Sunday, February 07, 2010

The All-Nighter and other stories you haven't heard yet

Well, I wanted to recap some of the "fun" events from my hospital stay, plus update on my recovery.  It's really long, so I broke it up with pictures that are not related to the story at all.  On Monday night after my surgery I did fairly well waking up out of surgery.  I was extremely nauseous, so that was about all I remember.  The nurses got me something very quickly and I was out again.  Once they moved me to the surgery floor they got me an iv drip with pain meds and a bolus button.  They told Mitch about 5 times that I was the only one allowed to push the button.  I received a continuous drip of the meds, but could push the button for a little "boost" every 10 min if needed, and I could not overdose.  Sounds good.  It wasn't long before I needed to get up to pee.  That was horrible.  Looking back now, I believe I was in much more pain than I realized at the time.  It's all about perspective, and I was really having a difficult time holding it in perspective.


Tuesday following surgery was boring.  In the afternoon I had a pushy nurse come on duty.  I don't remember what she said, but she was just so very methodical and not very compassionate. I had been given Zofran for nausea and at some point during her shift asked for another dose.  Her comment was along the lines of, "You've got to wean yourself off this stuff so you can go home."  Little did I know how much that careless stupid little comment would affect me.  It was totally inappropriate and premature given the timeline of my recovery.  So then she asked if I still wanted it.  Of course I was then second-guessing myself and not feeling very confident about what my needs were and just plain old whipped.  Later while Kristin was up to visit I had to get up to pee and thought it would be a good time to walk with her there to cheer me on.  The pain that I felt was incredible...I couldn't walk, I could barely get back to bed, I couldn't breathe because it hurt so bad.  Once I was back in bed, I recalled my surgeon had recommended an abdominal binder.  I had no idea if it would work, and in my self-doubt I was regretting even asking, but I had to try SOMETHING.  They ordered the binder.  Once that came in I was a new woman.  I even took a walk in the middle of the night with my RN.  She was a breath of fresh air.  :)


Remember the pain meds and the bolus?  Well on Monday night the pain meds had been making me terribly nauseated.  I was getting sick just from sucking on ice chips, yet my mouth was sooooo dry.  They switched my pain meds to fentanyl.  I was pretty special getting a fentanyl drip...I think their decision was based on the fact that I was nursing.  One of the drawbacks of this bolus thing is that if I fell asleep I didn't hit my button.  When I would wake up, I'd be "behind" on the pain.  I'd also wake up needing to while behind on the pain I would have to crawl in and out of bed.  I was crying every time while the poor nurses would coach, "breathe, honey, big deep breaths."  Yeah, right.  On Tuesday night I decided not to fall asleep.  I stayed awake most of the night so I could push my bolus button a modest every-15-minutes.  :)  I know now that I absolutely should have said something to the nurses and I probably could have gotten more help with the pain.  But I wasn't rating my pain accurately and I also had what bad-attitude-nurse said working on my conscience.  On Wednesday morning when a doc came from my clinic to do rounds, I cried thinking that she may send me home.  Little did I know I would be there until Saturday.  She placed her hand on my leg...gently...and reassured me that I would not go home until I was ready.  It was soothing balm!


I was pumping about every 3 hours.  The surgery and recovery were soooo much longer than I had expected.  I pumped at noon before going into surgery and it was 8 pm before I was able to pump again.  I barely got 3 oz, but I threw that one away.  Afterwards I figured it was all good and kept the milk from then on.  At home they had plenty of milk, thankfully, even though I didn't feel like I was pumping very much (usually only 3 oz every 3 or 4 hours).  I'm sure it had much to do with the fact that Kristin didn't use much pumped milk while she had Tirzah.  :)  When I got home on Saturday I counted up 23 oz of milk, PLUS the two times I pumped after that first 8 pm feeding.  I ended up throwing away those other two, so in the end it is almost like I followed doctor's orders and dumped the milk for about 15 hours after surgery.  It was really hard to pump initially.  Ideally when you pump you will be sitting upright and leaning forward slightly.  For the first 3 days I was in NO condition to assume such a position (again, here I wonder why in the world that nurse thought I was in any position to be going home).  So pumping was interesting, to say the least.  Nursing Tirzah was almost more difficult.  She was always a sort of "vicious" nurser--with all those teeth coming at me, it's sometimes scary--but after being away from mommy she seemed now to be "panicked."  She's also very active--knees, feet, arms all flailing as she eats, which is not good on a sore tummy.  I was and still am sore from her activity and voracious latch.  Ouch.


It took my bowels forever to "wake up" in the hospital.  It was Thursday before things were well.  It was also Thursday that I was removed from the Fentanyl drip.  I was shocked by the sheer amount of gas I had.  Other things didn't go so well, either.  I had a tiny amount of diarrhea, and that was all the moving my bowels would do.  I am unsure if that's simply because I had nothing to eat all week except liquids, or if it is due to the vomit/diarrhea virus my family had.  I know it felt like my intestines were all twisted into knots.  Whenever I would change positions (and it still does this sometimes), my insides would gurgle and make funny sloshing noises.  Gloop-glop-slosh.  Ewwwwww.  I was finally allowed real food on Thursday at lunch.  That didn't go so well--I got very nauseated and a horrible ache in my tummy after only a few bites.  Thursday night went better.  It is so hard to be starving hungry but at the same time eating makes you sick.  I spent about an hour just eating half my food and contemplating ever being "normal" again.


On Thursday morning we removed the Fentanyl drip and I made a bad decision to try just tylenol.  Once again I had a difficult time rating my pain.  I don't know why this is so hard for me.  The nurses made it clear--my choices were tylenol or vicodin, one or the other but not both.  If I took tylenol, I couldn't have vicodin until many hours later.  Well, at noon I was crying.  :(  Some sweet volunteer girls stopped by and I asked them to quickly leave as soon as I realized they were not nursing staff.  I still feel bad about that.  Soon a nurse came in and told me that they decided I could have the vicodin after all and that made life much better.  Thursday night just before midnight my last bag of iv fluids emptied and they did not hook up a new one.  Hallelujah I was free from wires and the requirement to pee every 2 hours!


Friday morning was even better.  So much better that I got up early and started cleaning up my room and packing my bags.  When the surgeon stopped by to visit I was prepared for him to send me home.  I said, "This is what I expected to feel like on Wednesday!"  I was a little surprised when he said, "Well, we want you to have a really good day here today and maybe we'll send you home tomorrow."    I am so glad he was on his game--it was a VERY good decision, even though I was pretty bored all day.  :)  I was still nauseated on Friday and got another shot of Zofran (wish they had switched me to an oral dose), but it really hurt going through my iv with no iv fluids.  :(  I wanted more on Saturday morning, but didn't want the pain of sending through my iv nor the threat of not being sent home.  So I toughed it out.


Once I was home I tried to be tough and only take tylenol again.  My body simply was not ready for that.  By Monday I was resigned to taking the vicodin as long as I needed or until the bottle ran out, which ever came first.  The side effects of nausea and bad dreams seemed to disappear and my pain was minimalized.  As the week wore on I was only taking it about every 7 hours, but definitely knew when I'd gone too long.  That especially happened overnight when I wasn't waking up to take another dose--I'd wake up in the morning and find it very difficult to get out of bed.  Finally on Friday Mitch was teasing me about being a druggie and I took my last dose.  I am finally doing well on "only" well that I don't think the tylenol does anything for me.

I did catch a cold this week.  I knew it was coming--Patrick was one of the first here to have it.  My nose is pretty runny and I'm waiting for the cough to start.  :P

I will see the surgeon for a follow-up appointment tomorrow (Monday).  I don't know what to expect, but I'm sure that things are fine.  I have 6 incision spots and the sutures have fallen off four of them.  I also have a lovely stretch mark, I'm guessing from where they inflated my abdomen with gas for the surgery.  I birthed 7 kids and did not have stretch marks on my tummy.  It's pretty ironic. 


I mentioned earlier that my friend Bonnie came and helped with daycare.  That was huge.  She and some other friends also came and helped me take inventory of my fabric and sewing supplies for taxes.  I spent many hours on the computer this week compiling and recording and computing so we can file our returns.  I have reduced the work to a small stack of Menards receipts that I need Mitch's help with, then it will be off to the tax preparer with them.  I may show a very narrow profit for my diaper business for the year, which is very good considering I was able to do very little sewing.  I have my pattern sales to thank for that.


Speaking of diapers, what is in store for 2010???  First of all, my website is getting an overhaul.  Patrick is working on updating and cleaning up and re-writing my html code.  I can't wait!  He was up late last night and I saw the new menu he is writing for me.  Did I mention I can't wait??  I changed the way my store is set up so it is more like a traditional shopping site.  Go take a look at it here.  My website will be very similar to the store, but much more simplified than it is currently.  I did my website initially using Microsoft Frontpage, which is no longer made.  When I upgraded my computer I learned to use the free program Evrsoft First Page and write my own html.  The menus were my biggest problem--to make any change (addition or subtraction) to a menu, I have to open and edit the menu on each and every single page on my website.  It's time-consuming and ridiculous.  So Patrick is making that all better for me now.  Yay!


CPSIA did not go away.  The original deadline for testing and having a general conformity certificate (GCC) for each product made was February 10, 2009.  The CPSC enacted a stay of enforcement of this law until February 10, 2010 (which is in just a couple days).  In January they voted to lift the stay for some items, but leave it for others.  Textiles is in the "others" category, which means that for this moment there is still a stay of enforcement and I can continue to make and sell diapers without doing lead testing.  It could change at any time.  The CPSC did vote to allow component testing for painted items:  for example, if you make wooden children's toys, you will be permitted to have your paint tested and if it does not exceed legal lead limits then you do not have to test the final product.  At least I think that's what it says.  This is good news because it gives us hope that the same will also ultimately be allowed for textiles.  Currently I do not have to test fabric or anything made from simply fabric itself.  But once I add fasteners (snaps, velcro) to my diapers, then they need to be tested.  If component testing is allowed, then I simply need to show that the snaps are below the legal lead limit (they are).  Whew!

So let's say that in a best case scenario I can sell diapers without worrying about CPSIA.  That's all well and good, but I still need TIME to sew them.  I am praying that my surgery will renew my health and energy and I will be able to sew.  I spent so much of 2009 just drained and not even identifying that I was so exhausted.  I was reading through my blog archives and read this post and was just stunned to finally connect some of the dots.

Mitch is getting geared up to co-lead another Sunday School class.  This semester we are studying the book Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp.  I read this book after it was recommended by several people and loved it.  I've read quite a few parenting books that have neat tricks for making your children act a certain way.  This one cuts to the heart of the issue.  It's not about evoking a particular behavior, but is instead about shaping your child's heart with a Biblical approach.  I love the idea, especially as I seek to be a better parent (and goodness knows I can use some improvement in that area!).  :)

I was looking forward to sleeping in this weekend and taking long naps.  Tirzah had other plans and was up before 6 am both Saturday and today.  Grrrrr.  Oh well, no better time to blog!  We are now well into the morning and it's time for me to get ready for church.  Thanks for letting me gab.  :)

{Pictures from yesterday vacuuming and from earlier this week.}


  1. I'm so glad your pain is better and totally impressed by your home-based business! I second your assessment of Shepherding a Child's Heart. The heart is what matters!

  2. Having organs removed is really rough, isn't it? When I read one of your blog entries about your being worried about being loopy and nauseous, I couldn't help but think, "If she knew what I did, she'd be worried about PAIN." But I didn't say anything to you for worrying you'd worry. LOL I've had 2 cesareans and never took a prescrip pain med for either of those. But when I had my gallbladder out, I had to resort to scrip meds for two weeks. I was totally unprepared to be in that much pain.

    I'm glad you're doing better! The pictures of your family are super, as always! :)