We spent the night in a motel so we wouldn't have to worry about getting up to Stanford in time for my surgery. We slept very well, morning came a bit too soon.
Got to the hospital and was tagged on each wrist (guess this makes it easier for the nurses, no matter what side of your bed their on, they can see your wrist band).
Finding a vein for the IV wasn't easy. The anesthesiologist finally got a vein ultra sound
machine (who knew they had such things) in order to find a vein. Pretty soon his superior
came in (the person actually doing my anesthesia) and was trying at the other arm. After about 20 minutes one was found. Yea!!
Then it was time for the epidural, this was explained to me, that when inserted, I wouldn't feel any stomach pain from the surgeries, and when I woke I would have a button to push and a nice pain killer would enter and I would be PAIN FREE. Sounded good to me.
I remember absolutely nothing after the epidural, I never even saw the operating room.
9 1/2 hours after surgery started I was taken to recovery. After a couple of hours there (no memory of that either), I was taken to ICU, that's when my first memory came in, being lifted up and placed on a new bed.
My memory is a bit foggy on the first couple of days, everything seemed fine the first day, I remember hearing something about a bag, and that's when I thought oh, damn, they said it was a possibility, I took my hand and felt my stomach, what a relief, no bag.
The second day, pain started in my liver area, by the middle of my stomach by the ribs. It was so painful, no clicking of the button fixed it. Apparently the epidural moved a bit and so that area was no longer receiving pain killer. They came and discussed it a bit and decided to move it up and perhaps it would then cover the upper pain. Unfortunately, then the lower stomach became extremely painful. The ultimate decision was to remove the epidural and just get pain medicine through the arm. I highly recommend the epidural over the arm pain medicating. Trust me on this.
I then began to get chest pains, which were again painful. They did an EKG and then compared it to original EKG and yep, there were differences. I can't remember much of the discussion, as still in ICU, in pain, and on mind changing pain killers.
After 3 days in ICU, I was moved to the regular floor.
The surgeons at Stanford are FANTASTIC, the ICU, really GREAT, but when you go to a regular floor, wow what a difference in care.
I was asked if I wanted to walk, and I said yes, the nurse said she would be back. She never came back. The second day on the regular floor, I was sitting on a chair, having just got my "bath", and she asked while I was up did I want to go for a walk, I said, yes, I would. I fell asleep in the chair, woke up when I almost fell out of the chair, I had been then over an hour and half waiting for the nurse to come back for my walk. I climbed into bed. She showed up two hours later, saying, oh, I guess you don't want that walk? Oh My Gosh.
My third day, I took my walk myself, short one, whoo, took a bit out of me, but I did it.
The third day, I was also feeling very nauseous, and eventually, I threw up. The ugliest, greenest, thickest bile I have ever seen in my life. I thought I had turned alien, it was so nasty, could not believe that came out of me. Unfortunately, it came out all over the bed and me, as I vainly tried to get the pink little tub they leave on the stand for you. The nurse had removed it. I had nothing to throw up in. Fortunately, the nurse and doctor had just shown up as I was finishing the last of messing up the bed with the green bile, so I didn't have to live with it for very long.
On my last day on the regular floor, I was throwing up with all my being, talk about exhausting, I couldn't catch my breath, I pushed the button, I know the person answering it, had to have heard the retching, I couldn't talk, but no one ever came. I finally stopped throwing up, and a nurse showed up about 1/2 hour after pushing the button, and asked if I needed anything. She told me I was probably throwing up due to the pain killers (at this time was on pill vicodin) and not eating. I agreed with her, and tried to eat some cheerios she brought me(was only able to eat about two bites), then while I'm waiting to be discharged, I'm throwing up again at the toilet, this time, I almost choked to death on my throw up, talk about scary.
I had oxygen up to my 5th day there. I had turned from a full time smoker into a part time smoker before my surgery (about two months before, I smoked from 0 to 5 cigarettes a day, instead of my 2 packs a day)my oxygen levels however wouldn't stay up, I blame this mostly on my little breaths I would take, since I didn't have the epidural working, my stomach was in extreme pain (remember I had liver removal, colon removal and ureter tumor removal)and the bigger the breath, the more pain, so while they kept asking me to take deep breaths, it just wasn't happening. (I haven't smoked since the 20th of December) I also, had a bit of fluid in the lungs, so they were worried about pneumonia. I got to have every for hours breathing exercises with their therapists. They were very professional and nice people.
Let me tell you, I have a child (okay he's 23) that will eat anything, and also, my 8 year old grandchild, and my hubby (all who will eat anything put before them)and I gave them a sample of the so called food. None of them could tell what the soup (we think it was soup) was, and each declared it inedible. If your a recovering patient at Stanford and nutrition is important, have family bring you your food, they season absolutely nothing, it is possibly the worst food I've ever attempted to eat. You also order what you would like (they actually give you a menu and let you circle what you want)then when your order comes, be absolutely prepared not to get anything you ordered. Their jello isn't too bad.
Thank goodness for Home Sweet home.