Monday, August 29, 2011

How to win at having surgery

So I don't have a thyroid anymore, which is weird, but the entire experience was MUCH less horrible than I expected.  Aside from some extremely mild pain at the surgery site (seriously, I'm 4 days out and on exactly zero pain meds as of today) I don't feel any different. In fact - if this makes any sense - I feel BETTER. Maybe it's the  lack of the gigantic stress black cloud hovering over my head, or maybe it's the fact that my thyroid was an angry, inflamed, possibly cancerous POS, who knows.  And also, aside from being a giant wimp beforehand, I totally won at surgery.  Didn't think that was possible? Oh, don't worry, it is...here are some helpful hints if you ever need surgery and you don't just want to have surgery, you want to WIN surgery.

-Tell your pre-op nurse that you ran 14 miles the day before.  Word will spread quickly and people will look at you like you are batshit insane.

-Have one of the hottest men you have ever seen in your life be a dental resident scrubbing in on your surgery.  Make sure to point out that they are a dentist, so they have a reason to stay longer and explain to you why they are there (if you want to be an oral surgeon, you have to do an anesthesia/general surgery residency so you can put patients under...makes sense, right?)

-Be able to max out an incentive spirometer (little thing that you inhale through to try to make sure that you are taking deep enough breaths).  Nurses, med students, and doctors alike will be amazed at your skills. Actual pre-surgery conversation:
Nurse: Okay, this is an incentive spirometer...
Me: Oh, I know how to use this, we had to learn how to teach people to use them in school.  Do you really think I need one?
Nurse: Well, we give them to everyone who's going under anesthesia. Why don't you give it a try.
Me: *Maxes out the test. Gives slightly smug look.*
Nurse: Um, wow. Okay. I've actually never seen anyone do that before.
Me: Yup. That's how I roll.

-When you come out of anesthesia, keep turning around to look at your vitals on the monitor (tricky when you've had surgery on your neck).  Make sure to tell the nurse "I don't think I need this oxygen anymore, I keep taking it off and I am still satting 100%".  She will look at you funny, but realize that you are right, and voila! O2 free!

-Make sure to be just distressed enough that the lady who makes the room assignments takes pity on you and puts you in a single room with ridiculously awesome view of the city.

-Approximately 8 hours after surgery, make sure you are power walking laps around the floor while chugging water so that your nurse will disconnect your IV.  Make people think that you are a visitor by your appearance, energy, and general lack of looking like a sick person. Annoy the nurses when you are walking faster than them.

-Borrow/steal your boyfriend's smartphone and watch episodes of Grey's Anatomy when you finally decide your are bored of walking (appropriate, no?).

-Have said boyfriend bring you Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee in the morning, even though it means he has to wake up an hour and half earlier than usual.

-Beg your resident to finish up your discharge paperwork ASAP so you can leave, then walk laps around the floor again so he has to see you every minute and cannot possibly forget.

-And the final way to win at surgery? Do not leave the hospital in a wheelchair. Direct quote: "well, usually we call for a wheelchair, but if anyone can walk out of here it's you...so you can just go."

And that, friends, is how you win at surgery.  I'm technically still not supposed to run but I also don't think anyone expected me to be feeling quite as good as I am...I have been a good little patient so far mostly because I don't feel like ripping out any stitches, but I did walk 6 miles yesterday and am planning on going to the gym today.  Who does that 4 days post-op.  Me. That's who. :) I am a bit concerned that at some point I will have the crash that comes with not having a thyroid --> not having thyroid hormone --> metabolism sloooows down and feeling exhausted and sluggish...but my hope is that since I started on meds before surgery that things will be able to level out quickly and I will continue to rock out as my normal self. That's certainly how I feel at the moment.

Also...since this IS a running blog (and will continue to be so, this will likely be the last you hear of my health issues except as they relate to my running) Boston signup is in like 3 weeks?! Holy effing crap that came up quickly. Looks like I'll be in class at the time when my signup slot begins but I will definitely have my laptop with me. It's a little scary signing up now because I feel like I'm in the worst shape I've been in quite some time, and worlds away from the runner I was at Baystate last October (can't believe it's been almost a year...sad what a shitty year of running it's been) BUT with this thyroid shit behind me (aside from one minor thing that I may or may not need in the winter) I am ready to train my ass off for the next 8 months so I am ready to toe the line and run a great race come April.

1 comment:

sweatykid said...

Heyo. Just read your thyroid debacle. Glad the surgery went well. I had the same surgery in fall of 2004 (my senior year of high school) after they found a "highly suspicious" lump at a routine checkup and the biopsy was inconclusive. Thank goodness, it turned out to be benign.

I was definitely not as intense during my surgery as you! I just sat on my anesthetized ass and watched Con-Air on USA while feeling drugged to the gills. I was back to running four days after surgery... although I ran with my head slightly bent over because my neck was still so sore.

Getting the right dose of replacement hormones can take awhile, so definitely be patient with yourself if you start feeling zonked. I found that a lot of my post-op whacky thyroid hormone stuff tied in heavily with vitamin D deficiency.

Sending positive thoughts and energy your way as you recover, and hope the docs have good news for you from here on out!