Needless to say, I've really fallen behind on my 50 Day Challenge and it's actually sort of stopped. I got busy. I was going to say that life got in the way, but really this blog thing was getting in the way of life. In other words, I learned that there's times to blog about life and there's times to just live life. I sort of ran out of meaningful things to say on a daily basis, began using the 50 days to re-organize my blog, and realized that often it's nice to go about my day without technology. Long story short, don't expect a new blog post every day! I love to write, but I prefer to do it with a purpose.
Like I said above, I've been busy. For the month of July I've been helping with the Summer Learning program for the Grade 8's and 9's in my school district. For the most part, they're a great group of kids that I've really enjoyed working with and I am so glad they've gotten this second chance to pass their courses. The teachers that work with them are absolutely wonderful, and the other student aides are pretty fun too. Unfortunately I've had to miss most of the last couple of weeks due to appointments though. I'll let you know how those went in another post at some point, but this post is going to be about something else.
On Tuesday I had to have ANOTHER gallstone removed. It was the sixth one that I've had, and the fifth since I had my gallbladder removed in January of 2012. Yes, it's true: I've had FIVE gallstones without a gallbladder. Anyway, back in June I was noticing some symptoms that reminded me of gallstones. Eventually I was sent for an ultrasound where a gallstone was found in my common bile duct. Then, my ERCP was booked for the end of July. This had seemed like it would be a long wait, but in the meantime I hoped the stone would just pass with no problems. Unfortunately, I continued to notice mild symptoms and an ultrasound on July 16th showed that the stone was still the same.
When I arrived at the Day Bed area in the hospital on Tuesday, I was nervous, but not feeling too bad. I knew that the fear wouldn't really hit me until they got me to sit down on the bed to begin the procedure. My anxiety did increase slightly when it was time to change from my comfortable outfit into the blue gown, over-sized white shorts, and knee high green socks (yeah, they seriously need to work on their outfits for patients) but everything went pretty well. At first, I was worried that my concerns wouldn't be heard or that the sedation wouldn't work again. My biggest fear was not being treated like a human, being ignored, and the procedure not going well.
But this time I had the courage to confidently explain everything to the nurse, of course with the help of my mom. But I went prepared. Not only was able to provide a history of my stones and a list of my all my meds and when they were last taken, but I also gave her a copy of the letter from the last psychiatrist I saw. I wanted to make sure they knew just how anxious I tend to get around this sort of medical thing. It was so relieving to be able to really tell that this nurse was listening and wanted to help make this time better for me. So, in this post, I really want to thank her. I don't remember her name, and I was still asleep when she left the hospital. I have no idea if this blog post will ever reach her, but I just have to share how grateful I am for her care.
This nurse was so kind. She truly listened and showed that she was doing what she could to make the whole experience better for me. She spoke to my surgeon beforehand and they made sure I got some ativan to maybe help me relax a bit before going in. She went over and spoke to everyone that would be doing the procedure and made sure they knew how to help me.
When my bed was wheeled across the hall and to the doors of the room for the procedure, I was possibly slightly relaxed from the ativan but still trying to hold back the tears as I left my mom. Quickly, I put together a happy upbeat playlist on my ipod and asked if I would be allowed to bring it in with me. To my surprise, they said yes. I carefully walked up and sat down on the bed. They hooked me up to some monitors and got me to lay down, ensuring they tucked my ipod under the pillow so that it wouldn't fall during the procedure. During the entire time, they spoke to me and were very supportive. I felt safe and my fears slowly went away. As they began giving me the sedation, I could feel it working, unlike last time. I relaxed, all of my worries gone, and I fell asleep. The last song I remember hearing was Springsteen by Eric Church. Any memories I might have from the very beginning of the procedure are unclear and just feel like a bad dream.
The first thought that crossed my mind when I woke up was WOW that was so much easier than before. I really need to thank my nurse. I am so relieved and so happy thanks to her. My second thought was gosh I really have to pee, but that one wasn't very important. When I was awake enough to ask my mom where the nurse was, I found out that she had got home. But I kept wanting to get out of the bed, give her a big hug, and thank her so much. She had made the world of a difference. I wanted to tell her that it is thanks to people like her that I am seriously considering becoming a nurse.
Thanks to that amazing nurse and all of the amazing people involved in my ERCP, how I feel about hospitals is beginning to change again. I am so thankful.