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.
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.