Two days, my ass.
There was a lot of misinformation given to me prior to this little adventure, one of which was that I would only spend two days in the hospital.
I came home yesterday– four days later.
Now, I suppose it’s not so much of a complaint – after all, I could have never arrived back home and that would have sucked, so four days versus two days – eh, I can deal.
And besides, I was in NO shape to come home after two days.
Because even more egregious than the misinformation of my stay length was the reported amount of pain that I would be experiencing. For example, they told me, “Shortly after waking up, you may have some mild discomfort around the stitched area which we can treat with a mild painkiller. And the stitched area will include three small holes in your belly and then one two-inch cut just below the belly button, from which we will take out the kidney.”
What they should have said was, “Shortly after waking up, confused and delirious from the anesthesia, you will notice that you will be paralyzed from pain, and for the next two days, you will not be able to sleep, sit, or stand up straight because of the trauma to your muscles, from which you will never recover.”
“Oh, and by the way – sorry about that ‘two inch’ cut – turns out it’s the same size as the five-inch job your sister had WHEN WE PULLED OUT A TEN POUND BABY FROM HER STOMACH. Oh, and there are four slashes, not three dots, like we thought. But we tried - So have fun in a bikini, bitch.”
I was also told, "And sometimes patient will have some mild discomfort from the gas that builds up when the organs are moved, but it’s not that bad for everyone.”
What they should have said is, “Now, you will feel like a three-hundred pound man is standing on your chest, and punching on your abdomen at the same time, you won’t be able to laugh for three weeks, and have fun trying to take a shit – ‘cause it ain’t gonna happen.”
Short story long – the pain has been unimaginable – like nothing I can ever put into words.
On the positive side - the night before the surgery, my sister Ellen joked that I was one kidney transplant away from my goal weight.
We laughed– but the reality is that I haven’t weighed this little since I was ten. No shit on that. It’s a good thing the pain is pretty limiting on my physical abilities, otherwise I’d be off to Gap Kids to get myself a new wardrobe, and calling up Nicole Ritchie for some maintenance tips.
Ahh, I know - it will come back on sooner than I can say Dunkin Donuts. Lemme just enjoy my "Save the Babies Campaign" look for its fleeting exisitance.
Also on the positive side is that I approached the recovery like training – every time they came in for meals or vitals, (noon, 4pm, and 4am), I used that as my cue to get my walking socks on and went out to do my laps up and down the halls. But after each round, I needed a nap. And just like training, there were times when it hurt like hell to do another lap, but I kept telling myself, "Don't go back to bed, don't got back to that room without doing another lap."
But everything right now takes twice, if not three times as long to do as normal. I am slowwwwww.....
I think the most emotional part of the whole weekend was when my mom, my brother and I were shuffling down the hall pushing our IV poles. We passed a young woman from housekeeping, who was clearly starting at us, but in a curious way. As we passed, my mother looked over and said, “Yup, they’re both mine.”
It kind a broke my heart a little.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like for my mother to get her own exercise walking from unit to unit for the last four days, or sitting in the waiting room post-surgery wondering of either or both of her kids would emerge safe.
My sister drove my mom home last night after they brought me home, and she said that she had never seen my mom look so tired.
Just writing makes me teary. Man, that must have sucked.
What’s craziest is that exactly two weeks ago this morning, I had just crossed the finish line at Ironman Arizona. I was at the peak of physical fitness, had dedicated months and years to caring for and building up my body. I toed that start line in the best condition I could have imagined for myself. And when I crossed that finish line two weeks ago, I was at the top of my world – my energy was limitless.
And when I got home yesterday, I went out for two trips around the block – my new training program. During that short trip, I had to practice my breathing (which is horribly difficult, labored and shallow), forcing myself to inhale despite the pain. And when I arrived home, I needed a nap. I slept for two hours, woke up, and needed another one. I then proceeded to sleep almost 10 hours during the night.
There’s a lot more to report on those days – the nursing follies (the first night was so bad, my surgeon filed a formal complaint), the pain-riddled silent sobs and back rubs from my mom sitting on the side of my bed, the balloon feet/cankles and feet-rubs from Ellen, the Mike ‘n Ike’s and Wheat Thins my mom snuck in Saturday, the way I would fake-sleep mid-sentence when I thought my estranged and deranged cousins came to visit (long story, but dang if it didn't have me and my mom in laughing tears), the kidney shaped pillow my brother's wife made me.
There's just a lot, and I won't bore you.
I am just glad to be home right now.
I am glad to be doing well enough to go back to work today.
I am glad that, even if I decided not to go back today, the State of Illinois did one thing right and covers four weeks paid leave for donors.
I am glad I had a Blackberry in the hospital to read the comments left on Cheese's updates.
I am glad that people won't hold any responses I attempted to send back against me, given my morphine state.
I am glad to have my family and bloggers.
I am glad when I pass gas, because it means I am getting better.
I am even more glad when I poop - Jackpot!
I am glad to be alive.