hey there.

i didn't really write about my surgery last december, just dropped a couple of hints. i think that i wanted to stay discrete because it's really easy to descend into the nitty gritty of health related issues, which can be pretty gory. but i want to remember what it was like, what happened and of course, how it was in a country where my native language is different from that of the nurses, doctors, staff and other patients! so, be warned now, you may be squicked out, or learn more about me than you ever wished to know. read at your own risk!

this time around wasn't quite as 'bad' as last december. at least i didn't have to have a totally clean digestive system (i'll let you figure that out on your own...) my surgery was scheduled for a friday so of course, i was admitted on thursday. yoshi took me in. it was raining like hell and the front entrance was rather crowded (old person's home medi-van, regular car, two taxis) but as i had several bags, we pulled up, too. instead of just waiting, i just hopped out and got all my stuff and went into the hospital. i checked in, but needed some documents that yoshi had (guarantee of payment i guess) and since the parking lot was full, it took him some time to get to the hospital! eventually he showed up, though, and all was done. then we waited for the nurse from upstairs to come get us.

we went up to the room, again a shared room. there were already two women there. luckily no roommates from hell (in fact, i was probably "that roommate" this time around, even though my kids didn't show up!) though the woman in the bed next to mine had an alarm that went off at 5 am. not pleased about that! so thursday was fine. yoshi stayed for a while, but then he had to get back for the dog and then wait for the kids to get home from school. we also found out that i would be the second hinyouki (i think that's right. i suck at romaji. anyway, that basically means kidney medical stuff) surgery of the day and if the first went ok, i'd be in the OR by 2 pm. so, yoshi made arrangements for the kids (after school care for sasha and tommy, go to a friend's house for hiro). they also estimated that i'd be in the OR for about 2 hours. cool.

i had lunch there and the rest of the afternoon was taken up by me crocheting, knitting and watching harry potter videos on my portable dvd player (why yes, i did bring three bags with me!) i also took a bath, that was quite nice. i don't remember what dinner was, but i have very few complaints about the food at the hospital! at some point in the afternoon, the anethesiologist came by to tell me about the procedure for the next day. that's when i found out i would be getting a shot in the back, which would make me numb from the waist down and would last about 6 hours. um, what? then he would put me to sleep, but not totally asleep (i think it's called twilight) so i could still move my arms and hear. ugh. he could speak english and kept saying, "OK?" at the end of each sentence. um, yeah? like i have a choice at this point. shortly after, a surgery nurse came by to tell me a bit about the procedure, too, except she kinda freaked out when she saw my white face and got all weirded out about how much japanese i could (or could not) understand. very irritating, to say the least! i tried to get the courage up to tell her that i can't have needles in my back (i'm a big wuss), but i couldn't. later on a couple of nurses (my admitting nurse and the night nurse) came by to give me an allergy test (i am allergic to penicillin so they wanted to make sure i wasn't allergic to whatever they were going to use during surgery) and i tried to explain to them that i didn't want to have a shot in the back. they were very sympathetic, and said i could cry and scream and shout (if i needed to) during the procedure....but they also offered to talk to the doctor, too. a bit after that, the anethesiologist came by and said they would use general anesthesia on me. hm. not my favorite method, but better than a shot in the back. i worried about it a lot (which would i rather have?) and that evening i was given a sleeping pill so i could get enough rest, which of course i took. i did sleep better than i usually do, though i did get up to go to the toilet a couple of times (i do this normally.)

the next morning i was up by 5:30. i just stayed in my pj's though. i had a cup of tea before i had to be off liquids (8 am) and watched more videos. at around 10 it was time for me to get my iv, so i changed into my OR kimono (but kept my undies on), and then i had to go downstairs for x-rays! by myself! practically nekkid and pushing an iv! luckily there weren't many people around--it was just at lunch and most hospitals/clinics kinda shut down around that time. after x-rays i went upstairs to wait for yoshi. after he arrived we waited for my surgery time.

at about 2 we went downstairs. said goodbye to yoshi and then went to the OR. gave my glasses to the nurse and then was led (blindly) into the OR. they had destiny's child survivor playing, which i thought was rather funny. so they put me to sleep and i dreamt about something, but i can't remember what now. i was actually annoyed when they woke me, because i wanted to finish the dream (i was annoyed last december, too, though i can't remember that dream, either, though i do remember i was frantically looking for something and just couldn't find it). i felt woozy, my mouth was dry and i felt vaguely uncomfortable. i don't really remember all the details, so forgive me, but i do know i was moved to another bed and then wheeled back to my room. yoshi stayed for a short while but had to leave by 4:30 to get the kids.

here's where it may get a bit graphic. i had a catheter and ostomy bag for collecting urine. when i was more awake, the nurse told me i could lie on either side and even sit up, but i wasn't allowed to stand. whenever i laid on my side, however, i got a very strong urge to pee, and i've never been one to 'hold it'. so, i spent most of my time on my back, which isn't really comfortable for me. i also told the nurse at some point that i had pain, but i was told i wasn't getting any pain medication (and really, it wasn't very painful, just really uncomfortable. and i couldn't sit. ouch.) i had a very long night on friday. at one point i was awake and checked the time. 3:10. i tried lying on my side, but had that urge to pee, so turned onto my back. checked the time: 3:20. i thought i dozed off and kinda jerked awake. checked the time: 3:30. things were not looking good at that point! i rested and woke for the rest of the night, and i think i finally managed to get to sleep when the stupid alarm next to my bed went off at five. NOT PLEASED. but basically i was awake at 5:30. i couldn't really do anything, though, since i couldn't sit up and couldn't reach my dvd player. i tried to not think about how uncomfortable i was.

oh! i've just remembered something. after getting back to my room, the nurse put inflating boots on my legs (to help with circulation and/or prevent blood clots) which was hella annoying. and noisy. i also had to have an oxygen mask, hated it. she also came by every few minutes to check my temperature and blood pressure (so had the blood pressure cuff on for hours). the boots would automatically turn off so she would turn them on again. the night nurse (my admitting nurse) for friday finally got it through my head that if i didn't move my legs myself, i'd keep getting the boots, and i may not be allowed to leave on saturday. so, i assured her i could move my legs so eventually lost the boots. i also had a slight fever, and was sweating like mad. the boots were hot, the operating kimono was hot and the aircon was turned low. i was glad to get the boots off, though, and didn't have to try to sleep with them on.

at 6 the night nurse came around for blood pressure and temp check. she finally took the blood pressure cuff off. she also mentioned the blood in the ostomy bag (news to me!) but it looked like it was tapering off. hm. i finally maneuvered myself to look over the side of the bed and surprise! piss and blood in a bag. fun times. she took a sample for testing (lucky her) and went on her merry way. i tried to get more rest.

at eight breakfast came around and i was glad to have something to eat again. i ate most of it, just skipping on the fishy furikake. ick. someone came to take the tray away, which was nice seeing as i couldn't walk. a short time later a nurse came by to empty the bag (lucky her) and then shortly after that, my nurse and the doctor came in. the doctor commented on the nearly empty bag and i just knew they wanted another sample! the nurse got one, though, which i could feel coming out of my bladder. interesting sensation, let me tell you! then she took out the catheter and was told i needed to go downstairs to get more x-rays. oh joy. i asked if i could take off my 'diaper'. yes. so i took some undies and a maxi pad to the toilet and changed into that. i still had to have my kimono, though, because i still had an iv. yep, nearly naked walking through a huge hospital on a saturday morning. oh joy. i could walk, though, and things were looking good that i would go home that day.

after x-rays i went upstairs to have my iv removed. such a relief! then i put my clothes on and proceeded to feel worse and worse. must have been some pain medication in that bag because i really started to feel pain. mostly in my lower right abdomen (where the stone was) but also down below. *sigh* i finally called the nurse and told her i was in a lot of pain. she went to consult with the doctor and brought me back a pill. just as she arrived i rushed into the toilet to puke. that's how bad the pain was! i took the medicine, but it took nearly an hour to take affect. i lay on the bed and nearly fell asleep. then lunch came around and i felt so much better! no pain at all! awesome. i ate lunch, and saved the fruit for my kids, but someone came around for the tray, so i just let them take it.

soon my family showed up and i was finally allowed to go home. i think this post is long enough, so i'll have a follow-up later on!