Post-op, Day 7

Today I am a bad monkey. My impatience got the best of me, all before I could even start on my goals for today. But I know it won’t stop me from trying for my goals.

I am still having a lot of gas. I’m not sure if it’s still the carbon dioxide working its way out or if it’s food-related gas at this point. I tried to push the gas out and now I feel like I blew an ovary – the left ovary – the one the surgeon had to remove from the back of my uterus. Nice going!

Then I had to have a shower. I didn’t shower yesterday and today I wanted one badly. Well, that wiped me out, too – just simply having a shower. Now I’m sitting on the couch longways and wondering if I’ll make it out of the house today like I’d planned. I really want out of the house.

My goals for today are to climb some stairs to see how far I get before I feel any pain, and to drive my car around the block to see if I can handle that, too.
Reason being is that I have a long drive to work (37 miles / 59.5km) which takes over an hour of rush hour traffic to get to, and at work I have to climb a flight of stairs. My workplace wants to know if I’ll need a downstairs desk or not when I return.
Again, I know today’s question is asked through today’s lens for the future – five days out. I know they are impatient at work, too. I will make the best of things that I can.

…whooops, I had to take a twenty minute nap, there…

We’ve had a delayed winter, like a lot of the U.S. has, and now it’s finally hitting us. For the San Francisco Bay Area, this means rain. Today starts a seven day cycle of rain at the least. We’ll see how things get. Despite that, I don’t care, I want out of the house!

Too bad I can barely move right now due to extreme fatigue.

Post-op, Day 6

Last night I tried eating chicken again. I had yams with my meal.
Within an hour of consuming the meal, my intestines were irritated and gassy but it wouldn’t come out.

The intestines are trying to get back to normal in general – I defecated three times yesterday and twice so far today. My friend, who has also had the same surgery, called today to tell me that vegetables were in general pretty harsh on her for the first month after surgery. I’m finding this to be true for me, too. Even creamed corn isn’t holding up so well with me.

Fruit however seems to go just fine. I have bananas and some canned fruit, and my friend G brought over fresh strawberries on Saturday, which I’ve been eating.

I can sleep on my side with care, now, but sitting up still requires a reclining position, and I shudder to think of how I’m going to wear jeans or slacks by the time I return to work on Monday, let alone how I’m going to sit upright for eight hours.

I know my perspective of Monday comes only through today’s lens, and that it’s once again a manifestation of fear. I’m healing well, I mustn’t forget.

Painwise, the belly button is the most painful incision, and the area below the belly button on down to the pelvic area is spotted with large greenish bruises. This morning, both pelvic incisions were throbbing in unison for several minutes. Now it’s just sporadic pinching – mostly on the right side.

I tried to wear a bra yesterday for the first time since surgery, but finally took it off after about eight hours because it was digging in. Not that I’ve gotten larger since surgery – it’s just that with the breasts unrestrained, they are not so heavy on my ribs and shoulders as when they are restrained.
I lament the loss of muscle in my breasts since binding them so much when I had my gender issues a few years ago. Definitely this year I am going to strengthen those puppies up again.

This year I’m going to get back into bicycling and lifting weights. It’s too late to partake in the Cinderella Ride this year, but I do want to try for the Tour De Tahoe on Sunday – September 9, 2007.

There are several crows calling outside. Wish I could see them. It makes me so happy to hear crows – when I lived with my dad on the edge of the forest, I always loved hearing all the crows.

Whew. Naptime. I’m still easily wiped out.

Updating on stuffs

On Saturday, I found out my friend was going to have surgery for a herniated disc in a few days, and she was having trouble with her doctors and workplace. The meds she had weren’t helping with the pain. We arranged for her housemate to come over and pick up some extra pain meds my man has leftover from his throat surgery last year.

I was thoroughly guilt-wracked by being home from work yesterday, and very impatient to be healed already. I kept pondering whether I should just go into work by Wednesday. Hell I’m *still* pondering that. I’m nervous as hell as to whether they’ll decide to let me go like the book scanning job wanted to do, because of missing too many days, even though I told the former job from time of interview that I have Endo issues. By the way, that same former job is now pulling the same shit with my above-mentioned friend because SHE has missed a lot of work recently due to major medical issues. Unlike me however, she went to the Labor Board. I hope she wins her case…even moreso because SHE is the one who raised their numbers by 200% or more in the time she’s been there (which is not even a year, yet). And they have the audacity to treat her like this. Grrrr!!!

Anyway, I knew this week would be challenging to my antsy, impatient, guilty mindset regarding work. I can’t stand the idea of being behind financially again. I don’t know what I’ll do if I become unemployed again. I’m living in fear again. I know all this. This week is my week to overcome these fears, or at least subdue them. Right now I’m subduing. I took a Xanax.

Post-op, Day 5 (continued)

So I went and had a shower. I was ultra paranoid about getting the incisions wet, because I’ve never been glued together before. I still can’t get over the fact that I have no stitches.
I indulged my fear and put packing tape over some tissue paper and covered my incisions. I knew the tape might not last the entire shower but I hoped. As it turned out, the tape held for about a third of the way through the shower before the tissue paper inside succumbed to leaks.

The shower though felt SOOOO good. When I got out, I spent time cleaning the incisions and putting my body jewelry back in. I’d had to replace the metal jewelry with non-metal for the surgery and the hospital staff even gave me shit about the non-metal. They’re afraid of burning someone somehow during surgery, and couldn’t comprehend that the jewelry I was wearing didn’t have metal posts – it was solid plastic through my ears and nipples. I had to sign a waiver for refusing to take my jewelry out, heh.

The movement in the shower and standing at the sink putting my body jewelry back in proved to be too much on me, and now the muscles around my stomach and sides are all tense. It feels like I’m “sucking in” my stomach, and so I’m trying to do breathing exercises to relax everything. I’ve just eaten some more food so I’ll be taking Ibuprofen in a minute.

The whole food thing is still an issue, too. I eat constantly throughout the day, because I’m still eating mostly mushy foods. Reason being is that anything too heavy expands my stomach and therefore the muscles, and hurts like the worst full stomach feeling. So I can only eat a little at a time, wait for it to digest, and eat again.
Last night I had chow mein and a little bit of chicken and was excited to no end to finish one plateful. The night before that, I had scraped off cheese and pizza toppings from pizza that my man had ordered and was super happy to have Real Food™.
The cheese however was a bad idea on my part – it complicated the constipation. Bad monkey!

Anyway today I’m back on cereal and soup and pudding. MAYBE I’ll have eggs over-easy for dinner.

On the poop front, I crapped yesterday for the first time in four days, and again this morning. Yesterday was worse than today but I’m still definitely constipated from all the pain meds. I don’t want to take any more laxatives because it will put things at the other end of the spectrum for me. I’m real sensitive to so many medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription. So I’m just gonna continue to eat fruit and add teaspoonfuls of BeneFiber to my food.

Hm. Changing my sitting position seems to have helped my stomach and side muscle soreness. Instead of sitting on the couch the ‘normal’ way, I’ve got my legs up and I’m slightly reclined on the couch longways. But now my neck is complaining. It won’t be long before naptime again.

3:02pm Edit: I just sneezed 3 times in a row. It’s the first sneezing I’ve done since the surgery. I was in the bathroom and I steeled myself against the sink. I didn’t die. :)
I’m healing up so well that I can even blow my nose today. Just yesterday I couldn’t, without stomach area muscles hurting.
It’s still an effort to get up, walk, sit or lay down, though.

Post-op, Day 5

Things I could do before surgery that I can’t do in recovery without causing lots of pain:

  • Blow my nose
  • Cough
  • Laugh
  • Cry
  • Sneeze
  • Stretch
  • Suddenly lean forward while sitting
  • Sit up from laying position
  • Plop down
  • Roll over on my side
  • Shift weight while standing
  • Nearly drop something and then impulsively catch it
  • Burp
  • Hiccup
  • Walk any faster than a shuffle
  • Yawn (if it’s a big yawn)

Things I’m getting away with – two days after surgery – minimal to no pain:
Picking up my 8lb (3.6kg) cat , my 5lb (2kg) cat, and the iBook G4 laptop I’m borrowing from my man (the laptop is also around 5lbs/2kg).

Things I’ve not been brave enough to attempt yet:

  • Lay on my belly
  • Shower or bathe (aside from washcloth bathing from sink)
  • Drive

I’m not to pick up anything heavy for 6 weeks. No one has told me what ‘heavy’ is, but I’ll stick to the laptop for that outside of home – anything heavier and forget it.

Post-op, Day 4

Post-op counting is easy when surgery was on the first of the month!

Today sucks. I slept for about nine hours before finally getting up due to extreme mid back pain. My body decided that after taking two vegetable laxatives yesterday, that it would finally like to crap.

You’d think two vegetable laxatives would have done the trick, right?

Hah.

I’m all tore up. And I tried to be patient but it hurt. I finally pushed and well that made the entire abdominal region hurt.
That pretty much exhausted me for the rest of the day and I went back to bed for a couple of hours. Now I’m sitting on the couch (still wondering if the couch is a good idea or if I need to move laptop back to the bedroom), reporting all my post-op TMI to you, and wondering how to control pain without vicodin if the abdominal pain acts up again.

I have 600mg Ibuprofen in the house. I called the local pharmacist to ask about taking Ibu after having had Vicodin. She was so distracted she couldn’t even relay back to me what I’d asked. So I’ll call another pharmacy. I can’t get ahold of my regular doctors on a Sunday to ask for a new prescription and I only have one Tylenol 3 left in the house. I’m sure the Ibu is okay but I’m so sensitive to meds that it pays to be paranoid.

Another issue I’m still having is that my gums below my right molars are still all chewed up. I googled ‘intubation’ and looked up all the equipment. Looks like ‘the blade’ is what scraped my gums going in. The nurses had inspected my throat prior to sedating me and one said I’d need “a two” for intubation. I had told them to go easy on bending my head back due to neck injury from my car accident. My friend says perhaps they had trouble intubating me due to the neck issue. Hmm. I wouldn’t be surprised.
My throat has still been sore as well, but not too much. Mostly at night I feel it when I’ve not had anything to drink in a few hours.

Just called a second pharmacy. It’s okay to take the 600mg Ibuprofen. Wheee. Now time for more food, first.

1:55pm Edit: This just in – I’m bleeding. I was very very lightly spotting the day after surgery, then nothing. Now I have bright red again. Wonder how bad it will get.

4:29pm Edit: The bleeding is light. I have minor cramps, now, and I took an ibuprofen. I’m still very tired today. Still on the couch, drifting in and out of sleep. Listening to Radio Nigel on low volume. Fighting cabin fever but can’t seem to get up.

Post-op, Day 3

I’m counting Thursday, the same day as surgery, to be Day 1 of post-op as well. That makes today Day 3 of post-op.

I’ve been up for 16 hours. I’ve only had very fleeting catnaps that lasted a few minutes. So today was like a normal day – such a change from only being able to stay awake for six hours at a time yesterday. The lack of meds had a lot to do with it. I didn’t take any Vicodin til 3pm, when I finally couldn’t stand the pain anymore. The pain is mostly in my shoulders, now, as the carbon dioxide has officially migrated and has been giving me grief.
I’ve had bouts of abdominal pain as well.

The vicodin however seems to do more harm than good. I had a migraine for two days straight, and by not taking any vicodin today til 3pm, I confirmed it as the culprit.
Once I took the vicodin, the migraine returned. With the migraine is jaw clenching, which of course aggravates the problem. So, no more vicodin for me. My last dose was around 5:30pm this evening. I’ll wait for the migraine to go away and then if I need pain meds tomorrow, I’ll try the 600mg Ibuprofen I have on hand.

If that doesn’t help, I’ll call in a request for something else. I’d rather just be off the pain meds now. I’m healing fast. I can do this. I just need to keep hydrated and dammit I need to have a bowel movement. Stupid opiates.

I’ll be less cranky once the shoulder pain, migraine and constipation go away.

Oh, and tonight it’s back to sleeping in reclining position. I don’t want to wake up with a puffed out face again.

I did have some happy moments today though. My man helped me wash my hair in the sink, and I gave myself a peppermint soapy washclothing from the sink as well (still can’t get the incisions wet). First bath in three days! Felt so good.

And I had several friends stop by to check in on me and give me presents! They made me laugh til I hurt, literally, but it can’t be helped. They’re hilarious and I love ’em.

Still catching up – day of surgery

Shortly after my surgeon came in, she reminded me that the nurse would give me a drug called Versed, which would calm me and cause amnesia. I said ‘oh great, I’m going to babble’ and my surgeon laughed, saying she babbles on the stuff, too, and that I’d be okay if she’s okay, because she’s had two major surgeries (one for a broken hip!).

Shortly after our conversation, the nurse injected the Versed into my IV. Within seconds I felt dizzy. I described to my friend and to my man that it felt like coming up on a drug trip, and that it should be fun to ride out.

That’s the last I remember until waking up in the recovery room.

There was a youngish male nurse to the left of my bed, monitoring my vitals on a computer. He offered me and fed me some ice chips. I remember panicking about pain or something at one point and he remedied the situation immediately. But other times he was off tending to another patient and I needed more ice chips or something. I remember whining until he returned.
I passed in and out of consciousness.

I remember at some point, two female nurses put me in a wheelchair and took me to the bathroom. They helped me onto the toilet. I thought of my grandmother in the nursing home, and how she was so embarrassed to have nurses helping her to the toilet, that she used to yell at them and pummel them to try to get them to leave her to privacy.
However, my own embarrassment was minimal at this point. I allowed the nurses to help me onto the toilet. One nurse gave me some hospital issue panties to wear and stuck a pad in them. And then I sat. And sat. Nothing would come out. The nurses left and stood just outside the door. I can’t remember if I peed at all. I don’t remember being taken back to bed.

I don’t know how long I was in the recovery room in bed before a female nurse told me I needed to walk. She helped me out of bed and I shuffled slowly and in pain to another room with a chair. Looked like a dentist office! I sat in a big pink vinyl chair with arm rests. This room was brighter. I continued to pass in and out of consciousness, and it was there that I learned I was on morphine.

I knew too that I needed to A) wake up and B) urinate before the staff would allow me to leave the hospital. I became conscious of the time, and that my friend was late for her afternoon shift. She didn’t care but it made me work harder at waking up.
Without that bit of worry, I might not have had anything to worry about, and would have been content to stay the night in the hospital just so I could continue sleeping. After all, my man didn’t have anywhere to be. So in that regard, I’m glad there was a stimulus.

My throat hurt a lot now that the anesthetic was wearing off. My friends went to the cafeteria to get me some tapioca, which I never touched. The nurse brought me some cranberry juice. I took one sip and winced from the sweet/tart flavour, and went back to sucking on ice chips. I was offered some green tea, and that was actually ok to sip.

I had arrived at the hospital by 10:30am. Surgery was at 12:30pm. By the time I was ready to urinate on my own post-op, it was after 5pm.
I shuffled to the bathroom, and struggled to figure out how to sit without causing pain or having my privy bits touch the edge of the toilet seat.

I sat there for minutes on end, waiting for my body to release urine. It was like I’d forgotten how to pee. I knew this had to be because I’d been cathetered, but the logic wasn’t very reassuring.
I eventually did urinate, and left it in the bowl for the nurse to see for herself, since I knew she wouldn’t believe me (and she didn’t).
The discharge papers were made and we waited around some more before a nurse arrived with a wheelchair.
I shuffled to the wheelchair, which was facing the chair I’d been sitting in. This turned out to be a bad move, because the nurse had to back up to get me out of the room. The quick reverse motion was enough to make me nauseous, and I began calling loudly for a bag. I was dumbfounded to find a nurse grab for one of those tiny pink half-moon shaped plastic trays – I never could figure out if those were for children to puke in, or if it’s a bedpan. But I scoffed and yelled ‘that’s not going to work!’.

My friend, the only astute one in the place at that moment, upturned the plastic bag containing my belongings that the nurses had given me before surgery, and handed me the bag.

I let loose. It was all bile.

Strangely though, the bile coated/numbed my sore throat. I puked twice, and an obviously perturbed nurse grabbed the plastic bag away from me and handed me a new bag. The bag I’d puked into was at least coated white so no one could see the puke. This new bag was clear. I hoped I wouldn’t have to puke again so I wouldn’t gross out anyone. As it was, I was in the middle of the recovery room during my puking episode. I wondered if I’d caused anyone else to be sick.

The nurse who was pushing the wheelchair was told to go SLOW, and she was truly put out and didn’t like me as a result. She may have been the one to also grab the puke bag away from me.
She didn’t speak to me the entire ride down to the car. But I had my friend, and we chatted. When the elevator door opened, a boy was about to zoom in under his own power with a manual wheelchair, and I called out as soon as I saw his casted leg coming for the door. He stopped suddenly and apologized. I grinned and said ‘bumper cars!’ and he smiled, too. He bid me good night and I returned the greeting. We continued in silence toward the front entrance of the hospital. When the doors opened, it felt truly arctic outside. I was glad I put on BOTH my sweater and my coat. I was helped into the car and I thanked the nurse for the ride, despite her rudeness. My friend and my man piled into the car and my friend instructed me to clutch a pillow to my stomach for the ride home. I’m so glad I had her there.

My man dropped off our friend somewhere in the city, as she still planned to go into work for a couple of hours. I kissed her goodbye and then we took off for home. I slept most of the way. When we got home, my man helped me out of the car and we shuffled up to the house. This again proved to be too much for me, motion-wise, and as soon as I sat down on the bed, I had to puke again. My man grabbed a bucket for me and I held it on my knees and let loose. Once again it actually felt good and soothed my sore throat.

We prepped a reclining position for me and that’s how I slept the first night. I needed vicodin before 10pm that night.

pre-op

I suddenly got nauseated and my headache worsened and I had to sleep NOW, so I ended my last post rather abruptly.

2 hours later, I resume…

As I was saying, Patricia kept me happily distracted. The surgery wasn’t scheduled til 12:30pm on Thursday, and I couldn’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before.
This is a problem, because when I wake up in the morning, I have to eat within a half an hour, or else I get hypoglycemic. So I wanted to sleep in as long as possible, get up, shower and go to the hospital to minimize the sugar-crash time.

I remember it being 1am and I still wasn’t anywhere near tired because of the anxiety over surgery the next day. So my friend had me dissolve two Lorazepam (generic Xanax) under my tongue. Once again, she rules for suggesting that, cuz I was convinced I should have water w/ the Lorazepam. And I couldn’t drink water after midnight. The pills didn’t taste so bad dissolved under the tongue, and I was ready for sleep within the hour.

The next morning, we all showered and got out of the house on time. The hypoglycemia I was so worried about never happened until I was at the hospital about to go in for surgery – because I was far too nervous to eat, anyway.

The fact that there was three of us in the car was a VERY good idea, because it meant we could ride in the carpool lane across the Bay Bridge. The traffic was horrible, but we zipped right past in the carpool lane. My man dropped us off in front of the hospital and went to park his car. I was called for my hospital room before my man even arrived at the hospital on foot (the closest parking garage is about 5 blocks away). When he arrived, I was already in my hospital gown and surgical hair cap.

The nurse who handled my IV was a pro – I barely felt it go in. But once the IV was in, my hand was irritated. That’s to be expected, sure, but it made me grumpy. We waited an hour, and an entire team was supposed to come in and introduce themselves to me, but instead, a few people trickled in over the hour and I never did get to meet the head anesthesiologist.
The three of us passed the time by watching shitty television and talking to one another. I’d brought a book but was too nervous to read.

Finally, my surgeon came in. She looked so cute in her scrubs and a backpack so big it looked like it would topple her small frame. She chatted with me and Patricia and officially met my man for the first time. She and one of the anesthesiologist people both recommended that instead of getting a tubal ligation, I could try an IUD.

Oh I forgot to tell you – at the last minute, the day before surgery, I panicked and decided I didn’t want to get a tubal ligation. I’d read a bunch of stories online of women who’d had major complications after a tubal – things like heavy bleeding and cramps – stuff I’m trying to get taken care of with surgery!!!
My surgeon told me that the stories I’d read pertain to people who had been on birth control pills for years, and had the complications with the tubal AND going off the birth control pills. Still, she didn’t try to talk me back into getting the tubal ligation, so that’s awesome. She suggested an IUD that puts out a small amount of progesterone locally. I’ll look into it.

Wow, the vicodin is hitting me – just took some after dinner. Down I go for another nap. More later.

T minus 36 hours

In case I’m not stressing out enough, I had my interview today, and then HR sent out an email to everyone announcing that due to low numbers in January, all of our desktops are going to be monitored. Management will pop right in remote style and see everything we’re lookin at on our screens to make sure none of us is slackin off.

Well I usually keep an IRC window open to keep me sane. Now, forget it. I knew from day one that all our calls are recorded – they were open about that, too. But now also screen-capturing slacker behaviour on the monitors?

Wow just as I was giving nice comments about the place and how it’s not as bad as some companies I’ve worked for. Now it’s WORSE than the WORST one I worked for.
Next, just you watch, I’ll be hired and they’ll tell me I have to report to work by 7am and that I’ll have to do mandatory overtime at the beginning of my shift. Then I’ll KNOW I’ve truly re-arrived at the WORST job I had.

So I stressed over work. And I worked an hour and a half overtime because I was way behind on emails again because the phones were so busy and I had four meetings today (three being interviewers). I got home and didn’t get enough cleaning done. Now I should have been in bed 45 mins ago.

Have I mentioned I’m weepy? Like, over ANYTHING. Everything I look at or hear is beautiful or sad or tragic. Like it’s all the last time I’ll be around after Thursday. I’m told that’s normal. I know that’s fear.

Good night.