Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's done?

  These last two days have been so long and so draining and . . . it's so unbelieveable that it's over now.  Aaron's check-in time was 9:30 Monday morning.  We arrived a little early which ended up being moot since the surgeon was running behind schedule.  The waiting room had some fairly and annoying, and some downright distracting people, so we spent a lot of time just staring at the special tv with all of the surgeries and updates and stuff.  They let us (myself and his mom) go up to pre-op with him where they hooked him up to the IV, asked a ton of questions and got him changed up for surgery.  Then his mom and I had nothing to do but wait.  And wait . . . and wait.  Shortly after we got into the waiting room (I never before appreciated the significance of these aptly named spaces) the desk guy called for "Markham Family".  Oh my goodness!  The tv said the surgery just started!  What could have possibly happened already?!  They just wanted to let us know that the surgery started (even though the tv told us already) and that he was doing fine.  According to the little green line he had about 2 and a half hours for surgery.  The second scare came when there was about 20 minutes left and they called us again!  What now?  This close to being over?!  Apparently the surgeon finished quicker than expected and was ready to talk to us in Room D.
  Since there were two new faces (his sister showed up from work to be there for him) Dr. Rodriguez went over what exactly he did again for them.  He said there was also a hiatal hernia which he fixed up while he was in there.  That was nice of him.  Said he'd be on a "blended"/baby food diet for two weeks while everything heals up so we spent some time at HEB picking up a cartfull of baby foods, some flowers and a balloon to brighten up the room.  Then came more waiting.  And more waiting.  And more waiting.  That is my biggest gripe about the whole ordeal.  S&W does not have enough rooms for the amount of surgeries they are having to preform.  His surgery was over at 2:15.  He was supposed to be in Recovery for 2 hours and he didn't end up getting into a room until 7:30.  Thankfully the nurses were lenient about "visiting hours" so we got to stay later than the posted 8:00 time limit.  He said his night was long which isn't really a shocker.  I'm sure it's not easy to sleep hooked up to the machines and with nurses coming in at all hours of the night to poke and prod.
  I grabbed his mom and got back to the hospital about 8:00am.  Just like I said I would.  Most of the nurses that came through were nice enough, but there was still a lot of waiting for stuff to happen.  They unhooked him and took him down to xray around 10ish.  Maybe 10:30.  He did the barium swallow which looked phenomenal compared to how it had looked the last couple of times he's done it.  He got unhooked so he could walk around and finally they said he could have liquids.  FINALLY!  He hadn't been allowed anything since midnight Monday morning.  He drank milk and walked.  Talked to the surgeon again who gave us the rundown on some do's and don't's and such.  Then more waiting while they ordered up some actual food for him to eat before they could start the discharge process.  He ate some yogurt and mashed potatoes and soup!  Sitting down!  I can't believe I missed it, but his mom was there to witness.  And Frankie dropped by for a visit.  I love my in-laws.  They're crazy, but good people and . . . well . . . being an army brat they really are like my extended family.  I'm thirty years old and just getting to know my blood-related extended family so it's nice to have that FEELING of family.  But I digress.
  Eventually they gave him his discharge instruction.  Mushy foods for 2 weeks.  No NSAIDS.  Which I found out is because the things in our bodies responsible for inflammation are also responsible for protecting the stomach lining from the acid.  Which is more important now than ever for him.  Also no tubes going in through his nose and into his stomach.  Uh-uh no way Jose.  We're going to have to get him a medic alert bracelet for those things.  On the way home his mom picked him up 6 weeks worth of Prilosec which has to be crushed up for these first two weeks.  He'll be taking that forever now too.  It's sort of depressing and overwhelming, but eventually it should become normal.  And it's still better than how he was having to swallow before the surgery.  We swung by to see the in-laws and then came home.  Finally home.  We had to run out again to fill his pain medicine prescription, but we got really lucky.  The pharmacy at Walgreens is 24 hours and they had the liquid version the doc wanted him to have and it was affordable even without coverage.  We still don't know what's up with that. 
  He's doing pretty good.  A bit sore.  More his shoulder than his stomach which feels like a good thing.  He got down some ice cream, too.  :-)  Elvis isn't doing so hot, but . . . . all we can do is what we can do.  Hopefully everybody can get some sleep tonight.  Not quite likely, but as long as he gets to sleep, I'll deal with Elvis and sleep later.  I'm playing nurse for two weeks and that means doing whatever I have to do.  If my grandma could clean out my grandpa's gaping chest wound after his heart surgery then I can do this.  We all must take strength from those who have come before.
  On a happier note (as long time readers will recognize as my favored point of exit) here is a rundown of all the goodies I/we walked out of there with: plastic clothing bag, pair of blue latex gloves, packet of lemon flavored glycerin swabs, no skid socks, lung capacity plastic doohiky, 3 face masks (like you wear if you have a cough), 5 sticky tab thingies (the kind they hook the machine to for vitals.  They forgot to take 'em off), 2 arm ID bracelets (one of which is yellow and reads "Fall Risk") and *drumroll* his gown!  The nurse said we could keep it.  :-D  Looks brand new, too.  I'm especially proud of that one.  Oh, and the card with his patient # for the special tv. 

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