Wednesday, August 19, 2015
From Five Days Post-Op
This was dictated into my phone over the course of Monday night and Tuesday afternoon from a hospital room in Tower 3 of an unnamed hospital.
So this is a hospital post on the night before I am to be going home. I'm a little doped up right now, so it might be interesting.
For the most part my experience has been the stuff nightmares use to scare other nightmares. Of course it hasn't helped much that my anti-depressants were somehow overlooked in all the chaos my first three days in, so I am sure things in my mind were not lining up with events happening around me. I do know for a fact the pain medication I was on was causing me to hallucinate rather extensively. I definitely recall lying in my bed and "Watching" the television and enjoying a really funny cartoon until I actually opened my eyes and saw the History channel was what was actually on. There were also a few times that people came into my room and spoke to me and when I opened my eyes, the room was empty, but I quit taking that pain killer after 4 days because I was not enjoying it at all. The drug is quite strong, but the effects are short lived while the negatives are rather long lasting. The negatives outweighed the pain relief in the end.
The Hospital has been a mixed bag. South Miami Hospital was phenomenal service with occasional bouts of badness. This hospital (which I was born in) has been the opposite in every regard. I think the main problem is that they have gotten way too big while trying to keep the same costs that they had as a small hospital. The end result is a lot said about patient care being number one (although they did state their goal was "very good care" and not "excellent"), but they lacked the resources to give that care. For example, they were supposed to check on my every hour during the day and every two at night, but six or seven hours would go by with nobody checking on me. Seems (according to a technician) that they tend to leave younger patients alone more as they said young patients take offense to offers of bathing or the nagging of getting up to walk. Let me assure you that I was incapable of doing any of it on my own and would have loved offers of help. This aspect was made even more ironic by the fact that my neighbor is an 87 year old woman who had to have her grand daughter "remind" her that the nurses were there to help and she needed to stop hitting them.
In the "warts and all" spirit of this blog, it is time for some blunt honesty: I can say without any doubt I had a complete and total mental breakdown on Saturday and I would like to apologize to every single soul I had to deal with or, more to the point, had to deal with me on that day. Not one person saw me; they saw the effects of withdraw, fear, helplessness, and a lack of anti-depressants. They saw something I had never seen before: a Brad without any control and lost in fear. Apparently as I demanded they transfer me to another hospital I said "I never feared cancer killing me, but I honestly wonder if this hospital will!" I've been embarrassed about it since. Happily, Sunday they started my antidepressants and all was good mentally again....or was it (Dun, dun, DUUUUUN!!!!!!!)?
I am going home on Tuesday (tomorrow from the perspective of writing this). Well, not all of me as half my colon is staying behind. The surgery turned into something out of Gilligan's Island as a three hour tour just extended and extended. I was told the operation ended up lasting almost six hours with just one hour alone dedicated to nothing but removing of scar tissue from the chemo and radiation. While my rectum was originally going to be removed and I was to be sealed there, they found just far too much damage to leave enough tissue to seal the area if they had removed the rectum, so instead it is detached from every other part of my body and will just be a souvenir of days long gone. History Channel and HLN are my constant companions although no amount of high quality hospital dope could get me through either Nancy Grace nor Dr Drew.
End of Monday's babble portion and now the start of Tuesday afternoon's:
I can honestly say that I am a little scared about my future right now. The colostomy is an entirely different world from the iliostomy, but it is still a change and if I am going to be honest (and why would I bother writing if I weren't going to be?) I will admit to moments of wondering if I actually can do this for the next 50 to 60 years and if I really want to. That is a very long time; longer than I have been alive. I think this is a thought any sane person would have at this moment where we just passed the point of no return, but I also know given what I have already endured that I can endure much worse and come out smiling. I bet this is something I can go through over and over again; although I am NOT looking to put this theory to the test so slow down Universe!
I am going to miss peeing in bed. I am not going to miss the room, the TV, or the solitude...and the solitude was my choice. I told everyone who offered not to come and even told my parents they didn't have to wait until the operation was over before leaving because it would be late. I told them they don't have to come visit me because all I do is sleep, but they did. You cannot stop a Jewish mother when her son is in the hospital from doing anything. You stand a better chance of convincing North that it is South.
See, the thing is that I don't want people I care about to see me the way they would in a hospital bed; as I see people in hospital beds. Few things are more sacred and private to me. While I don't show it often, I am still human and some dignity it appears has remained and my vanity doesn't want those in my life sitting around in a room as I have a scar on my stomach, a bag of shit on my chest, tubes in my nose draining my stomach, and IV's hanging off my arms. It is just not a memory I want people to have of me. Everyone did ask if my mom was my wife or older sister though. She was flattered.
I'm tired of transcribing right now. Will finish this later. I am out, free, and alive. Also happy and having a Diet Coke: my soul desire from that hospital hell: they only had Pepsi! Can they get nothing right?