Sunday, October 21, 2012

Recap: The Hospital

It's always a good sign when a blogger writes her recap of the hospital stay. Any sort of blogging, texting, mental activity in general, is exhausting. But I've gotten to that point where I'm feeling more like I have a really bad flu + recent wisdom teeth removal, rather than being post surgery. So here goes...

Jeff and I arrived at the hospital at 6am for surgery at 7:30am. It took about 15 mins to get admitted and was sent to a waiting room to wait for the pre-surgery nurse. After a short wait I was brought back to a changing area (Jeff waited behind) and then was brought to the pre-op beds. The nurse then did a whole new health history with me, took blood and started my IV. Then my dad (who had since arrived to hospital) and Jeff were brought back to wait with me.  


My dad and Jeff.

My surgical team started coming in : My surgeon, the OR nurse, Anesthesiologist, recovery nurse, etc. Then I said my goodbyes to Jeff and my dad and was wheeled away to the OR. The OR was hoppin' when I was wheeled in with people buzzing around and music playing. I remember being moved from the bed to the table and that's about it! The next thing I remember is waking up in the first recovery room and my dad and Jeff were there. But it was pretty foggy. At some point I remember being wheeled from recovery to the ICU. The pain meds they had given me was too strong for my system and they had a hard time keeping me alert and my oxygen levels dropped. I remember my surgeon saying "take deep breaths Amanda!" I remember thinking "why all the fuss, I feel fine, let me drift back to sleep, leave me alone!" But after hearing the story from my dad and Jeff later I guess everyone was very freaked out at the time. They ended up giving me another drug to counter act the first pain medication and decided to switch me to morphine.

The next thing I remember is being woken up by an earthquake. So bizarre.

Coming out of surgery I had a urinary catheter and an NG tube coming out my nose. The NG tube was pumping blood and junk out of my stomach. The other purpose was to pump nutrition in. My first feeding was scheduled for about 10pm. This was when my least favorite of my nurses was on....James. He seemed like he was some young kid who just started. I much preferred the mommy type women who took care of me at every other shift. Anyway, so James says "We have Ensure, Boost, etc" At this point I hadn't started speaking yet, I was writing everything down, which was exhausting. I wrote to him "I AM VEGAN." Which the hospital knew coming into this and I even told Jeff to please make sure they didn't pump in dairy. Not only is it against my daily practice, but I haven't had it in so long that dairy would really upset my stomach. Anyway, Jeff was there and was being my advocate and explaining my concern. The kid was such a jerk he basically looked at me and said, "Well, you decide, either you eat or you don't". Jeff kept asking, can't we pump in some soy milk or something? And the kid was stuck on the fact that the Ensure comes packaged in a way where it 'snaps' into their NG system. Finally he left and came back about 20 minutes later with a container of soy milk and bottles of ISOPURE. Technically Isopure isn't vegan, because there is whey protein, but it's not a dairy drink, it looks like gatorade. He was able to rig they system so that he could pour it down my tube.
First meal. Finally!

Later that night, after my second meal, James gave me my morphine. He did it too fast and I puked about 10 minutes later. Sad for him, I puked all over my gown and bed. So he and another nurse had to clean it all up. After that, they cut my morphine dose in half and made sure to administer it super slowly. The puking wasn't bad, it came on really quick and once it was done, I never felt nauseous again.

I slept pretty well considering. The next day in the afternoon they transferred me out of ICU. Before sending me down they took out my tube and catheter. Neither was bad at all.  I was so happy because I was put in the pediatrics floor. (Apparently, Dr. Henry likes all his patients to go to pediatrics b/c the care is so good). I had kids as neighbors and babies being born down the hall. I also had my own room and very attentive, friendly nurses. I stayed for two nights and was finally sent home yesterday. I don't know how some of you leave the hospital after one night! Three seemed perfect.

OK, now I'm tired and I know I'm leaving stuff out. But these are the basics of my stay:)


A few added notes to this post:
-For the first few days out of surgery my face felt like it had vaseline smothered all over it. Maybe it did, I never asked.
-My surgeon was a rockstar. He was so attentive and visited me twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. He also checked in with the nurses during the day. He was very encouraging and was always giving me information and tips.

Here's a link to my hospital writing pad pictures.


  1. Omg your nurse James seems as bad as my nurse Agnes! People can be so unsympathetic about dietary requirements, especially when it's something you've 'chosen' - I'm vegetarian (trying to turn vegan, maybe you can help me make the transition lol) and people act like you're just annoying and awkward when you tell them that you can't eat things!

    It's funny that you said you can't understand how people can only stay one night... I can't understand how you could bare staying there for three!

  2. Lol- yes he was looking at me when he gave me my "choice" between no food and dairy as if I was some Beverly hills brat or something. Even later that night when I puked all over the place he had the same attitude. Even though it was his fault for pumping in my morphine too quickly and for not putting a puke container near me!

  3. Hi Amanda, I am new to your blog. I will be going though the same surgery for an open bite too. Can't tell you how helpful all of this info is! I am also vegan so I can relate to your concerns about what the hospital tries to give you. I'm happy that everything is going well for you post-surgery. When I spoke with my surgeon before I got my braces, she said the 'norm' for their procedures is to send patients home the same day with a night nurse. After reading your posts, I'm a bit concerned now! I wonder if I should opt for the hospital stay even though it will cost me a lot more. Wishing you continued success in your recovery- and thanks for posting all the very helpful info!

    1. Hi Jen! I'm so glad this is helpful. Every situation and person is different. I was in the hospital for much longer than most. It seems a lot of bloggers go home after the first night. If you end up going home on the night of your surgery I imagine that having a nurse will be just as good as being in the hospital... even better bc you will be at home. It is so great to hear from another vegan! I really believe that has helped me with recovery. Most people complain of missing certain types of food, but I already did that when I went vegan a couple years ago. So food cravings don't really bother me. Also, I know how to get a balance diet with really healthy and nutrient rich alternatives. Another thing I hear is that post surgery constipation is a big issue, but it hasn't affected me at all. That may have nothing to do with being vegan, but I suspect that it could help that my entire diet hasn't changed significantly after surgery.

      Good luck!