The next thing I remember is being wheeled in to the after-surgery patient holding room. There were lots of nurses. And one I was particularly not impressed with; she did not do anything for anyone, including patients. But, I think the other nurses caught on to her by later that day, so I hope she got fired. She was not cut out for this.
Anyways, by this time I was all bandaged up and had a catheter. I remember looking at the clock and think it was around 2:30 p.m. I remember wanting to sleep, I felt tired, but could not. So, I just watched all the nurses run around for the other patients. Interesting enough. And I had zero pain. I did not know if I was on lots of pain-killers, but it was really nice to feel no throbbing in my head. Later, my neurosurgeon told me that there is often no pain with brain surgery. I had one regular strength Tylenol the next day and that was it.
However, there was lots of ‘dripping’ inside my head. I had no idea what exactly it was from, or where it was dripping to, but it felt like I should be happy it was dripping, so I was. When I say lots of dripping I mean it. Like every two seconds it would drip. Non-stop, day or night. For the next two weeks. I asked the nurses about it, they said that they think that they had heard of some people in the same condition I was in mention that. But when I asked my neurosurgeon, she looked blankly at me and said when you are dealing with brain tissue people have all sorts of different things happen. She had not heard of this before, but people may describe things differently. They cant write a set of things to expect because its different for everyone. So, I was alone. Something I felt a lot of.
When they finally had a spot for me in ICU (intensive care unit) later that day, that’s where I went. I was there for about two days. ICU was literally ‘crazy’. There was so much going on the whole time, day and night, with people stopping in with kids and people fighting over who gets to be there and make decisions. There was one older lady beside me who was there on a drug overdose whose family, who was not there at the moment, was trying to get the ‘boyfriend’ for the last couple of months out. The nurses have to be so versed in what they are doing. There is lots of times when he got really loud, but luckily they managed to keep him from blowing up. And the younger girl across the hall was on life support, she seemed as though she had been that way for along time. Her parents came and visited her everyday. I felt so sorry for them. She was mostly just sleeping, but then all of a sudden would be awake and thrashing her arms around, about all that she could move. It might be one or three in the morning. Who knows what she thought she was seeing etc… Then she would be sleeping again. It all gave me lots to think about. And since I couldn’t sleep, better to have some action.
I remember my husband being in ICU pretty much after I got there. I was so happy to see him. Happy does not even come close to trying to express what exactly I was feeling. Then he said that my parents and two of my sisters had been waiting to see me. Big hugs for everyone. I was so happy to have my family there, even though one of my sisters could not make it. I was thinking of her lots and knew that both of our experiences in the hospital would one day be something to laugh about. I missed her, but understood.
In ICU there really are no set visiting times, I think they would like everyone gone by 11:00 p.m., compared to 8:00 p.m. in the other wards. It was really nice that my husband would come from about 6:30 a.m. till about 11:00 p.m. every day. I know how tiring this must have been on him, especially when you are just helping me limp around the hospital. I could not walk very fast at all. I was practicing focusing with my vision. But we did get around the hospital, with some encouragement from Heidi, the ICU nurse. Heidi was great; she helped me go to the washroom (the catheter had come out after about a day) and to bath myself. Embarrassing as this was, she made me feel very comfortable. I think it was her small jokes that made me laugh. Even if I wasn’t laughing on the outside, I was smiling. I don’t know how they train you for this or if they do, but she definitely had a lot of respect and patience for all patients.
And of course it was December, so the hospital was decorated for Christmas. Many nights there would be carolers singing in the atrium, and I could hear them in my room. It made it sort of relaxing. Every different nursing station had a Christmas tree and decorations up. Letters to Santa from children. Lights hanging. It gave the hospital a joyful glow. I don’t think there would be any other time of year when the hospital seems to be this special. Christmas lights calmed the overbearing white lights. I almost wish it was like this all the time, for everyone.