Monday, November 8, 2010

Things I don't want to repeat

Well, hello there!

I'm not going to lie to you, it feels good to be back.  What's more, it feels good to be back and to be better than the last time I posted.

In case you're new here, on the 28th of October, I had open surgery performed on me to get a grapefruit sized uterine fibroid removed.

Can I just say that I never want to go through that again?  Okay then.

My mom, when asked how I was doing, said it best I believe: Anne had the fibroid removed.  The great news is that the surgery went well and it wasn't cancerous.  That is most important.  But having said that?  Boy does she have bad luck.

For the record?  That last sentence pretty much sums up many parts of my life.

What could be so bad you ask?  Well, we're all friends here, so here's a list:

1) The urine catheter that they put in during surgery somehow managed to move positions during my first night in the hospital.  The balloon blocked the orifice out of my bladder - which meant that my bladder filled up and then became overly filled... let's just say that after a dose of Dilodid and a deep sleep, I woke up in immense amounts of pain at my over-filled bladder (which was undoubtedly pushing on my recently beaten up uterus).  Since I've never had that sensation before, I didn't know hot to describe it to my nurse other than "Ohmigosh I think my bladder is going to explode" and she was all "Nope.  You have a catheter silly.  Just go back to sleep."  Then she fiddled with the hose of the catheter and it blissfully started draining again.  First night horror?  Check.

2) Upon returning home, I realized that this burning feeling on the right side of my abdomen felt like someone was ripping me apart every time I moved.  Those were lessened greatly by the removal of my stitches, but for the first few days, I actually wondered how I was ever going to heal when I never wanted to get out of bed for fear of the pain.

3) Went to see the doctor to remove the staples.  He said I had a yeast infection at the site...the site being the crease of my dunlap.  You know, where my pooch of fat "done laps" over my my lower abdomen.  Seeing as how my pooch is so plentiful, it's a great crease that bacteria loves to grow... which is fun.  Basically, not a huge deal - I've just had to slather green gel on my incision line to knock out the infection.  It stings, but it's not too big of a deal.  Unless you count the cost of it.  $184.99.  I'm NOT kidding.  The pharmacist had to order it specially for me and she was insistent that I pay the full amount.  An argument with her and her manager later, and we found that she didn't actually attribute my insurance savings to it.  Heart attack?  Check.

4) So after my last post, where I was all, "Hey, I'm wiped - I'm going to go and take a nap!" I did indeed take a few hour nap.  Then something very strange started happening.  I was bleeding out my urethra.  Oops...probably should've warned someone that that was coming.  It FREAKED me out to say the least.  Only it was after 6 PM.  The GYN office was closed and I'm several blocks away from the nearest After Hours Medical place.  I freaked out more. 

Sobbing, I called Joe who said he would leave work right away and then take the train home...putting his ETA at NO WHERE NEAR EARLY ENOUGH.  In a panic, I called my dad (who is a retired doctor) and told him my story.  His reaction? "Calm down and call the answering service at your doctor's office.  Someone should be on call.  Have them call in a urinary tract infection medication."  Oh.  I did, and the doc on call called me back.  He told me to coat my urethra and clitoris in Vaseline (OH NO.  I'M NOT KIDDING) and then go and pick up the script that he was going to call into my local pharmacy.  I did exactly what he asked and here are my tips to you:

  • If you get done with surgery, your doctor's office has a doctor that is on call.  You can call him free of charge.  And if he can diagnose you over the phone, you just saved a co-pay and a trip to the hospital.  This was huge for me as I had no idea this could even happen.  My doc's office just said at the end of their "our office is closed" message that if I wanted to be transferred to the answering service to press 2.  I had no idea that this service was offered.  
  • Coating parts of your lady bits with Vaseline feels naughty.  But it does soothe.
  • When you're near hysterical with pain and worry, don't worry about walking to a pharmacy in downtown Denver.  Your mutterings, clutching of your abdomen and shuffling around in fuzzy-lined Crocs and sweatpants blend right in.  In fact, I was offered a promotional CD by a budding rapper on my return trip to my building. 
In the end, I had to have a second round of antibiotics called in just to be sure.  This whatever-the-hell-it-is didn't cause burning while peeing, so my doc thinks that I could've passed a blod clot from my bladder that was caused by the catheter mishap.  Yeah.  I gasped too.

5) So it's Wednesday and I'm in pain in my bed and my phone rings.  Knowing it's my case manager for the short term disability company, I put on my big girl pad and answer the phone.  "Great news!  You're claim has been approved through November 24th.  Please report back to work then."  WHAT?  I thought I was getting six weeks off for the disability - that's what my doctor approved!  I thought of the vast amounts of pain I was still in and just started crying.   I didn't know what to do.  The case manager wasn't helpful...she stated that 4 weeks was all they were going to pay.  When I asked what would happen if my doctor said that I couldn't go back then, she said that they would deny that portion of the claim and if my doctor wanted to fight it, he would have to go before a board and blahblahblahblahblah.

Feeling completely overwhelmed, I called Joe and it went straight to voicemail.  I called my mom, who said that the battery was dying on her phone and could I please call her on her work phone - the number being 915- CLICK...her phone went dead.  I called my sisters for my mom's number and they didn't answer.

Y'all, I was about to lose it.  I didn't know my way around the disability claims.  All I knew is that walking to Walgreen's (a block away) to get my prescription took it completely out of me.  Hell, showering takes it out of me.  And she wanted me to go back to work in three weeks time?  To quote Whitney Houston, HELL TO THE NO!

So I called our receptionist at work.  The busy body, unfriendly, puffed up receptionist who resembles (in intonation, looks, and humor capability) Roz from Monsters Inc.  And folks, I LOST MY SHIZZLE.  I started crying so hard I was hiccuping and GASPING for breath.  She started saying loudly into the earpiece "Anne (and then my last name)!  You need to calm down right now.  You're only hurting yourself more.  STOP CRYING!"  Soothing, no?  And, seeing as how our office has her and 8 other co-workers, I'm pretty sure every one of them heard.  Mortifying, yes?  Nothing says "I'm ready for that raise, Mr. Boss." as calling up your workplace sobbing.  I cried even harder because I knew that this was not working out the way I had intended.

She started telling me how I needed to get a handle on my emotions and that I should go and get a big glass of milk, light a candle, and put some relaxing music on.  I'm not sure if she thought that I was calling about how to coat my lady bits in Vaseline or not, but let's just say that 1) I can't get out of bed because I'm hurting so badly and 2) if I DID manger to get out of bed, I'm lactose intolerant...so a big glass of milk would likely make things a whole lotta' worse and 3) I already passed on the budding rapper's entry CD...what was I going to listen to at a time like this?

I eventually stopped crying long enough (but the gasps and weird noises that follow a significant crying jag interrupted me often) to explain my problem and to ask what she had done to get two sets of 16 weeks off at time the previous year.  She explained that our company won't let you back to work if the doctor doesn't sign off on you being able to come back to work - it's a liability issue.  And that's when it became clear to me that the case worker from the disability company isn't my advocate or someone to help teach me the process.  She's the Anti-Christ whose company doesn't want to pay for my disability a moment longer than they can get away with.  I felt stupid and drained - and I hung up the phone and slept for 4 hours.

Here's where I'd like to let you know a little known fact.  My mom told it to me before she left (i.e. before this incident): After surgery where you're going under anesthesia, you will, at some point during that week, cry a lot for no reason at all.  It's one of the ways the body gets rid of the anesthesia for good - and it's completely normal.  When I hung up with the receptionist, I remembered her words and felt even stupider for not heeding them.  So tuck that gem in your back pocket for future use, will you?

6) All these pain meds I'd been taking has a slowing-down-type effect when it comes to your bowel movements.  As in they slow down to a stop.  Since "straining" doesn't pair well with a healing abdomen, the medical staff encouraged me to take stool softeners at night and in the morning.  Know what that did to my body?  Nothing.  That's right.  I was impacted.  I'll save you the details, but let's just say that another trip to Walgreens cured it and That Which Shall Not Be Mentioned is the new title for this line item.

It's been one hell of a week.  I'm feeling MUCH better now (in all senses of the word) and have many new blog post ideas that have been thinking about.

I'm glad to be back.  I'm still having pain and weird sensations (not Vaseline related thankyouverymuch) that I'll talk to my doctor about at our two week post-op appointment on Wednesday.  And at that appointment, I'll talk to my doctor about how he handles the insurance companies trying to hurry us back to work.  But for now?  I'm better.

After the week and a half I've had, I'll take it.

18 Comments:

Karen said...

Oh Anne! I am so sorry you went through all that. But you sure have kept your sense of humor:) Here's to a speedy recovery with no more excitement.

turleybenson said...

ho
ly
crap.

Anne H said...

Wow - what a story!
Get well better faster!

How I'm Losing It said...

I think turley summed it up. Holy Crap!! No pun intended! SO sorry that you had to go thru all that. A couple things I've learned: disability companies suck. Doctors don't give you enough information, you have to squeeze it out of them. You have to be your own advocate, above all. And yep, anesthesia WILL wreak havoc on your system. Drinks lots of cranberry juice, NOT milk!
Glad that you are on the up-swing!

Jams said...

Wowser! I'm glad you're back and on your way to recovery. Hopefully with no more bad luck.

Gina said...

WOW! That's more than unfortunate. I also wish you a speedy recovery & good luck battling the case manager for your well deserved healing time. Best part of the post for me....a quote from Whitney. Girl you make tragedy still comedic. Rock On!

Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

Oh My Lord! I cringed while reading the whole thing!

You've had a rough go of it, that's for sure. Good grief.

Make no mistake - insurance companies are in the business if collecting your premiums, NOT paying out claims...they will try whatever they can NOT to pay. That is the caseworker's job...to pay out as little as possible, and she probably gets an incentive or bonus to make you go away as fast as possible...

You will get better, though, all pieces intact. If you have your *ahem* bathroom problem again, try boiling some dates, dried apricots, and prunes together...when it cools, it's sort of like jam. Eat a few tablespoons of that every day, and the "problem" should correct itself. (I had to take extra iron all the while I was pregnant...not good for your bowels.)

Hope things are starting to turn around for you!!! Get better soon

Debbie xo

Mrs. Happy Pants said...

Oh, baby doll, that sounds so beyond sucky! But I'm glad you're feeling better and things can only go upward.
XOXO
Shorter Other Pants.

How I'm Losing It said...

I tagged you here!

http://how-i-am-losing-it.blogspot.com/2010/11/tag-im-it-now-you-are-too.html

Have fun!

The Incredible Shrinking Woman said...

I need to apologize. I was laughing my head off the whole time I was reading this. I'm very very sorry for all you have gone through (and it's quite a list!) but when you are all better and your naughty bits are vaseline free, you will come back to this post and wonder how you didn't pop a stich writing this!
I will echo the sentiment that I'm glad you have kept your sense of humor. Speedy recovery, sweets!

Rachel said...

Okay, I know maybe I wasn't supposed to laugh, but I found myself LOL. Girl you are SUPER FREAKING WOMAN for going through all that. I am so glad you are feeling better. Hurry up and get back to 100% soon!

Lily Fluffbottom said...

Thats one heck of a time you've had. Glad you're still around to tell it. Sounds like you might need a bit more relaxing. I hope your recovery is speedy but you get off as much time as possible from work.

Lanie Painie said...

For Yoda's sake woman! You had Valdemort up your ass, the Deficit up your ooh-ha-ha, and blood clots coming your your bladder, who WOULDN'T cry!

I don't think you are quite ready to be on your own all day yet. Talk about trauma!

Eat lots and lots of fruit - no less than 5 servings a day. Report the number to Patrick @ Responsibility 199. No more You-know-who impacted in your you-know-where.

Jen said...

Anne, I can tell by your writing that you are doing some better but WOW!! You really had a hell of a time!! I think it's very normal to have an emotional melt down with all you've been through! I hope you get the disability all straighten out. Dealing with those types of businesses is such a pain!!

I hope you continue to rest and heal! It's so good to get an update from you.

Rest and relax!!

Jen

Auntie Mandy said...

Five servings is fine, but not NINE!

Mind Over Fatter said...

Hey that's a heap of crap, feel very bad for what you've been through... Glad it's all in the past and you're back with us!

Kris said...

It's o.k. that this made me laugh, right?
To you Sweet Anne xoxo!

kristi said...

Oh my gosh! I feel so bad! I will now feel a pang of guilt every time I get up from bed pain-free or have a bowel movement. Anne, hang in there... what an awful week for sure, but it has to get better from here! Right? RIGHT?