Tag Archive | post-op

Milestones…

You guys!  I did a thing!  I did two things!

I reached some milestones this week.  It has now been a month since my surgery, and on Wednesday for the first time since before surgery, I was back up to my daily walking goal – 11,000 steps!  Since then I have hit my 11,000 steps for three days in a row!

It feels good to be getting my stamina back.  I’m able to walk longer distances without feeling a lot of discomfort later.  Pretty soon I’ll be ready to tackle some hills!

I also reached another milestone on Wednesday…  I wore pants!  Like actual real jeans with buttons; not yoga pants or leggings!  I only wore them for a couple of hours, and they were kinda stretchy, but I’m still calling that progress.  My incision is healing, and while my belly still feels pretty numb, I can definitely feel an improvement.

Pants and 11,000 steps – I’m rocking my week!  How about you?  What were your accomplishments this week?

 

Two Weeks of Healing

It’s been 15 days today since my surgery…  I’m healing…

I have definitely lost the brain fog of the anesthesia, but I’m still uncomfortable enough that I don’t sleep great.  I don’t sleep terribly, but it isn’t generally that “dead to the world” deep sleep that leaves us feeling so refreshed.  I’m hoping to get more of that.  Of course, days of high winds don’t help.  I never sleep well in the wind…

Most of the time I just feel a fairly low level discomfort in my belly.  Having my clothes rubbing on my skin is irritating.  Sneezing hurts.  Coughing hurts…  I really don’t want to catch a cold…  Sunday I felt some pretty severe nerve pain.  It was inside my tissues, not outside on my skin, but I can only describe it as a really bad sunburn inside, and then having someone rub it with sandpaper.  Ouch…  I took one of the good drugs that night.

And let’s talk drugs for a minute.  I mean, I am not dismissing the opioid epidemic and all that, but it has made it so nice, average, non-addicted people like me can’t even get a painkiller now and again without being made to feel like we are drug-seeking.  I was prescribed 15 pills of the lowest dose oxycodone when I was discharged from the hospital.  The dosing is 1-2 pills every 4-6 hours for pain.  If I actually took them as prescribed, but at the high end of the dosage, I would have been done with the pills in slightly over 1 day.  1 day.  That’s all you get of the heavy-duty painkillers for a major abdominal surgery.

At my one-week check with my doctor she asked me how the pain was and I mentioned that I had been taking one pill to get to sleep at night.  She made a comment about how I really ought to be moving away from taking them.  I had literally taken 7 pills…  I know I have a really high pain tolerance.  What about some poor soul who doesn’t?  The system is broken when this is what it comes down to.

I’m back working from home now too; it’s nice to have a job that can accommodate that when I need it.  It allows me to work a bit and then rest, move around and maybe take a nap.  It is definitely easier than having to be back in the office, especially since I can’t wear pants with buttons…

I’m getting there!  And I’d rather be here…

Rainier in View

On the Mend in the New Year!

I’m about ten days after surgery and I’m finally starting to feel more normal again!

I think I’m one of those people who is sensitive to anesthesia.  I’ve been feeling super lethargic and sleepy ever since I woke up (oh the irony!) and am just finally feeling like I don’t automatically need a long mid-afternoon nap even after I sleep 10-11 hours at night.  I get it, my body is healing, but wow.  My recovery nurse John summed it up perfectly when I overheard him on a phone call to the folks that assign hospital rooms after surgery.  “She likes to sleep when you aren’t interacting with her.”  Oh boy, do I ever!  He explained that he needed to qualify his statement, because if I were just sleeping all the time, then they would have left me down in recovery until I woke up and interacted more appropriately.  Everything is always a test…

As it were, it felt like I was in recovery for a long time…  I was wheeled into surgery shortly after 8 am, the first time I remember being awake and looking at the clock it was about 12:40 pm, and I finally got my own room sometime after 2 pm.  I didn’t really care though, because I just slept when John wasn’t interacting with me.  When he was interacting with me, it mostly consisted of him poking my hips, legs and feet with a sharp metal object to gauge how numb my body parts were and how quickly the spinal anesthetic was wearing off.  It didn’t hurt though, because I was still numb.

My night in the hospital was fine but not very restful.  I’m one of those people who apparently has a very low resting heart rate after anesthesia, so every time I fell asleep the monitor would alarm and wake me back up because my heart rate was only 49-50 beats per minute.  I got a lot more sleep after the nurses responded several times and decided that I wasn’t going to die if they set the monitor to only beep if it fell below 48.  Problem solved.  Talk about wanting you to stop interacting with me so I could sleep!  Of course they still came in every 2 hours to check my blood pressure and temperature, so there’s that.

I was released from the hospital the following afternoon after I had passed all my milestones.  Getting out of bed, walking, talking, peeing…  They even let me walk down the hall and out of the building to the car.  No wheelchair for me!  I will admit it was a very slow walk and that hallway did seem pretty long, but nothing a half-marathoner can’t handle.

My Christmas was quiet; I’m sure that Jeff and my family will tell you that I was semi-catatonic.  But that just means surprise gifts!  You open it on Christmas, and a few days later it is like getting the gift all over again because you didn’t remember it the first time!  Mom and I watched Miracle on 34th Street, and Jeff and I watched a cute movie about a woman whose husband leaves her, and who decides to spend Christmas in Africa caring for orphaned elephants (spoiler: she falls in love with the bush pilot/tour guide and lives happily ever after).

I still have a bit of bruising on my belly around my 7 inch incision, and on my hand where they did a blood draw, but I can finally roll over in bed more easily and sleep without too much discomfort.  My skin is numb both above and below the incision, which is normal, but annoying.  That should go away in a couple of months.  I have one spot on the left side of my abdomen that hurts more than anyplace else; my doctor thinks I am feeling the knot where the line of internal stitches starts, so that should go away when they dissolve.  I passed my first post-op check with flying colors, and have one more in early February so I can be cleared to do strenuous exercise and things like yard work and heavy lifting.

The really good news is that even though I still feel a bit like I was kicked multiple times in the abdomen by a boxing kangaroo, I do feel so much relief from the symptoms I was having.  I’m on the mend, and just need to get through this recovery phase!

I went out for a longer walk yesterday and enjoyed an unseasonably sunny day in the Pacific Northwest.  It was flat, and I’m still not moving all that quickly, but I did get 5,000 steps in!

Happy New Year!