Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Whoops, I've done it again!

Hi everyone! I'm back among the living and recovering nicely from surgery this past Thursday.
Yes, the "third time WAS the charm!" The surgery took place as scheduled, although there was one brief moment where I panicked that it would NOT happen. After the epic road trip to California with Carly, I flew to Dallas for two days to stay with my sis (then she would fly back to MI with me for surgery.) We were inside a Crate and Barrel Store and my husband called to say that I needed to call Dr. Kirby's (my surgeon) office right away! They had phoned and left a message on our answering machine. OK, my sis and I gave each other the panic look and did think, "Oh no, not again." I phoned the office only to find out that surgery had been backed up by 45 minutes. Whew!! We reported to the hospital at 7:15 and they were wheeling me in to the O.R. by 8:30. When I came out THIS time...the girls were gone, and I had had these rubbery strange tubes coming from where they used to be! I guess I was REALLY out of it because I kept telling EVERYONE I spoke to about a cramp in my left leg...multiple times! LOLOL Well, it must have hurt! I spent the night in the overnight ward and was the only patient there, with two fabulous nurses at my beck and call. One of them asked me, "Do you like chocolate?" LOLOL You know the answer to that one! She continued, "I know where I can find us some in the hospital!" And she was off. She appeared a short time later with mini candy bars of all kinds, and I did eat one right away. Chocolate can make anything feel better I figured!

I went home Friday morning about 10:30 and settled into the downstairs pullout bed. There wasn't any way I would be able to navigate the steps upstairs to a bedroom. My sister assumed the position of head nurse, water/food nazi, exercise director ( need to walk three times around the family room, after you take the 20 steps to the bathroom! Never mind that those 20 steps seemed to take me an hour to get to the toilet!), and most importantly...the chief drainer of "THE TUBES." (said in a deep and ominous voice) What the heck ARE these things?
They are sutured to my chest, two on each side and are approximately two feet of long rubbery tubing that end in plastic grenade type "thing." I have named them Lucy, Ethel, Ricky, and Fred! The "grenade" is where the "stuff" drains from the surgery and all four have to be emptied and measured twice a day then entered onto a chart, so inquiring minds (not me) will know their output. LOL Like ANYONE would want to know this! Anyway, my sister, Melissa,has done ALL of the above and MORE on a daily basis since I've come home. In my opinion, she is a SAINT (never mind that we are Jewish...she still qualifies for Sainthood) But nothing that Saint Melissa had done, could prepare her for what she would have to do this past Monday. (You'll understand in a minute why a Jew should be granted Sainthood)

I got up Monday, feeling good and drank some tea and had a piece of toast. I thought, "You know, I'm feeling pretty darn good, I should take a shower today!" Since I hadn't had one in four days, my family was appreciative.(the dogs didn't seem to mind) My sis helped me upstairs to the bathroom, turned on the water, and helped me into the shower. OHHHHHH did that shower feel good! I even turned the warm water up a little. (which will turn out to be a bad idea) My sis stayed in the bathroom while I let the warm water wash over me. I told her, "This feels GREAT! I should have done this a few days ago." I realized I couldn't stay in there forever, no matter how wonderful it felt, and I turned off the water. That's the last thing I remember Blog fans! Remember my little "episode" in the snow this past winter during chemo?? Yes, fans, I fainted dead away in the shower! I've done it again!

I have no recollection of ANY of this, so I'm just reporting what my sis told me. But, she went to hand me a towel, and she said that she could tell from the look on my face that I was "going down." Luckily she got her arm around my back and helped to lower me rather than have me go crashing down. (Hey, there was no snow this time to cushion the blow) OK, I know this is not a pretty thought, but picture my sis, standing over this wet, naked, bald, boobless wonder lying unconscious on the bottom of the tub and getting no response. I scare myself just looking at the bald and naked part! (Are you seeing now where automatic Sainthood needs to be granted to someone who has done what she has done?) Apparently, she kept tapping my face and calling my name, but I was in that faraway place and didn't really hear or feel anything. After several attempts I heard her and came around, but only for a few seconds, and I passed out again. This happened a total of three times before she was able to rouse me. I managed to get to my knees and out of the tub.

When I was finally out of the tub, she sat me down on the toilet. That didn't last long though, as I proceeded to pass out one more time! Somehow after that, she moved me to my daughter Rachel's bed, and phoned the doctor. They said, "UMMMMM NOT normal, get her to the E.R." NO KIDDING...fainting four times in less than 15 minutes isn't normal???? Thanks! That will be $500.00!

My sister phoned my husband, he came home from work, and they both got me downstairs, and into the car. Back to the hospital. I was checked thoroughly: EKG, Blood Sugar, Chest Xray, and Blood Pressure. Turns out my blood pressure was REALLY low 87/55 and they started pumping me with fluids. After several hours there, and seeing a multitude of doctors (some so young they looked like Doogie Howswer! One did confide to me it was his very first day in surgical rotation and he was a third year med student, so only a STUDENT doctor, not a REAL one) they decided it was safe for me to go home. All my tests came back normal and my blood pressure was back to where it should be after all the fluids they gave me. The only thing they could come up with was that since I was dehydrated and in a warm shower (OK a slightly WARMER shower than my sis started for me) it made me dizzy and down I went.

Moral of the story: Do not take a warm shower several days after surgery, keep hydrating yourself until you feel like you are floating, and most importantly DO NOT SHOWER ALONE! ;)

Where do I submit my application to the church for our newest Saint? Saint Melissa Day will now be celebrated every year on July 6! St. Patrick's Day will never hold a candle to this one! Everyone raise their water bottle to my sister!



  1. Joanne,
    I'm SO happy to hear that you're doing so well; it's great to hear your humor is in tact as well.
    You've been in my thoughts so much and I'm relieved that you're home and your fabulous sister is caring for you. She really should be sainted (Jewish or not!).
    I'm looking forward to talking to you when you feel up to it in the future.
    Much Love, your old Rawhide pal, Dana

  2. Just read your whole blog. I really feel that it was fate that brought me to Costco today.:) It was meant to happen. You are an inspiration. I am not so afraid. God Bless you and Melissa.

    With lots of love and appreciation, Angela

  3. Kelly and I just finished reading your entry ... Joanne, your sense of humor is the best!

    I am thrilled that you are doing so well (minus the naked fainting episode, of course). I will stop by to see you this weekend.

    Sorry that I'm not Catholic. Maybe if I was, I could help with the sainthood thing. :)

    Keep smiling ... it certainly seems to be the thing that keeps you ... and your readers ... feeling great.


  4. JoAnn,
    What would we do without our sisters? I am thinking about you always. I am so glad the surgery is behind you. You have the best sense of humor through all of this Keep it up! It is working.

  5. Oh Joanne!! I am so happy that the surgery is behind you! And aside from the scary episode in the shower, it sounds like everything is going as it should. Another vote for sainthood for your sister, and another thumbs up for keeping yourself and the rest of us smiling. You are truly an inspiration!

  6. Lucy, Ethel, Ricky, and Fred? Only you, my dear, only you! Once again, I am amazed by your incredible sense of humor and I am so glad that the surgery is behind you! Kudos to Saint Melissa!