As many of you know, I was at the hospital almost all day today with my mom undergoing surgery to remove the bottom lobe of the right lung due to cancer. Here are 13 observations about my day.
1. Hospitals stink. I mean that literally. In the entry way, I was assaulted by the scent of grape couph syrup. The floors tend to smell like a combination of Pine Sol and dirt. One of the public restrooms smelled of urine. And oxygen has a pungent odor that reminds me of the smell of new vinyl.
2. My mom has many people who love and care about her. Four friends from church arrived this morning. Two of them sat with my sister and me all day. As soon as we got to mom's house, the neighbor was at the door. She is lucky to have people who care.
3. A thoracotomy is a long procedure when it entails a lobectomy, almost three hours in the operating room alone. The rib did not have to come out, but the ribs had to be separated to get to the lung.
4. The surgical intensive care unit will allow a ratio of one nurse for two patients.
5. The hospital is not a place to be if you want to sleep. With the constant beeping of machines, sounds of medicine pumps, drains, catheters, not to mention the nurse's station and the visitors of a hard-of-hearing patient in the next cubicle, it's not likely sleep is going to come. In addition to all that, the nurses come in frequently to check heart monitors, central lines, and so on.
6. A 12 inch incision with a tube left in it to drain the area must be awfully painful, not to mention the unpleasant drainage that comes from it. It looks like she was shot in the back.
7. The nurse basically told my sister to stay away tomorrow. They will attempt to get mom up, have her cough as much as she can to prevent pneumonia, and just generally torture her with some necessary treatments. That won't keep either of us away, though. Why wouldn't they want us to be there?
8. Hospital food is inexpensive. The flipside, you get what you pay for.
9. She will be in surgical ICU as long as her doctor deems necessary, anywhere from 3 days to a week. Then she will go to a regular room to continue her recovery, which according to the doctor, is going to be difficult.
10. If I ever have to be in the ICU, I would like to have a competent, experienced nurse rather than one who is still learning the procedures.
11. There are so many germs in the hospital! I felt like I had cooties when I left.
12. We won't have any news of the prognosis until the pathology report comes back, probably two days.
13. My sister and I still get slap-happy when we are emotionally and physically exhausted, and we can make each other laugh to relieve stress. A paper surgical mask makes a great prop!
P. S. Does anyone know what happened to the Thursday Thirteen home page? I can't find it anymore!