N.P.O. > Since 12:30 am the previous night. (NPO= Nothing By Mouth- No food, No water)
I woke at 8:30am. My mum had removed the water bottle and glass of water from my bed the night before, so when I reached for them, my hands swung and missed. Just air. Great. I was parched, and I knew what was coming. My back was aching like no other. It was as if a million daggers had been thrust into it. I guess jumping and dancing all night did wonders for my poor spine. I told my mum and she said I should take a perc, so I did. I threw on a sports bra with no metal, Hot pink. Perfect. I also grabbed pink panties. Having worked at Victoria's Secret, my bra and panties always match, always. I threw on sweats and my new Maroon 5 tee and we were out the door.
We went to pick up my dad and as he crawled in the car, I could feel my stomach starting to ache. The first omen of an awful day. There is a reason it says on the perc bottle "DO NOT TAKE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH". My mum profusely apologized for forgetting this fact but I would rather feel nauseous then pain. We got to the hospital with no traffic. We pulled up and had the car valeted, totally felt like I was in LA. We got to the Day Surgery floor and they instructed me to head to a room and my parents to head to the waiting room. I instantly felt a sense of unease.
"Umm no, they're coming with me."The nurse told me they could come in once I was ready, to which my mum jumped in
"No I'm going with her. This has never been an issue before especially at CHOP, and she has newly diagnosed cancer, so at least one of us is going."My dad went to the waiting room and my mum came with me. I was glad I at least got my mum but I hated excluding my dad. We went in and I got to change into a sexy purple bear paws hospital gown and green socks (really people? green and purple, does no body think about color coordinating this stuff?) My mom insisted on compression boots. Personally I hate them, but I have a a severe history of blood clots (My lungs, all the major arteries, basically places that could kill you.) The compressions from the boots help your body circulate your blood while you're under anesthesia, and look super rad ::sarcastic face:: while doing so. I was dressed and ready to go, almost.
The nurse came in and went over all her questions. Name and birth date, when was the last time you ate anything, drank anything? etc. etc. What are you getting done today? Which of course I replied
"I'm getting my shit checked out."haha Still doesn't get old. My new fav:
"Do you have any piercings, that are not seen by the eye?"To which I replied,
"Well, not anymore.... and yes I took my belly button ring out."At this point I was kind of glad my dad wasn't there, but nothing surprises him anymore... I don't think. However I was still upset at this point that he wasn't allowed in. So I went out to the nurses station and asked them why. I said:
"There is plenty of room in the room, and he wont get in the way. I understand you need to ask me questions but he's not a four year old. If he's going to be allowed to come in and see me before I go in, why in the hell can't he come in now."The whole time I was saying this, the head nurse kept interjecting trying to come up with excuses. I wasn't having it. Dr. D's physicians assistant saw what was happening and how upset I was. She came in to my room, and said she would try and take care of it.
It was time to get my I.V. and the nurse was HILARIOUS. She was humming the "MaNuhMaNuh MaNuhMaNuh" song from Seasame street. She got my left arm prepped for the IV. I could tell immediately when she chose the vein it wasn't going to work. After years of IV's and needles and injections, my veins are screwed. I also know which ones work and which ones don't. My mum having done IV's for years told me to never tell the nurse which to chose because if they get nervous they're more likely to miss. So I let it go, and she missed. I told her as soon as I didn't see the blood return, to just take it out and start again. I would rather be re-stuck then have them dig around for the vein. She ventured over to my right arm, which sucks because I'm right handed but at least she got it. She explained that
"the MaNuhMaNuh song was originally from a Swedish porno and Seasame Street took it from them."hahah Wow, thanks for that.
Finally my dad came in. It was about damn time. The nurses had me sign my consents. Obviously I consented, I was there wasn't I. The anesthesia doc came in and looked like she was 20. She was super cute and super nice. All I cared about was that she had versaid in her pocket. Think laughing gas at the dentist but in liquid IV form. I once woke up in the middle of a Spinal Tap and Bone Marrow Aspiration at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto when I was 16. I have had a extreme fear of waking up in the middle of procedures since, and therefore get panic attacks before any surgery. Versaid calms me down, and helps alleviate those attacks. The nurses made me take off my sports bra, great puppies unrestrained. I also had to take off my panties and put on these sexy mesh things. So. Hot. -_-
I was pretty much ready to go. Now was just the waiting game. The anesthesia nurse came in with a scowl on her face. The original nurse was still talking to me, but the anesthesia nurse just walked in. She started putting my hair net, hat thingy on. She started adjusting the rails, and said something, to which I don't even remember. I do remember how I felt though, uncomfortable. Something about her scared me. My mom instantly caught the vibe and piped up
"Excuse me, how about introducing yourself and a little sensitivity. She's just been rediagnosed with cancer and is about to go into surgery."I was so proud of my mom. I love how she stands up for me and I totally agreed with her. The anesthesia nurse piped right back
"I'm sorry is there a problem."I wanted to yell right back her, YES! There is, but I was thinking, crap this woman will determine the state of my comfort level while under anesthesia. I better not piss her off. I stayed silent while wanting to just envelope my mum in a hug and thank her. We went to the bathroom before the surgery so I could pee, and my mum came in and helped me with my IV. I thanked her and reassured her that she wasn't being a raging B!%@#, but being the best mom ever.
We went back out and in came the versaid. It was time for me to go. This is where it gets hazy for me. I don't even remember being wheeled down the hall into the OR. I do remember the nice nurse from my prep room, leaning over me and telling me to breath. I remember her eyes and how warm they looked in comparison to the cold bright lights of the OR. I remember her holding my hand, tightly. I felt safe, and comfortable as she leaned in close. I could feel the tears streaming down, my face, and the nurse reminding me to breath,
"C'mon Courtney take a big breath in through your nose, just breathe hunny, BIG breaths."And that was the last thing I remember.
I woke up in the recovery room with a new nurse. She asked me how I was feeling and I managed to stumble out,
"my back, my back hurts and I think I'm going to puke."She gave me my next favorite cocktail. Dilaudid. I'm allergic to morphine so, they give me another narcotic, dilaudid. Its wonderful. They also gave me zofran for nausea. This went on for a while, I was still foggy and hidden by a curtain. All I wanted was my mom and dad. The nurse brought me gingerale and saltines. The saltines were TERRIBLE. My mouth was so dry, that it was like eating flour. I knew I needed something in my stomach but this was not it. Finally my mum and dad came in. I barely remember but they moved me to another room with one of those lovely green wannabe lazy boy chairs. I put my clothes back on and started to get itchy. I couldn't handle the saltines so they brought me these ritz peanut butter crackers and they were heaven. I think I went through about 15 packages and a boat load of gingerale.
I was hazy from the meds. My back hurt, I was nauseous and to top it all off I just wanted to go home, but something wasn't right. My blood pressure dropped a little bit and I was starting to have an allergic reaction. It wasn't good. They gave me benadryl in pill form and it should have knocked me out. It didn't touch me. They were preparing for admission, to have me stay over night for observation, but I wasn't having it. After about 4 hours of bantering, my mom finally went into supermom nurse mode. They wanted to give me a medication to eliminate the pain meds, so I would go back into pain, but if I was having the allergic reaction to the pain med, would get rid of the reaction. My mum and I both knew, all I needed was IV benadryl and to go home.
My Ob/GYN nurse happened to be in the hospital and she came in to see me. She was the one who diagnosed the cancer from the biopsy and seeing her was like seeing the sun in a never ending rainstorm. I was so happy, although you probably couldn't tell, from my medically induced haze. We chatted and she apologized for me for having to go through this. I just wanted her to know how thankful I was for her, she's been the only consistent doctor I've had through my entire medical history and she has been for a reason. Because I feel safe with her. Feeling safe is rare for me, and when I do, I cling on to that feeling. Its not what people say that you remember, its how they make you feel!
She had to go, and I finally broke down in tears.
"I JUST WANT TO LEAVE!"They finally caved and I was allowed to go home. I crawled into the back seat of the car, laid my head on my mums lap and my dad drove. I slept. When I got to my house, my sister's friend Jack had made us spaghetti and meatballs. This small gesture was like winning the lottery. A. because I was absolutely starving, but B. because this day had taken its toll on my mum emotionally as well. She didn't have the energy to cook. She just wanted to take care of me. Oh and C. because Jack's cooking is BANGING! I crawled into bed, grabbed sexy dexy and slept. I think I woke up for a water ice break, mint chocolate chip, thank you Natalie, and then passed back out. My allergic reaction had dissipated. Looking back, I'm convinced I was allergic to the hospital settings and just needed to get home and into my bed.
My mum was a rockstar. My dad made me feel comfortable. My doctors are champions and some nurses suck! I wont let those bad eggs take away from the rockstar nurses though, because they really are awesome. I slept and I slept and I slept. I woke up to my mum telling me the best news I could have gotten. My PCR, which is the genetic testing to see if my leukemia is back was negative! That means that I only have to worry about this one kind of cancer and not my leukemia. I will still make it to my five year, leukemia free RE-birthday in October. My dad has left to go back to Canada and I will miss him drastically. I have no concrete results yet from the surgery. So more things to wait on. They're deciding how to deal with my cancerous lymph nodes. To remove or to radiate, that is the question. But all in all, I'm home and in bed with Sexy! All is good!