Sunday, March 27, 2011

Live from the Cleveland Clinic

Today is the first day I really feel well enough to write, so I apologize for the delay. I've been hitting up Facebook a little bit here and there and texting family members a good bit, but dragging out the laptop and having coherent thoughts was just too much work up until now. Let me try to catch things up...this will probably end up being silly long!

Tuesday was surgery day. I had to check in at 5:30 a.m. We walked over from our hotel across the street. There was this weird process where you stand in a couple of lines, but I finally made it into the pre-op area. I just want to take a moment to point out that every nurse I came into contact with from this point on was fantastic (includig those on the recovery floor where I am now). Anyway, they had me change into a gown and then it was the typical stuff of getting an IV and answering a zillion questions. My husband got to sit with me for a little while and then it was time to go back to the OR. At that point I met a few more folks, including anesthesia, and I was amazed at how they all went out of their way to make me feel at ease. It was really helpful. The last thing I remember was taking some deep breaths through a mask and then I was out. I woke up in the recovery area and was surprised that I didn't feel like I'd been hit by a truck as I expected. I can't remember much else about that day, except I had a really good aide who helped us a lot and my husband was very focused on making sure I did the things I was supposed to do like the breathing machine to keep your lungs healthy. I tried to get up and walk that evening, but I had to receive a dose of Ativan (panic attack!) and it made me too dizzy so we settled for a few minutes of sitting on the side of the bed instead.

The next day I was able to get up and slowly shuffle my way through the halls. It's funny because they make everyone walk so at any given time there are people strolling the halls with their IV poles. It's like some kind of weird parade. I had a lot of trouble with my catheter draining like it should so I was constantly feeling like I had to pee and having to ask them to check it. Luckily that came out Thursday morning and I didn't have to worry about it anymore.

The particular timeline for some stuff gets a little fuzzy for me. I guess that's what pain meds will do to you. I started out on just ice chips, then got bumped up to sips of clear liquid, then unlimited clear liquids. Then they released me onto a GI soft diet. This was Friday. I got to order actual food...hooray! Well, I went a bit overboard, ate more than I should have, and ended up with a partial blockage and tons of really painful gas that had nowhere to go. Talk about miserable. I spent Friday night on IV pain and naseau meds, broken out in a sweat, and just feeling like I would die. The nurse and aide I had were so good to me. They kept putting cold cloths on my face and trying to comfort me. They emptied my ostomy all throughout the night so I only had to get up if I needed to go pee. I finally got through to morning and was slightly better, but the setback was enough that my IV had to be turned back up and I was going to be delayed in going home.

I spent Saturday resting a lot and sipping liquids. I ended up not even needing pain meds for most of the day on Saturday. I just wasn't having any problems. I did take some for bed time to help me sleep. By this morning, I really felt like I'd turned a corner. When the doctor on call came for rounds, he said we're looking at another 24-48 hours so they can slowly cut back my IV again and see if I can hold steady without it. There is some concern because my ostomy output is pretty high, but he said that can be typical for right after surgery especially since I was blocked and all of that got backed up. So we will monitor it and I keep drinking the hydration drinks so I don't get dehydrated. I'm going to slowly introduce some more solid stuff over the rest of the day and hopefully that will slow things down a little, too. I hope so...I am ready to get out of here!


  1. Thank you for the update! I've been checking everyday to see if you'd write! :) So glad you're recovering nicely, despite the little hiccup, but hopefully you will be going home soon.

    I was in the hospital all last week and I was thinking about what if I had to have surgery, and reading more of your blog really helped.

    I wish you all the best!

  2. I smiled when I read about your hubby making sure you did your breathing machine. That is exactly how mine was and he would also make sure I did all my scheduled walks. It is so great to have a supportive spouse to help one get through all this.

    Glad that you are feeling better. You have a great positive attitude, and I am sure you will roll through all the ups and downs of the initial weeks after surgery well.