June 13, 2011

Your Sista's Havin' a Hysta - Part 5

Two-Week Post Op Check

It's been a little over two weeks since this sista's had a hysta and time to visit the doctor. As a nurse by profession, I can attest to the fact that being the patient is a far cry from providing the care. It's so different, in fact, that when on the receiving end I try with all my might to hide the reality I'm in healthcare so my caregivers won't be tempted to hold back on education. My theory is if they know I'm a nurse, they may inadvertently opt out on certain instructions, thinking I already know all there is to know. One of my biggest fears is hearing the embarrassing words later down the line, "You should have known that. You're a nurse." Granted I'm not an idiot, but there are times when I'm honestly surprised how dull I can be. Remaining incognito is a great back up.

Nurses tend to be list makers because they have so much to remember. We document, record, and log every imaginable thing. It's what we're trained to do from the get-go and for me, after all these years, a checklist is a cozy warm blanket that protects me from the cold icy feeling of having to confess "I forgot."

About a week before this first post-op appointment, I began assembling an inventory of questions for my doctor. I'd been given discharge instructions at the hospital which helped me in general but I wanted specific instructions from her related to me and my healing process. Things like, When can I drive? (Instructions said at two weeks but since I'm still on pain medication I can't get behind the wheel. I'm so glad I asked.) Can I swim? How about bathing in a tub? I know I can't begin now but when's it ok to do aerobics or walk my sweet Labrador who tugs the first quarter mile? When can I give my husband more than a kiss and last but not least, my legs are dying to exercise. Can I at the very least get on my stationary bike and peddle lightly like an old lady?

Since I still can't drive, Jimmy chauffeurs me hither and yon. It's a whole lot of fun because we love being together, we always have. He's the kind of guy I can drag to a fabric store and it doesn't faze him a bit. He'll invariably find something to keep himself busy and best of all, he never complains. He's like an ice cream cone on a hot summer day that never melts, I couldn't ask for more. Given his easy going personality, I knew he wouldn't mind going to the OB/Gyn with me, so off we went, itemized list in hand.

Noting the note in my hand, my doctor listened to my litany of questions like the sweetest of hearts. She knows I'm a nurse and is always kind to accommodate my finicky ways. She knew which question was most pressing on my heart and was sad to tell me I'd have to wait another two weeks before bathing in the tub. Prior to surgery we had a good giggle about my fetish of shaving my legs every single day, without fail, no exceptions. I shrugged and sighed at the thought of another two week tub drought, then decided I might as well adopt a positive attitude. Lifting my chin a dash higher, I shared with her how I'd found a way to shave in the shower.

"Oh! That scares me. You might fall" she said with caution. "No, it's really ok." I reassured. "I've figured out if I stand like a pelican, resting one foot on the opposite knee, I can do it without much pain at all." With that, she swiped her hand up my shin to confirm I had indeed reassumed my daily obsession, shook her head, smiled, and said... absolutely nothing at all.

I can talk to my OB gal about anything. Our relationship, though totally professional, is also extremely intimate, that's just the nature of gynecology. She has a gift of making me feel like she's not only my doctor but close friend as well. She's calm, kind, attentive, gentle, and at peace in all she does. I trust my health to her and have the utmost respect for her and her practice. I did, however, have one beckoning question on my list that stuck in my throat like a clump of baby powder, "Can I have another prescription for pain pills please? If that's ok."

Fearing I'd look like a drug seeker, something that haunts the medical field like Mexico's drug cartel, I could barely bring myself to ask for a refill. Having never had major surgery I didn't know if it was time to wean off the pain meds or if it would take more time. After mustering the courage to broach the topic, she seemed to sense the jitter in my request and light heartedly replied, "Nancy, more pain medication is perfectly fine given your surgery. Now, people who are asking for it three months down the line are the one's we begin to wonder about. This, however, is fine and I'm happy to give you more."

Whewww! What a huge relief. Now I can continue to increase my activity each day knowing I have a cushion for my aches and pains. I have only one regret however. I wished I'd peaked at my scar when she ok'd the refill because, though I can't prove it, I think my 8" scar smiled end to end at the good news.

Hope you are having a blessed week.


Cheryl Barker said...

Love how you likened Jimmy to an ice cream cone that never melts. How sweet! No pun intended! :)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Girlfriend, I ask for pain meds even when I don't need them:) Seriously, I don't know how I would have made it through this last year without them. You'll be relieved to know that I only take an occasional extra-strength Tylenol every day, but those pain meds were the bomb! They really helped me get back onto my feet again. By the way, why not sit on the side of the tub and shave? Just a thought. I'm a bath girl as well. After my mastectomy, it seemed like a lifetime before I was able to get back in the tub!


About Nancy said...

Elaine...for me balancing my bum on the side of the tub is a balancing act that's too tasking, plus it seems I have to fold up tighter to get to my legs, which hurts my incision. The pelican method fits me best for now and why not, I'm a bit of a bird brain too.

Love to you!