Looks like I am still here, and for that I am grateful.
Thursday, December 12, 2013: Surgery Day
“The sun is shining bright this morning,” I tell mom as the cab driver enters the FDR drive. I took a picture of the sun between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. I then posted on Facebook with a good morning message. The responses were fast and very encouraging. Well wishes for a successful surgery, and speedy recovery from friends. I fought back tears. Oddly, I felt calm with occasional nervousness. The sun was my guide. I knew I was in good hands.
“You’re in the wrong building; you need to go to East 63rd between 2nd and 3rd Avenue” the woman at the front desk of ambulatory surgery said to mom and I. “Really? This is where I had my surgery last time,” I replied. The woman checked my appointment, which was at 10:30. It was now 9:20am. She said my doctor was performing the surgery at East 63rd Street as opposed to Lenox Hill Hospital at 77th Street. We proceeded to the 6 train. In walking fast, I tried to keep the crutches from slipping from my hands. The train was crowded but thankfully, the next stop, 68th Street-Hunter College was ours. As we got off, I felt like we were in an episode of America’s Top Model, trying to find the address. We walked in the brisk cold, bypassing oncoming crowds. As we got to the address on East 63rd Street, it was a dentist office. “I think we’re at the wrong place,” mom said. I called my doctor’s office when I was told we had to be on East 64th Street. Thankfully, that was a block away.
“Welcome Ms. Fulton, we’ve been waiting for you,” the woman at the front desk said. “Good morning, we were told to go to Lenox Hill only to be told to come here. But the important thing is we’re here,” I said. The woman was very nice. We went to a room where I needed to be registered; that is where you get that cool ID bracelet for surgery. As a nice man verified my information, my doctor walks in. I signed some forms and off I went.
“You need to take THAT off now!” a nurse yelled at me while putting my things in my assigned locker. The “that” she was referring to was my crucifix I wear around my neck. The way she said it made me emotional. She gestured in a way as if seeing it bothered her. I said okay and took it off putting it in my jacket pocket. The crabby nurse who I overheard say to someone she was “tired,” took my blood pressure. “It’s too high! This is no good!” I wanted to say, “No shit lady!” but I composed myself and looked away. I had my gown on already and was waiting to be called upstairs. When Ms. Crabby left, I read a few prayers from a prayer book and asked God to keep me calm. I put it in my bag in the locker. I tried to do so without Crabby seeing me. As I sat back down, another nurse approached me with mom. When they asked me how I was, I cried. The nurse put her hands on my shoulders and said, “Its okay honey.” I wiped the tears saying, “I can’t, I can’t…my nerves.” I then realized Ms. Crabby was there and she rubbed my back saying, “It’s gonna be alright.” I didn’t want her to touch me, but instead go away. Mom hugged me. The nice nurse comforted me as she escorted mom and I upstairs via elevator. As the doors opened, the nurse said, “This is where everyone wears pajamas, so you’ll feel right at home.” Everyone was in blue scrubs. I smiled. Once seated, nurse said she wanted to take my pressure again. “Think 120 over 80.” I did and my pressure was lower than that. Mom and the nurse were surprised. “Good job! Now you’re all set,” the nurse said happily. Once the IV was in my arm and I met the handsome anesthesiologist (his smile is infectious), it was time to go in for surgery.
“Let me fix that for you,” another nurse said fixing my gown. “We don’t want you exposed,” she said. As the nice nurse and mom headed to the elevator, I looked back at them saying, “Oh we can’t have that, I can’t be scaring people!” We all laughed as I went through the double doors. The operating room looked like a spaceship. Lights everywhere and gadgets, and a narrow table that is intimidating to look at. I got on as a woman and man assisted me. We introduced ourselves. All I remember is mentioning how the room looked like a spaceship, and smelling the man’s cologne. “Oh he smells good,” I said to myself when I fell asleep.
“Ms. Fulton, how are you feeling?” a nurse asked me. Everything was a blur, and I couldn't see her clearly. I said in a low voice, “Hi, I’m okay. Where is my mom?” She said they were sending her up to see me. She then asked about my level of pain. It was around a 6, at which the nurse gave me more medicine. “How are we doing professor?” Mom asks holding my hand. I didn’t realize I fell back to sleep. “Hi Mommy, I’m really happy you’re here.” Several nurses attended to me giving me water, apple juice, and a small apple cinnamon muffin. It was so hard to eat, I felt so nauseous. Eventually, another nurse assisted mom in dressing me, and wanted to show me how to walk using the crutches. After using the restroom, the nurse showed me how to walk with the crutches. That was challenging since I kept falling asleep every few seconds.
“Wake up Dara, I need you to see where you’re walking,” the nurse said sternly. I felt frustrated, because I couldn’t help it. Whatever drug I was on to decrease the pain, it caused wooziness, sleepiness, and drowsiness. I don’t like those feelings. Once finished, I was given a “hip” wheelchair, a wheelchair specifically for hip surgeries. I thanked the nurse and mom for their help, and patience. A car service was called. It was time to go home. My brother helped me upstairs to our home. Luckily, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought. It just hurt. I posted a picture mom took of me in the hospital, and posted on Facebook and Twitter. I wanted my friends to know I was okay, and thank them for their continuous support and love. Their love and encouragement means more to me than they know.
I thank you all.
Sunday, December 22, 2013: the Aftermath
It has been a week since surgery. The first few days were challenging, since I didn’t have my medicine. There was a mix up with my doctor’s office and the pharmacy. I took aspirin. I didn’t get my medicine until Monday. I kept my spirits up by collecting things around the house to recycle, and search crafting ideas for those recycled items. Talking with friends on Facebook and Twitter has been a big help. I appreciate the check-ins, messages, and “get well” wishes. I had made some handmade Christmas cards for friends before surgery. Their surprise made me smile. I received some nice cards as well. I like doing nice things for people. This year is different than last, because I am focusing on those who care about me, and ignoring the rest. I have moved on which is something to smile about. After Tuesday, I became ill and stressed out. My living conditions aren’t the best, which have taken a toll on my family. Dealing with incompetence and ignorance doesn’t make it easier. I haven’t rested well, which plagues my recovery process. I have my nostalgic moments, and feel sad I am not into the holidays this time around. This year hasn’t been a good year. I’m glad it’s ending. I pray for a happier new year 2014.
Today I am pushing through the pain and sadness by doing what comforts me most, writing. I missed it. Tomorrow is my post-surgery doctor’s appointment. I don’t want to go, but I will because I know it’s the right thing to do. All I want now is rest. I hope to get that this week without any more incidents, let us hope.