Thursday, December 23, 2010

Waking up

Waking up from any type of general anesthesia is a terrifying experience.  You feel like you cannot breathe, panicky, cold, disoriented, and just overwhelmed by the whole damn thing.  DO NOT EVER be afraid to ring the call bell for a nurse.  DO NOT EVER feel like you are bothering them, this is their job.   Ask the nurse where you are, what time it is, if your family is there, etc.   Most importantly,  any pain level should be immediately addressed.  If you are lucky (and I really mean lucky) to have a pain pump, just keep pressing the button whenever you remember.

After spine surgery, and I have had two which required a pain pump,  I was not shy about pressing that button.  Spinal surgery HURTS!  Do not let anyone tell you differently.  Use it religiously for 24 hours.  After that, you will feel a bit more awake and can judge your pain level yourself and are more aware of your body.

I had a pain pump, an I.V. line in each hand,  a drain or two coming out of my spine,  inflatable compression cuffs on my lefts and a catheter.  That's a lot of STUFF!  I honestly don't know how a body handles all that stuff but it does.

 If you feel like to have to urinate,  it is because of the catheter.  If that continues, tell the nurse, they will check the bag and check the lines,  sometimes you might be laying on one of the lines and don't know it.  Nurses do not check for everything.  My I.V. lines were put near my wrists making it nearly impossible to bend them without it hurting.  I should have spoken up to the anesthesiologist and tell him to place them higher up on the the top of the hand.  You will need your hands over the next several days and when I.V.s are in an area which interferes with movement it makes it worse.

I had CPAPS (little tubes in your nose that provide oxygen) in my nose for several days.  BEST ADVICE: pack some saline spray and Vaseline to take with you to the hospital.  My nasal passages got so dried out after 2 days that my nose was bleeding.  Using saline spray several times an day and putting Vaseline up there will really help.  The nurses and your doctor will never tell you this. 

If you are prone to cold feet, have your family put some socks on you.

1 comment:

  1. This is right on about waking up! I was scared to death, had no idea where I was and somehow had convinced myself I was fixin' to die. Thankfully, my sister, who's an RN was there and calmed me down a little. I was dreadfully cold in there too. I had the pain pump, and I just about wore the button out pushing it.