We showed up at the hospital right on time. 9:00 AM. I was taken to the room we were to wait in and given a gown to change into. My room shared a bathroom with the adjoining room and I could hear patients coming and going while I continued to wait. Someone finally let me know there was an open heart surgery before me that was taking much longer than expected and to sit tight. My surgeon came in around noon, quickly signed my left upper chest, and let us know I'd be skipping the ICU and he'd be sending me to recovery instead. He didn't bother to explain why, but at that point, I was already being wheeled to the surgical staging area where I received my IV, etc. Not much time passed before I had to say goodbye to my husband and I was wheeled into the surgical room. Luckily, my surgical nurses were very friendly and put me at ease. I was given a spinal block, hooked up to oxygen, and then told I was going sleep.
When you're waking up from anesthesia, its not a gradual thing -- you snap awake. You're not "with it" by any means, but you're awake. At the point I woke up, I could immediately feel that I was struggling to breathe. Every breath I took was accompanied by searing pain, so each rapid inhale came out as a squeak. I don't know if my eyes were closed or if the intensity of the pain was so severe that I couldn't focus on anything, but I could hear people scurrying around me. A woman's voice exclaimed, "She can't breathe. She's in so much pain she's crying. We need to get her something fast." I remember thinking, "Oh, that poor girl! I wonder why she's crying? I hope they can help her!" not realizing they were talking about me. I was able to focus on the face of a kind woman, a nurse, who leaned in and said, "We're getting you something to help with the pain right now, and I'm also going to give you something so you don't remember any of this." And from that point on, I'm blank. I don't remember being transferred to my room, or even getting settled in. I have to rely on my husband's memories for that.
Tyler says the surgeon met with him after the surgery and told him that he didn't find an impressive amount of blebs (he had expected a full-blown cauliflower of blisters to be covering my lung), but he did find a lot of scar tissue that had to be removed in addition to the blebs present. He said he sprayed every possible surface with the talc and that my lung would be "rock solid" from that point on.
Once I started coming out of my drug-induced haze, I remember feeling the nagging presence of the chest tube, as well as the foley catheter that wouldn't be removed until the following day. In addition to the chest tube that was hooked up to suction, I had two incisions on my back that had been cauterized and were tender, and I was on oxygen. Things hurt, but the spinal block was doing its job and the pain was "manageable" for a time. By the time the night nurse came in, though, I was ready for morphine. She was hesitant to give it to me because my blood pressure is naturally so low, but the oxycodone they were giving me was doing nothing for the pain. I knew at the very least, I needed morphine so my muscles could relax. Every breath hurt, and unless I could relax, I would never be able to sleep. Once she relented, I drifted off and had a very restless sleep.