wasn’t hungry at all), and then I asked for something for the pain around 8 or 8:30. They gave me Demerol and then I was hiiiiiiigh. I know I made a phone call or two, but I don’t think they lasted long because did I mention I was hiiiiiiiigh?

I spent the night dozing, and at one point that damn automatic machine that was hooked up to take my blood pressure every so often started beeping, and when I say beeping, I mean not the normal beeps of a machine working the way it’s supposed to, but rather like an alarm going off. It was seriously pissing me off, and I called up to the nurse station a couple of times, and when no one came after a while, I started pushing buttons, and I figured out how to turn the alarm off.

THAT’S RIGHT, I DID. DON’T LECTURE ME. I assume if I were on the verge of death, someone would have come running in to save me.

The nurse eventually came in to see what was what, and she decided that the alarm had gone off because my blood pressure was so low (I myself think it went off because the blood pressure cuff was in a weird position) and she went off to call the doctor. Before she left, I asked her if she could hand me my cup of water and she was all “Nope, you’ve gotta get it yourself. You’re scheduled to be released at 6:55, you need to get moving!” and I was all “I’m scheduled to be released at 6:55? Hot damn!” Because we’d figured I’d have to sit around and wait half the morning, the way we did when I had weight loss surgery.

By 5:30, I didn’t want anything but to go the hell home, and I would doze off for five minutes, wake up and look at the clock, then doze off again.

Fred showed up around 6:30, and then eventually they removed the catheter and disconnected my IV and I began walking. Fred and I made a circuit of the floor, I rested for a few minutes, we made another circuit, and so on. I felt like I was moving around just fine, thank you.

The surgeon stopped by and I had to get back in bed so he could undo my binder and look at my incision (they kicked Fred out for this, for some reason). This was the first chance I got to see my stomach, and I was all “That gross bloated thing is supposed to make me HAPPY?” The surgeon gave me some instructions (fuck if I remember what they were), and said I could go home.

At some point another nurse came in to change my dressing, and Fred got to stay for that and he was all “Wow, you look amazing!” and “You’re so flat!” and “You’re all curvy!” and I was all “OKAY, I GET THE IDEA, ARE YOU SAYING I WAS FAT BEFORE, YOU BASTARD?”

(No, not really.)

The dressings were changed and I was sitting on the edge of the bed and I started getting nauseous. This was the first time I’d felt nauseous at all, thank god, because the anesthesiologist gave me a pill before the surgery, put a patch behind my ear, and put something in the IV during surgery. But now I was feeling seriously nauseous, and when they told the surgeon, he couldn’t prescribe something for them to give me at the hospital, because I’d already been checked out on the computer. So they gave Fred all my prescriptions, including a suppository for the nausea, and he went to a nearby pharmacy to have them filled.

While I waited, the nurse gave me saltines and a Mountain Dew (while I was waiting for her to come back with the crackers and soda, I actually gagged and tried to throw up three or four times, but given that I have a tiny pouch of a stomach and hadn’t eaten anything in, oh, 36 hours or so, there was nothing to throw up), and I ate the crackers and sipped at the soda, and it helped a bit. Fred got back with my prescriptions, so I took the suppository and went into the bathroom and let me tell you, I’m not giving you any details, but when it’s difficult to move around the right way, that’s not an easy thing to do. But I’m a superstar and I got the job done (and no, I was NEVER going to ask for help with that, thank you, I have my boundaries), and then with Fred’s help I got dressed.

Finally, I was out of there. We made a few stops on the way home (since I was going to be on a prophylactic dose of antibiotics, I figured it’d be a good idea to eat a container or two of yogurt every day to help stave off a yeast infection), and then we were home, and I don’t remember what I did – probably kicked off my shoes, took off my pants, and went straight to the recliner.

It’s kind of all a blur right now. I know I spent the day in the recliner, watching TV and probably snoozing. Fred and I watched TV that evening, and at bedtime we went upstairs and he put a folding chair in the kitten room so I could go in there and see them. They did NOT whine and sob and cry about how much they’d missed me, the brats. What they did do is try to climb up my legs, and given that I was wearing a shirt and was bared-legged, you can imagine how much that hurt.

Fred went to bed, and I went to recliner, and I spent the night dozing and waking up to flip through the channels, then dozing off again, over and over again.

Y’all don’t need a day-by-day description of the recovery process, I don’t think, so suffice it to say that I hit some milestones: By Sunday I was (slowly, carefully) getting down on the floor with the kittens because sitting in the chair and trying to grab them as they raced by was proving to be too hard. It’s much easier to grab them when you’re on floor level, and also, it’s much easier for them to sit in your lap and use their sharp little claws to rip at the fabric of your pants, little brats (I’ve started wearing the same pants and t-shirt every time I go into the room, because otherwise all my clothes would be covered in little holes). In the early hours of Sunday morning I was so uncomfortable with sleeping in the recliner that I tried to sleep on the couch (on my back with pillows under my knees), and I was okay to lay there for a little while (unsleeping), but when I went to get up, it felt like I tore something on my side and so I frantically went upstairs to wake Fred up so we could take my binder off and he could look me over. Turned out, I was fine, nothing torn and bleeding.

Monday was probably the worst day for me, emotionally and physically, and I teared up several times during the day. I just couldn’t get comfortable physically, and I felt like I was going to feel like a great big bloated tick for the rest of my life. By Tuesday, though, I was feeling better and have felt pretty much better every day. It helped that, Thursday night, I was able to spend the entire night in my very own bed (on my back with pillows under my knees) and I’ve been sleeping like a baby ever since.

I’ve been doing dishes and the occasional load of laundry (it’s not terribly physically taxing to put clothes in the washer and transfer them to the dryer and then let Fred fold them and put them away), I made pizza dough in the breadmaker on Friday (Fred makes a fabulous pizza, believe you me) and some of the dinner-making has reverted to me.

The one thing I wish I could do (and cannot, I’m not even going to try so don’t lecture me) is vacuum the house. Because Fred has run the vacuum a couple of times, but not nearly often enough for me.

When I have surgery next year (“My GOD,” you are saying, “MORE plastic surgery? Who does she think she is, Crazy Joyce Wildenstein?”, and you just shut up. I need a breast lift, chin lift, and possibly my upper arms done. Yes, NEED.) the absolute number one thing I’m going to do is hire someone to come clean once a week.

Ten days after surgery, I am still swollen as hell. That’s normal, I’ve read that it’s not until about six weeks out of surgery that the swelling is pretty much gone. Fred talks about how flat I am and how big a difference there is, but I have to say that I’m not seeing it yet – maybe because I’m wearing this binder all the time (which is not actually as annoying as I expected it to be).

To my utter amazement, the surgeon told Fred that he removed about 11 pounds of fat and skin during surgery. The day before surgery, Fred and I made our “official” guesses – I guessed that he’d remove 23 pounds, and Fred guessed 18. I actually guessed low, because I’ve always heard that skin and fat weighs a lot less than you’d guess. The day I got home from the hospital I weighed myself and I was up eight pounds from the day of surgery. It dropped about four pounds a few days after that, but as it currently stands, I’m up 3 – 4 pounds from where I was the day of surgery. That, my friends, is some fluid retention.

I ended up with one drain and one pain pump (which pumped Marcaine into my abdomen for three days after surgery), and I had one drain and the pain pump removed last Wednesday. The remaining drain output has dropped to almost nothing, so I fully expect that it will come out at my next post-op appointment this Wednesday. Once it’s out and I’m cleared to FINALLY shower (I’m sponge-bathing every day with copious amounts of soap and water, but nothing cleans like a shower), I’ll most likely be getting dressed in real clothes every day instead of wearing a nightgown all day long. I look forward to life going back to some semblance of normalcy.

I know y’all have a lot of questions – I’ve kept your commented questions, and will answer them all on Friday in a Super Special Comment-Answering Extravaganza, you lucky lucky people.



River has decided that he’d rather kinda like to be out of that thar kitten room. He’s not terribly aggressive about it, but after I’m done visiting in the kitten room, he tries to scoot out the door and since I can’t reach all the way to the floor at the moment, he’s gotten out of the room several times in the past few days. If I just stand there and wait, he realizes pretty quickly that he’s in a new, scary situation, and he huddles against the door and runs back inside if I open the door.

Yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to take him around “visiting” a couple of our cats. I carried him downstairs and let Miz Poo and Newt sniff him, but he was so overwhelmed and scared that I took him right back upstairs. He rewarded me by leaving a gouge across the top of my chest.

I deserved it.

(pic) A bowl of Zoe.

More kitten pics over at Flickr.



(pic) Spanky say relax.



2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: “I like cheese, just not on a salad.”
2003: Now, how motherfucking stupid does the man think I am?
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.