First Day After Surgery
Wednesday turned out to be both the best and worst day for me at the hospital. I woke up Wednesday morning after a somewhat less than decent night of "sleep". I struggle to call it sleep because I think my dozing in and out over and over had just as much to do with the pain medicine as it did with the fact that it was night time.
My goal for Wednesday was to ditch as many of my needles, meds and poles as possible. I wanted to be released on Thursday and knew that my chances would be better if I wasn't hooked up to anything. At this point my main issue was that I was not able to read. To clarify, I still possessed the skills to read but was unable to clearly see anything close up. Words in books or on a screen were incredibly blurry. I mentioned this to every nurse and doctor that came to visit me and none of them offered any comfort. Seems like I may have been the first person to ever have this particular complaint following surgery. Otherwise I wasn't feeling too bad. Pain was at about a 3 out of 10 on the pain scale and I was only experiencing mild, intermittent nausea (which was way better than I was expecting).
First to go was the catheter. Don't need to go into too much detail on that one but was happy to be able to pee right away all on my own. Sometimes, I had been told, it take a few hours for the bladder to wake up and remember how to work after being connected to the catheter.
Next to go was the pain med pump. My little buddy had been good to me over the past 24 hours but I knew I needed to say goodbye and switch to oral meds if I had any hope of getting released on Thursday. When disconnecting the pump, the nurse realized that the skin around my IV site was pretty swollen and blotchy. She immediately disconnected all of my tubes and took out the IV. I was slightly worried about that part of my arm but secretly happy to be rid of all of the tubes. Unfortunately I celebrated too early because I was quickly informed that I had to have an IV for my entire stay and that they would need to poke me again somewhere else.
Long story short...it took 5 different "attempts" (stabbing and digging around with the needle) and 3 different nurses to finally get the new IV going. Ouchy.
Ok, some of this sounds bad but really I was feeling great. I got to spend time with my family and friends and even my son was able to come visit me for a little bit. I didn't take any naps and was adjusting well to the oral pain medicine. My only other drug was an anti nausea medication. I was getting up and walking regularly and was getting pretty pumped for my chances to go home the next day.
I was still having a lot of trouble with my vision. A lot. It got to the point where whenever I looked at anything up close it felt like I was looking at it with my eyes crossed. In the early evening, when all but my mother had gone home, the donor coordinator came in to check on me. She asked if I still had the anti-nausea patch behind my ear from before surgery. Turns out that is what was causing the vision issues. The nurses took off the patch and I thought I was in the clear. Within the next 10 minutes I started having quite a bit of trouble breathing. I have always had some breathing issues but this was really scary. Not only was I having trouble taking deep breaths, but each breath felt like I was being stabbed in the chest and stomach. I sounded really wheezy and felt incredibly awful. My mom was trying to get the nurses to help me but they were stumped. I felt like I was drowning and was starting to panic especially since the nurses were just kind of staring at me. I think the gas they pumped into my stomach during surgery must have shifted up into my chest and shoulders or something. I was crying and trying to tell the nurses what was wrong between strangled breaths. Ugh. After what seemed like forever but was probably only 5 or 10 minutes the pain lessened and I switched to slower, more shallow breathing which helped. Then I think they gave me a shot of something to calm me down because I got really sleepy right away. That was by far the worst part of this entire ordeal.
After all of that drama, I had a terrible night of sleep. I was sore and nauseated. 48 hours after surgery I still hadn't really eaten anything other than broth and a few cubes of jello. I was drinking a ton of water and my routine became: painfully get out of bed, painfully walk to the bathroom, painfully get back in bed, sleep, repeat.
I'd say the worst of Wednesday was still only about a 6 out of 10 on the pain scale (not including the breathing issues). I knew ahead of time that the day after surgery was supposed to be the worst day but at the time that didn't make me feel any better. My next post will combine Thursday (not much happened) and Friday (lots of things happened). I know I'm already forgetting several details (I know I took a shower in there somewhere) but I'm happy to be able to write this down to remind my future self what it felt like.
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