Convalescence

I was released from the hospital late in the afternoon on Friday.  Now I am at my sister Sandy’s place convalescing.  And yes, we have taken to calling her Hurricane Sandy.

Friday was rough.  They brought me pureed food for lunch in the hospital on Friday.  Up until then, I had been having liquids only.  Chicken broth, jello, and juice.  I have to say, I think they overdid it with the sweet stuff in the hospital.  Between the juice and the jello and the constant deliveries of bottled crystal light, I became  nauseous just looking at anything sweet.  The food services people refused to remove the things I did not eat because I may want them later.  I finally had to make my mom or sister throw them away because I could not even stand the sight of anything sweet.

I was never much of a sweet drinker.  I gave up drinking soda in 1992.  If I had iced tea or even hot tea, I did not put sugar in it.  The only sweet thing that I really liked was the occasional glass of cranberry juice.  I mostly just drank water.  Or coffee.

This post is going to get kind of gross from here, so be forewarned.

The goal of bringing me something other than liquid was to try to make me have a bowel movement, or at least have gas.  Then they could release me.  Instead, I became bloated, had a lot of stomach pain, took a long time to digest the food.  They finally had to give me an enema to help me along.  To say that was unpleasant would be a horrible understatement.

Eventually, it worked, but I was still kind of in pain and uncomfortable.  They sent me home with prescriptions and specific orders and instructions to call if I had any problems.

Getting the prescriptions filled was a huge problem.  The pharmacy kept telling us the doctor wrote the prescription wrong and because it was for a narcotic, they could not take a called in adjustment from the surgeon that we would have to go back and get a new handwritten prescription.  Finally, they agreed to a call in for a non-narcotic pain-killer.  Then, they gave me time-released capsules for gas and bloating.  I could not take capsules and there was no way to crush them.  Thankfully, I was able to crush the pain pills.

I could not eat anything else on Friday.  My sister did make me take my pain pills with a bit of applesauce.  Since I could not lay down on the bed without discomfort, I slept in the recliner in the living room and my sister slept on the couch.  I woke up in the middle of the night horribly nauseated.  I sat there and tried to struggle through it hoping it would pass.  It did not.   Until this point, I had been trying to be quiet so as not to wake my sister.  She was very stressed out and did not know how to properly care for me and kept wanting to take me back to the hospital.  I cannot say I blame her.

When it became clear, at 3:00am I might add,  that I might vomit, I said one word, “Um,”

My sister shot straight up to a full standing position and was like, “What?  Are you OK? Do we need to go to the hospital?”

I just told her that I thought I might throw up and she ran and got me something to throw up into.  I didn’t actually vomit, but I did heave a few times.  She questioned me about the stomach medication and I explained the capsule situation to her.  We called the doctor’s emergency number and got him out of bed.  If we had to be up at 3:00am, we certainly had no problem waking him up at 3:00am.

He told me to open the capsule and take the medication inside with a little bit of water.  He told me to call him back if I continued to have problems or go to the emergency room.  He was a little bit concerned about the heaving and told me to keep an eye on my wound to see if I had any seepage.  I did not.

Once I took the stomach medication, I felt much better.  My sister also gave me more pain medication and after that, we both slept for a long, long time.

Saturday was much better.  I reverted back to a mostly liquid diet.  I did have lentils ground up with chicken broth last night.  That was pretty good.  Lentils have protein and are vegetables, so they fulfilled all food groups.  I also had some applesauce with my pain pills mixed in.

Today is better.  I had an egg and applesauce for breakfast.  I’ve also had my protein drink and my vitamins.  I have been walking every day.  Not a lot, but I’m trying to increase the distance each time.  I get a little bit better each day.  I’m slowly trying to increase my calorie intake to match the diet that I should be following.

This has not been easy.  I’m not used to relying on other people to do basic daily activities for me such as standing up from a seated position or fixing my own meals.  Each day, I try to do a little bit more on my own.  I’m sure my sister is relieved when she sees me standing up own my own or doing anything without her help.  She’s been a trooper and I do not know what I would have done without her.  I feel bad about relying on her so much and I worry about her stress level.  I’m sure that over the next couple of weeks, things will get easier for me and I won’t have to rely on her quite as much.  Until then, I’m glad she’s been so good to me.

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5 responses to “Convalescence

  1. Wishing you a fast recovery!

  2. Hope you feel better!

  3. I am surprised that they actually have you eating foods so quickly. I am a month post op of having my gastric bypass and for the first 4 days after the hospital I was on a clear liquid diet, then went to a full liquid diet for 10 days, and now I am in the soft foods phase of it (eggs, applesauce, cottage cheese) I am just now starting to incorporate new foods into my diet to see how I tolerate them. Go slowly with your eating and give your new stomach time to heal. I wish you a speedy recovery.

  4. I feel for you… after my gallbladder was removed I had this crazy gas issue, where it was impossible for me to even move without being uncomfortable. I couldn’t sleep… and the nurses I called just kept saying, “it’ll pass.” So sorry you had to go through that one. 😦

    Glad you are starting to feel better.

  5. I was just thinking about you the other day, wondering if you’d had your surgery yet….! Glad to see ya. (my ipod got screwy & wouldn’t show updates or my reader! grrr) 🙂 btw…go, lentils!!! yum.

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