My eyes popped open and I felt immediate pain. A pain so intense I thought I had third degree burns. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I laid on the hospital bed unable to lift my arm or move my hand — it felt as if my entire right side was paralyzed. Even though I could feel a burning sensation, my entire arm and hand felt lifeless, as if it was dead. There I was in the recovery room…alone and scared.
I knew when I woke up from surgery I expected a sore throat from the breathing tube and some pain in my neck at the surgery location; however, this pain was mainly in my right arm and hand. I kept trying to move my arm, which was next to my side; however, I was unable. I tried again and again, with no luck. I was in the corner of a large room with drapes on the sides and kept hearing loud noises behind me. I heard women talking about movies and CD’s and what they were going to play next. Even without my glasses on, I knew I was surrounded by people; however, I never felt so lonely.
After a few more minutes, my doctor appeared and leaned over to see if I was awake. At the same time, I felt someone ‘pin pricking’ my legs, feet and various body parts. ‘Sharp or dull’ was the question. To me, at that point, being stuck with a sharp or dull object felt ‘sharp’ no matter which side they used, but I answered the question as best I could. There were parts of my body where I was unable to feel anything.
I slipped in and out of consciousness a few times while the doctor was there, but kept waking from the pain. I asked what happened to my right side. He paused, so I also asked if my IV had infiltrated (when an IV needle moves and the solution doesn’t flow properly into the vein) since the burning sensation was coming from that area. The doctor explained there was a small problem during surgery and the nerves to my right side had not registered for 20 minutes and they had stopped the surgery until the saw a ’blip’ on the monitor. Sedated from pain medications, he kept asking me to move my left arm and hand, both legs, feet, etc. while the ‘pin pricking’ continued. Again, I was unable to feel the ’sharp’ needle on my right side. He then told me he had to perform another surgery and would be on vacation during the next few days.
Next, I began to worry about my husband who had been in the surgical waiting room since I was taken to surgery. “No visitors are allowed in the recovery area,” I was told. I asked why I hadn’t been moved to a hospital room and the same nurse said I was being moved to ICU, but there wasn’t a bed available. I was given no other explanation. Cleaning the recovery area was a nice custodian who told me that the ICU had been backed up most of the day. He then went and got me ginger ale and a sandwich. “They won’t take care of you way over here,” he said. Even today, I have extreme gratitude for what he did. A few sips of a cold drink and a few bites of a sandwich never tasted so good. That is all I had eaten and drank since 9 p.m. the night before. I will never forget his kindness.
A few hours later I insisted that I see my husband. I was told again that visitors were not allowed, but they would let me speak to him on the telephone acting as if they were doing a favor. When I finally spoke to my husband via a hospital cordless telephone, he indicated he was told about the problem during surgery. I explained to him about the pain and not being able to move my hand or arm. I remember thinking all I wanted was to see him so he could make everything right. However, I knew he needed to leave to pick up my daughter and drive back to the hospital. I thought by the time they made the three-hour round trip that I would be settled in the ICU and my right side would be back to normal. However, was I ever wrong.
©My Unplanned Life and http://www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com, 2011.