Sunday, August 7, 2011

Days 2 and 3...

I am literally sitting at my computer right now, trying to recall days two and three of my post op.  Its crazy because it all kind of just blurs together.  I remember waking up early in the morning on the second day, excited to go home, not excited about the "swallow" test that I've been hearing awful things about.  I am also still very very tired.
I doze off and on for a lot of the morning until they ask me if I can walk down to the xray room...ummm..that's a negative, I don't think I could stand there the whole time.  I'm really glad I didn't either, there were two other people that had also had surgery, both were also in their wheelchairs.  I was still dozing off in my wheelchair, and I was the last one to go in for my swallow test.  The first girl came out.  She was miserable, she told me how awful the stuff tasted that you have swallow.  She honestly seems happy, and excited, and almost bubbly to me.  I was just tired, and wanted to crawl back into my hospital bed and go back to sleep.  I just wanted to get this test over with, and move on with my life.  She seemed way too happy to have just had surgery on her tummy, lol.  The next girl went in.  She was literally miserable looking.  I was seeing two ends of the spectrum here.  I wondered where I fell.  Poor thing, looked like she was in horrendous pain, she was pale, didn't say a word, and seemed like she was in a complete daze.
Finally, the second girl was wheeled out and I thought it was my turn.  Little did I know, that I would have to wait.  Thank goodness, for this wheelchair.  Not sure I could have stood for this long, otherwise.  After waiting for what seemed like forever, but was probably only 10 minutes.  I went into this dark room, it had xray machines, buzzing noises, and people going in and out.  It was a little overwhelming to say the least.  Someone came by to tell me they were waiting on another person.  I didn't really care, I just really wanted to get this stuff over with.  So I waited some more.  I would guesstimate another 5-10 minutes.  Finally, this shorter man comes into the room, tells me that I have to drink something called Barium Sulfate, and stand at their stand up xray machine.  They give me this cup of what looks like milk, and by this time I am so thirsty from not drinking anything, I want to drink it all, but am very apprehensive...I've heard the stories.  The cup they gave me had a straw.  In all of the literature, after having any type of surgery on your stomach, it tells you NOT to drink out of a straw, so in my drugged state, I was extremely worried about this.  I half mumbled that I cannot drink out of a straw, and that these people should know this.  The three people that were in the room, assured me that it was okay for this ONE time.  Okay, I think, you are the dr.'s.  So, I take a huge gulp of air...and this foreign material, and immediately, the first sensation is pain.  I can feel the air in my stomach, and it doesn't feel good at all.  Apparently, everything looks good on my xray though, because they don't say anything.  The taste is pretty awful.  Probably not the worst thing I've ever had, but you'd think that they would find a way to make something like this taste just a little bit better, right?!  In my foggy mind, I keep telling myself that its better than nothing, I just want some water, already!  It also crossed my mind, that its not nearly as bad as that drink they made me drink when I was pregnant with the girls and getting tested for gestational diabetes.  That was pretty awful too, although tasted much more appetizing than this.  There really is nothing I can use to describe it, as I've blocked the actual taste out of my mind, but it isn't pleasant.
I sat there, while they were using their xray machine to look all throughout my tummy.  I could see the screen which was kind of neat.  I saw my spine, and black patches that I assumed, and assumed correctly were just air bubbles from the surgery.  I could really not see anything more than that though.  I didn't understand exactly what they were looking for, or what they could see.  I probably would have asked questions, had I not been in the state that I was in.  Finally, they let me sit back in my wheel chair.  I requested some water to rinse my mouth out.  The lady made sure I just rinsed and didn't swallow, but that was all I wanted.  To get that taste out of my mouth, and finally have a little water coating my parched tongue.
Afterwards, I was wheeled back out to the waiting area, which in all actuality was just a hallway.  By this point, I was so drained from everything going on, that I could hardly focus on anything.  The time went quickly, someone came to get me, and took me back up to my room.  I crawled into bed, and slept.
The next time I woke up, I saw my surgeon coming into the room.  He's decked out in his blue scrubs, and asking me how I'm feeling.  He proceeds to tell me that my swallow test looked great, I'm healing very well, my surgery went off without a hitch, and did I have any questions.  Of course, I asked about the drain sticking out of me, and whether it was supposed to hurt so much.  He wrote it off, said that I would get used to it.  So I just figured I was being a baby, and yes, I would get used to it.  Then lunch came, and I was able to finally get some water.  The water was not filtered, so I could taste what seems like dirt particles, I really didn't care though, I was finally getting some water.  I sipped and sipped, then was told by my nurse that I needed to try to eat something.  They had brought me some jello, grits, cranberry juice, and vegetable broth.  I tried the grits.  It didn't work for me.  I could taste the butter and sugar that they had put into them.  My teensy bite, was maybe 1/4 tsp.  I put the lid back on, and went on to the next thing.  I tried the vegetable broth.  Now here was something I could actually drink/eat.  It felt great going down, the warmth, and the taste was good too.  I didn't know it at the time, but I wasn't supposed to actually be eating anything.  They had brought me this lunch, and I was supposed to keep drinking my water instead.  OOPS.  I drank maybe a 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth, then continued with my water.  I was completely sated.  My nurse came in, realized that I had eaten, and wasn't happy.  She wanted to finish what they called the "water challenge."  The gist of the water challenge is that you need to drink 3 oz of water in a 20 minute time period.  You are supposed to do this for 2 hours straight...then you can eat.  I believe I was told this, but in my fogged up mind, I didn't know.  I thought I was done with this challenge when they brought me food items.  I didn't think they would bring me anything unless I was finished.  Either way, it wasn't a huge deal.  I took a break from my "eating," and continued with the water challenge.  Finished that, and proceeded to try the rest of the items on my tray.  The vegetable broth, by this time, had gotten cold, so I didn't want that anymore.  I moved onto the jello, took a small bite, and it just seemed too sweet to me.  It was still sugar free, but it didn't sit well.  I was feeling a little shaky though.  So I thought, well maybe I just need some sugar.  I opened the cranberry juice, took a very small sip, and immediately felt ill.  I was one hour from discharge.  I didn't want to hinder my situation and not be able to go home.  My friend was on her way to come pick me up, and then BAM...nausea, acompanied with dry heaving, and then throwing up what little I had in my stomach at the time.  I immediately pressed the nurse button, somehow managed to say I'm sick in between the heeves.  My nurse comes in, and quickly administers some anti nauseating meds to me.  It was extremely painful to throw up.  It felt like someone was ripping my stomach, it burned, oh and I peed on myself.  Lovely, huh?
I cleaned myself off, felt a bit better, and also got some more pain meds for the pain that had occurred, although I wasn't feeling much pain anymore, I thought it was better to have more pain meds, just in case something like that happened again.  All of the medications, knocked me out for another half hour or so.  My friend arrived to come get me.  My nurse came back in with discharge paperwork, and I thought I was in the clear.  Unfortunately, someone tattled.  My surgeon decided that it would be best to keep me in the hospital overnight for observation, so they cancelled my discharge paperwork.  I was already dressed, and ready to go.  I had the original discharge paperwork, we were about to walk out of the door, when the dr. came in to tell me my news.
I accepted my fate, asked my friend to watch my girls one more night, and apologized profusely.  I was very disappointed, but also a little relieved, I wanted to be safe, and not sorry, what if I had literally ripped open my stomach.  Its better to be in the hospital in case complications arose than be in my own home, where I have nobody to take care of me, or to take me to the hospital.  So I put my gown back on, asked the nurse if they wanted to put the IV back in me, and slipped into my dreamland state again.  This time, since I wasn't IV'ed anymore, I was about to try the pain meds orally for the first time.  What a joy....
Soon, after my friend left, another nurse came into the room, and told me I needed to take my pain medications.  He had two little packets that looked more like butter packets than medication, and opened one, and put it into a medicine cup.  He opened the other and poured about half into the other medicine cup.  He told me to drink it down, kind of like a shot.  Ohhhhhhh...I can do this, I thought.  Shots are easy, HA!
Lortab isn't fun to take as a shot.  You don't want to gather around a table and take shots of this one.  Its a mixture of hydrocodone and acetaminaphen.  Its a strong medication, so it does help, it just doesn't taste great when taken orally.  I gagged, and immediate feared that I was going to get sick again, so I swallowed it down more, and pressed on.  Immediately, I felt this burning sensation seemingly coating my tiny little stomach, and heat went into my extremities.  I asked about this, the nurse told me that it was normal.  Phew!  Don't want anymore things going wrong.  It knocked me out, and the rest of the night I slept, with the occasional person coming into my room, to either put a cuff around my arm, or give me another bout of meds.  Overall, I wasn't too phased.  Although, I did get a neighbor that day.  From what I gathered, she was having either gallstones or kidney stones, and had to have emergency surgery.  Other than the enormous amount of people checking on her, and me, my sleep was fairly uninterrupted.  I awoke the next morning to the nurse asking me how I was feeling and if I could please go to the restroom because they didn't like it when patients went 8 hours without peeing...umm...hello...I was SLEEPING!
I peed for them.  They gave me a standing ovation, and I crawled back in bed, waiting to see what today had in store for me.  My surgeon came up to visit with me, assured me that I would finally be released this morning if I wanted to, and he would start working on that right now.  It was 8 am.  I texted my friend, and let her know that I could finally go home.  She was sleeping though, and I really didn't want to wake her up, until I knew when exactly I was going home.  About a half hour later, the nurse comes in with my discharge paperwork, and tells me that my friend can pick up my meds downstairs with my ID.  I nodded off, waiting for a text from my friend.  Finally, around 9:30, the nurse comes in to give me another Heparin shot.  At this point, I called my friend, I really didn't want to wake her up, but I also didn't want anymore medications or anything happening.  Luckily she answered and was on her way.  I got myself dressed, realized that I didn't have tshirt, so called my friend to request a tshirt from my overnight bag, that I had given her the day before when I thought I was going home, and a hair band.
My friend arrived with our kids, and we all waited while she went down to the pharmacy to pick up my new medications.  The surgeon said that if I really didn't like the Lortab, he could give me tylenol 3, and it would taste better.  I was all for the tasting better part.  After waiting for what seemed forever, we finally got the medications, and let me tell you, the pharmacy in that hospital should work on their efficiency of that process.
The nurse asked me, if I needed to be wheel chaired out.  I said she decided to bring me a wheelchair.  My friend went to get my car, and drove it around.  I got into my lovely clean van, and we drove back to my house.  I entered, and basically melted into my recliner.  Much more comfortable than the hospital bed, and my van.  My friend and I chatted while we waited for her friend to come get her, and then I requested peace and quiet from my kids and dozed off and on for the rest of the night/day.  Finally, I was home.  Finally, I felt like I was making a huge step towards my healing process.  I could relax, and figure this out.  I wouldn't have to be interrupted by nurses, or techs, I could just be.


  1. poor thing... are you feelin any better now? hope so! hospitals and Dr's are no fun!!!

  2. hey make sure your taking pictures of your progress :))) thinking of you!

  3. I love your story! I just emailed you... I came home from the hospital on Sunday. My first week with the liquid diet. UGH. I melted into my lovely bed as soon as I walked in. Seems we had alot of the same experiences, but wow.. how did you get them to give you ALL of those things to eat at once? I'm only allowed ONE 2 oz portion of broth, juice, or jello. :( Hope you are doing well!! Can't wait to hear your progress.


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