1 degree of madness

20 Jul

This recovery has not gone well at all.

The surgeon told my husband and mother in the hospital (while I was in post-op recovery) that the surgery went “perfectly” — it only took 30 minutes versus 90 and I lost no blood.

When I woke in recovery, I felt awful and dizzy and nauseated. They moved me to a cube where my husband and mother were waiting, but I couldn’t open my eyes and there was some kind of goo all over my face (forehead, cheeks, nose–which later I was told was from the tape from the breathing tube, but I didn’t have that issue last time). I was so dizzy that I couldn’t open my eyes. I hurt all over. I stayed in the hospital longer this time than the last time. They took me into surgery early (like 8:30am) but we didn’t leave until 5pm. That was over an hour more in recovery this time.

On the way out, the nurse handed over prescriptions. We were both horrified to see the surgeon was sending me home with injectable blood thinner. I had to inject myself in the stomach once a day subQ for fourteen days. I HATE NEEDLES and Hub is so terrified of needles that when he has to have his blood taken for testing, he has to go to a specific lab that has a gurney because he has to lay down because he has passed out in the past. Hub tried to get the injections from the hospital pharmacy so the nurse could demonstrate the first injection, but when he got there they were closing. FUCK.

So we came home and he went back out to put the prescriptions in. The prescription said to start the shot the next day, so I tried desperately to ignore the thought. First night, Hub helped me clean the area with alcohol and I gave myself a shot while he was looking in the other direction. The shit burns…for like 20 minutes afterward. It’s bad. I hate it. I have four more to go.

Saturday night I went to give myself a second shot, but I was really cold. But my face was so hot. So I gave myself the shot, Hub gave me an ice pack for my face, and then he put a blanket over me because I was shivering uncontrollably. And then I had a full-on anxiety attack. I was lying prone on the bed, head covered with the ice pack and a towel, body covered with a blanket, feet up on a pillow, crying and shivering and it was terrible. TERRIBLE. Overnight that night, I was SO HOT. I was sure it was from the surgical menopause. I didn’t sleep, I sat up all night feeling hot and sweaty and miserable. The next day, Sunday, I was pretty miserable. I was able to do my shot that night without another anxiety attack, but I was so hot all the time. I finally started taking my temperature when I couldn’t sleep again. I have 3 thermometers… two oral and an ear one. Two of them were new because I thought my old thermometer wasn’t working right so before this surgery I ordered a new oral and decided to try the ear one. By 1am, all three were reading 101 or over. The surgeon said if I had fever over 101 to seek attention. I woke Hub and we had a long conversation about what to do…ER, walk-in clinic, wait for the morning. He HATES the ER because no matter when we’ve gone, it’s always been mobbed and we end up having to wait forever to get out of the waiting room. It’s a terrible process there…they always seem overcrowded and understaffed. Our choices were limited and I was so freaked out about the fever, that we headed out, leaving the dogs alone in the house because I didn’t want to wake my parents and scare them if we could get in and out at the walk-in clinic. So at 1am Monday morning we headed out, but the walk-in clinic was locked up and closed down, even though the hours showed them as being open.

So at 1:50am, I checked in at our local ER. My temperature on their unit was 100.8 and my pulse was high. I felt like I was burning up. The triage nurse offered me ibuprofen or tylenol but I said no because I had just seen the terrible new report on NSAIDs and heart issues (also the reason why I’ve taken NO pain killers after this surgery). So we sat in the ER while I was hot and cold, waiting for someone to call my name. They took me back for blood and urine and an IV, then sent me back to the waiting room. By about 4:30am, when the triage nurse came to take my temp again and it showed 101.3, I took the tylenol. It was another hour plus before they took us back to a cube. The nurse came in about half an hour later and took my vitals again…the fever went down somewhat and my BP was low. About twenty minutes later, the PA came in and said my bloodwork indicated an infection…probably a UTI. She did a physical, then decided to send me for a CT (with IV contrast) to make sure I had no abscesses from the surgery. Went for CT after giving more pee for a culture (which the next day came back inconclusive), then waited around for IV antibiotics. CT was negative, so they gave me the IV antibiotics and by 8:30am they sent us home with a week of oral antibiotics. Hub and I both went home and straight to bed. He slept

For two days I suffered with the fever, taking tylenol every six hours to keep it below 100 degrees. I’ve never had a UTI before, so I had no idea about the symptoms, even though the PA asked me and the surgeon’s office asked me (when I called to report in Monday afternoon). I thought I was just recovering from surgery and the pain was from that. I thought the fever I had was just hot flashes and night sweats. I just had no idea.

Did I mention also that my baby tooth and the surrounding gum has been irritated since surgery? Even though I told them about the tooth, I think he bonked it. And I don’t have the energy (or the immunity & stamina) to go to the dentist and have them rip it out. Plus, I’m on blood thinners, still, so I suspect going in to have the tooth removed right now is probably not a good idea.

I’ve been SO tired during all this. I assume it’s not just the (second) surgery, but also recovering from the infection. And also the antibiotics are making me nauseated 24/7. I get out of bed and within an hour or two, I can barely keep my eyes open. Then the rest of the day I’m struggling between trying to rest and being exhausted. I am not moving around nearly as much as I did after the first surgery, so despite the fact that I DESPISE the injectable blood thinner, at least it has helped my anxiety somewhat about the blood clots.

I’m also struggling from nightmares about the cancer and tomorrow’s follow-up appointment with the surgeon. I know he’ll have the pathology report, which will set me forward to the next step in this journey. At the very least, I made it through yesterday (Sunday) without a telephone call from him (which is how I heard about the cancer initially, with a phone call from him on a Sunday during lunchtime). It was harder than I thought to go through the day yesterday, as every time the phone rang, I was sure it was going to be the surgeon with bad news…

It has amazed me at how I could tell the different between 98.6 on my thermometer and 99.1. I can feel the heat start, I can feel the chills start. It’s not even a full degree difference, and yet I could tell when it was time to check my temp and take more tylenol. It’s the same with the house thermostat…there’s a major difference for me with 1 degree whether it’s the heat or the a/c. Is everyone else so sensitive? (this was the reason behind the title of the blog post, so I figured I’d better explain the non-sequitur.)


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4 responses to “1 degree of madness

  1. joey

    July 20, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Good gravy, I’m glad that surgery’s over!
    I’m so sorry for your infection. That’s how I like to do, have a common surgery that goes well and end up fighting infection, but I’m late to notice the infection, because I generally feel badly, so how would I know I’m infected? If only we ever encountered doctors who had shared these experiences.
    And the shots!?!? NO WAY! Seriously! I’m totally dying about you having to give yourself shots! That’s high on my list of fears, my epi-pen. And you still have FOUR to go?!? OMG. If it helps ease your mind about the clots, then I suppose there is that…
    Can you imagine what a shock to your system it is to have such a drastic hormonal change?
    I’d think it was night sweats, too. I really would. I run low fevers at night sometimes, because of joint flares, and I get cold and achy.
    I am extremely familiar with the UTI. UTI’s are one of my favorite infections to get, lol — and I never feel them coming on, I just wake up and it’s on! Of course, I’m so sensitive…
    I hope your next post has a lot of “normal” feelings in it. Hugs to you. You really are handling it well. Rest as much as you’re able. Big shock, big trauma to your body.

    • meANXIETYme

      July 20, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Yeah, I just had no idea that this was not a normal after-surgery recovery. I’m a little worried that the antibiotics aren’t going to get rid of the UTI. I’ve heard people say it’s hard to get over a UTI and the thought of doing another set of ABs …ugh.
      We really thought the shots we were getting were going to be like the epi-pen or diabetic shots. But no, they’re not a pen, they’re a shot with a plunger and everything. OMG, it’s just terrible. I’m actually shocked I’m not having an anxiety attack every night. I’ve been so lucky that Hub helps me clean the injection site beforehand, then stays with me in bed for a while after. He’s been amazing through all this shit. I could never have imagined having to do these shots, but honestly asking someone else to do it for me was harder. So I’m sucking it up and doing it myself. It’s hard enough for me to see Hub stay with me during since his needle phobia is so bad.
      I am having trouble with the thoughts of what the surgical menopause is going to bring. At this point, I’m still cold a lot, with swings to hot. It’s like in two seconds I’ll have moved the covers over me, off me, over me, off me. WTF. I have had some sweats, but I think most of that was the fever. I suspect because of my weight, my body is still using up stored estrogen, so I expect more SM symptoms to show up later.
      I am so heat intolerant, we generally keep the house like a refrigerator…plus I wear tank tops all the time. Same in the winter. So this whole thing of being cold and getting chills is new for me. I don’t hate it, but it’s better than being hot. The downside is, the cold/chills pretty much are always accompanied by the “warms”.
      Do you have trouble getting rid of UTIs? Do you have to do multiple courses of ABs to get rid of them?
      I am suspicious that I actually got this UTI because the surgeon looked all up in my bladder during surgery (or so says the hospital files). I didn’t know he was going to and he hasn’t said it, but the procedure is there on my record. I know he didn’t do that during the first surgery, so I really think that’s what caused the UTI.
      Tomorrow is the follow-up appointment with the surgeon. I’m not thinking too far beyond that at the moment. That, and trying to stay hydrated and move around.

      • joey

        July 20, 2015 at 1:58 pm

        It’s more likely that you got the UTI from a catheter, or from holding your urine too long. I used to get them a lot when I worked, waiting too long to pee. I get mine from intercourse. I wish I was kidding, but if we go a few weeks between, my body is all “What’s this bacteria?!?” Which is why I used to get one with every single new partner. Since monogamy, I’ve gotten them after every baby, after every surgery, after every time he trained or deployed. Now I just get them when we go too long. lol
        No, I’ve never had trouble getting rid of them, ever. They always subside within 3 days, and then I just finish the meds. I did have ongoing spasms once, and the dr gave me some anti-spasmodics, which worked great. You should drink water, of course. But cranberry juice (or Azo pills) keep the bacteria from clinging to the sides of your bladder and make it less painful. Additionally, while you’re inflamed, don’t consume alcohol or spicy foods.
        I feel so bad for you about the shots. The Mister can totally give shots, so so far, I’ve been lucky. Really sorry about that.
        I agree, I’d rather be cold than hot, but either way, it’s a bitch.

      • meANXIETYme

        July 20, 2015 at 3:43 pm

        I’ve been trying to drink but I’m so bad at it. I’m one of those people who could go a whole day only drinking 12oz of water. But I do like cranberry juice (just not the ton of sugar in juice), so that’s okay. 🙂
        I don’t do alcohol or spicy food at this point in my life, so that’s a given for me. But again, other than the fever, I have no idea which UTI symptoms I had or didn’t have. There’s so much going on that I have no idea what pain belongs to what.
        Glad to know you don’t have trouble getting over the UTIs, but sucks to hear you get them so often. I hope this is the end of them for me!
        Yes, cold is way better than hot. I always have a blanket or sweater around, but I can only get so naked…


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