Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The one about Planned Parenthood

*updated August 5*
There are now three FIVE really important videos that have surfaced about Planned Parenthood.

You may have seen them. 

You may have felt angry, nauseated, sick, sad, disgusted, surprised, horrified. Any of these would have been appropriate. 

It's important this information come out. 

What's also important is to remember that there are now hundreds of thousands of women who have had abortions also seeing this content for the first time. 

They are feeling the same thing, but on a level we probably can't even imagine.

There are women who have battled shame, depression, and guilt over their decision to abort their baby. (Not all women do. But there are some.)

There are women who have suffered much after their decision to abort their baby. 

And to hear this recent news, I can only imagine it's not easy. To be told their baby's organs and tissue was harvested and picked through when they'd previously been told it was just a mass of tissue....I can't imagine that's easy. To be, again, faced with the reality of what they did. I'm guessing that's not easy.

As you should ALWAYS do before going to the Facebook or Twitter to blast your opinions and thoughts...before you continue calling people monsters and murderers, take a second to evaluate your audience. Do you really know who's reading?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The one with the Tonsillectomy

Things to note: italicized comments are from my little sister, Caralyn, who was with me for a portion of the time. She's a nurse and can give some more realistic thoughts to balance out my emotionally and physically exhausted thoughts. Please excuse the typos, run-on sentences, or rambling thoughts.

Three weeks ago, I was certain I was going to be able to write a blog post about my tonsillectomy that would calm the fears of anyone else who googled 'adult tonsillectomy recovery' and read the same posts that I'd read.

I was certain my recovery wouldn't be as awful. Because what I'd read....surely it couldn't be THAT bad....right?

Not the case. Also, just a heads up- this is a long post. I’m well aware. But I wrote it with future adult tonsillectomy patients in mind. And if you’re scheduled to have one, I’m guessing you’re googling for information on your upcoming surgery. This is for you. :)

Thursday, June 25th
My surgery was scheduled for Thursday morning at 7:30am. As with most outpatient surgeries, they ask that you have no food or drink after midnight and arrive two hours prior to surgery. My mom had flown in from Texas to be there for surgery/recovery, and as we checked in- my nerves were pretty calm. I went in for a tonsillectomy, a deviated septum repair, and a bilateral turbinate reduction. (I’d also taken off 4 days of work, thinking that would be enough. Thursday surgery, Friday, then Monday and Tuesday of the following week. That may have been my dumbest move.)

I was given my fashionable gown and cap, had my IV plugged in, and my mom was able to come back to the holding room to see me off. The doctor came in to confirm all was well, talk about the surgery and give last minute instructions.

As they were wheeling me away, I looked back at mom, gave her a smile- and then I don't remember anything else until I woke up.

I remember waking up feeling so cold, starting to shake- and I began to cry. I couldn't open my eyes, but my eyes had tears streaming down. As much as I could muster, I whispered "I need Chapstick."

I remember hearing the nurses say "It's so funny the first things people say when coming off anesthesia."

I began shaking and the nurses starting putting blankets all around me. The nurse sitting by my bedside asked if I was in much pain. I nodded. He added something to my IV. I heard them say they were getting my mom and she'd be with me momentarily.

Evidently the surgery took longer than expected due to so much scar tissue from past infections on my tonsils.

Mom was at my side shortly after, followed by my sister, Caralyn. Both of them nurses.
I don't remember much from this point until it was time to go home. I knew I needed to use the restroom so they wheeled me over, let me go, then wheeled me to the front of the hospital where my roommate, Jaryn, was waiting with her car. I remember a lot of pain. And thinking to myself "Why are they letting me go home when it hurts this bad?"

[I felt bad for the PACU nurse with both of us there. There’s a certain level of awkwardness when you have that many nurses in so many different roles in a room. He was great. You, on the other hand, looked pitiful. and definitely post anesthesia stoned. lots of hand holding. we knew you were hurting, but staying there for a longer period of time wasn’t going to help anything. getting you home so we could get you settled into the routine was our focus. As long as we had your nausea under control, we were good. That last dose of zofran and pain meds definitely helped tide you over, at least for the car ride home.]

When I got home, I climbed in bed and my nurses took over. I had ice packs on my face and neck along with medicine ready to go. (Ice packs were key, FYI. If you’re ever planning to have this surgery…..GET ICE PACKS. The cold will help numb some of the pain on your face.)

Because of the nose surgery that also took place, my nose was packed and had to stay that way for 24 hours. Which means I couldn't breathe out of my nose. All breathing was required through my mouth. Where my tonsils and been. Where it hurt the most.

Ice. If you’re having this surgery, you will want to eat lots of ice. Nugget ice, preferably. We’d gotten a big bag of nugget ice from Chick-fil-a the night before surgery to have on hand. I’d read in previous posts from others that eating ice kept your throat from drying out and the cold ice would feel good on the surgical area.  They were right.

The next 24 hours were brutal. My nose continued to bleed through all the packing, my throat was on fire, and I was taking meds every 3.5 hours.
[to the people googling tonsillectomy recovery-- the bleeding wasn’t excessive. the gauze was never completely saturated when we changed it every few hours, but i’m sure it felt worse to her than it actually was. very normal post-op drainage in regards to that.]

Now. Let's talk about taking those meds. Swallowing pills was not really an option; we'd had three failed attempts to get the pain meds in liquid form as the pharmacies in my area didn’t carry it. So mom got a pill crusher and would crush my pills, mix them with baby food or applesauce, and feed them to me.

Which sounds like a great idea, until you actually have to swallow the food. This may have been the best option though as it really did force you to get some calories in.
[Small portions of food-- that’s key. suffer through the taste of crushed up meds and just be grateful for only 2 bites instead of 4-- that was quickly discovered]

I don't think I realized how often I swallow throughout the day- just normal saliva- until this surgery. It was all so painful. Because of the nose portion of the surgery, I'd been told my ears might have some pain as well. Pressure, and such.

They weren't kidding.

I didn’t sleep the first night. My mom and sister took shifts waking up every 30 minutes to feed me ice and to make sure I was ok.

[Waking up is a very loose term. Mom probably got a little more sleep mainly because i knew she would need it and I had been up the night before. I stayed up the first night with her, refilling the ice, trying not to wake Jaryn every time I had to go in the kitchen, and making sure we were on time with the medications. iPhone alarms are a beautiful thing.]

I think you should read that sentence again. They woke up EVERY THIRTY MINUTES. I was pretty much awake the entire night- but felt so loved and taken care of. Gosh. As someone who loves her sleep- their losing sleep on my account was a huge deal.

[oh, ha. I should read before I start adding to this. Love you too. but I’m a night shifter, and that’s what I do. People don’t stop hurting or getting sick just because the sun goes down. Mom is definitely the champ, mainly because she spent more time with you.]

Friday, June 26
The next morning my little sister had to return to NYC (to return a couple days later) and my mom and I went to the 24 hours follow up appointment. My roommate had worked from home so she could be available for such things. So grateful.

[Jaryn was a fantastic chauffeur. So glad she was there with you as well]

At the doctor’s office- they have to take the packing out. I wish that process was as easy as the sentence makes it seem. I won’t go into details other than to say I cried, almost passed out, and thought I was going to throw up. And that was after ONE side had been unpacked. The doctor still had to take the packing out of the other nostril.

He said everything looked great and that he wanted to see me the following week to pull the remaining stents out. He also assured me it would be much less painful than the packing had been.

We piled back up in the car, got home, and it was time for more meds.

The next three days, I mostly remember medicine, eating ice, and not sleeping.

I remember sleeping for about an hour one of the days- but when I woke up- my throat was on FIRE because for that hour- I’d stopped eating ice.

Thus began my decision process to not sleep. If I didn’t sleep- it wouldn’t hurt so bad. Speaking of sleeping, day 2 is also when I decided to set up camp in the living room in my big chair. Laying down wasn’t really an option. My uvula was so swollen that when I would lay down, I felt as though I was choking. So sitting up was key. I stacked pillows all around me, had my feet propped up, and basically spent the rest of the time upright.

So, Percocet, no sleep, and tons of pain. That doesn’t make for a good combo. I wanted to sleep so bad- but the fire in my mouth was too much to handle. So I stayed awake at night eating ice and watching Cupcake Wars.

I’d attempted other shows- but the no sleep and meds made it hard to focus or follow a storyline- so Cupcake Wars it was.

Sunday, June 28
Just for timeline sake, I think this is the first day I attempted to eat something other than applesauce or baby food. My mom made a scrambled egg, let it cool off, and I ate that.

Monday, June 29
On Monday, my mom left to go back home to Texas and I think I would have been more distraught had my little sister not had plans to arrive the same day. Mom left, I cried, Caralyn arrived, crisis averted.

Since she’d been there for the day of surgery, Caralyn knew the routine pretty well. Well. Routine is maybe too generous of a word. She hung out at my apartment refilling my ice cup, switching out ice packs for my face as needed, and made me as comfortable as possible.

[I, also, didn't sleep. I think I fell asleep for like an hour once, woke up to MINDA being in excruciating pain, and decided I could no longer sleep. We added the liquid Motrin into the mix on this day, mainly because she was still requiring the percocets every 3.5 hrs, and I was comfortable enough with her post op bleeding (or lack there of) to bring it in to the med cocktail.
People who are googling recovery--- don't add it sooner unless your doctor says it's okay. Ibuprofen and its friends can thin up the blood-- you don't want to end up in the ER because of post op bleeding. That would be terrible.]

Wednesday, July 1
Ah, yes. Wednesday. The day I thought I’d be back at work. That’s cute.

Jaryn, Caralyn, and myself all packed up again to go BACK to the doctor for my one week follow-up and to have the remaining stents pulled out of my nose. I should note, during this week, my nose was tender and sore, but the worst part was the ear pain I was experiencing. I’ve grown up having multiple ear infections, ear/sinus pressure, etc...But this took the {cup}cake. Maybe because I was already so miserable the pain was worse? But some days during the week- my ear pain was more noticeable than the tonsil pain. (And that is saying a LOT. I’d only need to swallow to remember it wasn’t THAT bad- but dang. It HURT.)

At the doctor’s appointment, the doctor said all looked normal for one week post-op. He took the stents out (much less painful than the packing) and sent me on my way. We did get another refill on pain meds- this time- finally in liquid form!

[Minda and mom were both concerned about how often she was requiring the meds-- I was less worried, and the doc eased that fear-- this wasn't going to be a chronic issue, the pain would subside, and when you need the pain control for something this acute... Take the pain meds. Be careful of the constipation though- narcotics slow the bowel, and in the end block you up. Stool softeners are your friend.]

On the subject of meds: I took Percocet the first five days. After day 5, we added children's Motrin to the mix (every 6 hours or so) to help with swelling. Something to note- get alcohol and dye-free Motrin. (Anything with alcohol or dye….think salt:open wound).

My tonsils were not the only thing that sustained ‘injury’ during surgery. My uvula and tongue were in pretty bad shape after. Not sure if that had something to do with being intubated, but my uvula was swollen to about triple it’s normal size. I felt as though it was choking me most days. Hence the need for Motrin, ice, and sitting upright. I

So. After the doctor’s appointment, we took Caralyn to Union Station where she headed back to NYC. (I should also note- this was the day I tried eating food other than baby food or applesauce. I had mac and cheese. Felt ok.)

That evening, Jaryn did a great job of making sure everything was covered for my first night without mom or Caralyn. Seriously. She was a champ. My bf Jordan was over as well and at one point, I got up to switch out my ice pack, opened the freezer, and started crying. This was day 7. I’d not been sleeping. Hungry. Exhausted. Still in pain and wondering when this would end. Mom and Caralyn were gone, and I hit my wall. Thanks to Jordan and Jaryn for both being super cool about all the tears. At this point, I needed to know this pain wasn’t going to last forever. I needed some light at the end of the tunnel. (I wouldn't get that for another 5 days.)

That night, Jaryn took over as nurse and was up every 45 minutes with me to make sure I had ice, ice packs, and water. Sacrifice, people. Sacrifice. It’s one thing when family does that for you- but when your roommate does it- that’s a whole different level.

[Here's my leaving opinion. I was really worried. Not that I didn't trust Jaryn, but I was really concerned about MINDA having the mental, emotional, and physical stamina to make it through the rest of the recovery without someone with her 24/7. She was exhausted from the lack of sleep, the constant pain, and the stress of everything on her body. I felt terrible leaving, but I had to work the next night. Mom and I did a lot of praying at this point]

Thursday, July 2
My roommate had an early flight out on Thursday for the July 4th weekend. I was a little nervous to be left alone, but felt strong enough that I could manage getting my own ice, ice packs, and medicine.

Day 8 and 9 I started replacing some of the Percocet with children's liquid tylenol. (Again, dye-free and alcohol free.) This was a HUGE moment for me. Since the surgery, I’d been taking the Percocet every 4 hours. And in all honesty, most times I couldn't even make it to the 4 hour mark. By 3.5 hours I was hurting. So to finally be able to slow down on the heavy meds, I felt relief. Even if it was just a mental thing.

Another tip. Do not….I repeat. Do NOT eat anything with citrus in it. {Think salt on open wound.} Just don’t do it. After surgery, there will be scabs. It’s gross. You can google images if you’d like. But I’d say don’t do it. Know there will be scabs. Your throat will be disgusting. Avoid citrus, anything with seeds, and any small food in general that could get stuck in those scabs.

July 5
Day 11 was my “dear God this is almost over” moment. I’d slowed down on the meds, was eating more food, and actually got out of the house! My bf took me for a drive to Sonic (45 minutes away) for a milkshake :) I do love a good Sonic drink!

July 6, Monday
I worked half day from home this day. This was day 12. Around 1pm I turned my computer off and rested. I was glad to finally be back on my computer and lucid enough to actually get some work done. From this point on, the recovery was about gaining strength back. Yes, I was still taking meds but mostly the tylenol. I’d cut back on the percocet and was returning to my normal self. Thankfully I was recovering enough to end my week on vacation in the Carolina’s with family. I flew out Thursday morning and returned a week later.

July 25, Saturday
Today, 4 weeks post surgery, I’d say I’m at about 95% back to normal. I just finished my first full week back in the office and I’m tired. I rode the metro, walked a ton, and I’m feeling it. Yawning and sneezing are uncomfortable. My nose is still tender. Drinking through a straw is a VERY weird sensation, and actually, taking a drink in general is uncomfortable. I’m re-learning how to eat and drink. My taste buds are way off, but I’m slowly getting back to a good place.

In no way am I ready to say it was worth it- but now that I’m finished with the worst, I’m guessing that day will come.

At some point in the near future, I will do a post dedicated to all the dear friends who came by, brought gifts, and basically saw me at one of my worst times. I had visitors every single day and they made the recovery so much brighter. Stay tuned.

The one about moving to a new city

Moving to a new city is not for the faint of heart. Moving to a new city as a single adult is for SURE not for the faint of heart. I&#...