Surgery

All posts tagged Surgery

Drumroll Please…

Published March 24, 2018 by Malia

To quote Professor Hubert Farnsworth, “Good news, everyone!”

I had my fasting blood drawn this morning and after several stabs…

(That’s four, four painful sticks of a needle. I’m a nightmare draw.)

…my blood was drawn. And this afternoon I got the result of my A1C (and of my chem 14, but I wasn’t nearly as anxious about that result).

At the end of December, my A1C was 10.2. That was the A1C that got my surgery cancelled. The A1C that legit scared me.

I’m pleased to report that as of this morning, my A1C is down.

It’s not 9.5.

It’s not 8.5.

Wait for it…

….

It’s 7.8!

You have no idea how excited I was to see that number. Especially since I know I didn’t apply myself nearly as much to the getting healthy process as I should’ve. But, as much as I blame the flu for me falling off the wagon of eating right and logging of food & blood sugar numbers, I’m thinking the flu actually deserves my thanks. See, I spent almost all of February sleeping, and when I ate, it wasn’t tons.

Now, I just have to try even harder to be good.

The only bad news? I’ve lost no weight. Zero. So, I’m sure that’s not going to thrill my doctor, but she should be happy about that 2.4 point (really hoping my mental math is right) drop of my A1C, right? Hopefully, this’ll keep me from having to go on insulin. Plus, since I’m below 8.0 my ob-gyn is going to be willing to consider doing my surgery again!!!!

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You take the good, you take the bad…

Published January 2, 2018 by Malia

When we driving home from my in-laws on Christmas Eve I had this thought enter my brain, “Next year, there might be three of us.”  And for the next 48 hours I was in a pretty happy, pretty hopeful place.

No, I’m not pregnant.  I didn’t think I was.  But, there was this smidgen (and boy ,do I mean smidgen) of a chance, that in the next year I might be.

So here’s the deal, last Wednesday, I was supposed to have a surgery.  My doctor was going to shrink my stupid giant ovaries down to normal size by cutting wedges out of them.  There was no guarantee, but there was this chance that it’d undo a lot of my PCOS mess.  There was a chance that I’d actually be able to make some progress on the weight loss front.  There was even a chance that it’d make me a little less insulin resistant.  There was a chance it’d make the mystery pain go away, and that it would lessen my mood swings.  And…there was this chance that I could get pregnant and stay pregnant.  I was so excited.  I was weirdly calm.  I think I was so desperate for just one of those many things to be a little bit better that it outweighed the anxiety and fear I was also experiencing.

And then I went to my pre-op last Tuesday…

Picture it…9 a.m. the day after Christmas.  I got to my appointment, and things promptly went downhill.  My first warning sign came when I was going through my paperwork, verifying that they had my info correct, and noticed that they had down the doctor from my work’s employee health clinic down as my primary doctor (she’s nice and I have seen her in the last year, but she’s not my primary doctor, or even my ob-gyn).  I pointed this out, and the receptionist told me that she wasn’t able to change that, and that someone in the surgery center would need to fix it on the day of my surgery.  I remember feeling confused as to why she’d asked me to check to make sure everything was correct if she couldn’t actually change any of it.

I then got taken into the exam room.  Both the nurse and the anesthesiologist were either really annoyed they had to work the day after Christmas, or were super hungover, or both.  I just know that they were both in bad moods, and every time I tried to be even a little funny I got death glares from both parties.  First, the anesthesiologist was upset with me because of my diabetes and my difficulty keeping my blood sugars down.  Then, she was annoyed that I’m overweight.  To make it a trifecta, I frustrated her because I snore so I must have sleep apnea and I really need to be getting that treated.  I should probably be undergoing a sleep study (at least, according to her).  If I hadn’t been stressed and anxious before, I was at that point.  A great way to feel the day before surgery.  More than once the anesthesiologist informed me that I was ONLY having an elective procedure and I really wasn’t in any condition to have any elective procedure.  I kept thinking, “I’m not here for bigger boobs.  You know those things that you’re really frustrated and annoyed with me about?  This is a procedure that could actually make those things better.”

They drew my blood.  The anesthesiologist gave me many print outs (all about the health problems that she had concerns about), gave me another lecture about how I really shouldn’t be having an elective procedure, and I went home, my calm now tinged with a small amount of dread.

That evening, I was about to go flush out my system (yeah, that’s as nasty as it sounds), and I got a phone call.  From my doctor.  And it started with her saying, “I’m so sorry, I was so sad when I heard about tomorrow.  I was really looking forward to seeing you.”  (I should mention here that my doctor is a beautiful, kind, sweet woman who genuinely gives a crap and actually listens to me and I kind of love her.)

To which I replied, “What about tomorrow?”  Dread amount was no longer in the small category.

“Didn’t the hospital call you?  They said they called you.”

“No, they didn’t call me.”

Turns out that blood draw (the one that a week later I still have a bruise from), sent a result back that the anesthesiologist didn’t like.  And just like that, my surgery was cancelled.  The hospital called my doctor  while she was performing someone else’s surgery, and left her a message regarding the cancellation.  They gave me no chance to redo the tests, or to fight to stay on the schedule.

I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut.  The sliver of hope that maybe, just maybe something was finally going to get fixed in my body, was gone, at least for now.  I cried all that night.  I cried the better part of surgery day.  And then, I think my body just ran out of tears.  It’s now been a week, and I’m still hanging in there.  I’m disappointed that I have to shelve the surgery for now.  However, it’s not like it’ll never happen, and even if it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.  I have an amazing husband, adorable pets, precious nephews and a niece, and a collection of graphic novels that should keep me entertained for the next two years (possibly more, it’s amazing how cheap you can get them on Ebay.  The boy need not know how much I’m adding to our already large collection…).

And for now, I’m going to refuse to give up hoping that someday, in the future, I’m going to be a better, healthier me.

Did You Actually Go To Medical School?

Published August 16, 2014 by Malia

When I was in elementary school, I remember classmates circulating a story about a man who had gone in for surgery, and when he woke up he was missing a leg.  Depending on the person telling the story, he either lost both legs, or an arm and a leg, or both legs and both arms.  I’m pretty sure that at some point, in some telling of the tale, he woke up as the Headless Horseman (and was probably missing all his limbs as well).  I learned two things from this, A. Kid’s imaginations are kind of a gruesome playground, and, B. Don’t have surgery, because the doctor will mix you up with another patient and you WILL die (sans all limbs).

When I was in vet tech school, I remember sitting in surgical procedures class, and having a teacher tell us that it was super important to count all your gauze pads-and anything else that came into contact with the patient-before the patient got stitched up, because you didn’t want Fluffy coming back in for having a sponge left inside her accidentally (and having a severe infection from the foreign body).

You always hear stories like this, and I think on some level I didn’t quite believe them until a few years ago when my grampa was staying at a rehab center after surgery.  Two days before he was due to be released, the nurse gave him another patient’s meds.  Turned out that the other patient was taking high levels of morphine.  I’ve always hoped no one got my grampa’s meds, because he was taking large quantities of Coumadin (a blood thinner, for those who aren’t familiar with it).  Grampa ended up back in the hospital for a few days, and his release date got pushed back another week.

All of these things were enough to make me a little nervous about healthcare, but it wasn’t until I started working at the lab that I truly got scared of healthcare.

Now, let me just point out that there are absolutely amazing and fantastic nurses and doctors out there.  My goal here is not to bash, or cast out a net and say, “All healthcare professionals are this way.”  There are people who truly know what they’re doing and do an excellent job at it.  However, in the last year and a half, I’ve started to wonder how many of them there actually are.

I really love my job.  The work is interesting, and I’ve learned far more in the last year and a half than I ever learned in school.  I work in a medical reference lab.  We’re responsible for running tests that doctor’s offices and hospitals can’t run in-house.  I don’t personally perform any of the testing (I’d need a medical lab tech degree for that, and all I have is my vet tech degree and training as a phlebotomist), but I work in the processing department.  Instead of a long drawn out explanation, just think of it as a combination of quality assurance and client care.  I seem to spend a fair amount of time on the phone with clients, and for every call that is smooth and easy to work through, there seem to be about twenty that make you wish you were having a root canal instead.

For example, recently, I had to call a stat result to a doctor.  Not only did this doctor have zero people skills, but when I told him what I was calling about, what the test was, and what the result of the test was along with the normal reference ranges, he said, “I don’t understand what that means.”  It was all I could do not to reply, “You ordered this test!  This is your patient!  What do you mean you don’t understand?!”  Fortunately, it wasn’t a very unusual test, and after about five minutes I was able to explain it well enough to him that he seemed to have grasped whatever it was he didn’t understand.  I hung up the phone and just sat there feeling pity for his patients.

The thing is, those kinds of calls are not out of the norm.  A few weeks ago, one of my co-workers had to call a nurse because a specimen was received that had to be protected from light and frozen within 30 minutes of collection.  The specimen arrived frozen, but unprotected from light.  The nurse didn’t understand the problem, because she had gotten the specimen in the freezer in the 30 minutes.  My co-worker then had to explain that the specimen also needed to either be wrapped in tin foil (not only does it protect the specimen from light, but it protects it from aliens as well), or put into an amber colored tube.

It scares me when things aren’t labeled, or they’re mislabeled.  It scares me when a medical professional doesn’t know that you use a lavender tube to collect a CBC, instead of a serum tube.  It scares me when they don’t know the difference between serum and plasma.  It scares me when they don’t know how to operate a centrifuge.  It scares me when I have to explain something basic to someone who supposedly has more education than I do.  It scares me when people are more interested in discussing their horoscopes, than they are in doing their job correctly.  I don’t care if you’re a Cancer, I care about making sure that the guy with cancer gets prompt and accurate treatment.

I know that mistakes happen.  I know that doctors and nurses are only human.  Sometimes, though, I have to wonder why some of them decided to work in healthcare.  Must be the great hours and the glamorous uniforms.

Embracing My Inner Weirdness

Published April 27, 2013 by Malia

I had an interesting moment this week.  I was standing at work, looking at a cup with an amputated toe in it.

That’s right.

A toe.

From a human.

Now, being a vet tech, I’ve been present for plenty of surgeries.  Working in a medical lab I see blood, and other things (I’ll call them sunshine, butterflies, and daises, to try to keep you all from completely losing your lunch).  However, this was the first time I had ever seen an actual body part that was separate from the body.

Standing there, looking at the toe, I found myself feeling overwhelmed with love for my job.  Seriously.  By far, that toe sighting was the coolest things that happened this week at work.

Now, “normal” people would not find this to be cool.  They wouldn’t think that it was a highlight of their week.  In fact, they would look at me and think, “What a freaky weirdo.”  And, you know what?  They’re probably right.

I’ve reached this point, though, where I’ve pretty much stopped caring what people think about me.  It’s too time consuming.  Besides, I like that I’m a weirdo.

As if loving my gross job, and being obsessed with geeky things doesn’t make me weird enough, I’m turning into the Crazy Puppet Lady.  

My mom started working with puppets before I was born, so I can honestly say I was born into this life.  When I was six, she and dad went to Sunday School Convention in Peoria, and they came home with my first puppet.  She was the ugliest little girl I had ever seen, and I loved her dearly.  I named her Jill, and she was the first puppet I used the first time I stepped behind the stage curtain to perform.  From there on, I spent my entire childhood and teen years puppeteering.  Sometimes we had big teams, and sometimes our teams were just made up of mom, dad, and I.

When I graduated from high school, I thought my days of working with puppets had come to an end.  It was one of those things that had been fun for the time that I had done it, but I just put it down as a part of my childhood.  For a while, it was the end of it.  I had a break for a few years.

Then, in early 2009 our church seriously approached our family about starting up a team.  So, we did, and even though the changes a bit every few months, it’s consistently a fantastic group.

I’ve noticed a change in me, since we started team again back in ’09.  When I left home back in 2003 and went to school, I really didn’t miss team or miss being a puppeteer.  When I moved away in 2011, I missed team and puppeteering almost more than anything else.  It really had become an intricate part of me, and not being able to do it every week was a misery.

When I moved back home last December, I had not job and no clue about what was next for me in life, but I had team and I had my puppets and somehow I knew it was going to be okay.  In fact, the first weekend I was home, my parents helped me make the videos I posted at Christmas:

Now, the girl in the video is Penny, and she’s my girl.  She came into my life back in 2009, and I couldn’t quite figure out what to do with her, and what was worse was that I had no clue how to give her a voice.  It may sound silly, but there’s a lot more to giving a voice.   You have to figure out the personality and create this whole other person.  So, it was exciting  when Penny started finding her voice.  (Side note: Yes, I realize that Penny is a puppet, and this is not a delusional thing.  However, she’s become a part of me.  Hence, I refer to her as a separate individual.  It’s hard to explain without sounding slightly insane, which I’m pretty sure I’m not.)  Last December was the first time that voice really started to make an appearance.  Last weekend, though, that voice got put to the test.

Last weekend was Creative Ministry Festival.  We go every year and take our team members.  Since Creative Ministry Festival is all about Creative Ministry (Puppetry, Clowning, Illusion, Dowel Rod, etc…  for more info check out http://www.creativemin.com), I took Penny with me.  Last year was the first year I took her, and I had this adorable 1950’s poodle skirt outfit on her.  Well, a week before this year’s  festival, I realized that I couldn’t take her wearing the same outfit this year.  That’s when my Pinterest addiction kicked in (you may remember me referring to this addiction a few weeks ago in reference to a cake tragedy).  I remembered seeing a tutorial on Pinterest about taking a superhero emblem t-shirt and making a matching tutu for it.  The instructions for the tutu didn’t seem to difficult, so mom and I went on a last minute hunt for t-shirts and correctly colored tulle.  We found a Superman t-shirt and a Batman t-shirt.  Then, we found sparkly tulle in red, yellow, and black, and regular tulle in blue.

Thanks to my dad, I didn’t have to spend days cutting out 3 inch strips of tulle.  He has this really cool circular knife and quilting mat that I used to cut the tulle.  What should have taken me days took approximately an hour.

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As you can see, I had a lovely pile of red and blue, and black and yellow.  I then had to turn these piles into tutu skirts.  Since I’m not the world’s greatest at finishing craft projects, this was it’s own challenge.  However, by the day of the festival, I had created two unique tutus:

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Friday night, I took Penny in her Superman outfit:

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And on Saturday, it was time for Batman:

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The cool thing was, because she had these unique outfits, people were more inclined to come talk to me (which is good because I’m not exactly good at socializing with strangers).  Not only did people talk to me, but Penny was able to talk to them.  She had finally found her voice, and started getting pretty comfortable with it.

Then came Sunday.

Since this Sunday (April 28th) is our team’s spring performance, I asked the pastors if Penny could do the announcement.  I was given permission, and immediately freaked out.  It was one thing to talk to strangers, it was something completely different to interact with people I know.  What would they think?  Would I just make an idiot out of myself?

Well, when church started, Penny and I went into the sanctuary (and yes, she was still in her Batman outfit).  Even though I pretended I couldn’t tell, I could sense all the people staring.  It was the first time  that any of our puppet had been seen outside of the stage.  Now, the number one rule about manipulating a puppet in public is that the puppet has to stay alive.  This meant that I couldn’t put my arm down to my side, and Penny had to keep reacting like an actual person would.  We got through the first song without problem, and then came the meet and greet time (basically 3 minutes where people can wander around and say a quick hello to each other).  This is when something completely unexpected took place.

Penny and I were standing with mom, and I saw this little girl and her mom come walking over.  The little girl wanted to meet Penny, and so Penny and she talked.  Then, after she left, her dad brought her older sister over (these girls were about 5 and 7), and Penny talked with her.  Then, after she left, two little boys drug their Grandmas over.  One little boy reached out and started shaking Penny’s hand (thankfully, I had the quick reaction to grab the arm rod so Penny could actually shake hands with him).  What shocked me was watching these kids interact with Penny.

I can’t talk to kids.  I grew up and only child, and I had to exist in an adult’s world from birth.  Yes, I had a childhood, but I don’t think my brain was ever truly a kid.  Sure I liked to play and hang with friends, but I didn’t think like a kid.  This has made interacting with children a huge challenge for me.  I don’t want to talk down to them, but I never know what to say.  However, with Penny, I could talk to kids, and they talked to her.  It was my Grinch moment.  It was the moment my heart grew two sizes.  Each kid made me cry (which is next to impossible.  I almost never cry, unless I’m watching some manipulative movie or commercial).  It was the moment that I knew that I really have become the crazy puppet lady, and I’m completely okay with it.

Oh yeah, the announcement went well.  I think it’s the only time the statement, “You can’t say no to someone in a Batman t-shirt and tutu.” has ever been uttered in a church.