The Part Where Nurse Ratchet Tried To Kill Me

by debi9kids on August 25, 2017

It’s been a bit since I continued my story and I apologize.
Things have been…
And not great.
I’ve been having some side effects from my chemotherapy and surgery and struggling and unfortunately it’s kept me from being able to go to work (which I desperately need to make ends meet).

Back to where the troubles all began…

I woke up a few hours after my mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction to my hospital room full of nurses and doctors. Alarms were going off and everyone was working busy trying to stabilize me. Unbeknownst to me, while sleeping, my blood pressure had plummeted down to 50/24 and since I was on a beta blocker due to my SVTS being known to rise into the high 200’s the doctors were trying to determine a course of action that would bring my blood pressure up without increasing my pulse.

I’ll be honest, at the time, I don’t really think it hit me just how serious things were. I mean, I know 50/24 is way, way, way too low but I didn’t really realize how close to potentially dying I was until many hours later when I was stable.

Because honestly, that’s what it took.

They removed me from my beta blocker and blood thinners and had a crash cart in my room waiting to see how high my pulse would go.

Hours after the medication was out of my system and my blood pressure medicine was working, I think they all finally were relieved to see me stabilize at 88/56 with my pulse around 90.
Still not great numbers, but numbers that weren’t going to cause a stroke or my heart to just stop beating.

By 7am that morning, I was dehydrated and all of my IV lines were blown.
They had me downing glass after glass of water while they attempted to get an IV in any vein left.
Finally, after 15 attempts, they brought in a specialist from the NICU who used a NICU-sized needle to optain a vein in my hand.
That meant my fluids would need to be delivered extremely slowly and I had already been told I would no longer be receiving IV pain medications due to my blood pressure.

Unfortunately for me, I had one nurse whom I’ll call Nurse Ratchet, who decided she knew better than everyone else and she decided that I was too dehydrated and she was going to force fluids through my IV via a needle.
I told her it was a NICU needle and she told me that was nonsense.
I told her she was hurting me and she told me to be quiet and she would know if she was hurting me.
I started to cry and she told me to stop and said I was making a big deal out of nothing.

Thankfully, my roommate heard all of this through the curtain and hit her call button for her nurse and she told them my nurse was torturing me.

By then it was too late.
My IV line was blown and my arm was swollen 3 times it’s normal size from fluid build-up.

I was somewhere between pissed off, ugly crying, and in extreme pain.

And the specialist had to be called in again to find another vein in my “Popeye” arm.

And told them if Helga (not her actual name but since she was Hungarian or something like that) came in my room again as my nurse I’d sue everyone that worked in the hospital.

I was assured she would not enter my room again.

And that’s how I became friends with my roommate 🙂

{ 1 comment }

I’ve sat for literally days thinking about how to share what it’s really like to have a mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction without sharing too much {read: scaring people who may soon endure the same hell}.

I decided to just tell my story the way it went down (or,  how I remember it.  Because,  I was on some seriously hefty drugs for the first few days).

Surgery was May 16th and the anxiety leading up to it was through the roof. I did my best to hide that I was freaking out inside but I’m pretty sure I was fooling no one.

We had to arrive at the hospital around 6am (it was my mom, Hugh, and I).
Unlike my previous surgeries (my lumpectomies), Fox Chase was quick to get me into pre-op, sign forms, get an IV started, say “good-bye” to mom and Hugh, and whisk me off for surgery.

Prior to going back, my surgeon told us he thought the surgery would take 6-8 hours, so mom and Hugh decided to stay at the hospital to be there when I woke up.

Honestly, after saying “good-bye” to them, I remember absolutely nothing until I woke up in the worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life.
I’d been warned by friends who’ve experienced the same surgery that that the surgeons will start a patient off low on medication and increase as necessary.
They weren’t kidding.

My immediate first thought when I woke up (besides “holy crap this hurts!”) was of my dad. He’d experienced a double lung transplant in 2008 and the only “kind ” way to describe my dad as a patient is “asshole”.
My dad was a complete and total asshole to everyone at the hospital, including family members, because he was in such horrible pain.

So, without even opening my eyes, after my surgery (which latest 14 hours, not 6!), with mom and Hugh beside me, I said, “Now I know why dad was such an asshole after surgery. I’m going to be an asshole just like dad. ”

I was joking.
But I wasn’t.

And Hugh and mom pretty much didn’t know how to respond.

The nurse asked if I was in pain.
“Yes. Dear God. Yes!”
They told me to push the morphine button and I started to get sleepy and feel slightly better.

Mom and Hugh both kissed me goodbye after saying they loved me and they left for their long 2 hour ride home (I can’t even begin to imagine what an exhausting and emotional day they’d both had, sitting all those hours waiting, only to see me be a miserable asshole when I woke up).

I fell asleep.
Only to be woken up to a room full of nurses and doctors in a panic a few hours later.

To be continued…


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