Well let’s just dive right into it, shall we? Last Friday, I had my post-op appointment with my colorectal doctor for my bowel surgery. Since we didn’t have anyone to watch the boys while the girls were in school and since Will refuses to leave my side, we took them up to Stanford with us. Surprisingly, they were pretty well behaved. She thought the incision looked great. I am not sure what planet she is living on because I look as though I was gutted like a fish. Let’s not forget about the fact I don’t have a belly button anymore. Yeah, yeah I will eventually get over it but I am not there yet. I talked with her about how it’s been a little difficult to go #2, sorry, even with Miralax, colace and the activia yogurt I eat twice a day. So she prescribed Milk of Magnesia and told me to take it at night twice a week. Luckily it was a fairly quick appointment and we were able to get ahead of the Friday traffic on the way home. I waited until Sunday night to give it a try.
On Monday afternoon, Neil left to pick the girls up from school with Nicky. Will, who I think re-attached himself to the umbilical cord, stayed home with me to watch the Olympics. Out of nowhere, my lower abdomen hurt so bad I couldn’t breathe. I began to shake and cry uncontrollably. The pain became so extreme I couldn’t talk and we made the decision to bring me to the ER. Neil packed all the kids in the van and we made our way to the hospital. About 10 minutes into the drive, I panicked and yelled that I was going to throw up. Not prepared for this at all, Neil ripped everything out of the diaper bag and put it under me just in time as I threw up my breakfast, my lunch and pretty much everything else I consumed that day. My kids had to watch all of this unfold and with every hurl of puke I heard a collective “Ohhhhhhhh” from all 4 of them. Yes, Nicky too!
My Mother-in-law and Brother-in-law met us there to take the kids home in the van. Arriving at the hospital with the unsalvageable diaper bag, I was a basket case. The pain brought me back to that night of my bowel resection. It was the same excruciating pain that I couldn’t deal with 6 weeks prior. All I could think about was did my bowel somehow perforate and was I going to need yet again, another surgery? Will didn’t want to leave me and we realized we didn’t bring any shoes for him. Fortunately, he agreed to sit in the stroller. I am sure I made a fool of myself. I literally screamed and cried in the waiting room while going back and forth to the bathroom with my walker to throw up into a baggy. I couldn’t sit in the chairs in the waiting room since they were too low and I kept asking for a gurney to stick me on in the hallway even if they couldn’t see me yet. I was in too much pain to stand or sit and I needed some pain meds fast. Once I was finally put in a bed, they started an IV to hydrate me and give me some pain medicine. The infamous dilaudid pain medicine that made me hallucinate was pushed in and maybe 30 minutes later when that didn’t work they gave me morphine. I think I told the nurse at that point that I wanted to go home and watch some shows? They got me in for a CT scan and Will laid next to me in bed afterward. The ER Doctor said the CT came back negative and suggested I actually have a virus. Uhhhhh no way. I have been quarantined in my bedroom for weeks. They gave me some fentanyl and sent me home with a paper saying, “Come back if throwing up green bile.” So why was I being sent home when I clearly threw up bile during my 7 times puking? We came home with me no better off than how I started. I got into pjs and within being home for 10 minutes, threw up one last time. Throwing up is the worst. Bleh. Luckily around 3-4 am, the horrible pain subsided and I was able to finally go to sleep. The next day I had to cancel PT. I woke up nauseated and weak in no shape to do anything include eating. The two pounds I worked so hard to gain, I had lost within hours. I feel like I am starting all over again. Neil spoke with a doctor he works with who also performed an appendectomy on me last year and she said my bowels were going into spasm from all the laxatives and stool softener I had taken.
On Wednesday, I saw my spine doctor for my first post-op. While walking in, a lady that works in the lobby saw me using a walker and came to find me in line for check in. She asked if I wanted two tennis balls to put on the bottom of my walker. It’s official, I am getting a pair of white Velcro shoes and heading down to the bingo ranch. Apparently it makes it easier and much smoother to handle. I was called back for X-rays and Will was very upset he couldn’t accompany me into the room. First I had to change into a gown and robe which made for a super difficult and depressing experience. Sometimes, even though I am limited on what I can do, I often will have moments where I forget. After talking everything off and getting the gown and robe on, I realized that I can’t pick my shoes and pants up! I tried to get my foot up underneath them and kick them up but sadly I just couldn’t do it. I started to tear up but quickly calmed myself down. I finally peered out of the little dressing room and asked a little old lady if she could possibly pick them up for me and help move my back brace to a chair while I limp over in the walker. After X-rays, I headed over to the room where I met Neil and the boys. Besides the moment where Will was yelling that I threw up in the diaper bag a few days prior, they were so amazingly good! I can’t believe it we are 2 for 2 in a row! We talked about my left leg, lowering my pain medicine , outpatient PT after my in home PT and of course the x-rays. The x-rays actually showed my spine to have gotten a tiny bit straighter since the post surgery x-rays. That’s some really great news! We did talk about my right shoulder being higher than the other and my ribs not being even. Since my body had adapted to being straight despite the awful crookedness of my spine, once my spine was corrected it caused my deformed rib cage to be uneven. She did notice this during surgery and put a hook in on my right side to try and pull that shoulder down. I knew it was never going to be perfect and my body has a long way to go until we really see the finished product. I just need to power through this next year even though I have moments where I feel like giving up. Giving up is not an option.
Thursday my physical therapist told me I am at a kindergarten level for exercises for my left leg. So that’s encouraging……..insert sad face emoji. I have to start somewhere though, right? Meanwhile, Neil is having a hard time being Mr. Mom, maid, chef, landscaper, etc. Now that the girls are in school, he sees the chaos that ensues every morning trying to get all of them ready to leave the house on time. Neil, I think, is finally seeing how much I took care of while he worked, even with my horrible and debilitating back pain. On more than one occasion Neil has now said we are going to need a maid and a nanny to help with the kids especially when he goes back to work in 5 weeks. I honestly don’t know where to start in finding a nanny and how much that will cost us. Luckily, due to some very generous friends and family and people I don’t know who have donated to the Gofundme account it helps take some of the weight off our shoulders.
I asked my physical therapist if I could go with Neil and the boys to Target so I could get out of the house for once and also try to get Neil an anniversary card without him knowing and possibly a Starbucks. He told me that was fine as long as I listened to my body and as soon as I felt fatigued to sit in the car and wait. Well, of course I didn’t listen to him and after 10 minutes my knee started to buckle and give out and my back started to throb. By the time we got to the car, I was a mess and could barely walk even holding on to my walker. I woke up this morning sore and my left leg is fatigued and very weak. I’m not sure that coffee frappuccino was worth it now.
Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary. When I look back on all of the obstacles we have faced throughout the years, I am so proud at how strong we have continued to remain as a couple and as a family. I love you Neil. You are my best friend (most of the time) and I wouldn’t want to go through any of this with anyone else. Even though I really hate your protein and calorie shakes that you make me drink, I know why you are forcing me to drink them. Maybe you can concoct a different one that doesn’t have the after taste of dirt? Just a suggestion. In all sincerity though, I love us, I love our family that we have created and I love how hard you have worked to keep everything together even when at times it would have been easy to give up. This year I was unable to get you anything to open for our anniversary and I am sorry. However, maybe when I can ditch this back brace and walk on my own, we can celebrate in our favorite place. I am hoping sooner than later. I love you.