No one likes surgeries and it’s not even the surgery part that is so hard. That’s the easy part. You are hooked up to IV’s, rolled in a bed into the surgery room where they explain things to you, and then they put something in your IV and lights out. Suddenly you’re in a dreamland totally oblivious to what they are doing to your body.
It’s after surgery that’s the hard part: waking up confused, being moved to a hospital room, and weeks of recovery. The pain, the medication, the side effects, the need to be taken care of, the inability to do things you usually do all take a toll on you mentally. There are bouts of depression, boredom, and feelings of helplessness.
On October 21 I was wheeled into the surgery room and before I knew it, I was dreaming. I was with my husband snuggling on a blanket underneath a baby blue sky.
We were laughing and kissing when suddenly a voice intruded, “Aimee, Aimee, your surgery is over. Do you feel any pain?”
My eyes fluttered open and shut. I mumbled something and then came more questions I didn’t quite understand. Suddenly, I became aware of searing pain in my back. I wanted to cry out, “This hurts; make it stop hurting,” but my words were jumbled.
The nurse handed me a button. “This is a pain pump. Press the button when you feel pain.”
My husband was escorted in and told I had stopped breathing during surgery and I must have sleep apnea. My husband told them I never stop breathing when I sleep at home. Oxygen was being pumped in my nose and when they took it out a machine sounds off. They put the oxygen back on and I was taken to my room.
The first day and a half were spent in and out of sleep, pressing the button for the pain pump, and nurses waking me up for medication and vitals. My husband sat at my side muttering, “I love you,” and I whispered it back before going back to sleep.
By the middle of the second day, I became more aware of where I was, and my heart sunk. A nurse took the catheter out and I needed to hit the call button each time I had to go to the bathroom. I was very thirsty, and this led to me pressing the call button often. The nurses saw more of my bottom than I wanted them to.
Lou, my husband, stayed until six pm at my bedside and then the inevitable had to happen. He had to leave me to go back to his hotel room. He wouldn’t be there to hold me until I went to sleep or comfort me when I had a bad dream. I felt a sadness fill my heart as he kissed me goodbye. The only comfort I had to get me through the night was a teddy bear he bought me while I was in surgery. The teddy bear had a blue sweatshirt on with the words, “Get Well,” on it. I wiped a tear away after he left and squeezed the bear to my chest.
Day three I walked with a physical therapist; I was prescribed at home therapy and told I’m allowed to go home. There was one exception, I must have a bowel movement before they will release me. My mind went crazy. I had to get out of the hospital. I had to sleep beside my husband. I needed to go, but my tummy cramped, I passed gas and that was it. A woman nurse put a suppository in, and I prayed.
God, please let me go home with Lou. I can’t spend another night without Lou. Please let me go to the bathroom.
My stomach cramped and I pressed the call button. A nurse helped me to the bathroom just to pass loud gas. Dang, nothing. An hour later a male nurse came in with an enema. That had to work. There was no way I could stay another night in a hospital away from the love of my life. I just couldn’t do it. Unfortunately, the enema was little help. An x-ray of my belly revealed I was backed up and had to spend the night again.
When Lou left, I pressed the teddy bear tightly to my chest and cried onto its fuzzy head. I felt like I was trapped in a prison of IVs, ringing bells, nurses waking me up, and no one to hold me and say it will get better. I felt alone in a hospital full of people. I cried myself to sleep.
Suddenly I woke up. All the lights were on in my room. I looked at my cell phone. It was eleven-thirty and Lou wasn’t there. He was always there by nine am. He had to come so I could have a bowel movement and go home. I called him and asked where he was.
His gentle voice filled my ear, “Honey, why do you want me to come at eleven-thirty at night.”
We laughed at my mix up and we said our “love you” and hung up. The next morning the nurse brought a glass bottle of stuff she called the witches’ brew that was sure to make me go. I drank it all despite the awful taste. It came out the wrong end.
I texted my friends, “Please pray that I have a bowl movement so I can go home. I can’t stay here any longer.”
After a while I was begging the nurses to let me go home. I even told them I’d leave against doctor’s recommendations. I commend them on their patience with me. They just calmly told me that I needed to stay. Around three in the afternoon a nurse gave me something in apple juice. A few minutes later I was pressing the call button.
When the nurse helped me off the toilet I sang out, “Yes, I went. I can go home. I finally went.”
The emotional battle of worrying about spending another night in the hospital away from Lou was over. Unfortunately, it seemed like it took them hours to release me. My surgery was in Mayfield Heights, Cleveland, Ohio. We had an hour and twenty minutes’ drive home. Plus, I needed to stop ever so often to walk with my walker. The hour became two hours, but once I was home, the rest of my recovery was waiting to begin.
I now officially hate hospitals. This was only the beginning of my recovery process. Even though I felt hopeless, I had many praying for me (even praying for me to have a bowel movement), my husband visiting me each day, I had kind nurses taking care of me, and a teddy bear to keep me company at night. God was there providing for me and helping me fight to stay in the light. His light surrounded me and will continue to hold me up as I recover.