After the operation I awoke in the Step Down room. Christi and mom seemed to be there every time my eyes cracked open. And it's a good thing, because I had two immediate needs: a bad case of cotton mouth and the itchiest face in the world™.
The woman attending me was dressed like a nurse but didn't seem to know how to nurse. Every time I needed something she asked another nurse to either assist her or do it outright. Christi asked for some Benadryl to be put in my IV. This is something she is more than capable of doing herself and it's too bad she didn't, since the dose given me seemed to have no effect. It turned out I had only been given half the recommended amount. When you have oxygen tubes below your nose and an NG (acronym! (nasal gastrointestinal)) tube in your nostril, it's really hard to do a good job scratching your face.
As for my dry mouth, I was only allowed to suck on the occasional wet toothpick sponge. The nurse gave me one when I asked, but then left a pile of individually wrapped sponges next to a cup of ice. Even in my doped-up state I was wise enough to know that unwrapping a sponge and soaking it was beyond my capabilities. If I hadn't asked for her to prep some I feel like there would have been sponges and ice cubes on the floor in no time.
I spent about 18 hours in the Step Down room floating in and out of consciousness, doing battle with my itchy face, before they needed to clear me out for some more pressing patients. A super-capable nurse took over and transferred me into my semi-private room. Along the way she assured us that my first nurse was in fact a real nurse. Huh.
Things were looking up; I got a room with a view.