This was written about a month after the surgery to remove a ruptured ectopic pregnancy back in may of 2010....
I've tried and failed to write about this for the better part of a month now.
I've even managed to get up an - extremely - shortened/highlights reel version of what went down.
I had ordered a copy of my medical chart and the notes/chart/whatever the fuck they call it where the Doctors wrote down what happened during my surgery. I thought maybe if I could see it all laid out, nice and neat, in black and white (hell, the thing even had page numbers) that it would all fall into place and make sense. What a bunch of crap. Well, anyway, the thing finally arrived at moms house yesterday, but since I don't have the money/gasoline to drive out to get it, I had her read it for me over the phone. She was....well,....reluctant to do it. She kept saying that it would be better if I just waited until I could come look it over, but I pushed and she caved... Didn't know at the time WHY she didn't want to do this over the phone....
....I guess she must have skipped ahead to the end.
But before any of that will make sense to anyone else, allow me explain the events that led up to this colossal steaming pile of fucked-up that's currently festering in my brain....
May 17: Around 4pm.
I noticed I was bleeding again.
Not a lot, not even enough for a tampon. My underwear was a little pink. That was it, but I was still a little worried. Two weeks before I'd had about two and a half days of bleeding, like a sort of half period, with intense cramps. I'd been pretty freaked out, but every doctor I talked to said it didn't sound like cause for concern...I was still early on and light bleeding was normal. Nothing to worry about, wait until your appointment next month...etc....
I called mom and asked her if she would drive me to BAMC, just to get checked out. Just for a little piece of mind. It was probably nothing, but over the past month and a half I'd read so many articles and books about the things that could, one in 2 billion people sort of chances, go wrong I was panicking over anything and everything. It was probably nothing, right?
So I went in. They had me pee in a cup (big surprise, apparently the past time of choice when you're pregnant is to pee on, or in things and when you're not doing that you're either thinking or saying you have to pee or wondering if there's something wrong because you don't.) and drew blood for a rainbow test, so called because there are eight vials each with a different color lid to show what test is what. It took the the nurse two tries, one on each side to find a vein. They also took my history, and family history, heart rate, oxygen level, and pulse.
Having completed triage by 5pm I sat down to wait....
BAMC is a military hospital, like most hospital ER's the more serious your case, the faster you get in. I knew I was pretty low on the totem pole so I grabbed a magazine and settled in. What differs in military hospitals is that if you're next in line (a non emergency) and someone in uniform (a.k.a. Active duty member) walks in, it doesn't matter if it's a splinter in is big toe, active duty in uniform are bumped to the front. Obviously. I'm actually okay with this seeing as how they're the ones putting their ass on the line and all that.....waiting.
9 pm rolls around. Justin has taken over waiting with me and mom's gone home. I've started to notice that NO ONE not even the folks in uniform are being taken to the back. For those of you who've never been there, let me say : That's not normal. The nurse on duty tells me that because I'm pregnant I have to wait for the OB/Gyn room to open up....I go back to waiting.
10:30pm. The waiting room is full. Not crowded, not backed up, FULL. I'm starting to get mad. I inform the nurse (a smart ass 20 year old who doesn't seem to take anyone in the fucking room seriously) that I don't care if they have to do a pelvic exam in the middle of the floor. I don't care what room they put me, just tell me my baby is okay so I can go home. I see an older nurse, a guy with gray hair and a nice smile (not nearly as tempting to rack repeatedly as the asshole I'm currently speaking to) by the doors to the actual ER. I ask him what the heck is going on, why aren't they admitting people and he says in a quiet voice that there's a flight of burn patients on their way from Iraq...all beds reserved.....It would be another couple of hours before I had even a chance of getting seen.....
It's pretty much ver-boden for them to actually tell you should leave the ER. It opens them up for malpractice suits and such.
I tell him why I'm here, what my symptoms are, and I ask him "If I was your daughter, standing here, would you tell me to go somewhere else to get treated or to go home?" He looks at me funny for a minute, finally, "yes...I would say go somewhere else."
I tell him thanks, take my name off the rolls and Justin and I leave for Wilford Hall.
We drive 90 the whole way there, like maybe if we're fast enough we can outrun whatever it is that's going wrong.......
We sign in at Wilford Hall around 11:20pm, they do the usual vital signs and according to my charts, the people at BAMC processed the labs they took and posted them so I shouldn't need to have any more blood drawn. I sigh in relief (I'm a fucking nightmare to stick....) We wait for an hour and then I'm admitted. No one has yet put a name to what might or might not be wrong. They hook me up to the vital monitor and my nurse explains that they want to do an ultrasound to check on the baby. I practically pour the gel on my own stomach in anticipation. Somehow I know that seeing the heartbeat, fast and tiny though it would undoubtedly be, would make everything okay again.
I lay still, ignoring how much the ultrasound probe tickles, and crane my neck to try to get a look at the screen, I'm the daughter of a top notch X-ray tech, and I've been around hospitals all my life, I figure I can recognize a heart beat on screen when I see one....but I don't see much of anything. Must not be at the right angle to see. That's what I kept telling myself.
The tech says he's looking for the heartbeat. I ask to see it. He frowns. He tells me that I may not be far enough along to see it transversely (on my belly scan), and that they'll have to do a vaginal scan. Okay, not fun, but it would be worth it to finally see something. To confirm that this baby isn't just a figment of my overactive imagination....
Then they tell me that the folks at BAMC never tested me for blood type. Great. Ask him how good he is. I tell him, I'm a hard stick, that if he's not super confident he can get it in one try, I don't mind waiting, I won't even say why I wanted someone else.
"No worries, I do this all the time, you'll barely feel anything." I point out a likely spot, just to the side of where the BAMC tech stuck me. "If you can avoid the exact same place that's great but if you need to I can deal with it." I say.
He tries that first. Miss....nothing.
Then where I suggested.....a drop of blood, nothing more - he's gone completely through the vein to the other side.
I ask if he can use a butterfly needle for the next try (can you tell this happens to me a lot?) but he says they only have them in Anesthesiology. Great. Just fucking beautiful. I imagine the monster bruises I'm gonna have, grit my teeth and tell him to try my hand. (my I.V site of choice...at least in the hand he can see what he's aiming for and there by increases his chances...I'm hoping)
"Most people don't like the hand, they say it's more painful"
"I don't like getting stuck. I don't care if it's more painful, I just want this over with"
He manages to get several drops this time before his wiggling pushes it through. I feel my veins blow and my hand starts to bruise.
"Give me just a minute. Let me go get Joan, she's the best one we've got." He returns with Joan. Just like always she tells me she's confident. I roll my eyes. She's going for my wrist just below my left thumb. That's new....maybe she's actually good at this?
"Slight pressure" She's in. No wiggling. I don't look. "Do you have it now?" I ask. "Oh yeah, I've got it." I release my breath and she digs the needle around in the flesh searching for a vein. Justin grabs my hand just in time for me to reconsider breaking her nose. I could have held still if that's what she needed, I know not to tense up, not to move my fingers...but I don't like being lied to.
That ordeal over with, they wheel me into an OB/GYN room. Justin comes with me. I tell the two (female) nurses who accompany us that I don't need a chaperon. Even if Justin hadn't been there the fewer people examining and commenting on my crotch, the better in my opinion. Hospital policy. They stay anyway. Okay. Whatever.
Several more people enter, actually five more, one doctor, one ultrasound tech and three guys whose presence no one is willing to explain when I ask why they're there. I ask for the extras (all five of the newcomers are male) to step out for the actual exam.
The doctor snaps that "This is a teaching hospital. That's what you get." Excuse me? When did my crotch become a teaching tool? I ask repeatedly, and finally ask them individually to leave. No one's listening. I clench my jaw and put my feet in the stirrups. There's more poking and prodding and a probe (for some unknown reason they put a condom on it before it goes it...WTF? A. I'm already pregnant, b. WHY THE FUCK WOULDN'T THE DAMN THING BE CLEAN?????) and start the scan.
I don't look at them, I don't look at the screen. The take pictures at several angles, have one of the extras step up and locate the same angles. They called the next guy but I think he took pity on me as I was glaring death and dismemberment at him. He and his buddy excused themselves.
The lights come on....
I can sit up.
I can put my underwear back on.
I have a large cyst on my right ovary.
My pregnancy is most likely ectopic.
Another scan will be done by a - and I quote - "professional ultra sound technician" to confirm the results.
I can have water only.
I am told all of these things in that order, in the same tone of voice as one might comment that it was raining and perhaps the picnic should be postponed. It - this thing gone wrong inside of me - finally had a name...ectopic pregnancy. Survival statistics flashed in my mind. I feel proud that I do not smack my doctor as he and the rest leave the room. God I hate hospitals.
More waiting. It's somewhere around 2am on the 18th now. I'm not really sure. They give me a vicky since I'll probably be in "discomfort from the scans". The second scan went about the same. Only this time the room I was taken to was not frigid, the tech was a woman and she even let me cover up with a blanket once the probe was in. I asked her what she saw.
"You know I can't tell you, I have to wait for the doctor to interpret the results." It's weak and we both know it.
"This is what you do for a living. Day in and day out. No one in this fucking room believes that you don't know exactly what you're looking at."
She looks at the screen and changes the angle a couple of times before looking back at me. She has this sad look on her face, both sorry for me and glad that it's me not her on the table. My dad was an Xray tech....He told people to wait for the doctor..... I know that look all too well. I turn towards the wall so that I can pretend I'm not crying as she finishes the pictures. The doctor arrives and confirms the original diagnosis.
My eyes are open, staring at the ground. I make no noise, but I can feel the tears running down the sides of my face. Everything was over before it had a chance to get started. I wasn't going home tonight.
Justin walks over and puts is arms around my shoulders. He didn't say anything. It wasn't until that point that I really started to sob, my tears and makeup staining his shirt. It was ironic really, I had become one of those fascinating statistics that I loved to read about on the web.
I was to be admitted, in patient, while they monitored my hormone levels and condition, and debated what the best treatment options were. Since Justin would have to hop between home and hospital (animals to feed and all) We asked that I be transferred back to BAMC. it was closer, not by much but closer. They tell us that I will not be permitted to ride with Justin back to BAMC. Ambulance transport only. I snort. I'd sat in the waiting room for over six and a half hours, what the hell was another fifteen minutes going to do. The Wilford Hall OB/GYN came in and tried to explain....tubal pregnancy....dangerous.....possible rupture.....bleeding....hemorrhaging.....I don't look at him. I don't care.
The ambulance crew arrives. My lead EMT is a fucking sarcastic son of a bitch. I snap comments and yell at him that I can adjust my own damn harness and he yells right back that he's just fucking checking. He smiles while he says it and I like him more. I like medical people with a spine. If I can scare you off treating me you've got no business in this field.
They drive me to BAMC. He tells the charge nurse in 2 WEST (my unit) that they found me on the floor in pain. I open my mouth but he's already wheeling me into a private room as he tells me it get's me a better room and more prompt attention and I can shut my damn mouth about it.
I sit down for about 40 seconds. by this time it's almost 6am. I'm exhausted in every way possible and I'm fucking HUNGRY! I'd been told when I first came into BAMC no food, nothing but water. Just in case. Just in case could go fuck a goat, my stomach was threatening to eat it's own way out of my abdomen. I check my purse and wolf down a packet of Ritz Cheese Crackers. Still hungry, but slightly more bearable.
A nurse comes in.
"I just need to draw a few more labs...." I can see the rainbow test vial on her tray along with a few new ones thrown in for good measure.
I am not a good patient. I am actually a horrible patient, I usually send my doctors staff chocolate or flowers or cards after a visit to apologize for anything I've called them. But normally even I wait until they actually screw something up to start. This poor woman was just in the wrong room at the worst possible time. Something inside of me snaps under the weight of the past several hours.
NO!" My voice is loud, "I'm not donating any more blood until I see a goddamn doctor! I'm NOT putting on this ridiculous gown, I'm not doing anything! I'm sorry but I want to see a doctor."
She frowns. "We need another set of labs, the doctor ordered-"
"-I don't care if you've got orders to chop my freaking head off, I'm not doing it!! You're welcome to try to hold me down, but honestly, I've got probably 50lbs and a foot of height on you, so I wouldn't recommend it."
She tosses her head and looks down her nose at me. The "patient". The one who's probably going to die and create a lot of trouble doing it, then turns on her heel and marches out. No doubt to tattle on me to the big bad doctor.
I lay down to try and sleep. Maybe I'll get a half hour or so -
The doctor (Dr. Rumsey I later learned) charged into the room. "Who the hell do you think you are? What makes you think you can talk to my interns this way? Who is responsible for you? I want your fathers name and the name of his commanding officer!"
Well, at least this one had a spine. I glare at him. "I'm responsible for me. My dad is disabled. He had a stroke. I can give you his number if you really want to call and yell at him, but I don't think it'll do any good. I want my discharge papers. I'm done with this, I'm going home!" At that moment I meant it too. These so called professionals could go fuck themselves.
"Do you have any idea what happens in an ectopic pregnancy when it ruptures? Have you ever seen someone bleed out internally? Because I have. This isn't going to get better without treatment. If you go home, it's almost certain that you are going to die. You'll either bleed out quick or you'll bleed out slow but either way you'll be gone before anyone can get you back here." He was still shouting.
"I'm done. I'm going home. NOW."
He shook his head and walked out of the room. I called my mom. she begged me to stay. I know it was the right thing, but it felt so much like her begging me to just be quiet when I screamed as she had me tossed into South West Mental health as a kid. I said I was going home. I called Justin next. He tried to talk me out of it, or at least get me to agree to stay in town at Mom's house. I wanted so badly to just go home, I could fall into bed wrap the comforter around me and forget everything that had happened. I would wake up and it would be gone.
Dr. Rumsey came back. I clenched my teeth and waited for the lecture.
"I'm sorry about what I said earlier. It seems the report I got was more than a little exaggerated."
I later learned that the nurse was actually an intern and had said I was completely irrational and shouting profanities at her for simply asking me to sit down so she could check my arm for draw sites....she neglected to mention my request to speak to the doctor FIRST...... I REALLY HATE interns....
"Look I understand that you're frustrated. You're tired and you're not feeling too good, and you've been bouncing back and forth between doc's and hospitals. I know you feel like you've gotten pretty shitty care so far."
I nod. Well, it was true....
"I went into medicine because I got shitty care, and so did my family and I try to redeem the rest of us by changing that. So, what we know so far... It's highly likely you've got an ectopic pregnancy, probably tubal. You've got a larger than average pregnancy cyst on your right ovary. Your HCG levels put you at nearly two months, but we've only got one set of labs. Normally we take them over a two day period."
I think I had actually started sobbing at that point.
more hopeless trainees jabbing into my arms and wrists and hands and digging until I thought my tendons would rip.
It's not that I'm afraid of needles. I'm not. I have lots of tattoos... I take my intramuscular shots no problem and I usually chat with the tech while they're doing it. I donated plasma for a year. I'm fine with IV's being in me, that's not what I hate, what I hate is the part where they have to dig. I'm not an easy stick. At all. In fact I'm a fucking nightmare to stick. But everyone, every trainee, intern, and nurse tells me how confident they are and that they're more than capable.
I try to explain. It's not that they're not good, I'm sure they are. It's MY body that's fucked up, my veins that roll, dive, disappear and blow at the slightest touch of a needle. My veins, that are coated in scar tissue from a year of plasma donation, are fucked up beyond belief. My arms and wrists and hand that swell like ripe mellons after the first blow, and darken to the color of ripe plums by the second. But no one ever fucking listens to me, because I'm not the medical guy who went to school for four years plus to learn to stick needles into people.
Slowly, trying to stay calm. I explain to Dr. Rumsey all of these things. I tell him that I don't mind waiting on someone who's actually good at drawing blood, hell, I'll walk across the hospital for someone who can do it in one try and carry the labs back up myself. I tell him that both arms hands and wrists have been stuck, more than once..... I tell him that they threatened to go for the big vein in my thigh because no one could stick me. I try to make him understand how much I hate it when they dig.
He smiles and tells me that he'll have them take me up to anesthesiology to get the labs done. Better techs, butterfly needles and good freaking drugs. I could have kissed the guy. He tells me no food but I don't mind. I've got more crackers in my bag. Things crawled along from there.
I had to pee in a bowl when I went so they could monitor my imput/output and was allowed ONE glass of water to prevent dehydration until some brilliant individual managed against all odds to coax an IV line into me. They wheeled me down for another pelvic exam and a third scan. I was used to it by then. It felt so strange being in the regular out patient portion of the hospital, sitting in a wheel chair, wearing a (nicer than paper) cloth gown with a blanket drapped over my legs. I sat in the OB/GYN clinic waiting room. The normal patients, all there for routine procedures, kept stealing looks at me like I might start bleeding or screaming or fall over dead at any moment.
I ignored them.
When they wheeled me back out after a third confirmation that something was wrong and there was no baby growing in my uterus (No shit? How the hell did you guess, Doc?) I caught a glimpse of my own reflection in the mirrored window glass of an office. I didn't look like me. My face was pale and slightly red at the nose and eyes from crying, and completely devoid of make up (NOT my natural state) I had pulled my hair back into a loose pony tail at some point , or maybe Justin did, I couldn't remember, but by some miracle it was actually staying in place instead of sticking up at odd angles or falling out like a good hospital patients hair should.
I studied myself for a moment. I didn't recognize the girl looking back at me. She was too old to be me. If it were really me, the girl would have looked scared and angry and cheated. She would have been weaving back and forth from the waves of exhaustion that tugged at me. (I had even fallen asleep during the pelvic exam. the females reading this have some idea of how tired one would have to be for that to happen) This girl was older, obviously, and wiser because she wasn't scared or angry or sobbing or weaving. She wasn't anything. She simply starred back at me. Neither smiling nor frowning. not sad or happy, or angry. She was empty. She was resigned. I didn't want to be her. I felt like I should do...something, how could she be me? I wanted to do something, but we both knew that we were just too tired to care.
By then it was 9:30 maybe 10 am on the 18th. A quick layover in the ward and then down to anesthesia for them to try their hands on my tricky, squirmy, slippery veins. They were actual doctors...doctors who studied techniques and locations and had to stick people with needles in very tricky places day in and day out... so I was actually hopeful that maybe this wouldn't be so bad.
A male nurse, a different one this time steps in to wheel me down. I keep telling people I can take myself there but they don't listen. He tries to talk me into letting him try to stick me for the IV so we don't have to "make the trip down there".....
....translation: I don't want to haul your ass down all those long hallways and wait around for an hour until they're done with you.
I don't bite. I don't even have to put up a real fight this time: we both know that for once I've got signed doctors orders on my side.
He wheels me out towards the elevator.
Anesthesia is busy, it's always busy. People coming in, people going out, people trying to figure out where the person they've got is supposed to be coming in to or out of.... They find me a section and the nurse puts the breaks on the chair.
A young nurse? Doctor? I can't tell, walks up, she's got an name tag and a tag that identifies her as an anesthesiologist on her shirt. I smile. here's to hoping.
"So you're Kathryn?" she has me read out my social and birth date, it's a double identify down here so no one gets the wrong drugs... She explains that I'll have a rainbow test panel done and that they want another for my HCG levels and.... she trails off when she noticed the bored look on my face.
"Why don't we get started."
I offer her my left arm. "Is there any chance you can use a butterfly needle? Or maybe something smaller than what they've got in the ward?"
She ties the tourniquet off and starts cleaning and tapping. She tries three times and manages to get one vial done. I'm trying not to cry because I know it'll only make me shake which will make her job harder. The insides of my elbows feel like someone has ripped out most of the ligaments. Doctor after doctor comes over to comment, critique and finally make their own failed attempt.
Eleven sticks in. My elbows are starting to swell, right hand is numb on top, but I sure a fuck can feel it when they dig between the bones. The woman who first stuck me seems to realize that I can't deal with much more of this before I snap and stab someone with one of the sharps from the growing pile on my lap. She pulls out a VERY tiny needle.
"Novocaine" she explains, "It'll be a small sting and maybe a slight burning sensation, but you won't feel the big needles nearly as much...." she offers quietly. I nod emphatically. I'd still feel pressure but the horrible pulling, twisting tearing sensation would be gone.
For more sticks. Each one is preceded by the burning pinch of the novocaine but it dulls the pain and makes it slightly more bearable. It seems like half the anesthesiology department is in my little section, the curtains are pulled back to make room for the crowd as they examine, poke, prod, pinch, pull and finally puncture my elbows, forearms wrists and hands. Nothing like bunch of doc's to make you feel like a freak....
Around the time my escort admitted he was sorry for trying to talk me out of coming, someone wheeled in a portable ultrasound machine.. WTF???? Transmitter gel was smeared onto my arm, one doc to scan, one to numb the site, and another to stick me. I had lost long since lost my battle with sobbing...tears rolled down my face, I kept sniffling so my nose wouldn't run and I tried to hold as still as possible, but I just couldn't stop. There is only so much a person can take in a finite space of time, and I had reach my breaking point.
I snatch my arm away.
"NO. NO MORE!" I shriek at the gather of doctors and nurses who for all I could tell had come to see the spectacle. "I AM DONE! DO YOU HEAR ME???!! NO FUCKING MORE!! I'M DONE! NO MORE TRIES, NO MORE SECOND CHANCES, YOU'VE USED UP ALL YOUR FUCKING TRIES! NO! MORE!"
They all try to explain how it's required, I can't have surgery without it, I need the IV they need more labs, if I have a line in they can draw blood from that....I don't care. I'm tried of people telling me they can do it. I'm ready to strangle each of them and their ego's that won't let them admit they can't. I close my eyes and turn up the volume on the noise in my head to drown them out. They could sit there and shout at me until I bled out and died in that wheelchair in the middle of their clinic. I really didn't care.
My original doctor has disappeared some time before, now she returned with an other woman. She was a nurse, I could tell by her dress. She was also the oldest one their. White hair and slightly hunchbacked. Doctor number one explained that Doris (her's is the only name I can remember, which suits me just fine) is a dialysis nurse. That sticking people who can't be stuck any more is all she does.
Doris kneels down by my chair. "Listen to me, I know you're tried, and I know you're sick to death of people sticking you, but I know I can do it. This is what I do. I'll use a very small needle and I'll put the IV line in at the same time. I'm telling you I can do it."
I start to refuse to explain that I just wasn't interested.
"Look, they ARE going to keep sticking you until one of them get's lucky. Right?"
I nod know that eventually they'll sedate me if they really want to get a needle in me and I refuse.
"Well I'll make a deal with you, you let me try once just once and if I can't do it, no one will try again."
"Yeah right." she didn't have the authority. She was just a nurse, an old one, but still a nurse. I noticed that the crowd had slowly cleared out until it was just Doris and Doctor number one and me in my chair with a pile of sharps on my blanket.
I'm sobbing again. I'm so fucking tired, I just want to sleep....
"Fine!" I moan, "Once, one try, just one. No more, if you don't get it I'm DONE!"
she smiles and picks up my left hand. It's only been stuck twice. She pokes at the tattoo in the center of it. She picks up the novocaine and I look away as she numbs it. She doesn't even tie a tourniquet before going for the next needle. That was new.
This time I watch as she studies my hand, taps it once, then kneels down and slips the needle directly under the ink. Blood gushes into the vial on the other end. The IV catheter tiny and plastic slides in as the needle comes out and she tapes the whole thing into place against my skin.
I look at her not quite understanding. "The IV's in, I've got the labs. If they need to they can draw blood from that."
I thank her. and this time I even mean it.
I'm still sobbing as my nurse wheels me back to the elevator and into my room at 2 West. Dr. Rumsey and Dr. Vroon, the one who did my third pelvic exam and scan, are waiting for me....
11 am, May 18.
I've got options. I've got lots of options. All my options really fucking blow.
I can't have the shot. Not for another week. They said that it was to make sure that there was no chance this was a normal pregnancy because they were not authorized to preform an abortion.
I wanted to ask Dr. Rumsey if he could hear himself, if he understood what he was saying. These people had spent so much time and effort to tell me that something was wrong, there was no baby in my womb. there was no chance for a normal pregnancy. there was no chance for anything but death. What the hell else was there to make sure of??
I could wait, but I might rupture, and bleed and die.
They wanted to monitor my levels, there was a slight chance that I had already miscarried and that they would drop in the next two days. I might even be able to go to mom's house until they knew more...
I could wait, but I might rupture and bleed and die.
Did I have to choose right now? Couldn't it wait, just a little so there would only be just a little risk? I had sent Justin home to feed the cats, and ferrets and my ridiculous dog and to sleep until he was sentient again when they had transferred me back to BAMC. Dr. Vroon wanted me to go straight to surgery. He was quiet and reserved and everyone said he was very thorough....
I had already called Stephy, she'd told me to stay when I wanted to leave, told me that the surgery they wanted to do, laproscopy was very safe, very easy recovery. I'd be walking around the unit a couple of hours after they were done. I was scarred shitless.
The only other surgery I'd ever had was a tonsilectomy. I was 12, but I have vivid memories of it. I was fine going in, coming out? another matter entirely. They had trouble bringing me back and when they did I was so confused and terrifed that I couldn't tell which way was up or down or where I was....it took four large men to hold 12 year old me down long enough for them to tied me to the bed. I left them with god knows how many bruises and on broken nose. mom took me home and I slept for three days. I wonder sometimes what were the odds that I might not have woken up?
I couldn't go yet. Even if I had to go today, I couldn't go yet, not until he came back. I asked about thursday, just 12 measly hours? Please? I swear I'll be nice! I won't call the interns names or threaten to throw things at people who get to close to touching my precious IV lest they accidentally bump into it and cause it to blow a vein. Please?
2 West didn't have any scheduled surgery time on thursdays, I'd be tacked on to the very end of the day at best.
I glared at them, and they glared back at me. "Fine, but not until Justin comes back. I'm not going under before I get to see him." deal. Neither side was particularly happy, but we'd both have to settle.
I call him and he's on his way. He says he'll try to make it in time to see me. I tell him not to rush. I'm not going anywhere before he get back, and God help the poor soul who tried to tell me otherwise.
12:05pm a nurse walks in (new, again) and tells me that they're ready for me in surgery as a bed is wheeled in behind him. I snort. I tell him I'm not going yet. The Doc said I could wait. Thankfully Justin came in at that point, ending the conversation. They take my IV line off the stand and help me move to the bed, Justin is telling me that Nekochan is on her way up from the front of the hospital and the nurse says we're going so he tells her to hurry. She catches up to us just outside the O.R prep room. in time to wish me luck and watch as I'm wheeled inside.
Only one visitor.
Justin comes with me. It wouldn't matter either way now, I'm stuck with it, I'm stuck to the bed now, even if they force him to leave, my options dried up when I climbed on board.
He holds my hand as they open my line to give me the good stuff..."to help you relax about the surgery". Good God does it kick in FAST! I can feel my bones turn to warm pudding as my skin melts away and so does any anxiety I might have felt. Justin is smiling and I know I look like a loon, laughing at nothing and giggling into my pillow while the drugs work their magic. He kisses my forehead while the doctors tell him that the procedure should only take about an hour.....
Someone tells us it's time and my bed starts to move toward the double doors of the surgery. I lose his hand. I know he's still back there but I can't lift my head to look.
What are the odds I won't wake up?
Under the lights, they slip a mask over my mouth and nose.
"Is this the stuff?" I ask, holding my breath.
"No, just oxygen, take a few deep breaths..."
I breath in.
Blackness rolls over everything....
I hate it when they lie.
My surgery took over 3 1/2 hours from the time I was wheeled in until I was taken to post op. The cyst on my right ovary had ruptured and they drained the excess fluid. I was told that the pregnancy was on the left side though, it had as they put it, already done damage to the tube and though they tried it couldn't be saved....
...The tube that is, there was never any intention of trying to save the pregnancy.
Both had been cut out as a single piece.
I came out from under the anesthesia much quieter this time. My eyes itched and they kept taking my hands away when I tried to rub but nothing like the first time. Later, Dr. Vroon would explain that my lungs had not fully come out thou. They had not fully woken up....I was given a sort of tube to breath through several times an hour to help re-inflate them. All it seemed to do was make me cough.
my recovery was normal and within a few hours I was hobbling around the ward asking questions and getting in the way. Stephy, her mother, my mother and Justin's parents came to visit me. I was given a plant and several cards and Stephy explained how to get hospital privileges so we could go out to the smoke hut for the two cigarettes she brought for me.
I was finally allowed food. I ate three sandwiches, a salad, a baked potato, four juice cups and a piece of pie. The nurses said I would vomit. I ate every crumb.
I was discharged on the 19, with lots of pills and instructions and a pillow to hold to my stomach so coughing wouldn't hurt as much. I was also to keep the water mug and breathing tube.
No heavy lifting.
No intercourse for 6 weeks.
I could ride at a walk or slow jog. No jumping no trail riding. (That last bit was from Dr. Rumsey. His daughter apparently rides at Retama, so he'd given me extra instructions when he found out I was a horse person.)
I laid in bed. I ate pills and water and shuffled around the house.
What else was there to do?
It hadn't been my fault, nothing I did or didn't do could have caused this. Nothing was wrong with the baby, it just wasn't meant to be.
Not meant to be this time, that's what everyone said. And that's what I kept telling myself. But that's not it, maybe if it was, it would have been okay, I would have gone on and forgotten. It would be a sad memory of something that just hadn't been meant to be.
Somehow something just didn't seem right. They had mentioned seeing the damage before they opened tube, seeing the placenta growing on it....
That wasn't right.....
It hadn't ruptured, had it?
He shouldn't have been able to see it.....
You see, in a tubal ectopic pregnancy, it's not the pregnant part that kills you, or the baby....it's not really even where the baby is, it's more than capable of getting adequate nutrition, blood and everything else from the placenta implanted in the tube....it's the bleeding that happens when your tube ruptures that's supposed to kill you. Supposed to, anyway...
When the baby get's to a certain size, the tube can't stretch any further and it ruptures. This causes severe pain and massive internal hemorrhaging. If you don't get to the ER for emergency surgery you bleed out...sometimes in under half an hour. That's what's supposed to happen.
I say supposed to like that means something. I guess it should but it didn't. Because I know now that absolutely NOTHING happened like it was supposed to.
"pre-op rupture of left fallopian tube, placenta clearly visible, minimal bleeding"
That's what the doctors put in my chart, my little file where they describe the surgery and what they found. They weren't quite sure when it happened. But I am.
The part that everyone was so fucking concerned about, the horrible, painful bloody death....? Not forth coming. Not even close. Two days of bleeding and a slight case of cramps.... that was it. My tube had ruptured and the pregnancy had moved outside into my abdominal cavity.
"detectable fetal heartbeat....."
The really fucked up part? It turns out that because of that little miracle, because I hadn't curled up into a little ball of pain and died like a good statistical average should, I could have carried the baby abdominally and delivered via c-section.....
....But it was against hospital policy.
....Too high a risk.
....The end didn't out weigh the means by a large enough percentage for this statistic to beat the odds.
....The part that should have killed me was over. Painful, bloody death had not been forthcoming and we were both still alive and fine... It says so right in my chart, laid out in black and white. "patient condition - stable"
But what the heck? The Doc's had come all the way down. They were there and I was there. They were all cleaned up and scrubbed down, I had a IV pushing the best pharmaceuticals money could buy directly into my veins and the tubes and instruments were already in place....Why waste the drugs?
Everything was already set, might as well cut something out, right?