This is the song that has been my recovery soundtrack, making me - not unusual at all.
Of course if this song is the soundtrack, "my hands felt just like two balloons" was the earworm. Even if it was only one hand. No one ever wrote an iconic lyric about that (or if they have, I'm not aware of it). More on the hand in a moment.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here much before - it's certainly something everyone in my real life knows about me - I love to write longhand. It is quite habitual for me to pull out a notebook and jot down random thoughts and phrases as they occur to me. When I was out of surgery and brought to my hospital room, the first thing I asked for was my notebook and pen. Now this was the night that my best friend was the button that delivered my pain meds. I hit it pretty fast and regular (I know, I know, that's what he said...). I dreamed lovely dreams and - because jotting things down is habitual - made notes about them when I was awake. Alert would be overstating it. But awake happened.
What a hoot.
I wrote of pure white cliffs and clear skies. I wrote of rocks and waves and clean air. I saw the course my life should take with utter clarity. And it was beautiful, man. (The same could not be said for my handwriting.) The word bliss was utilized with an almost shocking frequency. I wanted everyone to know this pure, true - well - bliss that I'd discovered.
Then the writing took a turn as true clarity started to make it's return. In letters not quite as tall and not quite as loopy and spidery, I wrote, "What if this is all just an effect of the drugs? Oh please don't let this be an effect of the drugs!" and later "What if this is all just an effect of the fasting?" (I hadn't eaten in 48 hours at that point) "Don't some religions utilize fasting to facilitate insight? Oh please, don't let it be an effect of the fasting!" Reality bites.
It was just funny to be able to read it over later - to actually be able to watch myself bliss out then crash. It's nice to have a recorded memory of the revelations, though, even if they are awfully silly in retrospect. It's nice to know that I was conscious of feeling that way - at least for a little while. Conscious enough to want to record it for posterity. Bless my little drug-addled heart.
When I stopped hitting the pain button so often, my recovery began in earnest and it went well. I did everything I was asked to do and, in my humble opinion, was a model patient.
Then the hand thing happened. Around 4 am Sunday my nurse came in to very routinely change my IV bag. Immediately after she did, I knew all was not well. My hand hurt and started to swell. It started to stretch. It got scary pretty fast. I'm a little bit on the older side of young, which means, for the purpose of this story, that there is a little extra skin on my hands. (Sometimes I see them on the steering wheel and don't recognize them. It freaks me out for a minute.) That extra skin filled up in no time flat as my hand literally blew up like a balloon. I estimate that it was about four times it's usual size before my (rather desperate) nurse got it all taken care of. I developed the wrist equivalent of cankles as my hand faded directly into my forearm. Which was also beginning to swell. There's a name for this - my nurse used it, my mom used it - but I can't retrieve it. At any rate, it's just something that happens and it wasn't a result of anything my nurses or I had done wrong.
It took two solid days before my hand returned to normal size.
I couldn't write in my notebook anymore.
I had a hard time signing my discharge papers.
And, as Tom told you a couple days ago, I couldn't type.
As of this morning, it is weak and it still hurts. I won't even tell you how many typos needed to be corrected in this post because I don't have the control that I would like. It'll come back. Stronger every day.