Recovery is a long road…

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Recovery. The scariest thing about my surgery. The surgery itself didn’t scare me as much as the long road ahead of me now. The above picture is the view out of my window from my bed in the condo. I’m so happy that I was released today and able to be transported back here.

I’ll back up and start from the day we arrived in beautiful Mexico. We came in on Saturday in the late afternoon. Our flight was actually 20 minutes ahead of schedule so the airport was not prepared for our arrival. Our gate was being used by another airline, so they shuttled us into the airport from the runway in a bus. We’ve been to this particular airport several times when we’ve vacationed here but have never experienced the chaos we saw there this particular day. The kids were shocked by the blast of hot, humid air that met us the minute we stepped off the airplane. My oldest says “Wow the engines are hot” and I really laughed!! I told him the engines were just fine and this was the heat and humidity he would have to get used to over the next few weeks.

We were taken by a pre-arranged driver to our condo and checked in. Since our flight was early the unit wasn’t quite ready so we headed down to the pool and ordered us up some supper. The kids sat in complete silence for about half an hour just taking in the view of the ocean, beach, pool and surrounding trees. They were in complete shock. Apparently it looked nothing like they had pictured or imagined. The silence was welcome to hubby and I after the chaos of the airport. We really enjoyed our first meal of nachos and fish tacos!! The surgeon contacted me shortly after arrival and welcomed us to the country. He said we would do our meeting on Sunday morning instead of Saturday night as he wanted us to relax and enjoy the evening.

Sunday morning we got up and I made us pancakes and bacon for breakfast. We had gone to Wal-Mart the night before to get some groceries. It’s so nice to have a full kitchen and living room as well as two bedrooms and two  bathrooms! This condo is bigger than our house back at home!! Anyway, after breakfast the surgeon’s brother came to pick us up and bring us to the hospital for our meeting. He was so welcoming and very helpful in answering some technical questions. He has lived in Calgary and in Ontario for many years so he’s fluent in English which was nice! He also watched our kids during the meeting. The meeting went really well. He explained in great detail the surgery and recovery. He answered all our questions with patience. He was very encouraging! He gave us a tour of the hospital and set up for a paramedic to pick me up on Monday morning for surgery. We spent the rest of the day walking along the boardwalk by the marina and searching for seashells on the beach. According to our kids we don’t need to do any excursions on this trip. They are completely satisfied in the pool or on the beach. We ran into a tour guide who has had a hip replacement done by Dr. Max and he assured me it was a great choice to have the surgery done by him. I thought that was really neat. He said he would pray for me and we continued our walk. I knew and felt the many prayers being lifted for us. The peace and calm I felt is unlike I’ve ever experienced.

Monday morning at 7am the paramedic came to pick me up and bring me to the hospital. John and the kids stayed at the condo as there was really no point in them sitting for hours in the hospital waiting for me. The kids did schoolwork and John worked on quotes until I was out of the recovery area and back in my hospital room. Upon arrival, I was checked in and taken up to my room. My hospital bag and personal belongings were stored in the safe and I was hooked up to an IV. They also took some blood to check my iron levels and so on. Even though there was a language barrier we could communicate well. I understand and speak a little Spanish and they understand and speak a little English. Altogether it worked out well. I was put on a sterile bed and taken down to the surgical unit. The nurse with me held my hand and rubbed my arm and kept repeating “God with you”. I know He was. I was transferred to a different bed again at the surgical suite and she squeezed my hand one last time and I gave her a big smile and a thumbs up and said “Gracias”. She smiled back and left me in the care of the surgical nurses.

I was first introduced to the anesthesiologist. He was a kind, old man with a soft smile. He gave me a drug that would make me drowsy so he could administer the “block” in my spine and wouldn’t have to worry about me moving during the procedure. I was then lifted onto the surgical table on my stomach. Within a matter of minutes I had no feeling of the lower half of my body. That was really strange! The anesthesiologist sat by my head and closely watched my vitals. He gave me a dose of sleepy drugs every once in a while when they were going to use the “scary tools” but I was conscious and awake for probably had of the procedure. He felt that I was so calm and peaceful and asleep at times that he didn’t want to knock me out cold and make me have a horrible, sickly wake-up. I’m thankful for that! The doctor asked me later if I was upset about that decision and I told him, no. I was ok with being alert and not wake up puking and crying and not knowing where I was. This was much better for me! I could feel the pressure and the cutting and the tugging and the pushing but I didn’t feel any pain. That was kind of surreal. It felt so strange! The surgeon had soft music playing in the background and they chatted cheerfully in Spanish and I was completely at ease. God was with me there in that operating room. I felt his presence and so did they. The doctor said later when he noticed my bible on the bedside that now he understood why I was so peaceful. He is a Christian himself.

After surgery I was taken to a recovery room where I was closely monitored. I don’t know how long I was in there as they didn’t have a clock. I’ve noticed that clocks aren’t a big “thing” around here. My hospital room didn’t have one and neither does our condo. I was first taken for X-rays and after that, I was wheeled back to my room upstairs. I gave the nurse a weak smile and a thumbs up again and she smiled back. A smile is the same in all languages and there’s certain things our heart understand even though our ears don’t.

Shortly after I was situated in my room, John came in. I guess they had kept him in the loop and had come to the condo to pick him and the kids up and take them to see me. Only John was allowed to see me though. Their hospital rules state that no child under the age of 12 is able to come to the rooms. He took some pictures to show the kids and we talked over the phone so they knew I was alright. I was brought a lunch of jello and apple juice as well as tea. The liquids were welcoming since my mouth felt very dry. I told John to go back to the condo with the kids. I had more peace of him watching our kids than someone else. We still communicated over the phone and that made it easier too. My whole backside was numb late into the evening and my bodily functions were not working yet in that area. I felt the urge to void but nothing would come. My muscles seemed as confused as I was. They didn’t want to put in a catheter and just told me to keep trying. Around midnight I was able to go and what a relief that was!

During the night I woke up and was in a lot of pain. The area they had kept numb was now returning to feeling and it was bad!! During the time of being awake and trying to take my mind off of the pain my phone connected to the hospital wifi. I had tried for a long time during the day and it just wouldn’t work. I was thinking their servers are probably overloaded during the day. Surprisingly though the connection lasted until I was discharged.

This morning I was given an extra dose of pain medicine in my IV as well as a morphine shot in my rear so that I would withstand the transport back to the condo. The Mexican streets are not the smoothest and there are speed bumps every few feet. The paramedic took me to a pharmacy to help me purchase the meds I needed. An anti-inflammatory, an antibiotic and a pain killer. I was also given a prescription for a muscle relaxer if the pain killer doesn’t cut it. I didn’t buy that one yet, we’ll see first if I need it. I was shocked at the price tag on the meds!! $160 US for the 3 medications. If they keep me well I’ll be thankful and the price won’t matter.

The surgen claimed I was one of the best patients he had ever had. He said I was so easy-going and calm the whole time. He has no doubt I will make a good recovery. He placed the coccyx in a jar for me to keep. I found that a little weird but it really fascinated me. The kids keep admiring it now every time they walk past the table where it sits. I feel so at peace now that I’m back at the condo. John and the kids went down for a swim in the pool and I can see them splashing around from the comfort of my bed and the 8 pillows surrounding me.

My dear friends have kept encouraging me and I thank them so much for that. It makes it all easier. My close friend, cousin, and sister in Christ made me cards to read at certain points in this journey. I think they are such a cool idea and I have truly enjoyed reading them and they have brought me much comfort!!

My care will continue here at the condo. They will come here to check on me and change my bandages. My to-do list for the next while is relax, keep the area clean and dry and take it easy. I’m not allowed to shower until my wound has completely healed shut and the stitches are out. I’m only able to have sponge baths and my hair can be washed. That is not the pleasantest of thoughts but it’ll be ok. I’m also not supposed to be exposed to the sun too much as it can drain me too much and exhaust my body. I was looking forward to maybe getting some sun but it makes sense. The biggest risk is infection and 80% of coccyx surgeries end in infection and more surgeries are needed to then fix the damaged muscles and tissue. I really hope and pray that I will be in the 20% and will work hard on my part to stay in that margin.

Please keep us in your prayers as we adjust to this recovery process. My husband is the biggest blessing to me right now and I’m ever so thankful for him. He’s been so great with the kids and taking care of them. Our daughter had cried for me last night and I know she really missed me, as I did her, and she has stayed by my side since the moment I stepped foot in the lobby. She holds my hand and walks with me when I’m up. She’s such a sweetheart. I asked her before “what are you gonna do if I fall down?” She says “I’m holding you mama, you won’t fall. I won’t let you”. It brought a sudden gush of tears to my eyes. I know I am loved and cared for. I had to convince her to join her brothers and Daddy in the pool. I assured her I would be fine and I can see her from my bed. That seemed to be enough to give her the peace of leaving me alone.

Thank you all so much for the support and prayers. It has done amazing things for us already!! I will post an update later on this week or next week unless something changes….

blessings all.

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