What I remember from the first 48 hours after surgery is quite foggy. I know I felt lousy and due to the assortment of pain medication, I slept a lot. Furthermore, I was awakened constantly by nurses and professionals doing all sort of routine procedures on me–the typical stuff: Taking blood pressure, temperature, changing IV bags and so on and so fourth. All and all, I was comfortable for the most part but the minute the medicine wore off my whole body hurt something awful.
The first days in the TBU wing went quickly because of the endless amounts of testing, MRI’s, and just about every specialist under the sun stopping in to perform all sorts of testing. I can tell you that I slept any chance I got. The simple tasks were exhausting in the beginning. Things such as transferring me into a wheelchair or back into bed were very draining physically. Even watching television and reading for small amounts of time would just wear me down in a matter of minutes.
And through the first few days of recovery, the nurses, physical therapists and on call doctors (it was the weekend skeleton shifts) knew that I wasn’t bouncing back as rapidly as expected from this sort of procedure. My neurosurgeon just happened to be “off the grid” late in the week as well so it became difficult for us to obtain accurate updates as to what might have gone wrong during the surgery. My left arm and leg were not responding and felt uncomfortably tight. My sight was blurry with an odd sort of unfocus. The right side was weak but at least had feeling. It wasn’t until the fifth day of recovery that the doctors’ confirmed that indeed a blood vessel was hit during the procedure and the result was a stroke causing massive paralysis on the left side of my body.
Now, my immediate reaction to this news was, “Stroke, ok, what the hell does that mean?” But as I began to look around the room after the results were explained, I started to notice the expressions of unease and disappointment from professionals and family in that room. I quickly got that pit in the stomach feeling that this may not be good.
After the blast of just about the worst news possible from the neurosurgeon was unveiled, the decision was made that the best place for me to go was an inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital in the area. And that was fine by me. In that moment, I would have gone to Mars if it meant my left side would start functioning as normal.
The arrangements were made, and I was transported shortly after my status was downgraded from critical to stable. I still felt like crap, the damn doctor blew out the left side of my body, but I guess the positive is I was still on this side of the soil!
That first week post surgery was terribly confusing for all of us. None of us understood what was going on, nor did we have the medical expertise to even semi-diagnose why so many parts weren’t functioning correctly. I mostly slept due to fatigue thinking that I’d come to and everything would be back to normal. All I wanted to do was play my guitar, go back to my office, or go take a walk. I needed to get out of this place. I was already sick of being sick.