My time spent in post-op marked the beginning of a long road to recovery; one I fear that will not be very speedy.
I spent 5 days in the hospital and the first few days were dreadful. Because my gallbladder was removed, I left the operating room with an NG tube shoved down my throat into my stomach. The object….remove any excess bile or stomach acid so that this would not back up and cause vomiting that would aggravate or rip my stitches and staples. Since this tube was down my nose, I wasn’t allowed to drink and I was only given a little cup of ice chips. Listen lady, I know what parched means now.
On top of the NG tube, there was the actual incision. A good 9 inch diagonal incision now spans my left abdomen; stapled shut 27 times. Luckily, the incision pain was mostly controlled with IV pain medication. Unfortunately, because of the placement of the incision, the surgeon cut through every major abdominal muscle I had; albeit hidden under a layer of baby fat. LADY, do you have any idea how difficult it is to move without your core abdominal muscles intact. Bending, rolling, twisting, sitting, standing, walking….these acts are all near impossible unless someone physically helps you. For days, I needed help getting in an out of bed, to a chair, to go for a short walk, even to go pee.
By day two, I was running an unexplained fever that hovered between 99-102 degrees. Blood and urine samples were checked for infection. A cat scan was done of my chest to rule out pneumonia and a blood clot. Still, the fever persisted.
The surgeons were confident that this was a normal reaction after abdominal surgery; my bodies way of healing the giant incision. I was insistent on a preventative course of antibiotics. There was no need to play fire with the chance of sepis. The doctors finally caved.
By day 4, things seemed to be on the upswing. I was finally handling solid food and my intestines, which had been so rudely disturbed during surgery were beginning to work again. I was able to walk a full lap around the nurses station without the assistance of a walker (something I had not anticipated using for another 40 years or so).
By the end of the week we had managed to get my pain under control with pills, and I finally found freedom late Saturday afternoon.
It was so wonderful to feel carpet beneath my feet and shower in my own bathroom. And then my parents, who have so graciously watched and cared for Cardin & Rory during my multiple hospital stays, brought them home.
A sudden realization hit me. I was barely managing to care for myself, how in the world was I going to take care of two little children, even with Brett’s help??? I’m unable to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds or chance herniating my incision. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, BUT IT AOUNDS TERRIBLY PAINFUL AND I DO NOT WANT TO FIND OUT. Because of this, I can’t pick up Rory or Cardin. It will be at least 5 more weeks before I’m able to pick up and hold my newborn or have a dance party with my preschooler. I suppose in the big scheme of things this is minuscule, but it lays enormously on me right now.
Recoup at home has been painfully slow. I get a little better each day, but nights are difficult as it is hard to lay in one position for so long and sleeping through a dosage of medicine is pure agony. Brett has been home with me and is my constant help. My parents are still helping with the kids and there are never enough thank yous. Family and friends have sent cards, money, flowers, dinners all out of the goodness of their heart and I’m forever grateful.
But you must understand Internet, this type of dependency is unnatural to me. I was not raised to be a dependent being; if I need or want something, I go get it. It has been a struggle to accept help because I’m so eager to get back to my normal routine, but even the slightest extra push or challenge of the day will send me spiraling back to the couch in agony.
For now, we take one day at a time. Tomorrow I head back to the surgeons office, to have the staples removed. I’m hopefully this will help with my comfort level, especially with sleeping.