The next day after surgery, I had a really bad episode with my Meniere’s disease acting up with really severe vertigo and nausea. I remember the room spinning out of control and feeling so nauseous, it felt like I was going to toss everything up. I was in the bathroom shaking uncontrollably and telling my husband and the nurses to get me some Dramamine PDQ! I thank God that I didn’t experience the full effect with vomiting, as I have many times before. It always seems when my body is under stress it rears its ugly head. I was so grateful when that Dramamine arrived, I could have just kissed those nurses! In addition, I had these compression stockings on my legs which would squeeze my legs every few minutes to keep the blood flowing to prevent any blood clots. It was a bit annoying as every time I had to go to the bathroom I had to be disconnected from them and then back in bed to be reconnected. Also, I still had my orthopedic shoe on as I was still healing from the foot surgery and having to maneuver around with that was a bit awkward as well. I recall also having a lot of numbness in my hands and around my mouth as my calcium levels really tanked after surgery. They were constantly checking my calcium levels and I remember receiving lots of calcium to get my levels back up to normal.
They had me up and walking and as Jerome and I walked the halls, I was amazed to view all of the beautiful pictures and paintings that they had on the walls which was such a nice touch of home. This is something which I think makes the Huntsman Cancer Hospital so unique from other hospitals and treatment centers is that you don’t feel like you are in a hospital. I think the founder, Jon Huntsman Sr., had the right vision when he created this facility. To have a place where patients can have an environment where they can be treated with the utmost care and one that is conducive to true healing. Most hospitals you go into are a cold environment where the walls are just drab, unappealing and it is quite frankly depressing, which makes it difficult for healing to really happen. It is bad enough to have such horrible circumstances to deal with such as cancer, but when you are in a place that makes it a little easier to bear because of the calming surroundings and the wonderful care team you have it makes all the difference!
I ended up being in the hospital almost a week as I also developed the complication of a Chyle leak, which is something that can occur in the lymphatic system during neck surgery. The warning sign that this was happening was that the fluid in my drains had become really cloudy and to treat it they had to switch me to a non-fat diet, which was not so bad. The food at the Huntsman Cancer hospital was really incredible for a hospital. Most hospital food is quite bland and downright disgusting most of the time.
Dr. Bentz and his team of residents were absolutely amazing always ensuring that I had a clear understanding of what was happening and what the game plan was. The nurses on the floor were amazing as well and they really took that extra time to ensure that all my needs were being met. I rarely had to push that nurse call button as they were always on top of everything ensuring that my ice pack was filled, if I needed more pillows or a blanket, reading materials and sometimes to just talk with me about all that was happening to ensure if I had any questions that they were being answered. The care I received at the Huntsman was so phenomenal and it is something that I have never experienced before and is the quality standard of care that truly should exist in ALL hospitals and treatment centers. The care team members at the Huntsman treat you like royalty and I was completely impressed with the service and care that I received. In fact, it has become the running joke between me, my husband and other family members as we call it the “Huntsman Hotel,” it truly felt like you were being waited on like kings and queens in the most royal hotel!
The day that I was discharged, which was on February 27, 2011, I went to the church service they had in the hospital. I tried to sing and just couldn’t reach any of the notes. The tears started to flow and wouldn’t stop! The person sitting next to me gave me a hug and knew what I was feeling without having to speak any words. That was such a crushing blow to me as I sang in the choir for church and now that was just gone! Little did I know at that time that I would not hear those high notes again, at least I haven’t so far. Why would God allow this to happen to me? I had so many questions……… and hoping for some answers.