Saturday, August 30, 2008

Where Were You When Obama Spoke?

Well, two full days into recovery and 103 photos later I was transferred from the ICU to the general ward last night. Quite incredible really! Not even three days after the whole procedure started!
(Mary from the UK & Marilyn the nurse in charge!)
There is so much to say and so many people to thank I won't be able to do it all in one post but as I said before all this started I should have quite a bit of time during recovery to share this experience and post on a regular basis. With over a hundred photos, mostly of the people who've cared for me in some way, there are many stories to tell and I can't possibly relate to you how happy I am to be alive to tell them!

Two nurses got away last night without their photo being taken. The order to transfer came at midnight and Denise had already left with the camera. That meant Alison (my ICU nurse) escaped after giving me the great news and escorting me to the ward. Then I was quite bummed when Joe's shift (nurse on the ward) ended before the camera was back for more action. Joe is from Kenya and we had a great time talking as he helped me get settled into my new room. He was so excited to hear about my life on Saipan, apparently word had spread of the crazy Canadians with the camera and it was also wonderful to hear his story. I thought it was quite fitting to end the night talking to him as we watched the end of the repeat of Senator Obama's speech. For those of you living under a rock this past 18 months Obama's father was also from Kenya.

Most of my night had been spent watching the Democrats and the endless build up but I only got to see half of Obama’s performance live. I know I'll never forget where I was for his speech both the live version and when it was repeated later in the night. What would cause me to interrupt his speech half way through after listening to over 5 hours of commentary and "expert" speculation you ask?

I had to PEE!

No easy task for me after the catheter was pulled out earlier in the day. You see I suffer from stage fright at the best of times. I've had surgeries before where post-op urination did not come easy and the only thing worse than having a catheter pulled out is having one inserted while you are awake! This concept played on my mind all day which does not make things any easier. Fortunately with some careful planning including warm water, properly timed pain medications and as much privacy as I could get in an intensive care unit everything worked. With Obama drowning out the noises from the busy nursing unit, 500ml of liquid gold finally appeared and the only one happier with the days’ events than Obama was probably me!

Perhaps a little more detail than anyone needs but I'll never forget where I was when he accepted the nomination and gave what you must admit was a pretty incredible speech regardless of whether you're Democrat or Republican.
(Anita & Vicky , nurse practitioners extraordinaire)(Anita & Erica getting ready to pull tubes)
I can now also answer the question as to which tube was the most uncomfortable to be pulled from my body. Just before Anita and Vicki (Top photo above) pulled out my chest tubes and heart wire the day before they had asked me to tell them which procedure was more uncomfortable. They deal mostly with kids so they wanted an adult opinion. The general thought was the chest tubes would hurt more but after it was all said and done having the thread with wires attached to my heart pulled through my skin was definitely more uncomfortable and just plain freaky. Everything was done quick and any discomfort from the pull was thankfully replaced with a more comfortable feeling of having them gone. Twenty-four hours later it was the catheter and well, I’ll take a chest tube or heart wire over that any day.
(Erica pulling the central line)
So now I’m tubeless, only one IV left in my right arm and on my way to being discharged. As Denise said, yesterday didn’t start off so well with some inflammation around my heart. I did not feel well in the morning. Every time I would lie down I felt a clicking sensation with every beat of my heart. My white blood cell count was also up. Both are not all that uncommon after surgery but they were an agonizing reminder that despite how well things were going there were (and are) real risks to making a full recovery.

What a difference 24 hours makes. A repeat echo late yesterday showed all is good in there and everyone who’s come by to see me today has said the rub is much less than it was and that I look much better. I feel much better and with things progressing the way they are the game plan as of now is to have me discharged sometime tomorrow.


The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

That has to be the best Obama commentary I've heard yet.

Mike said...

Congrats. Try and get a rub from Vicki. That's my best advice to you.