Old news in more detail (but not too much!)

So as you can tell from my first post from the hospital bed, I was struggling to use the laptop from my bed, largely because (a) I couldn’t get out of bed to get to the laptop, and (b) my lap was a bit sore, making sitting up to use the laptop harder than expected.

However, progress from then has been both faster and slower than expected.

So, Saturday I was allowed to spend the day mostly in bed, apart from about an hour when I was moved (with a huge amount of assistance) to my chair, giving the nurses a chance to help me get washed. My wife brought the Aspire in with her when she visited, but I really didn’t see any way that I was going to be able to use it.

The rest of Saturday passed fairly quickly, with a lot of dozing in bed, with the nurses fine-tuning the epidural which is providing all my pain-relief. I have to say that that is a fabulous invention, as it allows sensation, but no pain. So I can feel someone touching the wound site (for example) but it doesn’t hurt for them to do so – provided they have the medication spot on. Unfortunately I have a much larger wound than expected (from my sternum right down to where I assume the top of my pelvic girdle sits) which makes controlling the epidural a little more awkward, especially as I move from upright to horizontal.

I also had signs of my stoma starting to “wake up”, which meant that I was encouraged to take a little food and drink. In light of the advice I’d been previously given, I went for some chicken soup, and some rice pudding. In the end I managed the chicken soup, and a cup of sweet tea. And herein started a problem.

I found it interesting that I didn’t really sleep much on Saturday night, but tended to catnap for short periods. In some ways this was no bad thing since I was on hourly observations for blood pressure, oxygen level and fluid input and output, and it wouldn’t have been really possible to do that without waking me up anyway, but I was surprised at my lack of tiredness nonetheless.

Saturday night was also memorable for one of the fellow patients who was apparently a heavy alcohol user; despite his condition being similar to mine, he was determined to get up and go in search of a drink. It really does leave me wondering (a) what on earth he was thinking, and (b) how these nurses cope – they do a superb job, helping people from all walks of life, and often seem to get little thanks, or a lot of verbal abuse for their trouble. Very sad.

However, as the night went on it became increasingly clear that I was becoming very bloated, and the initial signs of life from my stoma had vanished. Eventually something had to be done because the feelings of discomfort and nausea were becoming overwhelming. The result was a naso-gastric tube, which I can definitively tell you is not pleasant to have fitted. However, the resulting relief from the pressure was frankly amazing. I do now have so many tubes in and out of me that I bear more than a passing resemblance to one of Star Treks “Borg”.

And so Sunday my first order of the day was to call my wife and warn her that it was probably not wise for her to being the kids in to see my until I have a few of the tubes removed. Despite really wanting to see them myself, I didn’t feel my younger pair in particular would cope terribly well.

So instead, I get out of bed at a reasonable time (about 11am) and stayed up for about 8 hours. My wife visited, and I felt strong enough to get the little Aspire out, and write my first “blog from the bed”, though the effort of sitting upright enough to use it meant that that short post was as much as I could physically manage. The major achievement for me however, was to be taken for my first walk. This is a actually less a walk and more of an extended shambling shuffle, involving me, my nurse, and various machines (that go “ping”!) and drains and collection bags. The target for the first walk is 20m, and I amazed myself by doing a circuit of the ward (about 60m) instead. It was a bit of a push towards the end, certainly, but not actually too hard, and it got easier once I was into my shuffle, and my joints loosened up a little.

Being Mothering Sunday here in the UK I also managed to give my mum a call and arranged for my parents to come and visit me on Monday, before getting back off to bed again for another night of catnapping.

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One thought on “Old news in more detail (but not too much!)

  1. Hi Richard

    Glad to here that the surgery went OK. Just take each day as it comes and don’t push yourself to much – you need rest too! keep blogging – because it is great to hear how you are getting on. Take care Tracey R.

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