|Post by GwenOnce again, its been much too long since Ive written. Ive been busy; but not for the last week! The last week, Ive been lying in bed. I suppose most of you already know that I had surgery last Tuesday. I had (this is embarrassing) a cyst near my tail bone, so I had it removed. It was the same problem that I had in Bolivia, the one that put me in like… the worst pain of my life, haha. Im sensitive.
Well, I went to the doctor here in Joaçaba and he checked me out and said it wouldnt get better unless I got it removed, he could give me medicine, but itd continue to be a problem. So of course, I wanted to get it taken care of! And conveniently, we have insurance for our travels, so all the bills would be paid for. I got my blood drawn (tearlessly, like a big girl), and two days later was heading to the hospital for suuuuurgerrrryyyyy!!!!! I was extremely nervous.
The day of the surgery I couldnt eat for 5 hours before, so I was starving!! Mom and I got there and they showed us to our room, a pretty nice place, two rooms plus a decent-sized bathroom, two couches, a mini-fridge, and a TV of course. We sat and watched some dumb tv show in English for a while then a nurse came in with my beautiful hospital gown and hair net. Boy was I excited. The front of my gown had a make-up stain on it; better than some other things I suppose. A little while later, a nurse came in with a tranquilizer pill for me to put under my tongue it didnt taste too wonderful. They said I wasnt allowed to get out of bed after I took it, because Id fall scary! The next few hours were all a big blur to me. I remember getting wheeled in on my bed to the room and seeing my doctor, a HUGE light that looked like a flys eye, my anesthesiologist guy, and a lot of nurses with facemasks. All I remember hearing was the clinking of metal, and the anesthesiologist telling me to smile at him, a number of times probably to make sure that I was still semi-conscious and he hadnt killed me. That would have been a bummer.
When I woke up, I was being wheeled back into my room, and I was on my back. That was odd to me because I figured I shouldnt be lying on the place they just sliced open. When I was less drugged up, mom told me that when I was coming back, she started singing Here she comes, Miss America, but, she should have looked at who she was singing to better; some elderly Brazilian woman became Miss America that day. Haha. I came in after the lady. I dont know if she sang it again or not. Anyway, a lot of people lifted me off of my rolley bed onto the bed in my room; I was on a blanket or something and they lifted it up and set me on the bed then rolled me around until I got off the blanket I was just a big drugged-up blob of Gwen.
A little bit later I woke up and both my parents were there; Chaise had stayed with the Zamoras. I remember telling them that the people had stuck me twice for my IV, and then I think I fell back asleep. The next time I woke up, the Zamoras were there, I dont remember anything about that, except that I then realized that I couldnt move or feel anything from the waist down, that was scary. I fell back asleep after that. Sometime when I was awake, I ate some soup for dinner. All through the rest of the night I got woken up a lot by the nurse coming to check my vitals and shove things into my IV tubes. The next morning my anesthesiologist came by to see how I was doing then I slept on and off again.
For breakfast I had some pieces of apple, a slice of nasty, tasteless bread with matching tasteless jelly, and warm milk. They gave me LOTS of coffee, which, of course, I didnt drink. Then I went back to sleep. (YES, I slept an insane amount.) Before lunch, the doctor came in and told me to get up, walk to the bathroom, sit down, all that good stuff, so I did; I got a little scared because when I stood up, blood went into the tubes of my IV. A little bit later, I got sick in the bathroom because of my pain medicine (I didnt know the cause of it at the time.) That was lovely. By then it was about time for me to go home, but I had to eat lunch first. I ate mashed potatoes and drank sprite, haha. A few minutes later I was on my way downstairs in an awkward wheelchair. Cris gave us a ride back to the house, and when I got home, guess what I did? I went to sleep! I slept for about 3 hours. 😛 Those drugs were really strong! I felt completely out of it. Later that day some friends of mine came to visit, it was nice!
Up until now Ive just been laying in bed doing nothing, with the exception of going to the doctor a few times to get my bandage changed; the doc put sugar in my wound. Are we the only ones that didnt know that its an antiseptic?
Well, now Im a bit better, still hurting a lot because I quit taking my pain medicine because it was the thing that was making me throw up and gave me horrible headaches. Its Sunday morning, I should be back to school on Tuesday. Im very excited about answering all the questions that will follow my return to school; Why did you have surgery? Why are you sitting on a pillow? Will it hurt if I kick you? Can I have the rest of your pain pills? Okay, maybe not that last one.
I should be back dancing on Thursday; I dont know if I like the idea of that though, because I have internal stitches. What if I break them?
Also I should be 80% for my birthday party, which for those of you who didnt know, will be on the 26th. Moms throwing me a semi-traditional quinceanheira with a Polynesian theme. Im very excited!!
Ill make a post about school later, Im going to sleep! 😉
Bonus Observations from Mom:
We are going through the private sector healthcare because since this was not an emergency, it would have taken some months to get an appointment with a specialist through the public healthcare system. We have been really pleased with the care Gwen has gotten. The doctors have been great and the hospital was top notch, even by US standards. The one thing that kind of struck me as makeshift is that the nurses carry their wares around in silverware sorters, the kind you have in your silverware drawer. And of course, were in Brazil, so even in the hospital there was coffee on tap in our room 24-hours a day a hot thermos and coffee even for the kid on the bland diet.
Another interesting thing about this hospital experience is the very minimal paperwork that there was. Our entire hospital billing record consisted of a pink post-card size document that they filled in by hand. All the charges were itemized, again, written by hand. The hospital asked for a deposit on an estimated bill of $2500 and I told them I only had about $500. OK, no problem. Then when it was time to check out, they just had me sign a very simple promissory note that basically said, Donna Schillinger owes this much on this day, and they let me walk. Haha suckers! Just kidding. We have actually been able to pay the bill off already, but it was just a little odd how, without any real hold over me (if I were lacking in scruples, what would keep me from just skipping out on the rest of the bill?), they let me go, owing them $2000. Part of the billing culture here, I guess. You can finance a photocopy and Im not kidding. Its a departure from the rest of Latin America that I know where a common motto is NO FIO (I dont trust you, meaning, dont ask for credit.)
And yes, I did sing Here She Comes, Miss America to Gwen when she finally came down the hall after surgery. I admit, though, after having mistaken a 60-some year-old woman for Gwen, I was pretty embarrassed to be singing again. The first time, as I approached the nurse and who I thought was Gwen, the nurse started saying something and waving me off. I wondered why, but pressed on to cheer my little girl! It wasnt until she was about 10 feet away that her face came into focus, and imagine my surprise to see how surgery had aged her!!!