I have been writing a daily post about my experience as a craniotomy (brain surgery) patient to remove a meningioma (brain tumour) on August 7th. This is the third post. Here is a link to the first and second posts.
August 8th about 24 hours after surgery I was transferred from ICU to a close observation room in the neurosciences wing. Before leaving the ICU I needed to have my central line removed and give up the Ferrari of hospital beds with all of the bells and whistles and move to a wood-paneled station wagon bed with one broken button that had been fixed with duct tape.
In Close Observation or the mini ICU there were 4 semi-private rooms. There were two nurses and four patients, so I shared a nurse with another patient. The nursing staff was amazing, what they deal with on a daily basis is incredible. They liked me and I liked them so they kept me in their area from August 8-11.
When I was in the ICU I played the “have you had a stroke game” every two hours (heart rate, blood pressure, smile, shrug shoulders, raise eyebrows, move toes, light in the eyes, and asked questions) and that changed to every four hours in the mini ICU. When I arrived in the mini ICU I had one IV remaining with fluids and the occasional dose of anti-nausea medication. I slept most my first day sitting upright in bed. By the second day I was starting to eat again but it hurt to chew so I started with a liquid diet and worked my way up to solid food. On the third day I got out of bed for the first time since my surgery. I went for a stroll around the hospital ward wearing sunglasses (because it was too bright), two hospital gowns (one forward and one backwards so that I wasn’t flashing my butt) and I carried my catheter bag as a purse. It was the only time that I asked my husband to put down the camera because it was not an image that I wanted to capture, so you are going to have to use your imagination.
The pain was pretty intense and I was on a mixture of narcotics, and IV anti-nausea medication. By the third day I no longer needed the IV or morphine shots which meant that I could be moved to a standard patient room in the ward. I also started feeling like a human again.
On the morning of August 11 I had the 3 staples removed from my forehead. The dressing over the main incision was also staples on, and those staples were removed to reveal a pretty sweet battle scar. My hair was so incredibly crusty yet I knew that I wasn’t able to wash it for 7-10 days (until the rest of the staples were removed). I couldn’t hear very well from my left ear from swelling/iodine and was told that my hearing should improve in 4 weeks.
My parents came to visit when I was able to at least speak and keep my eyes open for short periods of time. My kids came to visit once I was unhooked from everything. I still had an IV in my arm for injections but I wasn’t tied to the bed as I had been. My oldest was scared because I had staples in my forehead from where I was clamped to the table and they couldn’t stop the bleeding. He was concerned before I went in that I was going to turn into Frankenstein, so I can understand his apprehension. My youngest came to visit on the morning that I was moved to the general ward which was perfect timing because at two he is a little difficult to entertain and keep quite. Here we are hanging out waiting for my room to be ready so that I could move out of close observation and into the Neuroscience ward.