I don't know how many people remember that song, from the late 60s early 70s era. I was about 5-6 years old when I remember belting those very words out at the top of my young lungs while riding shot-gun in my parents' green Plymouth with mom as we went for our weekly grocery shopping, gas the car up, pick up another case of Coke (in the refundable bottle) trip. Today, those words have a new meaning for me.
When I first met with my surgeon to set up this journey, he told me he did suggest 2 weeks off post surgery for recovery. I assured him I wouldn't need the two weeks as I do most of my work from the comfort of my home office. I am out and about making home visits a couple of days each week, but for the most part, it is on my time table. Sounds reasonable, right? So my plan was surgery on Wednesday, home on Thursday, recover/regroup Friday-Saturday-Sunday and back to work on Monday.
Well, we already know the home on Thursday part went down the drain........or rather, failed to go down the drain .
I'm adjustable, home on Friday.
Back to work on Monday.......except.....
Sunday, I noticed my right upper, arm (the area where many people have biceps - my 17 year old athlete demonstrates this to me frequently), was sore, tender to the touch, warm even, and maybe swollen. I do what every good nurse does and .......pretend it is not there.
Sunday night, when I would turn in the bed, my right arm would wake me with pain, not the belly incisions. So being the astute nurse that I am, I simply turn over without moving the bicep. No pain, problem solved!!
Monday morning, when I open my eyes my arm is SWOLLEN, RED and WARM and the mother HURTS LIKE HELL!!!...........plan B? don't ignore it and call the doctor.
I speak with the surgeon, who is leaving later Monday on vacation and he refers me to my primary care doctor for workup. Fine, no problem. I make an appointment, work till time to go, see her and her first question is "WHY HAVEN'T YOU GONE TO THE ER?" My answer......"have you seen who hangs out in the ER?"
So, after a stat ultrasound of the right arm, we have confirmed evidence of a clot in the vein, most likely related to the iv from the hospital. After a conference call between my PCP, surgeon, radiologist and self we set up a plan of care which involves me going home, doing NOTHING with the right arm, elevating it above my head, warm compresses, NSAIDS for blood thinning effects and anti-inflammatory benefits......."absolutely no work because you can't elevate your arm and sit at your computer"..and "CALL ME BACK IF IT GETS WORSE, BUT FOR SURE BY THURSDAY!" admonishment of my PCP - if she'd have wiggled her right index finger at me, I'd swear she was channeling my mother!
OK, I'm a big, tough RN and I wear my big girl panties with pride.....but, I must admit. After all this, and it was 102 degrees (not kidding) in Houston yesterday afternoon while I was out, this right arm throbbing with mere movement of my fingers and thumb......I had a 2 year old tantrum, fell into my husband's chest 5 minutes after he arrived home from a very stressful day of his own, cried like I had been beat and........stained his good blue shirt with my awesome, although not water proof, plumb mascara. Being the saint he is, he makes me some soup, administers my Lortab, and tucks me into bed beside him with my right arm elevated over my ears.
So, this morning........Tuesday, day 6 post op.......I'm outta bed, determined to be as compliant as I can with the arm elevation, heat, meds, etc., but still a little irritated as my plan to return to work was a no go........can't go back to work till Monday of next week......if everything goes well.
I'm sitting in the recliner, watching movies just like my PCP told me to do, when I feel this warm, gas pass urge in the lower regions. OK, I've not had a bowel movement since surgery, but I've been passing gas like the Hindenberg, so I wasn't worried...........this is more than gas. I quickly (remember, quickly is a relative word...we ain't talking FloJo quick here) get to the bathroom and basically.......my butt throws up every where. No pain, no warning........just vomit, out the butt. You get the picture.
And so did I.
God is in charge and will take care of absolutely everything in perfect timing. Had I had my way, I would have been in someone's home when the butt vomiting incident occurred. (If I was lucky, I would have been seated in my car- either way......gross) But let me tell you.........it would be hard to overcome that impression of a professional in your home who just stood (or sat) in front of you and "pooped her pantsies".
I exited my bathroom after the event to see my husband standing there (he'd come home on his lunch break to check on me. I told you, the man is a saint.) All I could say was "Thank You God For Blood Clots!!!"
The moral of the tale?
When a surgeon suggests it is appropriate to take 2 weeks off post surgery, take him up on it. You may recover and can physically get back to the game.........but you don't know what the effect of the change is gonna be.
Billy, don't be a hero, don't be a fool with your life (reputation).........take the time off from work.
And so, that is my tale for today. I've been at the key board now for a good 20 minutes, so time to go back, elevate, heat and ..............watch another movie!