Monday, November 9, 2009

A Real Pain In The Neck

This post is about my parathyroidectomy experience.
CAUTION: If you have a weak stomach, you won't want to read this.
Disclaimer: This may make zero sense because I'm still on pain meds and am pretty loopy.
= )

I arrived at the hospital last Thursday, Nov. 5 at about 11:40am. I met the entire team who would be working on me and they were awesome. They began prepping me for surgery right away and ran some labs to find my current calcium and PTH levels. I was wheeled back to the OR just before 2pm. I remember moving to the operating table, seeing the lights above, but that's about all. Thank goodness for modern medicine!

The surgeon removed my enlarged lower right parathyroid gland, froze it, and sliced it open only to realize that it wasn't the problem. While I was still opened up they pulled out the other right parathyroid gland and were right on that time. My PTH level was immediately in the normal range after they removed the 2nd right parathyroid.

During the surgery they took blood from my feet so they could run labs without being in the surgeons way near my head and arms. My right foot has 5 holes from the needles and a lot of bruising. It's very sore. My left foot only has a could of holes and some minor bruising. I thought this was odd because I'd never had blood taken out of my feet before this experience. I've been poked and prodded all over and have quite a few bruises.

I was in the Operating Room for over 2 1/2 hours. After they were finished the wheeled me to the recovery room. My memory of that is really foggy. All I can recall is having some ice chips and David talking to me.

They finally wheeled me to my private room at 6pm. The medical staff checked my vitals regularly and pumped me full of pain meds. Sadly, the morphine didn't work so well so they ended up switching me to something else. It tastes horrible, but it's better than trying to swallow something with a super sensitive sore throat. They ran labwork every few hours and my ionized calcium was too low. This kept me in the hospital for an additional night. It wasn't until Saturday morning that my left parathyroids decided to start working a little. The poor little guys have basically been dormant for over 6 1/2 years. That's a long time.

Other than having to stay 2 nights, my experience in the hospital really wasn't that bad. I guess it may be because I went in with low expectations. The food was tolerable (or maybe I was just really hungry), the staff was extremely nice, and my private room was clean. I never had to wait long when I called for a nurse either. Not that I ever want to go back to the hospital for anything, but I would feel comfortable going back if I had to. It also helped that my Mom was there with me the entire time. She was a Super Trooper and even stayed both nights with me. My Dad was there quite a bit too, but he also took care of the dogs which was a huge help. My Parents were lifesavers and I don't think David and I could have gone through this without them.

I'm so thankful for all the prayers, concern, and
encouragement from everyone.
I really appreciated all of the visits, phone calls,
cards, artwork, balloons, flowers, and hot meals.
I am truly blessed to have such wonderful
friends and family.

Here are a couple of photos of my new "beauty mark."

11/05/2009... A few hours after surgery

11/6/2009... The morning after surgery
My friend, Gretchen, made the comment that I'll
"always have a smile."
I thought that was cute and it's something
I'll always remember.

I finally received good news on Saturday morning. My ionized calcium level was safe enough for them to release me. It took a few hours for the nurse to discharge me. She had to gather all my paperwork, scripts, etc. She also had to remove my IV. I was so sick of having that thing in all the time! When she took it out she bandaged me well, but as we were going over the paperwork my blood began spraying everywhere. I'm not kidding! It got all over my jeans, bedding, and the floor. The nurse quickly yanked the bandage off and applied pressure with a new one. She said I had a nice 18-gauge IV in me. I guess that's a good thing, but it can be tough to bandage up. It definitely made for an interesting morning.

My entire neck is extremely sore and I can't move it much. All of my neck muscles are sore and bruises are starting to appear. My skin is sensitive from all of the pulling and tugging too. I was pretty naive about all of this and thought it would be a simple outpatient surgery with little pain, but I was completely wrong. It hurts!

Now, I think it's time for some more pain medication.....


Angelavon said...

Oh my goodness! That is incredible! We are so happy that it went so well and that your surgery was a success! We wish you a quick and speedy recovery!

Dave and Kathryn Dodds said...

Wow! What a crazy and great experience! My sister just had her thyroid taken out about 3 weeks ago and she can relate to the sore neck! I'm so sorry! We prayed for you and hope you're feeling better than normal really soon!

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