Saturday, March 30, 2013

Its a Beautiful Day for Surgery- Part 2

( Read part one here)

Part of the discharge instructions you receive when you go home after a thyroidectomy is "if you develop any numbness or tingling in your extremities or face, take 4 Tums and call your doctors office. Numbness is a sign of a low calcium, and since Tums are packed full of calcium its like taking a quick dose. 

When I got home Saturday I felt pretty good. I mean yeah I was in a ton of discomfort still because I couldn't turn my head but so much and swallowing was painful, but I was doing pretty good.  We had plenty of laughs about some of the side effects from surgery I was having, my voice in particular. It would randomly squeak, or drop. And when I woke up from my nap Saturday afternoon I sounded like a prepubescent boy- Awkward.  I went to bed Saturday night feeling like a new person.

Sunday morning when I woke up I knew something wasn't right. My right hand felt "funny" like I had slept on it all night long. So I did what you do anytime something falls asleep- shake it. After about 20 minutes of shaking my hand, and feeling that my left arm was starting to get the same way I knew something was wrong.

So I did what any good nurse would do- Called a doctor friend of mine. Who then reminded me that she isn't surgeon, she's a pediatrician and I better call my doctor.

Now remember its Sunday, which means the doctors office is closed and I had to play phone tag with the on-call resident. By now I had already taken the tums, so he instructed me to take 2 more, wait an hour and then if the numbness didn't start to resolve head to the ER.

An hour later we did just that. Packed the diaper bag with plenty of snacks, toys, and the kindle to occupy my little tornado and my little family headed to the ER.

I have never been rushed to the back, out of the waiting room as fast as I was that day. When you tell people your having sudden onset of numbness after a thyroidectomy people start rushing around. I mean to me it wasn't that severe, my calcium couldn't be that low, right?  In came the attending, the resident, and 2 nurses. One nurse starts trying to stab me in the arm with a IV while the other gets set up for an EKG.  The doctor explains how serious it is depending on how low my calcium is - seizures, heart arrhythmia, death and that numbness is the first sign of a severely low calcium.

Luckily the nurses get my labs, and tell me my EKG is normal- good news.  And shortly there after the doctor comes back to tell me that my calcium is definitely low, any lower and they would have admitted me, but instead they were going to give me a bag of IV calcium and let me go home.

Awesome! So I get my bag of calcium, the numbness starts to subside and I am allowed to go on my merry little way. 

That was Sunday.

Stay tuned for the last part of my story to see what happened next.

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