Sean's Deviated Septum Surgery, Part One of Many
I had bitched at Sean long enough over the years to get deviated septum surgery because he needed nasal spray almost every night before bed and his snoring shook the house. This became more of a concern after we had Ever since we co-sleep and with another baby on the way it seemed like a good time to get it done before the baby arrived. Plus I'm paranoid about him having sleep apnea to get a good nights sleep.
Sean got a referral from our family doctor to see an ENT named Dr. Samad on Friday, March 6th, who basically looked at his face and scheduled surgery for him. We received VERY little information regarding pre-surgery instruction, the procedure itself, or post-op care. All we knew was that his surgery was scheduled for May 20th which is five weeks before this baby is due, so we were happy.
A couple of days before the scheduled surgery I called the ENT's office to ask them what time the surgery would occur, and was informed we would find out the day before the scheduled surgery. We later found out Sean was to report to Burnaby General Hospital admitting at 12:40 Wednesday, May 20th.
After a simple process for admitting we took a very long walk to the 4th floor day surgery wing. Sean checked in again. It was there we found out the actual surgery wouldn't take place until 2:40. I didn't want to leave but Sean insisted I would be bored if I waited, so with tears in my eyes (because I'm pregnant) I kissed Sean good-bye and he said "It's okay." The woman at the Day Surgery desk said they would call me on my cell to tell me when to pick up Sean. I returned home and waited for the call.
At 4:30 I received a call telling me that I could pick up Sean at 5:15. She instructed me to park in "the loop" and grab a wheelchair so I could wheel Sean out. I found this funny, but she didn't know I was 8 months pregnant. I immediately picked Ever up at her day care and drove her to cousin Debra's house and Debra and I joked about having to pick up Sean with my being so pregnant and uncomfortable. Debra said "Why don't you just ask them if he can stay overnight" har har, and I replied "Maybe I'll just give them a twenty and they can put him in a cab. har har.
At 5:15 I arrived as instructed and went up to the 4th floor to find Sean in the first recovery bed with an ice pack draped across his nose and eyes and folded up gauze taped across the bottom of his nose, bleeding heavily. He could talk, but barely. And he was a bit shaky. The anesthesia had long since worn off but they had him on a morphine drip to try and bring his blood pressure down. One of the nurses immediately said "You may want to go park your car." I re-parked my car and called Debra and said "It's not so funny anymore." I needed her to talk me down because I had to go back in that hospital and be strong for my husband even though just looking at him scared the shit out of me. I then waddled back to Sean in the recovery room.
The recovery room was full of patients besides just Sean, all of whom had had some form of day surgery, but the two nurses on duty were constantly at Sean's side, wiping his face. He was telling them repeatedly "It's pouring down my throat" and they were wiping the blood coming out of his mouth, nose, and eyes (his EYES. He had tears of blood coming down from his eyes.), even with the ice pack and the gauze, while gently telling him not to swallow it. He wasn't allowed to snort or clear his throat or cough, but they kept telling him to spit the blood into a cardboard tray. The blood was pulsing out of him, and he was still trying to say "But it's pouring down my throat." It only took about a minute of this for one of them to look at me and say "Why don't you go home and we'll call you when we know more." Both nurses had very gentle demeanors but their eyes were darting and I could tell something was wrong. They told me he would likely spend the night in the hospital and if Burnaby didn't have a bed, he would be transferred to another hospital. I called my work in the hallway of the hospital to tell them that I wasn't sure if I would be reporting to work the next day which happened to be the second-to-last day before a year of maternity leave. They were very understanding.
On my drive home I called my mom to tell her what was going on because I was still a little freaked out. I can't tell you how many times I said "He's bleeding out of his eyes" that evening. Of all the things for a spouse to experience I hope none of you have to experience that one, let alone at 8 months pregnant. Mom kept saying she would come up and the first couple of times she offered I actually thought I had a handle on things. But after driving another couple of blocks and talking to her I finally said "Yeah, I need you."
Debra was the next phone call and I asked her to tell the cousins what was going on. Shane immediately called me and told me he'd like to go to the hospital to be with Sean since I couldn't, and I told him where to find Sean in the hospital. I had to prepare Shane for what he was about to see. He went to the hospital and stayed for about an hour.
I came home and waited for the hospital to call. By the time my mom showed up (around 7:00 or 7:30) the hospital had called to tell me that the day surgery post-op recovery room closed at 9:00 p.m. so whatever happened, we would know the plan before then. She also informed me they were still waiting for the surgeon to come back to assess Sean's status. (Sean later informed me that the two nurses couldn't keep up with him and the rest of the patients so he was transferred to another recovery area better staffed to care for him, which must have occurred soon after Shane left. And Sean also remembers in his morphine haze that there was a doctor named Joan while he was in this area who was awesome.) No one ever contacted me to tell me that Sean had been transferred to another room. I grabbed my cell phone and we headed over to Debra's to see Ever and wait for the call informing me of where he would be, how he was doing, who he was with, what the plan was, etc.
Nine o'clock came and went with no call. Mom and I came home with Ever and I called the main line of the hospital. I was informed that the recovery room where I had last seen Sean was, in fact, closed - and no one was there. I then asked her where my husband was and she couldn't tell me. There was no updated record of his whereabouts since he had been in the recovery room that closed at 9:00 p.m. I asked her if he had been discharged, would this be reflected on their computer and she said "yes." I then asked if he had been transferred to another hospital, would she be able to tell, and she said "yes." And I responded "So it's safe to assume he's still in the building?" And she said "yes." And I said "In order to find my husband, do I just need to go to the hospital and wander the halls, looking for a man on a gurney, bleeding?" And she said "I'm sorry ma'am, but I think you should come to the hospital and try to find him because I can't tell you anything more." It was then about 9:30 and my mom stayed at the house with Ever and I hopped in my car to find my husband.
I went back to the parking lot at the hospital where I had parked at 6:00 p.m. When I pulled into the lot the parking attendant asked me how long I would be parking and I said "I don't know, the hospital lost my husband and I don't know how long it will take to find him." And she said "Oh, is your husband the man that was missing? Because security was all over the place, searching every car in this parking lot earlier." And I replied "I don't know." I assumed it wasn't him, but I honestly didn't know - but wasn't that a dumb thing for the parking lot attendant to say to me? Then I parked the car and walked up to the main entrance doors to a sign that said the doors were locked at that time and to use the Emergency Room entrance. (Couldn't the parking lot attendant have told me the doors to the hospital were locked at that entrance?) This required me, anemic and 8 months pregnant, to walk a block up the hill to the next entrance. It was at this time that I called to check in at Debra's and I was a little pissed off. I spent the entire walk panting and yelling at my cousin Dave, who kept saying "Will you please sit down, I can hear you panting!" I got to the ER and saw Reception and Triage and could tell by looking at them that they wouldn't be able to help me, so instead, I went to Security and asked the first security guard I saw, "Can you help me, please? I am trying to find my husband and no one can tell me where he is." I was obviously pissed and panting. They were immediately responsive. A security guard named Doug said "Let me get you a wheelchair and I'll roll you to the last place you saw your husband; we'll start from there." By the time we rolled all the way over to where I'd last seen Sean, it was now about 10:00. Sure enough, the recovery room where I had last seen Sean was now locked, closed, and dark.
The security guard and I were in a dark hallway and dumbfounded. It was exactly then that my cell phone rang. It was the surgeon, introducing himself to me (this is the first time I'd ever "met" him) and informing me that he had just finished a second surgery on Sean because the bleeding had never stopped, and he was now in post-op recovery. I said "Where can I go to wait for him?" and he told me to go to the 4th floor elevator bay, which was a dark, inactive area at this time of night. The security guard was unhappy with the situation and asked me to pass him my phone. He explained to the doctor that I was pregnant and in a wheelchair and needed to wait somewhere comfortable and I heard the security guard say "uh huh" about 12 times, and then he handed the phone back to me. I was informed to wait for Sean's one hour recovery in the same place the doctor had originally indicated - the dark 4th floor elevator bay. Doug the Security Guard was very uncomfortable leaving me there. He asked if there was anything he could get for me and I said "no." He told me he would be back to check on me.
I called my mom to let her know I'd be at the hospital for awhile and that I'd found Sean and then I called Debra to tell her the same. Shane immediately called back and informed that he and Katie were on their way to wait with me. I told them to go to the ER and ask for Security and they would tell them where to find me. Mere minutes later, they were there. An hour went by and the only activity we saw were a couple of janitors. No one called my cell. During this time, a few different security guards came up to check on us, including one visit from Doug in his regular clothes who wanted to check on us one more time before leaving work. Katie eventually went back down to Security to ask if Sean's computer record had been updated, and it had. He was scheduled to be in room 474, bed 3. We immediately set off to find room 474 and when we found it, we walked right in. The staff looked a bit startled but I told one of them my husband's recovery was taking a very long time and asked if she could look into it. She made a quick phone call and informed me that Sean was having bleeding complications and recovery was going to take a bit longer than expected. Sean later told me he remembers vomiting a lot of blood while coming out of the second surgery.
Sean's one hour recovery actually took 3 1/2 hours. At 1:15 a.m. a gurney approached and it was Sean. We were THRILLED to see him. He was SHOCKED to see us. While still in the gurney he whispered "Where's the monkey?" And I said "she's with grandma." We followed the gurney to room 474 and even though it was after 1:00 a.m., the staff let us wait inside the room while they transferred Sean to his bed, and then let us go inside to whisper with him. Sean looked much better this time because his nose had been packed, but you could tell he was exhausted; he looked like someone who had, in fact, had 2 surgeries that day. We talked for about 10 minutes, Sean joked that he asked for Michael Jackson's nose and that had caused all the problems. I was very scared and sad to leave him and he suddenly got very serious and put his hands on my belly. It was a really emotionally intense moment. I'm really, really glad Shane and Katie were there. At some point he said "You need to go home," but he wasn't letting go of my hand. As we were leaving, the nurses assured me they would call my cell when Sean woke up in the morning.
I got home at 1:45. My mom was laying on the couch, waiting for me to come home. As I was whispering to her the update, Ever got out of bed and crawled into my lap; by now, she absolutely knew that something strange was going on with Daddy. We all slept fitfully.
The next morning I had not received a phone call by 9:00 a.m. so I called the hospital, who transferred my call to the recovery area. The nurse there informed me that Sean had been discharged and was waiting for someone to come get him because he wanted to go home. Thanks for calling me, guys.
I drove straight to the hospital and found a very weak and very irate Sean, still in his hospital garb wondering where I'd been. Turns out he woke up that morning and asked for food, as he had been fasting since two nights earlier and they informed him breakfast was on the way. A whole hour had been passed and he had to get out of bed and walk over to the reception area and ask for breakfast, again. They informed him that breakfast was over. At some point the packing was removed from his nose, the the splints remained. He then asked if he could go home, and they said "yes." (No paperwork, documentation, consultation with a doctor on his post-op care, nothing. They didn't even look at us as we left. So strange.) Someone provided me with a wheelchair to roll Sean out, which was a joke - they did not provide me with a wheelchair for me! Sean used his heels to propel himself in the wheelchair, without my assistance, while I walked. Sean was shaky and tired and just wanted to go home.
We thought it was over. We were wrong.
Amazon Wish List
Baggu Bags: 2 grocery kits (bright happy colors) and 2 sets of produce bags
4 oz. and 7 oz. stainless bottles
Subscription to Mothering
Etsy Favorites (to the right)
IKEA rugs (three for the living room)
This mascara, because Dooce says so
A playground paradise for my kids
Nursing tanks (long length)
Ballet lessons for Ever starting this fall
A new Dodge Grand Caravan, because this is my wish list
I went home to Indiana last October and stayed with my Dad and Kay as usual. I had a couple visits with my Grandma and also visited with aunts and uncles and cousins. The most major conversation topic from my end was that we were (meaning I was) going to go on Clomid (fertility drug) upon my return home - the prescription and all the instructions were in my file waiting for me. I think my Dad heard me tell my fertility woes about four times on that visit. After a year of trying it was pretty much encompassing me.
Let's just revisit this topic briefly - last year I got pregnant on my birthday (August 27) and found out that we lost the baby on our anniversary (October 15).
The last full day of my visit I went across the street to visit my childhood friend Susan (some of you may recall she flew out here to be my doula for Ever's birth and she left the day before the birth!). We talked a long time about my fertility issues, because I was still breastfeeding and wondering just how much it was affecting my chances, as well as the consequences of breastfeeding while on Clomid.
After all of this conversation she walked me to the car, and she hugged me goodbye. We aren't usually that huggy, but this time she held me and said "Take all my pregnancy hormones - take them - you can have them all. I'm done with them now." And I said "I'm taking them." It was cheesy and we laughed and we drove away.
As we drove down the lane, Ever was saying "Susan's house! Susan's house!" and suddenly I'm counting on my fingers. I had forgotten! I was supposed to get my period on that trip. I counted again. It was day 29 - late for me. I laughed out loud because I ALWAYS get my period while on a trip to visit my family (Indiana or Florida). Even when my period isn't due, if I'm visiting my family, I get my period. So the whole "not getting your period because you're traveling and your schedule's off" doesn't apply. The OPPOSITE applies.
So here I am going back to Dad & Kay's to pack and get ready to go home and it's all I can think about. How could I forget!? I could have gone to the CVS drug store there in Middlebury, but for some reason I was afraid it was too early and I'd jinx myself.
The next day at the South Bend airport I was informed that our flight from Chicago to Vancouver was cancelled and we'd have a five hour layover in Chicago. Well lemme tell ya, folks, there are NO pregnancy tests for sale in all of O'Hare airport, and I know this.
I had a cheap-o pack of ovulation strips and pregnancy strips that I got from Amazon months earlier sitting in our bathroom at home, so by the last flight I knew I'd just pee in a cup the second I walked in the door. But by then I knew. I just knew. To fly all day with a two-year-old and a stroller and carry-ons and coats and a laptop and NOT get your period? Impossible.
Did I mention? It was our anniversary that day. Twenty years together, 14 years married. And exactly one year since the miscarriage.
Sean picked us up from the airport and I didn't say anything, because obviously I need to be really sure about this. Once we got home he showed me how hard he worked re-painting the bathroom. Including removing all contents from the bathroom and putting them all on the second-bedroom floor. Which would include the pregnancy tests.
Since it was 11:30 pm as it was, I went to bed without testing. Again.
The next morning Sean went to work early, but as soon as he left I scrambled to find the tests, which I did. And it was positive. Then I found the better pregnancy test from the drug store as well (I had bought a 2-pack months earlier) and that was positive too. And then I called Sean.
And that's how we found ourselves pregnant again.