Friday, 19 December 2008

With this band I thee wed.....

I was a hospital virgin till last Wednesday, so it’s been a steep learning curve. Now I feel as if I’d been punched in the stomach. All in a good cause however…
It was a bizarre beginning, because no sooner had I said goodbye to John and settled in my room at 7.30 a.m., still half asleep from the 5 a.m. rise, than a scruffy individual appeared in Dr Scholl flip-flops, jeans, clipboard and a token stethoscope round his neck, to tell me he was the ‘night doctor’ and needed to ask me a few questions and examine me. I couldn’t understand why I kept having to ask him to repeat his questions till I gathered he was Hungarian. I was too groggy to do more than guess at what he said after that, but the word “obesity” featured prominently in his comments, so I thought what the heck, he’s got the right patient at any rate. When he came to examine me he was clearly surprised and a bit taken aback that I was already wearing the op gown, and examining my stomach turned out to be a bit more than he bargained for. To his embarrassed comments I replied that he could examine what he liked, I really couldn’t care less (and thinking to myself ‘for heaven’s sake, I could be your mother’). Doubtless he was impressed by the dozens of insulin puncture marks.
At 9.30 I was escorted to the operating theatre on foot in my dressing down by a nurse, and the staff there was so professional and relaxed that I was hardly aware of what was going on. What felt like five minutes later I heard people talking down a long tunnel, and finally felt able to answer the question as to whether I wanted a bit more morphine (yes please).
Once I was wheeled back to my room at 11.30 or so, I kept expecting them to drag me out of bed to walk around, or put horrible stockings on my legs against blood clots, but they didn’t, just told to wiggle my toes. I dozed all day, unable to wake up sufficiently to even watch telly. My blood glucose levels kept rising, but they let me control it myself, as I had brought my own meter and insulin. I felt no more than a general discomfort in my stomach and didn’t need pain killers – the bit I hated was the after-effect of the anaesthetic (or the morphine?) I was giddy and nauseous every time I was helped to the loo, and got a backache from being in the same position. They had struggled to find veins to put the canulas in my hand and arm, and that was sore. But there were kind, friendly nurses on hand the whole time, and thank goodness I didn’t faint. Thanks to one of Melanie’s early photographs I knew what to expect when I examined my tummy, otherwise the number of wounds would have alarmed me. The surgeon breezed in (isn’t it funny how doctors “breeze” everywhere? Must be part of their training), told me it had gone well, but my liver is still enlarged, and somewhat lumpy (ugh), he thinks that losing plenty of weight should sort that out (I’m guessing this is also diabetes damage). He swept out again twenty seconds later with coat-tails flapping.
The nurses kept urging me to drink water, and it was an effort. Coughing was a bit painful, hiccupping far worse. But all in all, I found it much easier than I had expected, and at 3 the following morning I finally woke up and tried to watch Cagney & Lacey at very low volume (“What shall we do with this punk, Christine?” “Book him, Mary Beth”)
Now I’m home, moving around in slow motion. I’ve disobeyed them in one thing: I tried sleeping flat (well, two pillows), and apart from moaning and groaning every time I turned over, particularly on the left, so presumably that’s where the port is, I slept more or less OK, with the help of a pillow placed parallel to my body, so I could rest my arm on it and not put pressure on my tum. I saw stars when Rusty, one of my cats, jumped all over me this morning, and couldn’t hold him for the usual cuddle for very long, to his great indignation, but I’m not complaining. What does make me cross is that the scales are UP, for crying out loud. How bloody dare they.
I’ve started to own up to people who’ve phoned wondering how I am after my “gynae op” (well, how else do you discourage people from asking questions…) and the reactions have been very positive. They keep calling me “brave” (have you all been called that?) – as I see it courage doesn’t enter into this. I feel I was heading at full speed towards a brick wall, and I chose to climb over it rather than fall in a heap at the bottom. Survival instinct.


Tracey said...

Hi Lonicera, welcome to the "lighter" side of life. My motivation for the surgery was diabetes...I lost both my parents at the age of 58 [they were 58, not me] and both my siblings have insulin dependant diabetes. I am sure that you will notice a marked improvement in that department even before you notice your weight loss.

My sleeping tip is to lay on your side that does not have your port in it. Put a really firm pillow [or 2] behind your back. REally wedge it in. Then lean back on that, so you are nearly lying on your back, but feel like you are on your side. Then, the arm that is on top of your body, rest it behind you on the pillow that is supporting your back.

I also invested in a body length pillow, this has become my best

Keep on sipping, you will be onto mushies before you know it!

Good luck,

Nola said...

I considered myself desperate rather than brave!!...but go ahead...let them say that:) Those scales wont stay up for long...the first couple of weeks should see them sliding downwards at a great rate of knots! Have a look at my "Fluids" might get some ideas. I definitely recommend soluable vitamins for a month at least....they really do give you a bit of a boost...and they make your pee look pretty:) I felt bloated and huge for at least a week. I think all the gas they pump you up with during the operation does that! Anyhow, remember you have plenty of support here and I wish you a speedy recovery....this is soooo won't regret it!!

Lonicera said...

How sad for you Tracey - I hope I'm doing this in time to give me a decent life span. I do guard my glucose levels fairly carefully, but I think the organs still get damaged. I'll try what you say about wedging the pillow behind my back, instead of at my stomach - I turn over frequently in the night not to get backache, so I'll see how I get on. I'm still on Optifast and soup (hopefully mash today) and heartily sick of them! Many thanks for the advice.

You're right, Nola, it's desperation that drives one to do this. I'll be getting some multivitamins this morning. Can't wait to see what pretty pee looks like! I've looked at your fluids page, and I think I'll get some Yakhult as well. And I'd better start drinking the prune juice too... Thanks so much for your comments.

Zena said...

Hi Caroline,

There it's all over now, all you have to do is recover and take it easy. Yes we do it out of desperation but we are brave too, we could just keep plodding on but we didn't we took matters in hand and decided to choose life!

Welcome to the bandits club LOL.


Lonicera said...

Thanks Zena - feeling much less sore today, though I'm fed up with hiccupping, which hurts! (about every half hour.


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