room(s) with a view


I have used blogging for many things. Today I am using it as a form of pain management – a self distraction tactic. We’ll see if it works.

I had surgery this past Thursday. Not an elective, but rather a must-have-must- get -out -of -the -way kind of a thing.

Like many other hormone-driven breast cancer survivors with either pre-existing gynecological issues or who are BRCA gene positive, I had a full hysterectomy. Sorry to gross out my male readers, but it happened and I hurt. I am bruised and my insides have been augmented and re-arranged.

The Cliff Notes version is I am the BRCA negative, pre-existing gynecological issues variety of this surgery. I also had ovarian cysts and fibroids removed. I had no idea how big those suckers were so my surgery took longer than expected. Once again I don’t get how people undergo elective surgeries because BLECK this is NO fun.

I went back to the hospital of my birth and where I had my breast cancer surgery – Pennsylvania Hospital in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia. My surgeon was amazing but wow the pain is intense at times right now. I have been trying to breath through it, so now I am trying to blog through it. Short puffy breaths while typing sitting up in bed is a challenge (and probably looks funny too!)

It was a hard surgery. Not because of what was happening because it was necessary. What made it particularly hard was two days before my surgery, my mother had open heart surgery. So it has been quite a few days. And I had room switches post surgery a couple of times.

I woke up early Friday morning in a room overlooking Mikveh Israel Cemetery. That is the oldest and very historic Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Some might think it was weird or creepy waking up in a room across the street from a cemetery, but it didn’t bother me. My father, once upon a time was on the board of trustees of that cemetery with a friend of his. So in a weird, fey way, it was actually comforting. And I got to speak with my mother by phone right before and right after my surgery.

My hospital care was amazing and one of my nurses, named Kathleen,was from Coatesville. One thing that happened after my surgery that while some could over-react about , I found darn funny.

I was barely out of recovery and basically post-op gorked out of my mind and just in my first room when a very tall elegant female doctor with the inevitable trailing resident came into see I thought me. She was a neurologist. She introduced herself and asked me if I could tell her about my “episodes” .

HUH? I know my sweet man was calling me zippy longstocking right before they knocked me out for pre-op but recalled nothing else so I asked if something had happened while I was under anesthesia. Then this doctor looked totally confused and picked up my chart.

She was sent to my room, but the wrong bed. She was there to speak to my roommate- who along with the issues that made her wrong for my room post-op also had a very active head cold. They moved her.

What wasn’t amusing and a commentary on healthcare and hospital administration today was the next roommate they gave me: an elderly woman with full blown dementia and a very loud family. When they left, which was sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight, the woman turned on all the room lights on her side and the television. The television was set for the hard of hearing. And then she started to scream and cough. That lasted until the nurses moved me at 2:30 a.m. So waking up in a room with a cemetery view wasn’t such a bad deal, considering.

I came home Friday afternoon. Thanks to the poor design and conditions of PennDOT roads, it was a super long and truly painful ride.

So now I am home with my normal room with a view. It is so peaceful to wake up with my own woods around me in my own bed. Truly, there is no place like home. Now I need to rest, and that is a challenge for me since I am not used to being still.

Me having surgery and my mother improving but still being in the hospital really makes me take stock of my life. I am really lucky. I saw so many others in the hospital who weren’t. My mother came through surgery well but isn’t home yet.

Life has gone on around me while I was taking this surgical time out and I have heard from people who I had to tell I could not really talk to them that I had just had surgery and was a little out of it. I felt bad saying that, but it was the truth.

People being what they are, I have also heard from people who aren’t really my friends regarding my surgery. Some people love hospital tales and medical gore. I don’t get it, but different strokes for different folks.

I sleep a lot right now. But sleep will help me heal. When I sleep it is probably the deepest sleep I have had in years. I dream of my gardens yet to be among other things. I don’t remember most of the rest of it, but I remember the garden stuff for some reason.

I can’t wait to get back into the garden.

My friends and family have been amazing once again through this, I am blessed. I have also felt the love and support of my mother’s closest and oldest friends this time around. You know that book Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood? These are my mother’s Ya Yas. What a truly divine bunch of ladies. It’s like they rallied for me and my mother to buoy us through. Having a post surgical step-parent isn’t fun for kids so special kudos should be given to my step-son. It’s not cool to say a teenage boy is sweet and considerate but he is all that and more.

So guess what? I am sleepy again and the pain I was feeling has abated. So I guess blogging as pain distraction/management works!

What else? Can you believe it is supposed to snow tomorrow? Enough already, right?

And does anyone watch The Good Wife on CBS? If so what about that episode last night? Quite the emotional plot twist, eh?

TTFN faithful readers and thanks for stopping by.