Excitement and high adventure

Minor storm damage to the house.

Goodness, this has been a week full of excitement and adventure.

On Wednesday I had minor surgery to repair an abdominal hernia, laparoscopic, day surgery. But still something of an ordeal. My mother-in-law watched the children for the day. Dom took me to the hospital. It was a Catholic hospital so we got to stop in for a brief visit to the chapel to kneel before the tabernacle and pray; that was a blessing on a difficult day. The surgery went well, recovery took longer than anticipated as I took longer to wake up and needed oxygen longer than anticipated. (I gleaned that from hearing the recovery nurse talking on the phone, no one bothered to explain that to Dom or to me.)

As far as homeschooling goes, I was pleased that the habits we’ve worked to build held firm, the children all managed to get their schoolwork done even without me here. Grandma B. brought some toys and games, from all accounts they had a lovely visit.

On Thursday and Friday I still managed to walk the kids through their school work. Sitting at the table was actually more comfortable than the bed or the recliner, easier to get up and down. But by Friday night I’d taken all the pain medicine the surgeon had prescribed. I was left with just over the counter ibuprofen and by midmorning Saturday it really wasn’t enough. I called the on-call doctor and he told me I’d have to go to the emergency room, have the incision checked out and then they could give me another prescription for something stronger than ibuprofen. And thus began a 12 hour ordeal at the emergency room.

To complicate everything, our power went out at dinner time on Friday because of high winds in the storm that took out power in fifty percent of our town and many other towns in Massachusetts. Our house sustained very minor damage as the wind tore off some siding and pushed our gazebo off the patio (but didn’t flip it over because it was well anchored).

Finishing dinner by candlelight.

So Saturday morning found us hunting for a place to have a hot breakfast, settling on Panera after seeing lines at all the independent diners. Lucy couldn’t eat anything but bacon, poor thing, and I was so out of it I’d forgotten to grab her some of her gluten free bread or a muffin to eat. After Panera we decamped for the library, hoping to find a hotel to go to. There were no rooms anywhere. And my pain was mounting, I couldn’t get comfortable or thing about anything except how bad I felt. I ended up in the car sobbing on the phone with the on-call surgeon who himself didn’t have any power. He was sympathetic, but really couldn’t offer me anything but the emergency room.

So at least Dom and the kids were warm and entertained in the hospital’s waiting room; but as the electric company predicted 72 hours before the power would be restored, thinking about the kids (and us!) sleeping in a cold house for another night was really not an attractive option. Eventually Dom took the kids to his sister’s house north of Boston while I waited in emergency room limbo. They eventually decided I didn’t have an infection and discharged me at 1 am. Dom had to drive down to get me and we got back to his sister’s at about 3 in the morning.

Sunday was Sophie’s birthday. Dom’s sister, Evy, fed the kids waffles for breakfast and then took them to Mass, except Lucy who stayed with Dom and I. Poor Lucy threw up a few times and slept most of the morning. Then she seemed fine the rest of the day. Who knows what that was about?

After Mass the kids had pizza and then Evy took them to the park and then to see the “water fireworks” extravaganza at Jordan’s furniture. Then we had cake and ice cream and Sophie opened her presents while Grandma B was there. We had hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and ended the day with family prayers. I think it might have been the best 10th birthday ever, even if we were refugees from the storm.

Uncle Pete helps Sophie with her birthday presents.

Water Fireworks with cousins.

Power was restored Sunday night so on Monday we packed up and headed back home. I’m still feeling sore and finding recovery to be no joke. I wish the doctors weren’t so stingy with narcotics. I understand the dangers of addiction and yet it feels like they don’t take the pain of surgery seriously enough. Over the counter pain killers really aren’t sufficient. It’s frustrating to say the least. I’m hoping the rest of the week is quiet, though we’re supposed to get hit with a snowstorm later in the week.


3 Responses to Excitement and high adventure

  1. Lisa March 6, 2018 at 5:30 pm #

    So glad to hear things are going better for all of you – what a week. Just finished reading Dom’s account of the week and it is really fun to see both viewpoints. You and your family will be in my prayers.

    [ A note on pain killers (from the wife of someone with chronic episodic pain) – it sometimes is better to stay ahead of the pain and take on a schedule and not wait until an “on demand” after you feel pain. ]

    • Melanie Bettinelli
      Melanie Bettinelli March 6, 2018 at 10:34 pm #

      Thank you, Lisa.

      About the pain killers. That’s what I learned post c-section and was the protocol I was trying to follow: stay on top of the pain, follow the dosing schedule. Unfortunately, the surgeon only prescribed enough pills to follow “the schedule” for 2 days. Then I was out.

      And again when I went to the ER, they only prescribed enough to stay on schedule for two days. Then I had to decide: do I stay on top of the pain and comfortable and pain free for two days and then risk being completely in pain with no relief at all unless I manage to pester my way into an appointment (with a surgeon who did not follow up with me at all nor return my calls) or do I eke out the pills to last a few more days, having some periods of partial relief and some periods of no relief?

      I guess the assumption is that the pain after a “minor” laproscopic surgery isn’t as intense as that of a c-section? Or they just don’t care? Or they are somehow limited in what they can prescribe in ways that they don’t bother to explain to me? My experience after my c-section was 4 days in the hospital with adequate pain control (though sometimes nurses would be a little tardy with a dose or I would need a higher dose approved and I’d be in some pain for a short period of time.) And then I was sent home with enough pills to stay on schedule for long enough to be able to taper on my own without feeling in extreme pain ever. This has been a very different experience. And I’m angry.

  2. Penelope March 7, 2018 at 6:14 am #

    What an ordeal! Melanie, I’m so sorry. That doesn’t sound like proper aftercare at all. I hope you begin to feel better soon. Rest as much as possible.

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