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mommy. wife. teacher. yogini. writer. coffee drinker. aunt. crocheter. reader. dog lover. scattered. methodical. rational. irrational. paranoid. annoyed. lost. found. content. searching. peaceful. i am constantly in search of my story. the one i have never happened. the one i've lived i cannot write.

11 March 2009

chapter 9.

chapter 1.
chapter 2.
chapter 3.
chapter 4.
chapter 5.
chapter 6.
chapter 7.
chapter 8.

chapter 9.

i wish i could set the stage for you by telling you that it was a sunny morning
or a rainy day
or bitter with a chance of flurries.

the truth is
time ceased to exist for me
after march 23, 2008.
days blended
into one

so when the nurses came to fetch me that morning for my second surgery
the surgery to fix my leg
i was unaware of the weather
the season
the time.

i was thirsty again, though.
everyone in my now established entourage had arrived
but only bill came back to pre-op with me and waited.
we sat and laughed
about what
i can't remember.
but it was important that we laughed.

dr. cocky walked in and informed us
somewhat glumly
that they would
in fact
be using an epidural.

i didn't gloat.
i just nodded.

as he went to the nurses' station to finalize everything
and the ob nurse stepped away from charlie's heart rate
our mood turned a bit somber.

me: no visitors, today. i don't want to see anyone.
him: okay.
me: please tell everyone i'm sorry...i just don't think i'm up to unexpected guests.
him: don't be sorry. it's fine.
me: just us.
him: just us. i'll go up to the library and check out some movies. any requests?
me: surprise me.


me: remember what i told you sunday, before the first surgery?
him: [staring.]
me: i know everything will be fine, but just in case it's not...
him: aim, don't. i don't want to think like that.
me: it'll be fine, i know it will. but if it's not, please save the baby.
him: just worry about you.
me: i can't do that anymore.

we parted with a kiss.
an 'i love you'.
an extra kiss.
a squeeze of the hand.
and i was wheeled out of pre-op
and into op.

what i didn't realize at the time was that
as they wheeled me away
bill pulled the ob nurse aside...

him: listen.
those two girls in there are the most important people in my life.
you take good care of them...both of them.


to me
this room was like something out of a horror flick.
i hadn't had time to process my environment before the first surgery
and once the epidural kicked in
i had slept.

i was wide awake
and fully aware of where i was
and what was about to happen.

stainless steel splattered the scene
and a wide bed
with crisp white linens
was waiting for me.

i was transferred to the bed
by at least ten hands
and a bedsheet.
with the help of a young
scared shitless
medical student
i was seated upright
and prepped for the epidural.
the young girl in front of me wearing her green scrubs tried to make conversation
i remember thinking she must have been a cheerleader
she seemed completely oblivious to the pain i was experiencing.
the rods situated on the exterior of my leg
pulled at the skin
and the wound underneath the sponge-like vacuum
throbbed intensely.

i felt the long needle
enter my spine
ice running through my lower extremities
i was placed on my back
and within minutes
the pain just stopped.

thank god for drugs.

there were so many people in the room
an ob nurse
the scared shitless, cheerleader medical student
the 4th year who dr. jack referred to as 'jethro' (who would later call me at home just to check on me...something dr. jack never decide who the better doctor is...)
dr. cocky
dr. cocky's boss (who agreed the epidural was the way to go...)
dr. jack's nurse (tess - my life line for the last year)
another med student

and then walked in the man of the hour.
he leaned over the sheet to look me in the eye.

dr. jack: you ready?
me: yep.
dr. jack: [to the ob nurse]: baby okay?
nurse: yes, she's perfect. 160. no problem.
dr. jack: what's her name?
me: charlie.
dr. jack: charlie. good. okay. we're gonna get started and make this beautiful.

the surgery took just over 5 hours.
they had thought it would take longer
but because the doctors on sunday had done such a nice job of cleaning out the debris
dr. jack got to do what he does best:
come to work and fix broken legs.

i rested through most of the surgery.
in and out of sleep.
i think dr. jack forgot i could hear him.
some of my favorite dr. jack-isms from that surgery include:

"Oh, this is just fuckin' beautiful."
"Jethro, give me that knife."
"Dr. 90210 has nothin' on me. Fuck."

in those five plus hours i was on the table
a titanium lisp plate was placed on my tibia
with thirteen titanium screws.
because dead tissue cannot regenerate
two of my four calf muscles were moved and grafted
to the shin area of my right leg.
finally, dr. jack removed a piece of skin from my upper right thigh
approximately 3 inches wide
and 9 inches long
and used that to graft on the wound site.

by the time the surgery was complete
and my leg outfitted with
wound vac
and an ace bandage
i was having minor contractions
charlie's heart rate was over 200.

if you've been pregnant or work in the medical field
you know...
this is too high.
they had told my parents to bring their camera
in the event that an emergency c-section would need to be preformed...
they might be grandparents sooner than they had planned...

i was quickly placed on my left side
better for circulation
better for charlie
and wheeled into recovery where i was left to listen
to others coming out of anesthetic.
the ob nurse kept pushing me to get another bolus of the epidural.
as good as it was, i didn't want any more drugs in my system than absolutely necessary.

i refused.

if you've never experienced post-op recovery
you're not missing a damn thing.
all i wanted was a drink of water.
you would have thought i had called the post-op nurse a bitch...and her mama too.
she seemed to not even hear me.
i put on all my 'pleases' and 'thank-yous'
no water.
all i wanted was to be taken back to my room.
to my husband.
to my parents.
to my sister.
to my pitcher full of ice cold water.

charlie's heart rate came down.
she would stay put a while longer.
my epidural began to wear off
as i was wheeled back to labor and delivery
clinging to the rails of the bed
over every bump.

by the time i got back to the room
there were no jokes.
the epidural had completely worn off
and i was in the worst pain i had ever experienced.
i was given extra morphine
two percocets
and time.
i remember closing my eyes
and just praying
and breathing
and wishing it would all just stop.
my dad was there
sitting with me.
my mom was there
wringing her hands.
katie jo and troy were there
trying to make conversation.
bill just sat and waited for direction.
his parents came in long enough to say 'good-bye' so that i could rest.

the family left early
leaving me a bill
to work through the pain
one 'indiana jones' at a time.

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