Firstly, I just want to say a huge thank you for all of the kind wishes and comments since I went in to hospital; I am more grateful than you will know, it has meant a lot to me.
I met some lovely ladies in the ward of 4 I was in. I spent the first 4-5 days not really speaking to anyone else as I was rather out of it, but then we all got to chatting and sharing our stories and looking out for each other as fellow inmates in there. I truly hope they are all on their way to better health as I write this.
After a stoma nurse appointment this morning, I came back home and spent the day in bed. I seem to have come down with a cold/flu bug that’s been going around our house, courtesy of my parents (sometimes they are just too generous), but something has really hit me hard. Good job I wrote most o this ramble yesterday as I can barely see straight today. Nausea, dizziness, cracking headache and fever. I woke up drenched in sweat – now, there I times I really don’t think I could possibly get any sexier!
My surgery went well in the sense that there were no unforeseen problems or complications. I was in recovery for 4-5hrs apparently before being moved on to the ward, and then went in to my own little world for some time thanks to the beloved morphine PCA. When my parents visited me the day after surgery they took a photo and said how well I looked. Of course, the lighting and angle helped with the photograph, but they thought I was doing quite well considering I’d had a major op done less than 24hrs before. They soon realised that was mostly thanks to the morphine keeping the pain at bay. It wasn’t long before the morphine made me incredibly sick, the pain became unbearable and I felt immensely rough and exhausted.
I had mixed experiences with the nurses; some were wonderful, very considerate and friendly and willing to help. They have a hard job to do and being kind can make such a huge difference to patients. I’d like to give a big cheer to the awesome nurses out there that look after us! However, then there were the one or two nurses that were brought from the Devil’s workshop. Especially the woman who kept trying to get me to have a shower the day after surgery when I couldn’t even sit up in bed, looking at me with disgust when I was a crying, blubbering mess (another unwelcome morphine side-effect for me). She wouldn’t listen to what I was trying to say, contradicted advice I was given about other things. I ran out of energy and words failed me, but luckily my body soon took over and did the talking for me as I ended up being violently sick. I didn’t like her.
For the most part, I didn’t do a whole lot. Time blurs and you’re drifting off as often as you’re waking up and wondering where you are before you nod off again. When I was awake, I wasn’t really functioning at a point where I could do anything to occupy myself until about day 6. Then I caught up on a bit of Netflix, did some crosswords, attempted a walk to the ward corridor while rocking my ted stockings and red slipper socks. I was forever trying to get comfortable though, which I never quite managed. It provided some entertainment constantly adjusting the bed because it kept beeping as if it were a lorry reversing. Turns out, something had come unplugged. Luckily it wasn’t the oxygen or the IV that had been “accidentally unplugged” all week.
There’s always something happening though. Constant obs being done, blood being taken, nurses and visitors in and out, medication rounds and doctor rounds. And Fragmin injections, to help prevent blood clots (along with the aforementioned sexy ted stockings), which have left me with nice black and blue bruises on both thighs.
Anyway, I had an early mark and left after a week to go home. I spent the night wriggling in agony and didn’t get a wink of sleep even though my bed was heavenly compared to the hospital bed. In the morning, I got an emergency GP appointment and came out with a Tramadol prescription that the hospital failed to provide and also a course of antibiotics for an infection. Alas, nothing is ever straightforward – but hopefully it’s on the up from here!
Where to now? Recovery is very much an individual thing, and it can be quicker and easier for some than others, especially depending on what other conditions you are dealing with at the same time. Generally speaking, it’s 6-8 weeks with no lifting/pushing (including lifting a full kettle, the shopping, doing the vacuuming etc), taking it easy but gradually doing a little more each day, no driving, various other appointments and stoma check-ups, a rather bland diet with smaller sized meals, etc. I’m going to set myself small but hopefully achievable goals. And I mean small. No “get fit to climb a mountain by July” nonsense. I know what I am and am not capable of. Today, it was having my first shower at home. Then a slow walk to the corner shop (usually takes 1 minute; will likely take me 10), then the shop a little further down the road, then my first half a cider to celebrate when I’m off the meds, etc. Small things for a sense of achievement, something to aim for and little things to look forward to.