6 am, Friday September 9th, 2016. Day 2 in the hospital following my brain surgery the day before.
Things were bustling as soon as I got back from my early morning MRI. After literally choking down my meds, the medical teams started trickling in. First up was the group of baby neurosurgeons (meaning, those too junior to round with the staff.) Probably led by a third year, seeing as how it’s a seven year residency. They asked all the usual questions. (What’s your name? Where are you? What month and year is it? Who’s the president? Bright light in your eyes. Follow my finger with your eyes. Pull me towards you. Push me away. Wiggle your toes. Lift up the left leg. Lift up the right leg. Can you feel this here? How about here? Evenly on both sides? Hold out your arms and close your eyes. Any drainage from your nose like a leaky faucet? Any salty or metallic taste? Any blurry or double vision? How many fingers am I holding up?) I answered all of those questions and did all of those things at least a dozen times that day.
After the junior neurosurgery team came the junior ENT team. (Any drainage from your nose like a leaky faucet? Any salty or metallic taste? Any blurry or double vision? How many fingers am I holding up?) They also looked up my nose with a flashlight and looked in the back of my throat, where they could see the bloody drainage that was constantly trickling. Delicious. After the junior ENT team came the neurosurgeon’s PA. After her came the ENT senior. At least everyone seemed satisfied with my answers to their questions and their physical exams.
David arrived shortly thereafter, as did my breakfast. This was my first real attempt at food since my surgery. All I ate were the Cheerios, though, although I saved the orange juice for later. Not that it mattered because I couldn’t even remotely taste or smell anything, which is an odd sensation to get used to (especially when it’s prolonged in duration past what you would normally experience with your average cold.)
Shortly after breakfast, Dr. Sindwani stopped by with the senior resident. He was very pleased with my progress and definitely thought discharge could be moved up to Saturday, since I wasn’t having any of the post-op issues they were expecting so far. Yay! When Dr. Recinos stopped by, he agreed. He brought the before and after images of my MRI which demonstrated complete tumor removal. He said the preliminary pathology was actually not showing tissue consistent with a prolactinoma, but that could be either due to a pathology error or the whole tumor could have been sucked up into the aspirator so there wasn’t anything to really sample. But he said the best thing was that my prolactin level had dropped to 2 overnight, which is normal! So in this case, the labs are actually more important than the pathology. So Mini is indeed gone! Oh happy day!
I spent the next several hours essentially normalizing a little bit. My nurse removed my Foley, so I was actually allowed to get out of bed for the first time around lunchtime. The PCNA helped me walk to the bathroom and I got myself cleaned up a bit. As soon as I got back, I had lunch and more coworkers visiting. I also got my first heparin shot; the nurse did it in my thigh because I don’t have a whole lot of fat anywhere else. Man, those suckers burn! And I’m sporting some pretty impressive bruises from the total of three shots I got throughout my stay. My poor legs.
The afternoon was full of more visitors (more coworkers and one of my endo sisters who also works at the hospital; this was our first time meeting in person and I’m so glad she stopped by!) Then in the afternoon, I finally got transferred to the regular neuro floor, which was literally just down the hall, so I just walked to my new room instead of being wheeled. My roommate was a very pleasant lady in her 70s who had just had back surgery. She and her husband were the cutest old couple. So at least I got a decent roommate.
I spent the remainder of the evening just resting. Dinner was tolerable, although literally tasteless of course. I was thinking of trying to read a little, but I was so exhausted from having not slept at all that I couldn’t focus. I had some more coworkers visit in the early evening, which was a nice distraction for a little bit. The unfortunate problem I ran into was that I couldn’t sleep that night either, even with a dose of Ambien that I asked for. I kept having to pee every hour, which prompted getting blood drawn three times during the night to check to see if I was developing diabetes insipidus. My sodium level did go up from Friday morning’s level but it remained at a steady 142 through all three blood draws, so I ended up being ok. Whew!
Just as I was thinking I was about to drift off to sleep, my roommate’s husband arrived back at the hospital at 6 am. Oh well. Soon enough, the medical teams were coming by for morning rounds. Since it was a Saturday, just one team each from ENT and neurosurgery came by, and they actually showed up at almost the same time. Both said I was cleared for discharge! Thank goodness, because I was going stir crazy (not to mention probably almost literally crazy from lack of sleep for more than 54 hours by this point). I asked them about when I would be discharged so I could tell David when he needed to be there by. They said they’d finish rounding in an hour and would then work on my discharge papers, so probably about 2 hours. Awesome.
But of course, in usual hospital fashion, one hour to finish rounding turned into four hours. Then half an hour to write the discharge papers turned into an hour. Then, once my nurse had gone through the 13-page novella that made up my discharge papers, the ten-minute wait for transport turned into twenty. I was so ready to just walk out the door myself when transport showed up and I finally got out of there around 12:30 pm! I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to leave the hospital as I was at that moment!
A successful surgery. No complications, at least so far. Recovery hasn’t been a blast by a long shot, but it is what it is. So, I survived. Or, as my shirt says in the picture above (in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day, which was Saturday)…and so I kept living.