So here it is, the fourth day following my orbital decompression on February 1st, and here I am sitting here with my face probably way too close to the computer screen for my own health half blindly writing in my Tumblr blog as my mom prepares food for the big game. At least I’m no longer sustaining that warm, fuzzy Vicodin high that I’ve had continuously for the first few days!
On the day of surgery, we did not go to the zoo. I had no food or water after dinnertime on Tuesday (the day before surgery) and by 1:00pm on Wednesday, I was the most pale, grouchy, hungry, and dehydrated version of Michaela anyone could ever imagine. But my mom and I took a nie detour to check out Torrey Pines State Park and then my mom had a nice meal at Whole Foods while I took a nap in the car.
By 2:00pm we made our way to inpatient surgery check-in and waited for the operating room to become available:
3:00pm: They got a baby IV in my arm by some miracle! Usually I chug water, do push-ups, run laps, and praise the Gods of the Veins before I have to get my blood drawn
5:00pm: Stomach says, “Well F that” and eats itself.
6:00pm: Anesthesiologist says in response to my remark about being prone to nausea after surgery, “We’ll put you on a drip of the Michael Jackson stuff. You’ll have a very positive outlook on life for a while since it stores in your muscles for a few days.” Score.
7:00pm: Doctor’s fellow says, “You’re going to feel like you got hit by a bus.” I contemplate what it feels like to get hit by a bus. I’ve never been hit by a bus. Positive outlook on life is gone.
7:30pm: Anesthesiologist assures me that if you get hit by a bus more than your face will hurt and proceeds to inject what he calls “G and T” into my IV. Good feelings return, and I don’t really remember much after that. But by 10:00pm, this is what I looked like:
I honestly don’t remember a lot about the twelve hours or so following surgery… I guess I wanted pain medicine and slept a lot. We also ran into another problem: Usually I warn the nurses before a surgery that I am an active person and my pulse typically drops very low while under anesthesia. I forgot. So this is the phone call my poor anxious mother received when she was finally notified I was in recovery:
Nurse:[Something about the surgery going well] …But we had a little problem…
Nurse: We had to put her in the cardiac unit because her pulse dropped to 30 beats per minute in the recovery room.
So I got a private room with a nice supply of oxygen flowing straight up my nose from a tube even though my blood was fully oxidized at 100%. I guess this is considered the “step down” from ICU, which for a mom is kind of a scary term. But she used to be a nurse and assured the recovery room staff that I’m just a “very active girl”.
Needless to say, because I was in that room, the hospital staff was very excited to get me out of there the next day to get people who actually needed it in. I was hoping I could stay for more drugs that would give me a positive outlook on life, but they did not share the same feelings.
So like any girl who was denied something or went through a traumatic experience, I left the hospital and wanted some Fro Yo. And that’s exactly what we did:
I couldn’t see what the scene was exactly, but I guess there were a lot of small children running around in the frozen yogurt shop. And I guess I had quite a bit of blood running down my face. And I guess they were frightened. I am known to have this effect on children on a normal day, so I wasn’t too alarmed by my mom’s observations regarding the children of the frozen yogurt shop.
Because of all of the discharge from my eye sockets, we kept the gauze on the first night. The second night we went out for some Miso Soup at a local Japanese restaurant without the gauze:
I could open my eyes a little bit, but not enough to really get around without too much help from my mom. I am very thankful to have had my ex-nurse mom around during these first few days, especially since I was pretty consistently doped up on Vicodin and there are LOTS of medicines to keep track of. For example, there are steroids that you take multiple times a day, antibiotics four times daily, eye drops four times daily, yucky oozy gel stuff twice daily, and then keeping track of the last time you got high off Vicodin to make sure you’re not overdosing. And then there’s my usual antihistamines and levothyroxine.
By the third day I could open my eyes in small intervals; enough to get a drink of water of whatever and then they definitely needed a rest. As far as pain is concerned, I think this was the worst day. All of the goodness from anesthesia stored in my muscles was gone (I think), the eyeball muscles are extremely sore and sensitive to movement, and it kind of feels like I was on the losing side of a fight with a miniature pony with very strong hindquarters. Here’s what my eyes looked like on day 3 if you don’t really know what that might be like:
We still went out to meet up with some family down in Orange Country since everyone was all in one spot for the weekend and it was a matter of convenience. My mom doesn’t get out this way too much, and it was also her birthday, so it was nice to see her family to celebrate such an auspicious day! Her side of the family is also deeply involved with the non profit industry since they have a small son who was diagnosed with Cystinosis. He is the sweetest kid (well, all their kids are!), and if you get the chance, check out their page at http://www.joshuasjourney.org/ . Joshua always serves as a reminder to me that even if there are a few people in the world going through the exact scenario you are, everyone has their challenges and everyone can relate on some level. Life is way too short to be absorbed by your own unique problems, and you’ve got to be ready to share and give to others whoever and whenever you can.
Speaking of doing good things for others, I was finally able to wash my hair on the third day, too. I guess a lot of red washed out of my hair. Apparently those “natural highlights” were just that… My own blood… [evil laugh].
By the fourth day (today, Feb. 5th), I was able to open my eyes and see well enough to do anything except operate heavy machinery, use sharp knives, or stare at a computer screen for more than five minutes… So this blog post has been a bit of a process. Here’s the pic of the day:
Last night we found that one of my pupils were very contracted and the other very dilated, so I did make a trip down to San Diego to double check with the fellow on staff for the weekend that I wasn’t going blind or brain dead. After some bright lights we determined everything was fine. I am generally sore in my face area, but I have downgraded to extra strength Tylenol, so no complaints there. It’s definitely a slower recovery than I was expecting, but I certainly don’t feel like I was hit by a bus. I will have to get back to work for Tuesday since I will be out of sick and vacation time tomorrow, and I expect that to be challenging since there are a lot of computer screens that need attending to there, but my coworkers have been understanding and hopefully cut me some slack!
I’m going to be done writing since my eyes are getting pretty angry at me and Madonna seems to be putting on a pretty good half time show… I might have to take a Vicodin after all… :P
Thanks everyone for your support and comments on FB and though the website! I’ll keep updated as things change over the next few weeks!