My husband found me there, collapsed and sobbing against a wall. Alone.
He glanced up at the white board on the wall– it listed any and all medications I’d been given. He saw the double dose of Lortabs.
“I’m just so DIZZY,” I told him, weakly.
He was not happy. Throughout all of this, as awful as it was for me, he had been running crazy. I’ve never been one to be able to completely pass off care of our older child(ren) to others when a new baby comes. Sure, we take some help. But we’ve always made an effort to have Mommy or Daddy there for bedtime and snuggles, if possible. That duty, of course, tends to fall on Daddy’s shoulders. Part of what enables him to do these things, typically, is the knowledge that his wife is in the care of skilled medical professionals. Finding out that I had, in fact, been the victim of extreme incompetence was not what he wanted to see.
He found the nurse and spoke with her. She said she would, again, call my OB. It’s important at this point that I emphasize that, with the exception of the one heartless nurse who wouldn’t help me clean my legs, the nurses truly were trying to help me. Their hands were pretty tied by the orders of my doctor. I had chosen this OB because she had made such sound decisions when I went into labor so early with C.– I’d never been a huge fan of her personality, but I was more concerned with her clear-headedness. Turns out I had chosen unwisely.
So, this nurse called her, again, and explained what was happening. My husband had helped me back to the bed and we waited for her return. When she did, she sat down next to me.
“I explained to her what was going on. She said that you were getting medication through a pain patch…”
“But! It’s not…” I started to interrupt.
She nodded, “I know. It’s leaking. I told her. She didn’t sound happy. She told me to give you another Lortab, an Ambien, (some other pain killer that starts with an “F”), and a shot of Demerol.”
My jaw dropped. It was very clear to me what my doctor was doing– she wanted me unconscious. She was sick of me and wanted me knocked out cold so I’d stop “pestering” her.
My voice was quieter. “But I’m nursing. I need to be able to wake up…” I murmured.
The nurse continued, “And so I asked her– `And if she refuses? If she refuses to consent to all that medication?’ and at that point she said, `Then just give her the Percocet.’” She smiled.
I smiled, too. I appreciated that stubborn nurse so very much. She was the first one to fight for me (other than my guy, of course) and that meant a lot.
“So,” she went on, “are you refusing?”
“Yes,” I replied, “I am absolutely refusing.”
“I kind of thought you’d say that.” And she pulled the Percocet out of her pocket.
From that point on, my pain was managed and I was able to function pretty well. I am really NOT a wimp about pain, nor do I have a particularly low pain threshold. But I will tell you that, with a c-section, I need something. And something that actually works. I honestly believe that managing my pain makes me a better mommy and I make better choices and decisions. For that reason, I am so very glad that the medication situation was resolved. I begged them to remove that stupid leaky tube from my abdomen, but that had to wait. I wasn’t happy about it, but I could deal with it. I’m really NOT a demanding, fussy patient…
However. I was about to have to be fussy and demanding again.
The next morning, more than twenty-four hours after G. had been born, I was starving. I asked if I could have something to eat. I was given the same thing they’d served me for dinner the night before– broth, jello, and a popsicle.
“Please,” I about begged, “can I have some REAL food? I’m just super hungry!” I hadn’t eaten since the night before my surgery, remember… so, more than 36 hours had passed.
My nurse looked contrite. “I’m so sorry, Mrs. S., but your doctor’s orders specify a liquid diet throughout the rest of today… but I’ll call her, okay?”
Calling her didn’t help. Liquid diet it was. My husband offered to smuggle me in some food but, rule follower that I am (it’s true– I really, really am), I worried that I’d get in trouble. Still, I was pumping massive amounts of milk in addition to now (finally!) nursing my daughter at the breast and I.was.hungry.
In a rare moment of brilliance, I asked to speak to a lactation consultant.
She came in, all bouncy and aflutter and wondered what she could help me with. I looked her straight in the eye and said, simply, “They won’t let me eat. I’m so hungry. And they give me broth. Nursing is going well, but I need FOOD.”
And, I’m happy to say, that fixed it. They brought me a giant California Cobb salad with extra avocado that I will never forget. It tasted fantastic and I ate every bit.
I was feeling better (thank you, percocet) and stronger (thank you, food) and we were then given the best news we’d heard in awhile–
G. was going to be able to room in with me that night.
Except that’s not exactly what happened…