Below is another part of My AVM Story: the recounting of the discovery, removal, rehabilitation, and survival of an arteriovenus malformation. To read from the beginning of the story, click here.
Last Full Day in the Hospital
With the trauma of my last IV placement over, I could concentrate on rest and therapy as I prepared to leave the hospital. Dan and I had discussed our options with the doctors, and all parties involved believed that Mary Free Bed was the best place for me for the next phase of recovery.
To recap, I had awoken from a medically induced coma about 3 days ago. “Waking up” is a gradual process which is why I had all the crazy dreams and hallucinations. I have no movement on the left side of my body and little to no sensation on that side either. If the nurse inflicted pain on my toes, I could feel a very distant, light pin-prick. I was doing physical, occupational therapy from in-hospital staff. The sessions were about 20-30 minutes long, and I was exhausted after each one.
Since I was not able to walk or even sit up on my own yet, I needed to go to an in-patient rehabilitation program with full time nurse care. At this point, my surgeon has no idea what if any feeling and/or movement will return. The brain is a very complex organ, and when it has undergone this type of trauma, it is not easy to predict how much it will recover.
God’s Perfectly Timed Protection
I’ve stated before how I think God protects us sometimes through his divine intervention but sometime just through ordinary people and rules. He did so on the night before I was scheduled to leave the hospital to await surgery at home. I wanted my IV taken out so badly and yet the nurse refused citing hospital policy.
Fast forward a couple hours, and I experience my second hemorrhage. Since my IV port was still in, I was able to receive medication without inflicting more pain by putting an IV in during an emergency situation.
On this my last night in the hospital, I again wanted my IV port taken out. I was severely bruised thanks to my last nurse who put it in, and I had several infected spots on my arms and chest from various other tubes and wires that were in the process of healing. Simply put, I was tired of the pain these tubes and things were causing, and I just wanted to be rid of them.
Enter stage left: my first post-surgery headache.
Recurring headaches, migraines, and seizures are common side effects after undergoing this type of surgery. I had not had any thus far, but I had also only been awake for 4 days and was on heavy doses of pain and anti-seizure medication 24/7.
Let’s just say the headache took my breath away. I was not using an IVs at the moment because I needed to be independent of an IVs to get into Mary Free Bed. The oral oxycotin they gave me couldn’t touch the pain. Thankfully, I wasn’t nauseous or experiencing visual issues like you would with a migraine, but the pain was truly intense.
My nurse checked on me often through the night to see how I was holding up. Every time she came in, I was sitting upright in my bed, wide awake, with Dan asleep in the chair beside me.
Finally at some point during the night, the nurse got approval to give me fentanyl through the IV. What a sweet relief that was. I know why people get addicted to drugs now. The feeling of relief rushing through your body is wonderful. I ended up getting a couple hours of sleep, but no more because they really didn’t want me on IV medication.
Next up for me is to remove the staples from my head and go to Mary Free Bed tomorrow, Friday, December 11, 2009.
Next: My AVM Story – Part 30