Sunday, April 26, 2009

Surgery update!

I will never take getting up from a bed and running to the bathroom for granted ever again. To use my bedside "commode" is a five minute ordeal (down from yesterday's 15), but still pain ridden and an utmost annoyance. I have no less then four tubes coming out of me or going into me. There's the one out of my nose that monitors my breathing and feel like two big boogers. There's my IV, my oxygen line, and another on my finger monitoring my heart rate that leads to one of those cool contraptions with the jagged up and down lines. A few times I accidentally sat on the line or stopped breathing when trying to get out of bed (I think your automatic reaction to pain is to hold your breath) and the machine went haywire, beeping so loudly I'm positive the whole floor could hear and the squiggly line went limp just like in the movies! I surely thought nurses would rush into the room because I was OBVIOUSLY flat-lining, but no!, they meandered in and told me to quit sitting on my tubes. I guess that happens a lot. So much for excitement.

I am hooked up to all of these contraptions because I'm on a high dosage of a strong narcotic that is continually going through my IV. I realized how well it works when I asked Matt to give me a backrub (and his backrubs are full-force attacks on your knots) and his fingers just felt like he was grazing my skin.

Just laying in bed is a delicious treat. and I could of gone eons like this until the evil nurses (and by "evil" I mean proactive, helpful, and wonderful) took out my catheter, making me have to be somewhat mobile. I can honestly say I have never experienced pain like this. Once I'm actually out of bed I can schlep around, but getting out of bed requires stomach muscles, which is really inconvenient right now, if ya know what I mean. And they instruct you to hold a pillow to your abdomen tightly, applying pressure at all times. I have these horrible images of me not applying pressure and my guts falling out. I mean, didn't they sew and staple?!

But this morning I got up on my own. There was a lot of awkward grunting involved and thank god I have a private room because I'm flashing things that just shouldn't be flashed, but I did it! Last night I also took two laps around the wing with the nurse!
The surgery went well: my surgeon removed about a foot of badly diseased intestine, my appendix, and scraped out my abscess. He said the thing was stuck on my pelvic bone, which could have been causing my pain. I woke up still in the OR, when they were moving me from the operating table to my bed, and I immediately went all gangsta on them and said starting wailing and saying it hurt a gazillion times. Well, maybe that's more baby than gangsta.

They wheeled me into the recovery room and it took quite a while for the pain medication to catch up with me. I kept apologizing to the nurse and saying - only somewhat coherently - that I am really a nice person, but to UP MY PAIN MEDS NOW. The thing is, I've been on so many pain meds while at home, I now have a very high tolerance. A doctor came in and said I was young, so it was "probably safe" to up them. DAMN RIGHT IT WAS!! It took about an hour and a half to get me to a happier place, and at one point they even brought Matt in the room (which I don't think is generally allowed) to calm my crazy ass down. But think about it - I had woken up after major surgery, had just been sewn and stapled - of course it hurt!! I think you're actually supposed to wake up in recovery. Oh well.

I think the nurses took pity on me (or just didn't want me to bother anyone else). so I got a private room out of the deal! In retrospect it was totally worth it.

On Friday after the surgery I was not permitted to drink, but yesterday I was permitted sips of clear liquids. Today I believe I can get the clear liquid extravaganza, which ranges from broth to jello. There was a tasty lemon sorbet I've been eyeing on the menu; please try to hide your envy.

I am scared to really look at the bandage, but I did glance at it and it's a narrow white strip that is about 10 inches, from above my belly button to below.

Today I'm feeling more "with it" - yesterday I found it hard to read and almost impossible to type, so I must be improving! The pain hasn't decreased, however, so I'm hoping that's normal. I dread the day when they take me off the constant narcotics; I am like a junkie who needs her fix!!

I am also to breathe into this contraption ten times every hour. It makes you take deep breaths and the respiratory nurse said it prevents me from getting "a collapsed lung". Now, I'm not really sure how a lung collapses and what that really means, but it sounds terrifying so I've been dutifully blowing into that thing on the hour.

So that's that! Oh, I think my mom has a crush on my surgeon because she asked that I post a photo of him, so that's him - in all his doctorly glory - above. I think this borders on stalkerish, but who am I to argue with the woman who is going to be my caregiver and prepare me yummy, tummy-safe meals?!

Thank you for reading!


  1. Kathryn, I'm not saying that my experience was anything like what you're going through, but your description post-surgical does remind me of my experience after my 3 C sections. I vividly remember the abdominal pain and trying to avoid disconnecting all the tubes as I sat up in bed. I also remember the laps around the hospital floor, clutching my IV pole. And clutching that pillow to my stomach (although I don't remember why!)

    I think you were very wise to immediately yelp for pain meds. In my experience the medical staff is not always as quick to provide them as they should be. And as you noted, they take a while to kick in, so the sooner you ask for them the better!

    I also have a few comments about the recovery room because I used to volunteer in the recovery room at Huntington Hospital and I now staff the surgical waiting room. I suspect that your distress did trigger a speedier visit from Matt. Our policy is normally no visitors for the first 45 minutes (and often not at all), but visitors are called in sooner if the patient is in distress. And yes, you are expected to wake up in the recovery room. In Huntington visitors are not moved until the surgical anesthesia has worn off and pain is under control (not necessarily eliminated, of course).

    It's so great to hear the good news! Say hi to Matt for me. Cyndy

  2. Hi Cyndy!

    I knew something was fishy when I woke up in the OR and they were rushing me into the recovery room!! Oh boy, I am onto them.

    Yes, I'm in the surgical ward and on the whole floor are "state" plagues with goofy photos - my room is right outside of Minnesota and Michigan. And signs say "Walk your way across the USA!!!" Today I made like six cross country trips!! The pressure with the pillow definitely subdues the discomfort, and all the nurses knowlingly nod and say, "Abdominal surgery, uh?" After this, C-sections do not sound fun!!! (Not that they ever did...!)

  3. Yay! I'm so glad you're on the road to recovery! It's good that they removed that "badly diseased" section. Don't lament it's loss- it wouldn't have healed itself. But anyway, it' so good to see you've still got your humour and what sounds like a good attitude going!

    Crohn's Power!! ;)

  4. Hey Bright Side!

    Yes - I am really pleased with my progress and how I've been committed to getting better - getting up a lot, etc. Today I'm even HUNGRY! So I really hope they switch me to solids soon (you know, really yummy stuff like toast / rice - haha). I fee like this is a fresh start - and although this move (surgery) is all defense - I am ready to fight the battle again and have a plan. Thank you for reading/your support!! And everyone was right - the first day or two was painful, but now it is much better and the whole ordeal wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.

    Crohhn's Power is right!

  5. I'm so happy you are feeling okay and getting good drugs!! Take advantage of all they help they will give you. I hope you poop soon and get to go home!! This blog is so important and it's a great post! Good job, Girl!!! ((HUGS!!))