The House and the Hospital: Post-Op Update
Blogging from the skies again!
As usual, I’ll make one quick recap post about my time in New York to keep my medical journey up to date. On Saturday, my mom flew with me to New York once again for my second bleomycin treatment with Dr. Berenstein. This was a much more intense session than in May leaving me pretty swollen (no post-op selfies, oh darn.) But we are taking that as a sign that the medicine is working, attacking what it needs to attack :)
My procedure was moved to Mt. Sinai Hospital on the Upper East Side which is a great deal further from the apartment we typically rent. So we had our first experience with the Ronald McDonald House in Manhattan.
My expectations of the RMH were, well, none. I pictured a dorm-like facility with hospital patients and their families, similar to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit inside the hospitals. My dad even suggested we book a hotel instead.
To say that we underestimated the quality of the Ronald McDonald House would be an understatement of epic proportions. So now I want to do a little rave about our stay here because I was blown away by the beauty of the house, surprised by the comfortable atmosphere, impressed by the service of the staff, and really touched by all of the extra amenities offered to myself and all of the other guests.
It has such a positive energy. I don’t mean to sound hippie-earthy. It’s just immediately obvious that the building is so positive and inviting. Not filled with sickness, but full of hope. The common areas and guest rooms were Bright. Happy. Fun. Look at the gorgeous garden (1 of 3!)
We are so impressed by all of the work that is put into maintaining this non-profit organization. The companies that sponsor and donate as well as the actual RMH staff that organize everything have really done an excellent job at maintaining an outstanding facility. This was truly more impressive than any hotel around. In addition to providing rooms for families, we also appreciate:
- The donations that keep a constant supply for a coffee cart, cereal and pastry bar, fully-stocked pantry, catered dinners, and nightly events like ice cream socials and luaus.
- Cute field trips on the Hope Mobile to museums and parks around the city
- Adorably-decorated rooms (seriously, my mom wants to take the furniture home.)
- Sweet care packages for patients – I love my Burt’s Bees lipsticks & Essie nail polishes.
- AOL Media lounge with all the technology, a music room with every instrument, a gorgeous terrace with a garden and fountain 7 stories above the Upper East Side, and a Green Room on our 9th floor that is equally beautiful.
- The cleanliness of the facility.
We all want to “give back” when we have the opportunity to do so and I’ve always felt that I needed a cause or organization that I was actually connected to. Because of my short stay at the Ronald McDonald House, I would love to some day be able to do something for this organization on a large scale – like catering monthly dinners (although maintaining the daily coffee cart would be much more my style, huh?)
The real reason we were there, though, was my procedure with Dr. Berenstein. This was my second treatment of bleomycin injections. After I am under anesthesia, the team of surgeons uses ultrasound technology to observe the blood vessels in my cheek and inject the medicine directly into the veins. This round was more intense than the one in May. The doctor targeted two areas, just underneath my eye and next to my mouth. I woke up feeling nauseous and uncomfortable with a sore throat from the breathing tube. I just wanted to get out of the hospital gown, out of the noisy PACU, and into my own cozy room at home. After I was able to digest some food (I opted for my own Blueberry Bliss Luna bar over their turkey sandwhich) we were able to leave the hospital after about 10 hours.
Yes, that is Chubby Hubby Ben N’ Jerry’s. (On a health blog?! SCANDELOUS!) Hey, my parents have instilled a reward mentality in me since infancy. If I don’t cry during my IV, I get ice cream. It worked at age 4 and it still works at 21. :) My mom and I had the ultimate girlie day recovering in our room with ice cream and grapes, “Saying Anything” and Gilmore Girls.
Oh I can’t forget about my recovery room “roommate” back in the PACU of Mt. Sinai hospital. I’m laying in my bed, counting down until I can be released, when I hear a neighbor rolled next to my curtain. He is disoriented and hysterical. The nurses gently remind him, “you’ve just had surgery. Leonard. LEONARD!” He removed the monitor on his finger, the sleeve on his arm, and even the monitors to the vitals machines. One of the nurses was less than enthusiastic about re-connecting this aggitated patient who didn’t seem to understand where he was.
Next thing I hear: “HE PULLED THEM OUT AGAIN! I JUST put his monitors back on and he’s pulled them all off!” Next they brought in the big guns ….. a male nurse stood by the bed making sure Leonard behaved. Leonard did not behave. Turns out Leonard is a little promiscuous and began undressing himself when the female nurse returned. Her reaction? “See what I do to these men? They just want to take their clothes off for me.” Guess this is a daily occurance in the good ole’ PACU.
The nurse continues to remind him that he just had surgery, he is in the hospital, and he needs keep his (damn) clothes on! Leonard is very confused. He keeps asking if he is dreaming. It takes a few nurses to calm him down and keep him from removing the monitoring devices yet again, asking him questions like “Who is the President? What year is it?” He answers. “Obama. 2014.” And then a panicked, “Am I right?!?!” Yes Leonard, you are in the right year now close your gown.
As per doctor’s orders, I am off cardio exercise for a few more days until the swelling dies down a bit. Guess the Gilmore Girls marathon can continue :)
P.S. A little late to the party, but this girl finally joined the Insta-world! You can find me on Instagram @stronglikemycoffee :)