Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless

The BEST Hospital Stay Ever?!?!

Does it sound odd to say that I had a great surgery and hospital stay?  Rarely do you hear the words “great” and “surgery” or “hospital” put together but as I sit at home in the comfort of my bed (bed is comfortable, finding a comfortable position in which to sit is not), I have only good memories of the past week.

The more surgeries and hospital visits you have, the more comfortable you are with the way things work.  When I headed to the hospital last Tuesday, I had no fear because

I had “been there” so many times.  Dave and I went up to the 6th floor surgical check-in center at MSKCC and Carla was very excited to see me (that’s when you know you have been there too often!). She gave me a big hug and took me through the “drill” which I could recite to her by now.

I rested before surgery with my “Zen” Ipod mix. When it came time for them to take me into the operating room, I actually enjoyed talking with the anesthesiologists and hearing the details of the surgery to come.  had none of the fears I used to have of “What if I wake up during the surgery?” or “What happens if you don’t give me enough drugs?” because I knew that I would fall asleep and wake up in the recovery room with absolutely no recollection of what had happened over the past x many hours.

And this is exactly what happened.  I woke up about 4 hours later and immediately realized that I did not have the annoying tube that they usually put down your throat to prevent infection during surgery.  It turns out that my surgery was less invasive than planned (a good thing!) so they didn’t need to use the tube.  They rolled me to my bed on the 15th floor (my 3rd visit to this floor; I’ve had 6 visits to the 16th floor) and within hours I felt “fine”.

The five nights in the hospital went by pretty quickly.  I was insistent on asking for certain things that would make my stay more pleasant. For instance:

·      Take my vital signs as infrequently as possible during the night so that I can try to get some rest

·      Give me more painkillers about 10 minutes before you make me sit up and try to walk

·      Remove my catheter after 2 nights and NO EARLIER so that I don’t have to get up during the night when I am in pain

·      Order my foot massages from integrative medicine early in the AM so I am guaranteed a visit

I also was thrilled to have a lot of visitors.  My parents were there...theyare always wonderful in that they come the first few days when I am too "stoned" to do anything but sit in bed and stare at the walls. In addition my sister-inlaw visited from Chicago.  My brother and a variety of close NY friends also stopped by which always makes the time go by more quickly.


Unfortunately I also had 3 good friends in the hospital at the same time.  Although I loved that we could visit each other, it is bittersweet that 3 friends of mine – Candace, Paul and Dani – are all dealing with cancers similar to mine and that we all had to have surgery.  Paul and I had surgery on Tuesday the 28th, Candace on Wednesday the 29th and Paul on Thursday the 30th.  I am thrilled to report that when I left they were all well on the road to recovery. I got to leave after 5 days which was much sooner than we thought would be possible.  Dave took a picture of me waving goodbye with the hopes that I never need to visit again. 

When we were leaving, I made Dave take a picture of my FAVORITE scene outside of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center -- the employees smoking outside the hospital building!  Ridiculous.

It is now my 3rd day at home and it is so nice to sleep in my own bed and shower in my own shower (or shower at all for that matter as I am not a fan of hospital showers).  I have had lots of fun visitors and I have been watching a lot of good TV.  I am now hooked on the HBO Series, In Treatment. Really good! 

The weather is supposed to be very ugly for the next week which is good because I won’t be tempted to do too much too soon.  Lots of doctor’s appointments next week to figure out if we are done for now or if there are more treatments in my future.  Please email or visit!  I will likely be home for another 3-4 weeks healing.