Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Surgery: Round Two. Am I Annoying?

I was nervous about having surgery again. For two reasons. First, I hate scars. Despise them actually. Yes, I know. They tell our stories and show signs of healing. But it’s hard for me to look at them and not see imperfection and brokenness. Second, last time I had surgery I felt terrible afterwards. I was completely confused and didn’t even think that I was alive for an entire week. And for at least a month after that my memory was terrible. I was back at work and functioning normally, but I just couldn’t seem to remember anything after a few days had passed. Everything felt like a dream that I just couldn’t quite remember. It got to the point that I thought I would never feel normal again. But my hardware and cysts from my broken arm had to come out to get normal functionality in my arm again. So I had to go in for round two.

I got checked in to the hospital on Monday morning and prepped for surgery – gown, hair net, IV, arm signature and all…

 I explained my memory loss to my anesthesiologist. And you’ll never guess what he said.

This rarely happens to any patient, Emily.

No kidding. Like I’ve never heard that one before… “There is a rare phenomenon that occurs as a side affect to anesthesia which causes pretty severe amnesia. It rarely happens for extended periods of time, and when it does occur it is usually in geriatric patients – not 25 year olds.” Awesome. Not. Anyways, they promised to try to alter my anesthesia this time to avoid the memory loss. I told them that as long as I stayed asleep, go for it.

My surgery got bumped back a few hours, but fortunately while I nervously waited on my bed, a family friend passed by who happens to be a nurse at the hospital. She was able to talk to us for quite a while which helped take my mind off of everything. Ironically, I only have three memories of sleep walking as a child – two of which were at her house. Full circle moment.

I was awake when they wheeled me into the surgery room. I remember thinking, “Wow. Skydiving on Saturday didn’t bother me but lying on my back and getting wheeled through a hospital feels like a roller coaster!” They got me all set up on the table and then a nurse called out “She’s ready for induction!” To which I assured her that I was not having a baby.

The rest of our pre-surgery conversation went something like this:
Honey, if you were having a baby we could help you, but you aren’t. We are only going to be looking at your arm.
So my clothes will stay on?
You don’t have clothes on. You are in a gown.
But my gown will stay on?
Yes. Your gown will stay on. We don’t need to see anything but your arm.
Oh, ok... Do you know Jacque?
Is that your mom? Your friend?
No. It’s Dr. Downs’ nurse. (She’s the nurse that I see when I go to his office).
No, we don’t know her.
Well Dr. Downs does. And I do too.

The next thing I know I am waking up. I remember almost all of my post surgery conversations, but was obviously clueless and more than a little bit confused!

Emily… Emily… You just had surgery and are waking up.
I’m alive?
Yes, honey. You did great.
Did you tell my mom that I’m alive?
Yes. Dr. Downs talked to her. He told her that you did great.
Does everyone in this whole hospital love me or just my mom?
Of course we all do.
People love me here?
Oh. Am I annoying?
No, honey.
Are my clothes on?
Your gown is on.
So I’m not naked?
Do YOU know Jacque?
No, I don’t.
Am I annoying?
No. You aren’t. You are just waking up.

(Another nurse walks up and starts talking to me.)

Hi, Emily.
Do YOU think I’m annoying?
Do YOU know Jacque?
Is my gown on?
Yes, it is.
The whole time? The whole time it was on?
They only looked at your arm.
So they didn’t take my gown off?
Girl, if they started taking people’s gowns off for no reason then we’d have some major issues here.
Oh. So do you think I’m annoying?
No! Why do you keep asking that?
I don’t know. I’m just not normal.
We don’t take gowns off or tell patients that they are annoying. So don’t worry. Oh, and no. We don’t know Jacque. No one here does.
Well Dr. Downs does. And I do.
Okay… I’ll go get your mom.
Hey! She knows Jacque, too!

After a few crackers, a bumpy wheel chair ride to the car, a hazy ride home, and a nice nap in my own bed, I woke up feeling crystal clear. Thank goodness the altered anesthesia worked better for me this time! My recovery has gone much quicker. Of course, it helps that I don’t actually have a broken arm this time! My arm hurts, but is manageable with just Tylenol. And I have a huge splint on my arm. Fortunately it is wrapped in a bandage with a chevron print.

Someone pinterest this chevron bandage because it is so super stylish.

So now I am just rotating between the couch and the bed while my mom and dad take care of me. Plus I’ve gotten lots of well wishes from my friends and even a visit from my sweet friend Carmen who made me a Dream CD, a dream catcher, and a fruit cup. She’s the best!

The dream catcher is going above my bed asap.

I'm so thankful that my hazy craziness only lasted for a little while! I didn't send crazy texts or buy any groupons to Suzy Wong's House of Yum or anything this time! So now I am in a splint for a couple of weeks and probably won't need therapy again. Just lots of Mederma for my scars.

Happy healing. And happy thanksgiving!


  1. Your story is really interesting and you have wore stylish surgical gown. :)

  2. I broke my arm on Oct 2nd but im glad i dont need surgery

  3. Your very strong love you story