I found out that one of the side effects of surgery is high blood sugar. They would check my levels at least three times a day and it was normally high so it would require that I have an injection of insulin each time. The insulin shots were quick and practically pain free. I was also given a shot of heparin at least twice a day to diminish the chance of blood clots. The heparin shots burned like fire. After ten days I began to feel like a human pin cushion. My veins are not very IV worthy so after a few days this too began to be a problem. They can only leave an IV in place for four days and then they have to remove it and administer another one. At one point they had to call and ask for someone from the trauma unit to come up and put in a new IV for me, after the “best” on the floor had tried to no avail. Even the trauma girls had to try twice before getting one in.
I was not allowed to have anything to drink or even the normal ice chip for seven days after surgery. At one point, on the fourth day, I would have sold a kidney for a drop of water or a single ice chip!!! It made me think of the rich man lifting up his eyes in Hell and begging for a drop of water. Boy, those verses began to have a whole new meaning and understanding for me!! Instead they would give me a pre-packaged little sponge to swab my mouth with. They began to feed me through the feeding tube after three or four days. After about an hour or so I would begin to feel very full and ill feeling. They would shut it off but would constantly ask if they could turn it back on, insisting that it was running very slowly. They said the protein in it would be very beneficial in my healing process.
I had a suction machine that I would have to use often to suction my mouth and throat with, to keep from choking on the mucus. On several occasions, even using the suction machine, I would choke to the point where I was unsure if I would make it or not. There were times I would have difficulty clearing my throat of the mucus and would feel as if I was going to choke to death. During these episodes my heart rate would increase dramatically. It was a very frightening feeling, one I hope to never experience again.
Six days after surgery, on Monday, the doctors came in, in their usual pack and began dismantling me:). One began taking the cast off of my arm, one took out the trach, and one began removing the drainage tubes. They replaced the cast on my arm with a smaller version but still positioned it tilted back. They were in and out like lightening. It was a huge relief to get the trach out. My arm was quite a shock to see!!!