First, I want to apologize for the fact that I haven’t been writing for a week. Ever since my computer stopped letting me in, I’ve had only the tablet to write on and it’s hard for me to type on it without making mistakes. However, when jak’s in pain, as he has been for a long time, he gets grumpy (which is something I’m sure he can’t really help). So I only use the computer when he’s asleep. Well, for the past week, he’s been up early. Prospects of being able to blog: zero.
Anyway, where did I leave off? Oh, yes! I had just awoken from my surgery in the recovery room with my brain so seriously addled that I believed I was somewhere and some when else. (Star Trek happens in the distant future, according to Gene Roddenberry.) Once I was clearly back in the proper frame of mind again, I was wheeled back up to my room, which I had to myself for a while. Actually, I never really paid attention to the person or people at the other side of the room, so I can’t really be sure if someone was there or not. I know there was someone when I moved in, but I don’t remember after that.
The next day and a half were spent in re-expanding my sphere of freedom. The first step in that direction was when a breathing therapist handed me an apparatus in which to practice taking very deep breaths. It had an arrow and she set it for a certain amount before leaving me alone with it and the promise to return the following day to see how I was doing.
It was nice to have something to do besides watch TV all day, but soon, there was a peculiar pain. It felt distinctly like someone had just opened up an umbrella in my chest. Not a fun experience, but afterward I was able to make the device’s plunger reach the arrow setting, so I was happy. The breathing therapist was happy as well. She explained that sometimes during surgery a patient’s lungs shut down a little. It was called post-operative pneumonia. So, they give them that to play with and it helps.
Shortly after that, they took me off the Morphine drip and gave me Tylenol 3. You can’t get Tylenol 3 without a prescription because it contains codeine, which is a controlled substance. I didn’t like it at all. Why? Because I had every negative side-effect known to science that you could have while using it. They had placed, for lack of a better term, a large potty chair beside my bed so that, now that I was disconnected from all of my tubes, I could use the bathroom without having to call a nurse. However, since I was on the Tylenol 3, I absolutely couldn’t get out of bed without being seriously dizzy and nauseous and had to call the nurse anyway. I also couldn’t eat. They brought me a meal once after they gave me the Tylenol 3 and I couldn’t eat it. I was so unhappy I cried because it all looked so good, but the thought of eating any of it just about made my stomach do cartwheels, let alone somersaults.
So I asked DJ if I couldn’t change the Tylenol 3 to something else. He brought me Extra Strength Tylenol. WHICH WORKED! It wasn’t I don’t care medicine. It wasn’t I’m in pain, but I’m too busy trying to not throw-up medicine. I just simply took away the pain. I was ecstatic. I had my independence back.
Sorry. For a minute there, I sounded very much like a commercial.
Anyway, after that breakthrough, they brought me a pair of crutches and showed me how to use them. I had a goal there, too. My goal was to be able to crutch my way to the nurse’s station and back to my room again. Shortly after I got my crutches, they gave me access to the big girl potty, which has a string in it that leads to a lever which, when pulled, will call a nurse, in case you fall down in the bathroom and need help getting back up again. I never needed it.
Those two days, my mother and I also struggled with how the hospital was to be paid. Apparently, at 26, I no longer qualified for my parents’ insurance, and they couldn’t afford to pay for my hospital stay in cash on my dad’s teacher’s salary. Eventually, the hospital sent up a financial representative who helped me fill out paperwork for their patient needy program. So, in the end, I didn’t have to pay the hospital anything.
Finally, on Thursday afternoon, I crutched my way down to the nurse’s office to say hello to DJ. When I got there, the nurses all took time out to applaud me, which made me feel like the whole thing had been a major accomplishment. The next morning I was to be released from the hospital and sent back home to rest and recuperate. There was just one teeny, little problem.
I couldn’t sleep.
Question Time: If you’ve ever had surgery or know someone who has, how long did it take to recover enough so that healing could be finished at home? Has anyone ever taken Tylenol 3, for any reason? What sort of side-effects did you have while taking it? Tell me your story! I’m listening.