Thursday, February 28, 2013

laughing hurts!

I was told that I should not be lifting the 30 lb that my daughter weighs until six weeks after the operation.  However, a few times I had to help her on and off chairs or beds, and I can honestly say that although it hurt a little, it did not hurt nearly as much as coughing, sneezing, and especially laughing!  And we laugh a lot around here.  My mother and I have a humour-filled intimacy, where we laugh at all things to do with body functions, situations, and all sorts of things.  Laughter is definitely a family value that stands for so many things: a way to unite in front of adversity in a country where we did not understand much at first, a way to explore the new and not have it be so threatening, and now a way to say to each other that we belong in this little group, that we are accepted, that we can be vulnerable and make jokes about ourselves.

I noticed that the same is true about my old friends that come from Romania:  we do laugh a lot, a lot more than I laugh with my Canadian-born friends.   Same with my Italian friend.  It might be cultural, I don't know, but I suspect latin people value humour intensely.  I won't comment about other cultures, as I honestly have only observational perspective, not an insider's position, but I can say at this point that if I am going to develop an incisional hernia, it won't be because of lifting Emma prior to the prescribed 6 weeks, but because I cannot help but laugh at so many things...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

one more insult? I don't think so...

The fertility centre that I have been attending so far is splitting into four physicians that I like, that are all moving to a new centre, and one physician that is staying behind, that I did not have a good encounter with during my egg retrieval.  Not much choice in terms of where I want to go next, obviously.  However, to transfer the two frozen embryos to the new lab, I was just told by the old clinic that it would cost 500$.  It used to be 300$ when the clinic was under old ownership.  The new owner (i.e. the doctor I don't like much) increased the price to 500$.

I am all for paying to cover the costs.  I understand that one must buy liquid nitrogen, and that there are tanks and shipment fees and administrative fees, and although I don't have much choice in the matter, I guess I will have to supply the funds for transferring my embryos.  And, as an IVF patient, I am used to paying enormous sums of money for things that others don't have to pay a cent for.  I realize that life is not fair and that it is only so much I, as an individual, can fight the system.  But, I have a sneaky suspicion that in this case I am being overcharged.  So, I phoned and let the old clinic know that I am intending to make a complain to the College of Physicians in order to have a bigger and better dog investigate the ethics of the whole shebang.

Within minutes the doctor that now owns the clinic phoned me and said that the fees are still 300$, and that the receptionist was wrongly advised, and that nobody is trying to make money off the whole affair.  I don't know what to believe now.  I have sufficient experience with running a medical practice to know that something is not too clear here.  And I am not in the business of complaining, this would be a first.  But at least I hope that the new owners are not going to be making money off us, the patients, who are already being cheated on by nature and more or less abandoned by the government who is not spending a cent on our treatment.  Darn it if I am going to let one more insult add to the litany.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

lots of time on my hands

I decided that lying down is a better idea than standing up or sitting, as I suspect it was the increased vertical activity that caused the infection (fluids tend to pool around the incision more easily when standing up).  So today I have a lot of time on my hands to sit and do nothing.  I might get started on my taxes.  Except that all of my papers are back home, while I am sitting here in Vancouver, so even that won't work.

I am reading blogs of infant and toddler loss.  I don't know why I am drawn towards these sad stories, is it because I am trying to find out how a baby might die, in order to avoid it, is it because I want to know how one survives such an ordeal in order to be prepared in case it happens to me... hard to know.   In any case, over the past week, forced to confront my own flesh-and-bloodness again, and the fragility of life and health, I am more appreciative of what this present moment is bringing me: a happy, thriving toddler, a healthy husband, a healthy mother, a healthy father, a healthy brother.  It can all be taken away so fast.  And one day it will.  Just not today, which is why I need to enjoy today while it lasts.

post op infection, again

Last night Emma jumped on my abdomen.  After screaming in pain, I had a look at the incision and realized that the edges were red, warm and swollen.  Infection.  Why not?  It happened with the first TAC, and with the C section as well.  Why would history skip a beat?  So I took some leftover clindamycin that I had prepared just in case, and marked the edges.  Two hours later, the redness was a bit less.  The pain is definitely more today than it was yesterday, but the redness, the heat and the swelling are subsiding.  I am phoning the surgeon today to get more antibiotics,  I hope he does not want to see me as it is one hour to his office and seat belt+abdominal incision=pain.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Post op musings

I am at home, on the third day after my second TAC surgery.  (I don't know how to count the days, so I am assuming that Friday, the day of my surgery, was day 1.  Strictly speaking, in medical terms, that would be day 0, but I like to call it day 1 because it makes me feel like I am healing faster).

Some things are harder at home, like the fact that Emma decided to throw a 3 lb ball straight towards my abdomen, not realizing that I am not looking and would not be able to catch it.  I am also needing to be upright more, since I am going to the kitchen, keeping people company, helping cook mostly with instructions from the armchair, etc.  I am having visitors soon and decided to take a shower as well (that was nice).  So, overall, I am moving a lot more than I was in the hospital, and am hurting more as well. The diclofenac that they were giving me around the clock has caused gastritis symptoms, so I had to stop.  All I have to go on is regular tylenol, and the occasional tylenol no 3 (with codeine) that I have opted not to take much as it causes constipation.  (I can only imagine how much fun constipation+abdominal incision can be).

Sometimes the pain is in my abdomen, sometimes in the diaphragm, sometimes in the shoulders, and sometimes in the whole body.  When that happens, I just lie down and watch cartoons with Emma.  Things are not too bad, because I have a lot of help from my mom and dad, who take Emma when she gets too rowdy and wants to jump on my stomach.

Emma is very adaptable:  she is already treating me with more care and gentleness than she did yesterday.  She is also getting used to the idea of the fact that I cannot pick her up.

The strangest thing that I am noticing is this:  although I had the same exact incision with the c section, I don't remember having any pain after the C section at all!  I got up, lifted my baby (then 7 lb, now 30 lb), walked around with her, etc.  I felt pain in the breasts from the constant breastfeeding, but nothing in the abdomen.  I attribute this to either the spinal or to the novelty of having a much awaited baby.

Overall, the feeling I have about this surgery is "same old thing".  I am taking surgery with a mundane grain of salt at this point.  I know I shouldn't, but am getting to be a veteran at this, and just can't get too excited about it.  My only hope is that someday I can get pregnant again, and that this was not done in vain.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Going home today

I had a lot more post op pain this time in the first few hours. Fortunately I was drowsy and slept a lot. This morning I woke up feeling ready to go home. My hated catheter is out.  I took off the calf compressors and asked for the IV to be saline locked.  I can move around freely. The hardest part will be not being able to pick up Emma for 4-6 weeks. How will I care for her once I go home in 2 weeks and have no help during the day? Perhaps I can convince my mom to come live with me for a week

Friday, February 22, 2013

Surgery today

I am having my second TAC surgery this morning. I have not had any inclination to blog about it. I have had so many surgeries that it is feeling pretty routine. I will post about my recovery, even if it is brief posts like this one.

My arrival time was 6 am (ouch) and I got here at 5:50 am. Waiting to get in to the main admissions desk. I woke Emma up to say goodbye, she will be staying with my mom. I brought just a few things:  hair brush, face stuff including some make up, phone charger, a house robe and thick socks, and three pairs of very high cut underwear, that I had to buy especially for this occasion since none of my usual thong sets goes above the incision line.

I am wearing Lululemon pants which I do not normally wear in the city but should be stretchy and comfortable afterwards.

I feel very relaxed and optimistic. I am looking forward to having completed this step of the journey and going back home to my baby.