Saturday, June 21, 2014

surgical aftermath

I've been intending on writing an update for several weeks.  What's been the cause of the delay?  Mainly, I've been exhausted a lot.  Also, since I didn't really have leave to use, I've trying to work in spite of the exhaustion.

To organize my thoughts, I'll break the experience down into time periods

  1. Inpatient - Three days in the hospital, increasingly miserable because it was impossible to get a good night's sleep there.  
  2. At home, with brother in town for several days.  Finally sleeping and figuring out how to get the body working again.
  3. First week trying to work - pretty much impossible to do more than a few hours of work per day.  
  4. Second week - energy level still well below 100%.  Tried to do a small amount of running but just didn't have the energy.
  5. Third week - exercise time aside, energy levels pretty close to 100%.  

So I'm three and a half weeks out, feeling pretty tired for a Saturday.  Did 30 minutes on the elliptical machine last night, which felt fine.  

Back to the hospital.  Being in a hospital sucks.  More than I thought it would.  For starters, the bed just isn't comfortable.  Hospital beds bend and fold to help patients sit up, but they fold in the wrong place.  And when you're coming off abdominal surgery the last thing you want to be doing is a lot of sit-ups adjusting your body.  Also, the food was dreadful.  Being on a liquid-only diet sucks, but it turns out that their solid food is awful, too.  About the only thing they do well is administer pain-killers, but that's counter-balanced by the endless blood tests.

Going home was great.  Finally got some sleep, though the mobile feline heating unit made it a challenge to find a combination of blankets and comforters that would keep me warm without waking up in a sweat.  I gradually figured out the pain  issue - during the surgery the doctor pumped up my intestine with air to make it easier to see what was going on.  The gas was unpleasant.  Also, it felt like my entire abdominal wall clenched during the surgery and wasn't going to relax any time soon.  Things only started picking up when I switched from Percoset to Alleve.  Alleve is the best at relaxing muscles.  

The resected colon seems to be doing fine.  In retrospect, I'm wondering if this surgery was overkill, if it was disproportionate to the risk of whatever was left of the polyp.  (Which might well have been nothing.)  But I'm fine with the decision-making process, even though I suspect it will be viewed as wasteful in the future.

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