Chapter 5 Post-op & hospital stay part three of three

I knew it!

I said to myself as the IV was in the process of being placed back in my arm by a member of the chief resident’s entourage.
I knew I would become totally dehydrated after my nighttime activities and the IV would be the end result.
That morning the chief resident and entourage come in and inquired about my nighttime activities, I told him (them) that it started shortly after I had dinner.
The chief resident instructed an entourage member to have me back on liquids and turned to me and said that it must have been the combination of solid foods and a pill I had taken before dinner. He then instructed another member to have me back on IV.
I just laid there the whole time, lifeless and exhausted; my big brown eyes just staring at the scene before me. Before I knew it, I was alone again – not looking forward to having the IV back in place.  Breakfast came in soon afterward and sure enough… it was all liquid. I barley had strength to drink the chicken broth and tea.
That morning my cousin called to tell me she would stop by for a visit, and I boldly told her not to – being honest I told her that I didn’t have the strength and gave her a brief description of what happened. With a concerned voice she said she understood and I reassured her that I was ok and hung up the cell.

Other than my cousin I didn’t tell any family members what happened.

You see, I have 3 uncles and they all have major health issues  – for one… they all have diabetes as well as  hypertension.  I have one that just had a quadruple bypass six months earlier and he’s taking it hard, another on dialysis three times a week and is on the list for a kidney transplant and the third suffers from severe gout (I know… I didn’t know gout still exists). So…I thought I would spare them of my health issues, besides… being the healthiest member of the family they probably wouldn’t believe me – being a huge advocate of health and fitness since my late teens I would be the one who would tell my uncles and aunt how bad most of the Puerto Rican cuisine is since most of it consists of fried foods.

“Do you know what the fat content of that Fried Bacalao is”? (commonly known as Frits).
“Sí, sé” as my aunt hands me one and I’m left holding it as the grease drips down my arm. But yes… I do eat it and it was delicious.
My cousin is the only family member I told, and she offered to have me stay and recuperate at her massive Upper West Side apt she and her family have lived for over forty five years. She has become my surrogate mother – although in her seventies she certainly does not look her age and… she has more energy than me – as my trip to Spain with her attests. She out walked me in Barcelona!

“Grisel, I must sit”!  I exclaimed while we were walking through Las Ramblas on our way to see the Goudi house.
“Ok, ok… but remember, the Gaudí House closes at 7pm and we have to go see
Casa Batllo as well as the Sagrada Familia… plus don’t forget we have dinner reservations at 9pm” she replies as she stares at her wrist watch, nodding her head no.
“Why don’t we both sit and people watch for a few minutes”? I answered as I found a chair and sat down. Where I sat turned out to be an outdoor café in Las Ramblas so we both ordered a café con leche, sat and people watched for a half hour before we resumed our afternoon adventures.

Enough with my reverie… back at the hospital… later on that afternoon the surgeon stopped by for a visit and he reiterate what the chief resident said earlier, and inquired if I was well enough to be discharged. I told him I was in no condition to be discharged, I couldn’t see myself at my cousin’s apt with “the runs” and one bathroom. The surgeon understood and said I would be discharged when I felt ready.

That evening my girlfriend (the one who visited me and commented on the solid food dinner) stopped by for a visit to see how I was doing.
“I knew it!, I knew you started eating solids way too early” she said when I told her of the previous nights’ escapades.

That night was an uneventful one… for which I am grateful for. The male night nurse stopped by to take vitals…”I thought you would be discharged by now”
“So did I” I replied. “But there was a brief snag…”

Since I am contemplating my next career move throughout my hospital stay I would ask the nurses as well as “patient care specialist” where they got their training -most of the nurses were graduates of the Beth Israel nursing school… I had no idea there was one. The patient care specialist had come from a variety of training  schools. I plan to look into them when I’m fully recovered.

The next morning I felt a lot better but still not 100% self. The physician’s assistant stopped by for a visit as did the surgeon.

Later that afternoon the chief resident stopped by – without the entourage and accompanied by an attractive woman in her late forties. Introductions were made and it turns out she too is a doctor only she wasn’t wearing the usual white coat. Twenty minutes  later I walked down the hall to fill my pitcher from the water station when I run into the chief resident and his companion. He turned to me and joked, we all laughed as he and companion  proceeded to walk down the hall. As I was filling my pitcher I glanced back at them, unaware of the fact that that would be the last time I would ever see the chief resident again.

It was the next morning that the decision was made that I’m well enough to be discharged, it was a Tuesday and it happened to be a very cold and gray, snowy day.

I called my friend that morning and it was agreed that she will pick me up during her lunch hour.

I can’t believe I’m going to be discharged in this weather!
I said to myself as I looked out the window and down at the white pavement…indicating that the snow is sticking to the ground, grateful I’m leaving before any serious accumulation happens.

I called my cousin to let her know, although she’s at work she assured me that her son and his home attendant will be at the apt when I get there.

As I was packing I wondered if I should have the Physician’s Assistant paged or perhaps the chief resident – this was the first time he didn’t stop by  – so I concluded that it wouldn’t be a good idea to have him paged on his day off.
He’s probably sleeping in I said to myself as I zipped up the blue tote given to me at the time I registered.
The nurse came in to hand me the discharge papers and appointment to see the surgeon as well as a verbal illustration of the next steps.

“Remember, when you shower don’t soap up the incision area, just let water flow on it, and call the doctor immediately if the stomach should become distended” she said as she proceeded to illustrate with her arms extended several inches away from  her stomach.

“Once these bandages are removed at the surgeon’s office it will be replaced by gauze and nylon bandages, I will give you a supply to take home”  I nodded  yes as she left the room to prepare my goody bag.

I gathered my things and sat patiently waiting for my girlfriend to arrive.

This was February 3rd, 2009

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