I don’t remember much of the first two days after surgery. I remember having a catheter that I was more than excited to be rid of. I couldn’t really move. About the only thing I remember was being introduced to this guy…
That white stick with the green button became my best buddy for the next 6 days.
If you’ve never seen one before, that is called a PCA button.
PCA stands for Patient-Controlled Analgesia. Analgesia means relief of pain.
Yes, that’s right… when the center of that green portion lit up, I pressed it and was rewarded with a little push of Dilaudid through my IV. For those of you who don’t know what Dilaudid is, well, frankly, I’m just sad for you.
OK, OK, it’s like Morphine. Only I’m pretty sure I heard Zeppelin when I pushed that button. Don’t worry, it wasn’t giant hits and they spaced out the time, but still an experience everyone should get to have at least once in their life.
But I had to have all of those pain meds had to prepare me for this…
This is me trying to get up to go to the bathroom for the first time. Looks like fun doesn’t it? And that’s WITH pain meds.
It was one of the most painful things I can ever remember in my life. I had help, but zero abdominal muscles. My incision starts about 3 inches down from the center of my rib cage and goes 2 to 3 inches below my belly button. It was a BIG cut. Plus I have a stoma a little bit higher than my belly button on my left hand side. They did a lot so I should’ve known how much recovery there would be. I tried to prepare for it, but you can never really know.
The rest of the week went from the above pic to slowly being able to move more and more. And then being able to sit in a chair for awhile up to walking laps in the hallway. I admit there were times I had to pee and would cry a little knowing I would have to get up to do it. Sometimes the nurses were sympathetic and give me an extra kick of the PCA.
Taking a shower was interesting and a bit humiliating. The first one I was still pretty weak so I had to sit in a chair and get hosed down. The second one wasn’t much better but I was able to stand for a bit more of that one.
My feet and legs were pretty swollen so I had to wear the very sexy compression socks and get my legs squeezed for a few days. It made trying to find a comfortable way to sleep quite the challenge. I had a really hard time with wanting to be out of bed but once I was out it was too painful. Comfort was a real struggle for a few days. And again, praise be the PCA!
I was only allowed to eat ice chips from Friday through Tuesday. I didn’t really have an appetite, but who wants only ice chips for 5 days either? I think it was Monday or Tuesday when the doc said I could have hard candy or gum. MJ went and got me Life Savers. Quite possibly the best tasting Life Savor I’ve ever had!
I was very excited to move up to clear liquids. Can’t you tell?
Me and my Jello.