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Chapter V

POST-OP | Pain

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We’ve been waiting a long time.

The signs say it may take 45-60 minutes before the “Family Care Coordinator” (FCC) brings you back to see your loved one.

It’s been an hour and forty-five minutes.

I approach the desk of Jane, the FCC on duty today with more than my share of anxiety. First the Consult Room and now this. I know Dafna has a hard time coming out of Anesthesia, but I’ve never been kept apart from her this long after a surgery.

I’m not sure how much more emotional turmoil I can take today.

Jane is perfectly suited for her job as a Family Care Coordinator. Kind, compassionate, caring, and most of all responsive. She calls immediately back to the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit) while I’m standing there.

She informs me that everything is alright, that Dafna is just still sleeping which is why they haven’t called for us, but that she will take me back in 10 minutes for a quick visit so I can “Lay eyes on her” for myself.

Yes, that is exactly what I need to do. Jane clearly knows what I need.

Candice and I are taken back in 10 minutes and while I’m clearly relieved to see my love in person, it’s not all that simple.

She’s moaning in pain, almost non-stop. She recognizes me as she opens her eyes, but the pain seems intense and she can’t stop whimpering. She also feels as though the post-operative bay she’s in is very loud.

Candice has never seen her like this and I can see the panic on her face.

For me it’s a mixture of feelings. I hate seeing my wife in pain and the instinctually protective part of me wants to instantly do something to get her out of it.
The logical part of me, however, knows better.

The nurse, Sami, assures us that they are managing her pain and tells us what they have given her and when.

I know that Dafna is in a half state of consciousness right now and likely won’t remember much of this later. I also know that her recovery bay is at the end of the long hallway of bays and if anything is the quietest among them, though recovery is always loud as nurses, family, and patients are moved around and cared for.

Still, it’s hard to see her in pain. I once again feel helpless to do anything.

Finally, she drifts off to sleep and the nurse encourages us to go get something to eat, that they will call us once she wakes up a little more.

It ends up being a long afternoon/evening and by 6:30 p.m. the doctors make the decision to have her spend the night. They’re just not able to control her pain well enough for her to go home.

We find out that this is not uncommon and about 50% of patients end up staying over night after this surgery. Given that her surgery didn’t start until noon or so, it’s not surprising because she didn’t have as much time to recover as those who had it first thing in the morning.

Dafna, of course, is apologizing as though she’s done something wrong.

I spend the night on the couch in her room. She’s in a fair amount of pain but they come in every three hours and give her medicine, check on her, and generally take care of everything for her.

By morning, she’s marginally better, and we both eagerly await the doctor’s visits.

He comes, along with a team of fellows, and re-iterates what he told me in the consult room.

Everything went well. The tumor was small, it was not deeply embedded in the wall of the uterus, and nothing seemed any different from what they had seen on the ultrasound. He does confirm that although he thought it might not yet have been Cancer that it was indeed Cancer, Stage 1.

Finally, he says that until pathology comes back on the lymph nodes they won’t know for sure, but he believes this is likely the only treatment she’ll need.

We’re relieved, though of course, still a little anxious about that last part.

The nurses here are amazing. More about that later.

We’re sent home late Tuesday night. The car ride home is difficult for Dafna who feels every bump and turn.

I settle her into the guest bedroom with her ‘Bubbie’s” bed.

She’s worried about me getting some rest because this is never about her or what she’s going through and always about everyone else.

I can see in her eyes that she wants me to stay with her but the bed is not big enough for two.

I tell her I’m sleeping on the floor next to her bed. She’s anxious about it but I tell her I’m fine.

There’s no way I’m not staying with her. We’ve been apart enough the last two days.

With meds every 3 hours neither one of us gets much rest, but we make it through the night.

Wednesday and Thursday pass in much the same way though she is already weaning herself off the narcotic pain medication and trying to make it through on just the Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

Thursday night she begins to not feel well, the cold symptoms are coming back.

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