Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Snark and Paranoia in the ICU

It's been five weeks and a day since my brain surgery. I have a post-op checkup with my neurologist tomorrow and on Friday an MRI immediately followed up by a visit to my neurosurgeon. Hopefully, they will give me the all clear so I can keep my skydiving appointment (kidding Mom!). 

Every post should have a point, a theme, a main idea. Besides the health update, I will share my experience in the St. Vincent's ICU:

This was my second stay in this particular ICU, but it seemed much nicer this time. It was quieter, brighter, more organized than what I remember from my first visit. The nurses were extremely nice, attentive, and competent--a smidge more than during my last stay four years ago. If I could remember names, which I am horrible at, even under normal circumstances, I would thank them individually. However, I will just have to say Thank You ICU Nurses! 
Before surgery
Before my surgery, my neurosurgeon visited my room to inform me of the situation and what he would do to fix it. I must have been under the influence of some medications because I remember saying something snarky like "Can't you just zap it with your fancy cyber-knife thingy?" (I am often snarky with family and close friends, but never with acquaintances--especially not someone who is about to cut into my brain.) I remember the smirk on his face. 

Once I resigned myself to the surgery, I told him to shave off all my hair, unlike last time when (at my request) he tried to give me bangs. Another smirk.

I remember a little bit of pre-op, when a Burgess parent who works there recognized me and said hello. Then it's all a blank. I don't recall the post-op MRI, the first time Joe saw me, waking up, nothing. I can't tell you my first memory, because I don't remember the order of things. Here are 5 things I do remember:
  1. Joe stayed with me every night in a very uncomfortable recliner and barely ate or slept. And he still looked gorgeous (see above)
  2. At one point, I had an arterial line and three IVs...and my veins suck. Joe says 4 attempts were made to place an IV at one point. I'm glad I wasn't awake.
  3. I had a major case of paranoia that seemed very real. I thought the nurses were conspiring against me. I heard conversations about me, saw them walk past my room to spy on me. I thought they were blocking the door so Joe couldn't come in. None of which occurred. I was in a panic, texting Joe, begging him to hurry up and save me. I was suspicious of my nurses and cold toward them for a long time, even after Joe told me I was hallucinating. I blame the meds, but it was so real. I mention this because it seems funny now, and a little embarrassing, but if it happens to anyone else, they won't think it's abnormal.
  4. I think at one point, the room next to mine was occupied by   someone who defecated all over the place and then spread the love. I heard the nurses chastise the patient (in a nice way--like a parent to a child) as they cleaned up. Sometimes I question the reality of this event, but I do recall my nurse entering my room with different clothes on. Some nurses are superheroes.
  5. Unlike the first time, I had no gurgling/swirling sensation in my head the first time I sat up. I didn't feel claustrophobic and have a mental breakdown due to the wrap on my head. There was no tube from my brain to a pressure bag on an IV rack to worry about. The food was slightly better.

"Real" food
I remember a few more things, but this post is long enough and readers like short, numbered lists. And I need a snack.
The Big Reveal
Fingers crossed for my appointments in the next few days. I will post an update after it all goes down. Until next week...

1 comment:

  1. You are a brave, and funny woman, Jana! Thanks for sharing.