(The story continued…)
I see now why they have you sign all kinds of papers and discuss living wills before surgery. There is a very real chance you won't make it out of the OR. Surgery is rough-stuff, not for the faint-hearted.
My second procedure was to remove the left ovary as well as do a complete hysterectomy. Pre-cancer cells had been found and my doctors were scrambling to stay ahead of them. Because I had just had my right ovary removed 7 weeks earlier, it was decided to do this next operation with a robotic machine called the Da Vinci. This would result in less scarring and faster healing. It also meant that my surgery would take place at the community hospital rather than the plush, new center I had previously experienced.
On the morning of my surgery, we arrived very early and began the check-in process. I had to endure some pretty humiliating, unexpected prep work because of the area being operated on. Right about this time one of our pastors came by which was wonderful, except I lost some of Ed's attention. I was feeling sorry for myself and very isolated. The nurse was unable to start the IV (no surprise there) which meant I didn't get those initial drugs that take the edge off.
We began the long trek to the first floor where the operating room is located. Tension and fear were welling up in me as well as a deep sadness. As we reached the doors of the OR I was so surprised to see some of my family. Eddie's mom, Bonnie, along with my Dad and his wife, Sue, were there. Well, I think I saw my Dad. He quickly glanced over the top of the gurney and disappeared. This was all quite tough for him and he was doing his best to handle it. It's funny because I felt like I really needed him – wanted a bit more connection.
Eddie kissed me and I lost it… the embarrassing kind of "lost it." While SOBBING, the nurse wheeled me through several sets of doors all the while speaking words of encouragement to me. My doctor was a bit shocked when he saw how upset I was and asked if I was okay. The nurse answered for me and they both agreed I needed some drugs ASAP.
The IV was finally started and I was brought in to the operating room. It is so intimidating in there. I was too awake for my own good. Glancing around I noticed the sterile-like environment AND a huge robot positioned over me. My doctor explained that he would be in the corner running "Steady Eddie" from the computer station. I had to smile at the nickname of my robotic surgeon… very appropriate.
It was taking awhile to get underway and I was starting to crumble again. The assisting physician kindly held my hand as the anesthesiologist cranked up the IV and the count backwards from 10 began.
Hours later I was in a hospital room, dazed and sore. Steady Eddie, in the flesh, was with me. As the afternoon wore on it was apparent I had some problems. Something was wrong with my eye. I couldn't get relief. About the middle of the night, with the help of an opthamologist, it was determined that my eye had been scratched somehow during surgery. Very strange, since they weren't supposed to touch my eyes! I also had quite a bit of pain and a weakening at the top of my left leg. This would persist for almost a year. My throat, too, was scratchy and my voice would remain raspy for over 6 months. And… there was dried blood all around my nose. What had gone on when I was out??!
Eddie stayed the night with me making sure I was okay. I was discharged the next afternoon and very grateful to be back home. This had not been an easy process at all. I felt quite beat up from my hospital experience.
As I began recovering over the following weeks, there was a sense of relief that the worst was behind me, or so I thought. I'm thankful I didn't know at the time what the next year would bring. "Steady Eddie" and I kept operating on faith, knowing God would be with us, whatever came our way.
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
(Sept. 19, 2008)
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