Pain doesn't lie

Chalk the typos up to an oxygen probe on my pointer and a lot of Dilaudid along with a cocktail of anesthetic, anti-nausea, and narcotic medications. Yesterday my pain - the pain that was supposedly resolving - flared up in a big way. I went from pretty active, living with mild chronic pain, to on my knees in the kitchen, vomiting, hyperventilating and feeling like perhaps I was dying. We spent yesterday in our vacation home (a.k.a. The ER), and underwent some very gruesome and painful tests. My small group will no doubt recall my memorable description of certain types of ultrasound that shall remain unnamed here. In addition to that, I had a CT scan with triple contrast. The contrast is given I.V. and you are also asked to drink 1 liter of it. And then there is one more hole that must receive contrast. If you wish to know the gory details, visit this link. *I do want to note that the contrast given via the 3rd orifice is 1,000 cc's - think one Nalgene bottle. Yeah. NOT pretty.* Suffice it to say it is very painful, especially with so much pain in your abdomen already. I have added that procedure to a long list I falsely, cheerily reassured patients about: I won't be quite so cheerful next time I describe this "simple" procedure to another patient!

All the tests showed very little: some thickening on one side of my uterus, a dark area where one of the tubes was removed, and a small amount of blood in my left lower abdominal cavity. Nothing that could explain the pain I was having, nor indicate a clear treatment plan. I was put on a narcotic drip, medicated for nausea, and admitted overnight for pain control with no real plan of action. This morning, the doctors all concurred that surgery was necessary, even though no clear-cut cause could be identified with less invasive testing. I was getting septic again - meaning whatever was causing the problem was now invading my blood stream - and just generally felt miserable. I still had that familiar moment of panic when they laid me out on the "cross" that is an operating table. I always want to get up, start pulling wires off, and say I've changed my mind. Today a simple verse sustained me: What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. (Psalm 56:3) That, and my anthem of late, Never Let Go:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
Your perfect love is casting out fear.
Even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life,
I won't turn back, I know you are near.

I will fear no evil,
For my God is with me,
And if my God is with me,
Whom then shall I fear? Whom then shall I fear?

Oh, no, you never let go,
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh, no you never let go,
In every high and every low
Oh, no, you never let go,
Lord, you never let go of me.

I can see the light that is coming for the heart that holds on,
I can see an end to these troubles, but until that day comes,
Still I will praise you, Still I will praise you, Lord.

I sang the song aloud to my operating room staff after praying aloud for their skill and wisdom. I am always uncomfortable doing that - but it eases my fears and allows me to connect in a personal way while in a very impersonal environment. There are invariably tears on my part and theirs. I won't just be a chunk of nameless flesh on the operating table, draped into oblivion. I won't pretend that "routine" means "easy". Surgery is a very big deal to me.

So, what did they find that wasn't showing up well on the many ultrasounds and CT scans that were ordered? Some necrotic (dead and infected) tissue on the side of my uterus and throughout the area where my left Fallopian tube was removed. They cleaned out the black stuff, washed out my abdomen with antibiotics, and started me on a very specific, strong antibiotic. I am expected to be in the hospital at least through tomorrow noon-ish. Possibly longer as my pain may not be well controlled for a few days yet.

I woke up after hours and hours of blessed, restful sleep. The anesthesiologist put a wonderful little Scopolamine patch behind my ear, which seemed to completely prevent my normal vomiting post-surgery. My pain persists, although the highs aren't quite as excruciating and the lows even lower than before. I am praying for an easier recovery than last. I did have another Foley catheter for most of the day today, which puts me at risk for another kidney infection. Please keep my recovery in prayer. I am also still praying that this will be the 'magic bullet' that ends this long 3 month battle with my health. I start school again tomorrow, once again logging in to class from the hospital. Praying it is the last time I do that.