November 2, 2021

COVID: The Road of a Long Hauler… Part 5

Areia Cobb
Photo By:Photo Attributed Getty Images

A lady was telling me if I don't keep my eyes open the doctor wouldn't discharge me and I would have to stay overnight. Wait, what? I whispered for the nurse to tell me when the doctor was close so I could try to hold my eyes open.

The Morning of Surgery – June 24, 2021

Despite the chance that I could lose my voice forever, I wasn’t nervous. I was more worried about getting a migraine than anything else. As with any surgery, I had the mandate of nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Well, being that lack of food is a trigger for my migraines, that did not seem like a very good idea. Another trigger seems to be skipping out on my morning cup of joe, so after speaking to one of the nurses and my sister who had recently undergone a different surgery, I devised a plan. I set an alarm for 5:15 a.m. and ate a piece of dry toast and had a small cup of black coffee. By 5:30, I was finished eating. Surgery was scheduled for 1:30, so that gave me 8 hours of nothing on my stomach and was just enough to do the trick. I laid back down and woke up around 9. I had to be at the hospital by 11:30, and our drive was over an hour. This gave me just enough time to shower, get dressed, and make sure everyone at home was settled. My dad had come to town the day before to help and was going to take care of the boys while my husband and I were at the hospital.

Check-in

Why are hospitals always so busy? Amidst looking for the correct parking deck, we passed the correct parking deck, and of course, there was unexpected traffic, because this is Atlanta and it’s like 11:28. So, Kevin dropped me off at the door so I could check in while he circled back around to park. I slowly ambled through the automatic doors to the desk to check-in.  By the time Kevin made it inside, I was at desk three. At this desk, I couldn’t help but hear as the lady in front of me was going on about not being able to wait until wearing these masks was over with. The representative checking her husband in went on to share his thoughts on the benefits and how he felt wearing a mask was the only reason he hadn’t gotten the flu as he had in years past. Nevertheless, she wasn’t convinced they made a difference. On the outside, I was just the next person waiting in line.  On the inside, I was screaming about that way of thinking being the reason I was still suffering. Of course, I maintained my composure and waited my turn in silence. Once checked in, I waited in the lobby until a nurse came to get me for prep. It was just my luck that the prep location was not a short walk. The nurse already had someone in a wheelchair and offered to come back for me, but I told him that I can walk, it just may take me a bit. Everything I read about this surgery said that 95-98% of patients bounce back almost immediately, so I too had started drinking the Kool-Aid dance. I had convinced myself that although my weakness and fatigue were triggered by COVID, it simply activated my Parathyroid issue and surgery would be my end-all cure-all. So no, I don’t need a wheelchair. I can gut through this walk happily knowing that I’m gutting through my means to an end.

After Surgery

During prep, I reminded the Anesthesiologist that anesthesia makes me nauseous. She told me not to worry because they had taken extra precautions. She then gave me pills to take and put something sticky behind my ear that she told me to leave on until tomorrow. As she asked me questions one of the nurses brought Kevin into my prep area so he could wait with me until they wheeled me away, which I know was after 1:30. They must have given me the anesthesia in the prep area because things quickly became a blur. I remember them putting something special on my legs for swelling and confirming Kevin’s cell number. Then, we all left the prep area together and they told him which direction to go. Next, a lady was telling me if I don’t keep my eyes open the doctor wouldn’t discharge me and I would have to stay overnight. Wait, what? Apparently, it was close to 9 p.m. and it had been a struggle to get me to come out of the anesthesia. The room was bright and blurry, and my eyelids felt very heavy. I whispered for the nurse to tell me when the doctor was close so I could try to hold my eyes open. Thankfully, the next time he walked by; they were open just enough for him to sign my papers. However, I was already dozing before his pen was off the paper. Then, I heard an unfamiliar male’s voice, “Mrs. Cobb, do you need me to help you get dressed?” I’m up, I’m up! No, I can do it, I said as I tried to turn over, and felt my stomach turn simultaneously… I need a bag, I said with my hand over my mouth. As he rushed to get one, he also brought a ginger ale and crackers; and that did the trick. One sip on the ginger ale and it came right up. Thank God for the bag.

The good news is that since I hadn’t eaten, there wasn’t much to come up. The bad news was that nothing came up two more times before I left the hospital. After surgery, I was weaker than before, so I did need a wheelchair now. The nurse called Kevin to bring the car around and wheeled me out front. Once we were on our way home, I learned that the operation took longer than expected because my calcium and parathyroid levels did not return to standard after removing one parathyroid. Therefore, the surgeon had to remove both of my left parathyroids. According to Science, if you have a quarter of one, you’re fine, so with two full and functioning, I’m fabulous!

_ _ _ _

Join Areia Cobb every 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month as she shares her road to recovery from COVID-19 and how being a COVID-19 Long Hauler is affecting every aspect of her life; as a wife, mother of two active boys and a working professional.  It’s our hope that these journal entries provide hope, inspiration and information as you or your loved one travels your COVID-19 long haul.  

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