Perpetual Plan B

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Worst Birthday of My Life (So Far)

Once in a while I've mentioned the fact that there was a crazy medical mistake that happened to me last year. I've kind of avoided mentioning what it was but now may be the time to spill it, especially since I'm so relieved that it is over. Feel free to laugh at my expense.

Well, being the frugal people we are, and seeing that we'd met our medical deductible last year because of my shoulder surgery, Hal and I were discussing if there was anything else that needed to be done medically that year.

I had a check up with my dr. (actually physican's assistant) and asked her if everything looked good. She said actually that my bladder might be falling as a result of my hysterectomy two years before and that I might want to get it worked on so I wouldn't start having problems.

Well, that's all I needed to hear. The thought of having any type of bladder problems was enough to scare me into wanting to fix things before that happened. I had had pneumonia twice when I was very pregnant with Austin and that was enough for me to know that it would not be a fun thing to deal with. I signed up that day with the doctor she suggested.

The only date available for my surgery was December 15th. This was not a big deal. It was supposed to be a pretty easy recovery, though I wasn't supposed to lift more than five pounds for six weeks. I could do that, no problem. I had Christmas all wrapped up and ready to go, "just in case" because in the back of my mind I was remembering that I was one of those kinds of people that if something could go wrong, it probably would.

Well, it did. In a big way.

The dr. accidently punctured not one, but two holes in my bladder.

The funny thing is that I had talked her into only giving me a local anesthetic because I don't like general anesthesia, I think it messes with my short-term memory and it makes my hair fall out. She agreed, only if I promised not to have any complications and freak out. I jokingly told her then that if there was a complication to be had, it would happen to me but that I would remain calm. Somehow in the conversation I learned that there was something called a "bleeder" that would be bad. (She was actually having the same surgery the day after mine, and she said that's what she was worried about.)

Anyway, she must have been in cahoots with the anesthesiologist because when it all went wrong he must have spiked my i.v. with something else. All I can remember is waking up once and a strange man in a bow tie was looking at me, where I didn't want him to be looking.

I asked "Who is that?" and they said "Dr. Callister, he's just checking to make sure everything looks ok." I said, in front of him, (yes, I blame the drugs) "He's my father-in-law's urologist and we hate him." Then I promptly went back to sleep.

The next time I woke up all the dr.s were gone but the o.r. techs were still working on me. I saw a big, long tube winding around all over my stomach, full of blood. I asked, "Is that my blood?" and they answered, "Yes." I then said, remembering the term "bleeder", "Oh, that's bad." and then went back to sleep again.

I ended up staying overnight and the next day in the hospital. I then had the pleasure of going home with a full-on nursing home catheter, bag and all. Let me just say that when and if the time comes, I've already instructed my kids to just shoot me and put me out of my misery if I ever have to use one of those things ever again. One thing people don't realize is that there is some constant pain involved with sporting one of those beauties.

Ironically, my father-in-law had the same thing going on at the same time because he was dealing with prostate cancer. It gave me empathy for him that nobody else could understand. That is the one thing that makes me feel like everything that I went through was maybe a tiny bit worthwhile.

It pretty much wiped out any thought of going to any social functions for the rest of the week. The only thing I REALLY wanted to go to was Morgan's orchestra concert at the mall. There is something so soothing about hearing just strings play the Christmas songs. (I'm still trying to find a Christmas cd with only strings.) It was also going to be her last concert since she'd decided not to take orchestra any more in school.

Morgan was also playing her viola in the church Christmas program that Sunday. If ever I would have an excuse to miss church I think this would be it, but I still kind of wanted to hear Morgan play since I missed the other concert. Well, funny thing, a girl who had not been going to church for a long time ended up calling me and asking to come to church with me that week. I explained the situation and told her I couldn't drive but if she would pick me and the other kids up and we go in early and sit down and leave early (so I wouldn't have to talk to anyone because I wasn't exactly in the mood) then I would go with her. Well, she agreed to it, which I was kind of hoping she wouldn't, so we went. I had to find a tote bag that was color coordinated to my skirt to drag around my you-know-what bag, holding it somewhat under my skirt so nobody would see the cord that attached it to me. I better get extra brownie points in heaven for that one.

That day, once I was situated back at home, my friend, Melinda, called me. This is when another bad thing happened. I was sitting in bed and I climbed out to do something and I stepped on the tote bag. I heard a little click, but I didn't really think anything of it. Later I was walking around my bedroom and I saw these funny little trails across the carpet. Slowly it dawned on me what had happened. I must have stepped on the clip that held the opening in the bag (where you empty it) closed. Those were trails of (I really don't want to say the word here) what was in my bag.

I told my friend that the worst thing had just happened. She knows me very well so she started laughing. She then said "No, you're not even thinking yet about what the worst thing is." I asked her what she meant and she said, "The worst thing is that YOU are going to be the person who will have to clean it up." Unfortunately, she was right.

That was Sunday. The next day was my birthday. I was so miserable after almost a full week with the stupid catheter.

The good news was that it was also the day I got to take out the stupid catheter, so in a way, maybe it was the best birthday present of my life.

Of course, that's not really saying much, is it? (Read previous post.)


Lacey said...

I must say that when it comes to truly terrible birthdays... you take the cake! That catheter (and the horrible complications with your surgery) sound just awful! I'm so glad that's in the past and over with, so that hopefully someday you'll be able to look back and laugh about it...

Katie said...

Yuck, yuck, YUCK! That does sound like a pretty terrible birthday!