The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room. The room waves and spins around me. A really nice nurse asks how I'm doing. I mumble, "High five" and hold my hand up for her. She high fives me back. I feel a bit of pain, but not much. What's worse is that my entire body itches really, really badly. I start scratching my face and arms.
"Oh, are you itchy?" she asks. "The pain medication does that. I'll give you some Benadryl." She adds something to my IV line and the itching slowly goes away. After awhile, she tells me that it's time to take me to my hospital room. My bed starts moving and I realize I'm being pushed down the hallway.
I pretend to drive the bed like a race car. Every time we turn a corner, I turn my imaginary steering wheel and make a muffled "Vroom" noise. As we wheel down the hallway, I also wave to everyone we go by: nurses, doctors, other patients, visitors. They all smile and wave back. Some of them laugh. I keep "driving" my bed.
"You're the happiest surgical patient I have ever seen," one of the nurses says.
When we get to my room, BF is waiting there for me. I, of course, high-five him. He tells me that he talked to my surgeon afterward and he said that the surgery went really well and there were no complications. I later found out that my surgeon had told me the exact same thing in the recovery room, and I had high-fived him. I have absolutely no recollection of this.
One of the nurses brings me some ice packs to wrap around my head. Then, they introduce me to the morphine dispenser. Anytime I felt too much pain, I could push this button and it would dispense morphine. I quickly fall in love with him and name him George.
I write on my white board that I want BF to call my mom and brother to tell them I'm okay. Then, I get him to call one of my friends who lives in The Big City. I hear him say "Hi" to her and pause, then say, "She LIVES!!" in a crazy overdramatic voice.
This was fun. I get him to call everyone I can possibly think of - my boss, my coworker, a bunch of my friends, even the ones living in other parts of the country. I'm sure if I had my grandparents' phone number in Italy handy, I would have had him call them, too. I really don't want to see that phone bill.
After BF leaves, I update my online peeps on how I'm doing. I had smuggled my handheld into the hospital and was on Twitter and Facebook almost immediately. I have no recollection of some of the things I wrote on people's Facebook walls, but I do know they were riddled with spelling errors. What I do have a record of is my status updates while I was in the hospital. They include:
- is not dead.
- really likes the happy morphine dispensing button. Mmmm...incapacitating.
- wonders if it's weird to be having this much fun in the hospital. And that's not just the drugs talking.
- is the queen of eating through a syringe.
- is thinking some sleep would be nice, but some morphine would be even better.
- thinks this would be the perfect time to make some crank calls. No one would recognize her voice with her jaw wired shut!
- looks like a puffer fish, only more swollen and bruised.
- is the cutest chick on the ward.
- is going to miss the morphine. She named him George. RIP George.
- is celebrating passing gas by high-fiving nurses. Apparently, this is a big deal in post-surgery land, which isn't nearly as magical without George. RIP George. He is missed.
- is asking everyone with a non-wired-shut jaw to masticate some chocolate on her behalf and also do some romantic things that involve using your mouth.
- is finally off morphine and wondering what the heck she's been writing on everyone's Facebook walls?
- looks like a car crash victim and is glad she has a good sense of humour.
I know this will sound weird, but my hospital stay was actually a lot of fun. The nurses were amazing and also had good senses of humour. I'm sure they appreciated someone who wasn't whiny and in a bad mood. Every nurse I had shook her head at me and said she'd never seen a surgical patient this happy before.
Hey, I finally got the surgery I was waiting the past two years for, my surgery went without a hitch, I'm in a hospital with super nice nurses, George the morphine dispenser is my new boyfriend (sorry BF), hospital staff bring me juice, "food" and ice packs (and also heat up my teddy bear for me when I ask really nice), I get to hang out in bed in my pajamas all day, and I have awesome friends who visit and bring me Booster Juice and presents. What isn't there to be happy about?
I got out of the hospital on Valentine's Day and have been home ever since. It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Eating is a bit frustrating, but workable. The pain is there, but manageable. And the swelling and bruises aren't pleasant, but they're fading each day.
I just feel grateful to have had this experience and still be here to blog about it. Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes. It's really meant a lot.