Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Making plans to go home...

Ok, not home home but back to Plano. As my skin graft surgery date was set, I had to find a rehab hospital to go to. I just wasn't sure that letting a stranger pick the place was the best idea so I took out the trusty iPhone and started my search. Somehow I stumbled across a place that looked more like a nice hotel than a hospital. I instantly knew this was the place!  After insurance was approved and papers were signed, it was final...I would go to Integra Rehab in Plano!  Of course, before rehab there was one more surgery to get through. 

When the surgery day arrived, I was terrified!  It sounds weird after all I had been through been through but I had never had so much as a broken bone before the wreck. The only time I had gone under the knife was to have my tonsils out when I was 5. Now I was laying on a bed waiting for them to take me into the OR. Nell, Kevin, Kelli, and Kelli's kids Nick and Tori were there with me. The joke of the day was that I thought I was going in for my 3rd operation. I knew that something had happened during the first surgery and they had to stop and do it again another day but that was it. After several minutes of comparing notes, everyone agreed that this was surgery number 6!!  What?!?!?!  6?!?!?!  Missing a month of your life SUCKS!  What doesn't suck is when they start the pre op drugs because all the worry fades away. There are bright lights then nothing. 

As had been my experience of late, waking up is never fun!  I had been warned that the skin donor site would hurt worse than the graft site. This wasn't surprising since I didn't have much feeling below the knee. What they didn't explain, or what I didn't want to hear, was that I was going to about a 6x6 inch patch of exposed nerves that hurt when air touched them. There were not enough drugs to make this stop hurting!  The only thing that helped was Tori. She had knock knock jokes to tell me. Ok, you are probably thinking that the last thing anyone would want is a kid telling you jokes when you are in pain. I would have thought that too but she was so cute and sweet standing at my side trying to think of things to make me laugh!  I hurt so badly and was so full of pain killers that I really had to concentrate on what she was saying to even be able to respond to her. I guess it was that concentration on Tori that helped me not concentrate on my pain. We bonded that day over the jokes. Tori and Nick always had new jokes when they would come to see me. How could you not feel better with that much love?

The next several days were pretty much consumed with being in pain. The nurses did everything they could to keep me comfortable but this was pain I was going to have to deal with for a while. Everything was covered up with orders not to touch the bandages until the plastic surgeon came to remove them himself. On the following Sunday (the surgery had been on a Mon or Tues) the head nurse came in and looked at the donor site bandage and threw a fit. Yes it was pretty disgusting looking but it was starting to hurt a little less so I wasn't complaining!  She told me the bandages had to come off and she was going to call the plastic surgery on-call to get it approved. She also told me that it was going to be bad because the bandage had dried stuck to the donor site. When she got to approval she came to tell me the plan. If there is a plan, this can't be good!  It wasn't. She applied sopping wet, hot towels to the bandage to try to loosen it. When she thought it was as good as it was going to get, she gave me a shot of the strongest pain killer she could and proceeded to pull the bandages off. Dr's and nurses always ask you what your pain is on a scale of 1-10. Most of live our lives thinking a 6 or 7 is a 10. This was a 12!  While I was peeling myself off the ceiling, she applied new bandages (these weird yellow bandages that feel like they are coated in vaseline...I had these somewhere on my leg/foot for most of 2009).

Now we just had to wait for the plastic surgeon to come to see if the graft took. They had prepared me for the worst...most skin grafts this large don't take 100%. Even though I hadn't forgiven God enough to pray yet, I think I did say one for my skin graft to take. 

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