Post op day 8 – I’m able to use my ipad again!

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I write tonight’s recap of the day while my leg burns from my nightly blood thinner shot. It’s a good preventative measure for getting at DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) but I dread the shot every night. I’ve decided that the thigh is better than the back of the arm after receiving this shots for the past 8 nights.

I had a good night last night. I dread going to bed each night because the first night in the hospital I was in crippling pain and the second night I had an issue with my O2 sat dropping and my artery line. The third night I was constantly woken up by the alarms going on off in the step down unit. I always wake up every 2-3 hours to go to the washroom and I’m always afraid of rolling over on my IV line. However, after all that being said, my nights are getting better. I am usually woken up by the nurse at 10pm for meds, 2am for meds, 5:30am for vitals, and then 7:30am by the doctors doing their rounds.

Today was a good day though. I am thinking that all my issues yesterday was due to an electrolyte imbalance. I have been on a drip with some sugar and potassium for the past twenty four hours and it has worked wonders. No nausea, more energy, feeling overall functional! Yay!

I did well with the clear fluids today. I didn’t get any food from the hospital though. So I just stuck with my water as well as watered down juice. It all seemed to go well.

Brandon came to stay with me for the ‘morning shift’ and my mom and dad came for the afternoon. It has been nice having company this whole time. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family and husband. In sicker and in health, right? It’s been a long commute for everyone because the construction on the gardiner expressway but I look forward for their arrival every time. It’s hard to believe that I have been here for 8 days already. Where has the time gone?!?!

I was able to go outside today and while I was out there I ran into Alex who I mentioned in a blog post a few back. We were able to have a chat and it turns out we are neighbours in the hospital. Alex is a true inspiration and I am very excited to have met her in person.

Anyways, beside all that I don’t have much to say today. My weight is continuously plummeting which I already knew was going to happen. I now sit around 117lbs and dropping. I’m starting to wonder if I’ll even fit the clothing I came into surgery with….haha.

So I end today’s post with this – if you ever feel like you are too fat, just get your stomach removed, guaranteed weight loss in 7 days and you get an all inclusive vacation where people cater to your needs 24/7 and food is infused into your veins. Hahah.

Post op day 6 and day 7 – Learned I can’t vomit

The rest of post op day 6 went downhill real fast. I don’t remember much but I crashed hard. I was nauseous all night and needed anti-nauseant. It was horrible. I was up every 2 hours walking the halls which I thought would pass gas causing the nausea.

The next day I was completely drained. Back to nothing by mouth as instructed by the Dr. Which was good because I was too scared to eat anything. Clear fluids which was so glorious was now my worst enemy.

I felt just awful all day. It really sucks when you’re go to strategy for nausea in the past was to just throw up and now you can’t.  I discovered that last night. It is also really bad that I do that because it can ruin the join of my esophagus to my small intestine.   The doctors don’t like heaving. 

I sat up in the chair all day and slept with my head on the wall  beside me or the rolling tray in front of me. I couldn’t lie in bed because it made me heave. I would break sweats everytime I moved. All and all it really sucked and I never want to live that day again.

Thankfully,  last night my dr said he would give me some electrolytes through my IV and that instantly made me feel better.   I guess all the days work really drained me. The nausea went away. Yay!!

I was able to sleep through the night with help from my morphine pain meds.  I woke up every 3 hours to go to the washroom.

Dr said clear fluids again. It’s the only way they  can see if I’m healing properly at the join (espohages to jejunum).  I’m going to go easy with it. He said I may get nauseous again but it’s the only way to check if I’m healing correctly.

I’m optomistic about today. After all it’s the weekend!!

Post op day 6 Part 1 – I’m a patient not an electrician

Note: there are graphic images in this post. Please skip the pictures if you have a weak stomach.

Good morning!

Last night I was up late writing my blog and snacking on jello because jello gives me an instant energy boots. Like mario eating a mushroom and growing larger!

Big mistake.

I woke up at 530 am drenched in sweat, feeling nauseous,  and overall not well. So, I went to the washroom and I just about froze because I was so wet before. Then back to bed.

When the Dr’s came in this morning, I let them know about my stupidity from the night before. We decided that clear fluids for another day would be good.  I will not eat the jello here again. Once fool on you,  twice fool on me.  We also discussed that I’ll for sure be here over the weekend. We may try thickened fluids tomorrow.  Mom brought me won ton soup without the solids and home made jello for breakfast.   No issues!

My epidural was pulled out at 10:15am by my anesthesiologist.  He is awesome and I see him 2x a day.  I asked if we could take a picture, so the resident went to try but ended up taking a video. The anesthesiologist was like, “here I’ll do it, you need to push this button”.  When he left he joked about me getting home in time to watch the FIFA wold cup.  It sure feels great to have that line out!! Here is a picture of what was in my spine.

Note: if you don’t like graphic images, scroll past this. It is really graphic.

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The whole wire was in my spine

My back feels a lot better now. I have one less line and I more line to freedom. No more huge tape and line to worry about. The epidural always scared me a little because it was in my spine for so long and I was afraid it could move.

My day just kept getting better! So then this happened.

I thought I could figure out how to plug the hospital TV in.  Just a cable into a cable right?  There were some free channels that I may get. 

I stuck the copper wire into the cable hole and a spark flew and I got a small jolt.  When I looked at the end of the copper wire and it was completely melted off.  I just lost it. Mom was here and we burst out laughing.  It was so funny.  It hurt a lot but then I started laughing at the pain.  It was probabaly a had to be there moment but sooo funny. 

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Where is the copper wire? Oh yeah, I melted it off.

So today is a rest day. Eat properly. Let my abs heal from my laughing circle. Visit with friends and family.

Lunch time in one hour! I still get hungry. Weird!!!!

Will post more later.

Day 5- Jello has never been better

Hey all!

As you can see, I’m back and I’m writing my own post since May 24.  I will try to keep it brief since typing on my phone is really tiring for some reason.   I usually rest it on something as I write to try conserve energy.   Sorry for typos.

Today was a glorious day!! I woke up a few times to go to the washroom and each time was easier than the last.  No more 40 minute pees. I celebrate everything here if you haven’t already noticed.

I’ve started to get into a routine for my hospital day and it is working out well.  It has been this for the past two days:
1) Wake up at 7:00am to the nurse checking vitals (BP, O2 sat, temperature, resp rate and finally my fav numeratic pain rating scale)
2) Talk to Dr’s doing rounds.   Consists of a feļlow or senior resident plus 1 junior resident. Discuss pain level and milestones (passed any gas? Bowel movements?)
3) Get up and walk the floor 1 lap and 1 lap of the ward. Urinate once before and after.
4) Sanitize pole and hands before reentering the room
5) Speak to Anesthesiologist about pain
6) Speak with Nurse practitioner who may alter my IV fluids and possibly lower epidural if I saw anesthesiologist first.
7) Brush teeth
8) Go lie in bed for an hour until Mom or Brandon arrives to replenish energy.
9) Sponge bath when they arrive. I can’t shower yet because of the epidural.
10) Nap because all that cleaning takes major energy.

I try to rest in bed for at least an hour because I want to have the most energy for visitors that come after 2pm. After I get out of bed, I’m always really slow and quickly winded. So I go for another walk to open up my lungs and get my system running.

Today was an awesome day for many reasons.  After I met with the doctors and laid down, I heard the cafeteria cart coming down the hall. Normally the dietary aide just walks past me with the food but today was MY day. Clear Fluids!!!!!!! I heard him put the tray down and as soon as he was gone, I sat up as fast as I could and saw food!!

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All pink sponges that I thought were the best thing in the world since sliced bread were now super disgusting and instantly were discarded.   I have never been happier to have jello in my life.  It was the best jellow ever – even if I only ate 1/6 of the cup. 

I felt really tired after that meal, so I had a quick nap. But it was worth it. For lunch, I had beef consume, jello (gave it to Brandon), and juice.
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I knew the juice has too much sugar – so now I water it down a lot before I drink it. Since the Dr told me to start slow, I ate the soup over a 2.5 hour period. It was great, no issues. Dangled on the bed the whole time. The dietitians came to visit me just as I was finishing my soup and they said that I could eat it over a 15 min period. They said “there is slow and then there is extremely slow”. It was funny. They also reminded me about nutrition post gastrectomy. I’ll have to watch for iron and B12 deficiency. When the afternoon rounds came, I told the Dr’s about my soup time and they laughed and said you can go faster than my 2.5 hours. It was only a cup of broth and I should be fine to eat it in 15 minutes.

This afternoon, I got a new roomate who I love and I’ve only been with her for half a day.   She’s a tough Portuguese woman with a huge loving family.  She must have had at least 15 visitors today and she had just come out of surgery! ! She kept saying she needed to sleep but then would keep talking to her family. We kept all curtains open all day because they wanted me to get some sunlight because I’m in the room near the door.

My epidural was decreased again today to 3ml per hour. From 9 to 3 in 3 days is great. The anesthesiologist said it will come out tomorrow. Yes!! It is taped to my spine and now it is getting extremely hot when I move. Try taping packaging tape all over your back and then sit with it for 6 days and you’ll understand. Epidural out means shower!!

It is now 11:25pm and I am going to do one more walk before I hit the sack. Today was great and tomorrow even better because I may get solid food!!!! OMG my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Hahaha.

Goodnight all!

Day 3 and 4 – Progress!

Day 3 – Monday May 26th, 2014

documented May 27, 2014 at 7:58pm

Today I spoke with the doctor in the morning and was told that they were going to remove the catheter. However since I was still on the epidural, the medical staff thought that I wouldn’t be able to go to the bathroom due to urinary retention effects from the epidural.  Between 10am and 6pm I was able to go to the bathroom two times, each trip yielding around 250mL of urine (about a cup of fluid).

The first time on the washroom took 40 minutes… due to sheer determination to urinate.  (she thought 250mL was enough to show that she didn’t need the catheter).. …

Here are some successful strategies for optimal urinary output:

1. Running tap water to stimulate visceral reflexes

Fun Fact: Japan has toilets to help you pee by running water inside the bowl

“Where’s the flush button”

2. Thinking about waterfalls,

3. Making audible water running noises

4. Three sets of 10 marches on spot would help yield urine output

 

While these methodologies are hilarious…they were working and the yellow waterworks were flowing!  Unfortunately it was not enough volume to obtain the “tube-free bladder pass”… so the nurses scanned my bladder to check how much urine was remaining and removed 800mL via In/Out catheter.  Since I was outputting urine regularly on my own they decided to remove the catheter… woot!

At 11:30am I had to goto the bathroom for 30min … Whilst I was occupato I read facebook and checked messages, wrote responses and caught up with friends on the can haha (now you know!) 300mL urination again… wasn’t quite enough but the nurses didn’t want to do In/Out catheter yet..still too early.

At 1:40am they woke me up told me go to washroom.  400mL urine output this time. They scanned my bladder again which showed only 280mL left inside so no more In/Out catheter!

On an important note: I passed gas three times during the day. Much relief…

Day 4 – Tuesday May 27th, 2104

This morning was all about mobility. From lying in bed I could move to the following positions:

  • Lie-to-Sit
  • Sit-to-Stand,
  • move to unplug IV pole (engaging some core muscles to pull plug out of wall socket)
  • get up by self
  • goto washroom by self
  • including walking around ward by self.

My walking route would travel to south side of ward, back around, lap around south side , half lap of the south ward, and back to the room.

“Outta the way usain!”

 

The doctors spoke with me and said I was doing extremely well and said I can take clear fluids! Also, the epidural will come out on Thursday! Great news!  By then it was 8am/9am and I felt tired so I took a nap.  My mom arrived around 10am, when I woke up I attempted another washroom break, more steady outflow. Mom washed my hair (which was not washed since four days ago, post op-4 days) which felt excellent.

I gave myself a spongebath through 3/4 of body downward from what I could reach. Mom washed my face and I went to bed (I was feeling pretty tired after that).

I woke up at 1:50pm~2pm when Brandon arrived.. got up and was visited by more friends.  Since I had been resting a lot, I had some energy so I got up and moved outside with the help of a wheelchair. Once through the elevator I made my way outside for 5min (sunny and warm/fresh air!) and walked back to elevator and sat back in the wheelchair.

Back up to floor 14…I sat in wheelchair for 30min.. then went for walk for 1 Lap to the nurses station on the south side, around back to my room, and sat in chair for awhile. After talking with friends until 4pm I moved back on to my bed.
6:00pm~6:30pm.. woke up went to the washroom and noticed my IV was leaking… Once the nurse arrived they moved IV to other hand which felt ok but painful since line has been in that location since surgery day. I Noticed large rash on bum so nurses administered full dose of liquid bag of Benadryl. They assured me that wouldn’t knock me out.. but it did…

So lots accomplished today! Soon ill be able to have some liquid meals! Time to rest.

The Epidural went form 9mL/hr day 1, 7mL/hr day 2, 5mL/hr day 3…. will proceed to 3mL/hr tomorrow (May28-14) … I’m 99% sure Thursday epidural will be removed!
Oh! by the way The Sponge on a stick is the best thing ever.

 

I’m Alive!

Today is the first day I feel well enough to dictate to Brandon an update for my blog. I have been on surgical step down for the past three days. I had hoped to be off this ward after post op day 1. However, I have a sweet, huge private room with one nurse per two patients.

The first night after surgery I felt very sick but I don’t remember it that well so that’s a plus. In the morning I had a lot of pain in my right groin so the pain doctor increased my block so I felt no pain for a few hours. Then when the nurse came and washed me in the morning I rolled onto my right side and felt an extreme sharp pain through my shoulder blade where the epidural was. I’m guessing I may have rolled onto the line and jiggled it. The nurse checked it and said it was all in tackt. But the pain control was not there. In retrospect I may have shifted gas in my abdominal as three people checked the line afterwards including the pain doctor who said the line was fine. The line actually was very secure on my back and its unlikely it moved.
The pain became excruciating as the day went on which was unfortunate because a number of people were visiting and had to see me go through it. Fortunately the nurse who was looking after me called the pain doctor who arrived maybe an hour later. It was the worst hour of my life.. Except for maybe doing my board exams 😉
When the pain doctor arrived she shot lidocaine through the IV because I can’t take anything by mouth for at least a week. The lidocaine abolished the pain but it made it feel like a fat man was sitting my chest; I couldn’t breathe. After I received some oxygen and was settled everyone left for the night.
In the middle of the night around 2 am I awoke with excruciating pain again this time through my incision and they had to call the on-call pain doctor who gave orders over the phone to up the morphine doseage. The morphine knocked me out for 2 hours until he arrived at the hospital. When he arrived he gave me another round of morphine because I still had pain. At that time he told me that gas pain couldn’t be solved with morphine but the nurse recommended I get up and walk during the day which I was looking forward to anyways.

Day 2
We didn’t know it at the time but apparently you shouldn’t eat a heavy meal before the surgery. The fish and chips were so not worth it!
Anyway, pain was a lot better. I could feel the gas rolling around. The fellow made orders to sit in the chair and ambulate. I was not doing well with the breathing and coughing because the pain was so bad – even though I knew that if I didn’t move I could develope pneumonia overheard the fellow say I might have atelectasis. I know I could not develop that because I would be teased about it at work for years, haha.
During the day I was minimal assist plus one for rolling and supervision to stand. I could boost independantly. I was able to walk with the high platform, two laps around the ward (Maybe 200 ft). After I walked I sat in the chair for an hour with hopes to clear the gas. Nothing happened but it felt really good to walk although it wiped me out afterwards for a few hours.
After that I had few visitor, my aunts and cousins. Which was good because I was bored and they got to see me get up for the first time. Later in the day I walked three laps around the ward. Needing no assistance to stand or roll. But I had supervision to carry the pole. Hurray! The nurse was happy I was a physio because I knew I had to get up and move.
That night I prayed for a good night but the arterial line in my left arm was painful. After receiving a blood thinner in the middle of the night my hand became very painful because I must have shifted the line slightly to touch a nerves or bone when I was walking . When the nurse came in around 10:30 to give me the blood thinner I mentioned my hand but we decided to keep the line in so I didn’t have to get poked again in the morning.
The nurse later checked my urine and I told her my hand was so painful I was getting dizzy. So she looked at it and saw it was swollen. She and another nurse said it was needing to come out. But because I had just received blood thinner they said I had to wait to get it out because it would bleed a lot. About an hour later they took out the line and the pain went away. Eventually I slept.

Time to rest now but I’ll dictate more later. Talking wipes me out a bit.

As of yesterday..

Rachel was doing very well. She sat up on the side of her bed and even stood for a while. Unfortunately her epidural is a bit high so she was having a lot of pain for a bit. After a tense hour or so the pain doctor came by and was able to help her out. I am doing a bit of work today and won’t see her till this afternoon. More updates then.

Doing well.

When we left, Rachel was sleeping in the step-down unit. She was awake prior to that and able to talk and joke a little bit. The surgery went well and Rache looked good. She was feeling really nauseous at first but by the time we left she was feeling a bit better. Very long day. Will keep you posted with my mini updates periodically until Rachel is ready to take over again. Now I must sleep.

Just finishing up.

Talked to the surgeon. Everything went well and they are just closing her up now. Nothing unexpected happened and her anatomy looked good. No additional cancer from what they could detect. We will be able to see her briefly in about an hour. I’ll post one more update tonight after I’ve seen her.

She’s in..

Rachel is now in surgery. The doctor estimates it will be around 6 hours. I should hopefully have an update for everyone around 4pm. Until then I am going to escape into a world of video games here in the waiting room. Standby.