Friday, June 3, 2011

Another saga

This is the first time in days that I've felt like writing, and even though I feel better, it still hurts to talk.

My tongue surgery Tuesday went well, and I felt a little out of it, but mostly OK on Wednesday. Yesterday, I woke up vomiting and with a terrible headache and pain in my very swollen tongue. My throat also hurt; the doctor had inserted a scope to look around (she told Diane that everything looked fine.)

I figured out that the vomiting came from the anesthesia and the Percoset (Oxycodone plus Tyelenol, well actually Roxicet, the liquid form). I went to the high end of the dosing – never above – but it was probably too much to take on an empty stomach. I couldn't keep even a sip of water down, so I checked with Melissa and she said that I was probably dehydrated and should go to the ER. Joe got ready to take me.

Joe said that since he frequently takes me to the hospital right after he gets home, I'm probably allergic to him and should in the future take an allergy pill. At least he got me to laugh when we were leaving the house.

We waited in the ER at Baystate Medical Center for about two hours when I finally got taken in and began getting the first two bags of IV fluids. Joe then had to leave, and Katie took over. I got Morphine for the pain intravenously plus Zofran for nausea. They said to make sure I kept drinking when I got home, which ended up being around 9:30 p.m.

Then I started to itch. I remembered that as a reaction to Morphine, so I took an allergy pill. By 11 p.m., I was happily watching The Daily Show.

But when I woke up this morning, I felt like I had been hit by the proverbial Mac Truck. My heart was racing, and I was in a lot of pain. I used my handy blood pressure cuff to take my bp: It was 144/94 – high. I took 50 mg. of Atenelol, my usual dose of bp medicine, and drifted back to sleep. When I checked again, I felt lightheaded, and here is why: It was low, at 89/62.

I asked Joe to put on water for coffee, got a drink, and called Melissa. She said it made sense to have taken my usual amount of Atenelol, but because I hadn't taken any for two days, my body was probably hyper-sensitive to it, and that tomorrow I should take half.

She also said to take the anti-nausea medication an hour before the Percoset and to drink plenty of water and try to eat a little something. That worked well.

There were, as there are for many things, several bright spots.

The first, as all of who have dealt with cancer always notice, is the fact that it had nothing to do with leukemia. Well, the tongue dysplasia was a byproduct of having my immune system manipulated so often, but once I got over the initial concern, I realized that it's nothing major.

Second, the kids were great.

Third, the Boston stay began in a festive mood with a lovely cookout at Margaret's for her birthday, out on the deck overlooking their big lawn and gardens surrounded by woods. The peach pie was out of this world.

And last was a small act of medical kindness on the part of the young anesthesiologist who prepped me for the surgery. Instead of sticking an IV in directly as most do, he gave me a tiny injection of numbing medicine before putting in the IV. Wow. Did that make a difference. I thanked him and told him that I don't usually get IVs that way. And he said something that makes sense. "The IV is really the only part of surgery that you remember, so it might as well be a good memory."

And it was true. As they wheeled me out, they inserted a dose of "happy medicine," and I don't remember anything after that.

Obviously it is not time-effective (or, I'm sure, cost-effective) to give that little bit of extra anesthesia all the time before putting in an IV. Most slip in without too much trouble, but with quite a few, they have to nudge it around before hitting the right spot, or, even worse, they miss the vein and have to stick you again.

So, I have survived. Today I never left the house. I made stewed fruit that reminded me of the days after transplant when I couldn't eat fresh fruit. My mother used to make it for me. Katie says she likes it too: another bright spot.


Nelle said...

Ronni, What an ordeal! I remeember when I was having my heart surgery they wanted to put in two ivs: a regular one and one that is in the artery showing your blood oxygen level and I asked the anesthesiologist as a courtesy to give me something to relax me first and he did so I never felt either. What a relief as the IV was put in my neck having several ports in it. Glad all the issues you had were able to be addressed and fixed. Melissa sounds wonderful. Glad it's over with and hoping for less excitement for you...well THAT kind anyway. Hope you can really enjoy the summer.

Ann said...

It sounds like you've had a rough couple of days. I hope your tongue heals quickly so you can stop taking the pain meds. They make me ill every single time. Hugs.

Cansirboi said...

Glad to hear you are pulling through and coming back to "normal" whatever that means for a cancer patient. Well, happy thoughts coming your way!

PJ said...

Come visit me!

Elayne said...

Hey Ronni,
Glad things are better after all that. Never any fun but nice to find the happy moments even in the trying times. Hope your recovery is quick!