Smooth Sailing Surgery


Smooth Sailing Surgery

sail-boat-483638_640Hubby had his surgery to replace his implanted medication pump on Friday. We couldn't have asked for things to go more smoothly! We needed to be there at 5:45 a.m. and it takes approximately 45 minutes with good weather and no traffic so I knew we needed to aim to leave by 4:00 a.m. so we would actually be leaving no later than 4:30. ; ) I am so smart sometimes.

This also meant that I needed to be up at 3 a.m. I had intended to be asleep by 8 p.m. and was headed to bed and then realized Hubby hadn't had his shower! So we took care of that and I did a short yoga class and fell right into dreamland.  Thank goodness!

At 3 a.m., my alarm went off and I promptly hit snooze.  Then I calculated how much time I really needed to get on the road at 4 a.m. Surely not an hour! So I ended up resetting my alarm and rolling out of bed at 3:30. Hubby needed a bit more assistance getting dressed at that hour,  especially with no coffee or breakfast! He also needed slightly more assistance transferring but we managed safely and were on the road by 4:30.

There was very little traffic at that hour but at one point it rained so hard that I thought I might have to pull over. Luckily we drove out of it and the rest of the drive was uneventful. We listened to a book on tape on the way down. It distracted us from worrying and Hubby doesn't like to read so I have recently discovered this as a good alternative. I have found in the last few years that worrying is wasted energy because our worries rarely come true and anything that does go astray is usually not in our radar at all. And because worry is such an energy stealer, when we need our energy for a real crisis,  we don't have any left. So I try my best not to let worry sneak in, because it is just doesn't prepare us to actually deal with any real situation.

But I digress. We arrived at the hospital 30 minutes before we needed to be there and the entrance we were to use was not even open yet so we sat and listened to our story. At about 5:30 we borrowed a hospital wheelchair so I didn't have to worry about ours during surgery and we headed on up to Ambulatory Surgery. We signed in uneventfully, which was very refreshing,  and didn't have to wait very long before Hubby was called in. Nurses were excellent and doctors all stopped in. The anesthesiologist decided that sleep and a local were called for which was a relief to us. No general anesthesia needed! The good fortune continued!

Hubby's surgery was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. and he was promptly whisked away at 7:25.  I went down to the cafeteria for a blueberry muffin and a cup of coffee,  then headed back up to the ambulatory waiting room. We had been told that the procedure should take an hour. The only reason it would take much longer than that is if the catheter from the pump to his spine needed to be replaced which would have been much more involved and risky. So for the first hour,  I was unusually relaxed. Either that or I was just so tired from being up at 3 a.m. that I dozed off. I have to admit that once we were into hour 2, the worry tried to take hold,  but we were still within a reasonable window of time so I shoved it away.   Sure enough at an hour and 30 minutes, the surgeon came strolling out to speak with me. Everything went very well and told me that Hubby was already awake and had done great. He gave me instructions and a script for antibiotics. He had already called in a script for pain medication and the pharmacy had already called to say that it was ready.

Meanwhile, a woman whose husband went in for surgery at the same time had news that her husband was in recovery and was pacing back and forth. Now that she had found out that he was doing well, all the stress came out. I know how that feels so I asked her if she was alright. When she started talking,  the look of relief,  to be talking about how she felt... Well, sometimes people just need to know someone else understands. I was called back to recovery before she was but her husband was right next to mine and I could hear him talking to his surgeon. They had both been anxious that he would not wake up from anesthesia so when I returned to the waiting room, his wife was extremely relieved to hear how alert he had sounded. I have been in that worried state where the imagination can dish out far worse things than are probable so I was very grateful that I could set another caregiver's mind at ease.

Back to my story. Because my husband has a traumatic brain injury and a spinal cord injury, he is considered a "neuro" patient. He takes longer to wake up and become alert than most patients. After one surgery, his mother told me that's what he looked like when he was coming in and out of his coma. (That's a story for another day. ) So I knew what to expect. He was back to sleep when I went to see him so I sat for a few minutes. He looked at me a couple of times like he didn't know where he was or maybe didn't even remember who I was. Who knows? I just know that is what's normal for him so rather than worry him and myself, I let him rest while I walked to the corner drugstore right across the street to pick up his prescriptions.

The weather was beautiful and it felt really good to step out of the hospital. I had been texting my mother-in-law throughout the morning,  so I called our son to let him know his Dad was doing great. I headed back up to recovery and sat and read the patient booklet about his pump. We already have one, but it is always good to review. Hubby wanted to roll on his side so wonderful nurse helped him turn over and propped him up with pillows. She put one of those wonderfully warmed hospital blankets on him,  took out his oxygen,  and he pulled the blankets up over his head. My son sleeps the same exact way! My boys sure do like their sleep! The nurse kept trying to move his blanket so she could see his face and he kept pulling it back up. So funny! She finally decided that the monitors would let her know if he was in distress so she let him be. He also wouldn't leave his arm with the blood pressure cuff down and since he was laying on his side, his blood pressure was reading lowish. She told me that was normal because of how he was lying and if she couldn't get a good reading,  she would roll him back on to his back. Which was exactly what ended up happening. I was so glad she had told me that or I would have been seriously freaking out when his blood pressure read 56/ ?. It turned out that his blood pressure was actually 90/60,  which is very close to normal for him. So a momentary glitch, but so glad that's all it was. A glitch.

It was almost time to move out of recovery so I headed down to the cafeteria for some lunch.  When I headed back up,  my dear husband was in a regular room,  sitting up, munching on a buttered roll, graham cracker, and sipping a cup of coffee. Some more rest, some more coffee, some more graham crackers, instructions given and it was time to go. The nurse was wonderful and we both helped my husband get dressed. We weren't sure if my husband would be able to bear weight on his legs enough to transfer but he did! His nurse and "transport" walked us down to the car, waited while I paid for parking and drove up to the door. My husband is tall and we have a small SUV so if he can bear weight,  he can just stand and turn a smidgeon to get into the car. No climbing up or down. It is the perfect height for him.

He requested Burger King so we went through the driveway on the way home. Getting in the house was uneventful and once we were in and settled, I crashed on the couch. I was definitely experiencing an adrenaline let down. I needed to sleep but couldn't and I was feeling extremely sad all of a sudden. It's not that I don't have things to be sad about. A colleague of mine had lost his daughter last week, and I had just then found out that a former supervisor, who is just the loveliest person you could meet, has stage 3 breast cancer. So the adrenaline letdown and those two events really brought me to a crashing halt.

My husband didn't need too much more than usual and our son was still with his grandfather, so I spent most of the afternoon on the couch. Then I decided that this was not good. Not good at all! It's okay to face the feelings but this felt like it could go on for days and I would be no good to anybody, so I decided to head to the library where our son was signed up for an activity that involved team building and styrofoam swords. Hubby was settled and doing extremely well and our library is only three minutes away. My parents were there so we had a good visit while we watched my 13-year-old son take part in make-believe play. In public. Parenting win!!! We heard things like "hobbit"  and other names that sounded like characters from the hobbit. It was exactly what I needed to pull me back into the light.

Yesterday, while my hubby rested, our son worked a car wash for Boy Scouts. We picked up pizza for dinner and then I settled down to watch "Land of the Lost" with Hubby. It was very silly and funny but I ended up falling asleep not too far into it and curled up next to my dear hubby for the next couple of hours.  I thought I would be up all night, but I had the most wonderful night's sleep.

I am feeling much better and Hubby is doing great so today's goal is to get my husband up and about a bit. If he doesn't, he will lose ground very quickly and will become unable to transfer. Nothing crazy but the weather looks beautiful so maybe a transfer into his chair and we'll see which neighbors are out and about. Also on the agenda is catching up with laundry and dishes and grocery planning. Today should be wonderfully normal and boring!


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Thank you all for your wonderful support! Hubby is doing great. No issues at all. We are looking forward to the go ahead to become more active. Our son has another library activity tonight. Robotics! : D


I love your last line. It would make a great caregiver's tee shirt. 'Today was wonderfully normal and boring!'


How kind and thoughtful of you to put the other caregiver's mind at ease about her husband.


You are just a delight! :) I love reading about your days and your family.\n\nI loved that you pulled yourself up and out and headed to the library. There's nothing like family love and pride to help with the sadness takes hold. \n\nAnd, I love how you helped a fellow family caregiver at the hospital.\n\nHoping Hubby was up and about yesterday and continues to get stronger. Keep us posted as you can.


Thank you for sharing what was a very intense few days. Your approach to worry is inspirational. I hope your hubby continues to improve in strength and confidence, and his new pump performs flawlessly. I appreciate your opening the doors of your home and sharing what life is like for your family.