Friday, December 7, 2007

Surgery update


I just wanted to check in. I was discharged this evening and am back at the hotel. D** just left to start her drive home. She is so sweet and funny.

The surgeons came by several times at the hospital today and during the last visit they recorded a brief interview with me on camera because of having great results for such an oddball complicated case.

Pre-op they felt because of the vascular impact of the problem that I might have had an extra muscle cutting off blood supply. Instead, they discovered I had the one muscle like most people but it was actually twice the size it should have been. So they cut that extra section out.

There was also a 3 inch x 1 inch chunk of scar tissue squashing the nerves and artery. They said it wasn't scar tissue like from a cut, but a thick, solid, dense material. They usually just see that in patients with major trauma or athletics. They cut that out too.

The other oddity was with my nerves. Instead of the 3 major nerves being horizontal like they are supposed to be, they were pointing upward and were stuck along the spine and wound through a couple of bony areas. They moved them to the proper location.

I ran into some trouble with urinary issues pretty quickly. I was drinking a lot of cranberry juice like I always do in-patient, trying to keep hydrated and flush my system of the anesthetic, but for the life of me I couldn't pee. I had to get out of bed every hour for 6 hours in a row overnight, drag my pole of bags with me (potassium, antibiotics, and Dilaudid drips), and try to go. I'd stay in there 15 minutes a trip and only went 4-5 drops and I was straining and cramping with it.

This morning I finally said something to my nurse and she brought in an ultrasound and discovered I was definitely full of pee--as in 960 cc's. I learned from my testing before last year's bladder surgery that my capacity is approximately 300. It's no wonder I was in so much pain down there and my abdomen was rock hard. They woke one of my surgeons up (4 a.m.) for permission to cath empty me. About 20 minutes and 2 bottles later, I was empty and relieved. I was concerned as well since the doctor said if that happened again I wouldn't be discharged. Thankfully the next time I went was normal. HUGE relief.

I have not seen the incision. DH says it looks great and that it runs about vertical, from the clavicle upward. I got the drain out of it this morning so it's still very well packed. I can shower tomorrow but need to re-gauze it immediately.

Stitches get pulled in 12 days.

From the time I was in recovery, people were commenting that I had pink in my face. They don't even know me but saw me in pre-op and they could see the difference. Guess that's what happens when blood supply comes back, LOL.

DH keeps touching my hand, shocked that it is warm, not an ice cube any more. I can feel when I move my hand and arm, people touching me, you name it. It's not ghostly pale any more either and there have been no shooting pains. It's achy but they said that's normal since they were moving nerves around.

We're going to head back to AZ Sunday. I'm a little nervous, not wanting anyone bumping into me at the airport and such, always a concern when I fly post-op.

I'm really tired, drained. Hopefully I'll sleep on the flights with the help of narcotics! And hopefully no more missed flights.

Recovery room, quite red instead of my usual whitish-green appearance.
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In my room at the hospital.
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My baby sister.
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  1. Oh, Keesha, I am so relieved,and so happy that you addressed this thing, and advocated your own care once again, and got a major problem fixed. There is just no way in the world that any other person I know could have gotten this thing done. You hang in there, have a safe trip home, and get well (as you can)soon. You are a huge inspiration to me. Love Bobby

  2. K,
    So glad you are out of hospital and doing so well.

    Wishing you a continued recovery and good luck with the flight home,


  3. Keesha ~ so happy for you! Sounds like your surgery was a success! Hugs to you ~ Lace

  4. Keesha,

    Wow, am I impressed that, with that much "uniqueness" being repaired, you are already out of the hospital and well enough to blog. I humbly bow to the Master of recovery!

    This entry is even further evidence than our first meeting on the ASAP boards that you are my closest peer -- I had that same urinary issue after every surgery before I started using the Foley full time. It took me about three days to be able to start and stop on my own, and just got used to relying on being cathed until those bladder control muscles came back into service. I never filled up at three times my capacity, though -- yikes! It impressed me enough that you had no problems after one assisted pee, but to bounce back to full control after having you bladder hyperextended to that extent. ~Bows a bit deeper to her new hero~

    So glad to hear everything turned out so well. Best of luck on the trip home -- remember that is definitely one of the times that drugs are the answer!

    See you back at ASAP...


  5. Yay! This is good news.

    It sounds like your case was very strange with all the anatomical abnormalities in the area. I am actually jealous of you for getting to do a medical interview! Like Napleon Dynamite said, "Lucky!" (I hope you look to the positive things, Keesha!)

    Wow! That is impressive that you had your bladder over 3x as full as it should be! Was it the narcotics that made it so you couldn't go? I remember when I was inpatient chemo, the docs knew they were killing my kidneys, so they were giving me 6L in my IV every day. One time I went to the bathroom with the "urinals" and I peed 1,250 mL! That felt nice to get that out!

    I hope you have a good flight and enjoy the warm hands!

  6. I am glad you are out of the hospital. Keeping you in our prayers.

  7. I'm so relieved to hear your surgery went well and I can't believe you are already up typing! You are an amazing woman. I love the one pic with all the beautiful color in your face. Obviously there is some good bloodflow getting there.

    I had to be cathetized with both of my daughters deliveries. I just couldn't go after, I tried and tried. the nurses kept saying "you'd better go or will have to catheterize you" Like I was choosing not to go or something! Believe me, I would have if I could. the nurse told me that sometimes if your bladder gets over distended it will not empty. I felt like it was going to start coming out of my ears. Once it was drained then I had no problems again.

    I pray your recovery continues to go well and that you have a safe trip home.



  8. Oh, my dear friend Zh!! I'm so glad to see you are done with the surgery and that you are expected to do so well! I keep thinking of you and wondering how you are! Bless you, bless you. It's MOnday now so I hope you are safe at home with your babies and thank God for J. to be there to help you. Thank her for the updates, okay? I'm blathering so I'm headed to bed, but I'm just so happy to hear how it all went. Please God, let this be the turning point!!

    love YOU!

  9. Wow! That is an amazingly small incision for what they had to do to you!

    How do you feel now?