December 14, 2014

Recovery Recap and Some Lessons Learned

I know, there have been far too many posts about the surgery.  Sorry if they've gotten boring.  Feel free ignore and catch up next time.

So first of all, just a little recap of the recovery process so far:

Recovery Recap

By far, the absolutely worse part of recovery was the ride home from the hospital.  It started out fine, but around halfway through, some combination of a bumpy road, the pain meds wearing off, and my mom being in a hurry to get me home, combined into... ouch.  I was in excruciating pain, every start, stop, and bump just hurt so much.  I was in tears, pillow in one hand, rosary squeezed in the other for like the last 15 minutes of the trip.  When we finally got back to my parents' house (I stayed there because I could be on the bottom floor), the scene was kind of comical.  I was greeted by my dad and sister at the car. I don’t think they were expecting me to be in such bad shape.   I was hunched over in pain, and shuffled my way to my room, followed by an entourage of four people who were kind of helpless to do anything.   I laid down for a bit and finally started to feel better.  The Hubs was off to the drugstore to pick up my pain meds.  Once I got those I was fine J.

I relaxed the rest of the day, was fed jello and pain killers lol.  I guess I had too much liquid, I was up almost every hour that night having to go to the bathroom.  I felt sooo much better the next day though.  The Hubs had to keep me from getting up by myself and walking around too much.  Actually, that's pretty much been how the recovery has gone, I want to wander around, the Hubs tries (and mostly fails) to keep me from doing too much, I get tired and sore and admit to the Hubs that he was right, and pop some pain killers.  It was easier for him to keep me from doing things when I hadn't figured out how to get up without using my abs (because ouch) but now I've figure out workarounds, and the diminishing soreness helps.  I've been working on tapering off the pain meds, and hoping to be done with the narcotics today or tomorrow.  I go long stretches without any, but the pain creeps back up again.

Staying at my parents' house turned out to be perfect for recovery.  It has wide, straight hallways, making it easy for a recovering person to shuffle around.  There's lots of furniture around, meaning sufficient things to hold onto or sit on if needed.  And my shower had a handle and a seat, perfect for if I got to tired. We stayed in my old room, which was kinda fun, thought it meant more of the 50s lifestyle. My old room has two built in twin beds so we couldn't even push them together.  I didn't mind though, it meant I had my own space, tossing and turning was more difficult, and my bed was comfy and low, so it was easy to get in and out of.  The one negative was that my parents have started to use it for storage.  Stored right at the foot of my bed was my nephew's high chair.  I couldn’t really handle that, and eventually had my sister move it to the closet.

So anyways, yesterday I was feeling good enough for the car ride home, so after staying two days longer than we had planned, we headed home.  Its nice to be back on my couch (yes I love my couch) and have internet back.  Its also nice to be able to cuddle my dogs again :).  While we were at my parents, they were stuck outside.  They are so not outside dogs, the first thing they did back home was cuddle up on top of pillows, lol, rough life that they have.

Anyways that's my recovery so far.  On to the little bit of knowledge I've gained.  

Things I've Learned

I'd call these these tips, but they aren't really handy, just some pieces of advice from my experiences. If you need laparoscopy tips head over here.  I know I've mentioned it a few times, but it really is great. So, here are things I wanted to pass along:

1. Recovery might not go as expected

I really thought that the recovery would be a lot of sleeping and movie watching and that's about it.  Things have been a little bit different than that.  The pain meds had the opposite effect on me from what I expected.  Instead of making me sleepy, they make me wide awake.  I've barely been able to get 7/8 hours of sleep a night, with lots of waking up in the middle of it, and I've gotten in only one or two naps.  I also had some other weird side effects that I hadn't expected.  For example, the pain meds also made me itchy and mentally checked out.  A few of the other side effect are mentioned below.

And as for the movies thing, no internet means no netflix or google play, means no movies. I tried to watch tv, but couldn't really find anything I liked.  It turned out to be a good thing, instead of settling in on the couch, it meant I did more walking around and talking to family.  Point is, be prepared for unexpected things, whether negative or positive, to happen.

2.  You might be emotional

After the HSG I had earlier this year I was emotional for a couple days, so I knew I should expect that again, I think its a side effect of the anesthesia, pain, pain meds or some combination thereof.  Somehow, it still surprised me.  Its been a lot stronger and lasted a lot longer than before.  I've been very sensitive, irritable, and overall just really emotional.  The weird thing is that I feel completely justified and normal, but have to remind myself that I'm not.  I'm actually glad it took time before I got the internet back, I had a lot of feelings about how things went at the hospital that I needed time to process before posting about it.

3. Constipation (and getting over it) is no joke

Okay, this one is a little TMI, but so is most everything else on the blog I guess.  Anyways, everything I read warned me that there might be constipation after surgery.  My doctor even warned me right before surgery, and gave me a prescription for miralax.  Even so, my abdominal area hurt so badly after surgery I couldn't imagine having a bowel movement, and I usually respond pretty quickly to laxatives, so I waited until the next day to take the miralax.  Bad move.  I was super constipated until 3 days after the surgery.  I was super bloated and uncomfortable, and worried about the whole thing. I even doubled up on laxatives, which finally worked.  The... unconstipation was  also not fun.  The pain and spotting had been starting to get better, but with the unconstipation got worse.  Just a heads up for anyone who deals with that.

4. I'm firmly team low-rise

Another tip I'd run across a lot was to get either high or low rise underwear to avoid irritating the incisions.  I bought both because I didn't know which I'd like.  After the surgery, I took one look at the high rise underwear and though, oh he** no, lol.  They probably would've landed directly on the incisions and even if they hadn't I think the material would've been too close and irritated them.  So I went with the low rise.  They had plenty of clearance and didn't bother me at all.

5. Its tough to learn your limits

Like I mentioned before, there's been a lot of Hubs telling me no to do things, me doing them anyways, then me getting worn out.  I'm a really bad patient, and I don't like admitting defeat.  I have had to though.  There are things I can't carry... like our bigger dog or a flower vase.  Even my purse right now is bordering on the too heavy side.  I couldn't pour my own milk from the gallon yesterday.  I couldn't even get myself out of bed for a few days.  Point is, as you go along, you have to accept that you can't do some things and ask for help, even if you're stubborn like me.

6. There is a way to upgrade the squishy pillow

Everyone also recommended keeping a squishy pillow on hand.  Seriously great advice, and I've been super attached to my pillow since right after the surgery.  It was actually funny, when I was walking into my parents' house after the surgery, I was clutching my pillow. Everyone kept offering to hold it for me, but I wouldn't let them take it away.  They had no idea why I was so attached to the thing.  It felt like it was my security blanket or something, lol.

However, hanging out in my old room, I discovered and old friend that upped  my squishy pillow game.  I found my pillow pet I got a few years ago, which has turned out to be so perfect.  Its big enough to cover my whole stomach area, folds up if I need it to take up less space, and its happy!  I mean just look at it:

His name is Buzby

The only problem I ran into was that the dogs thought it was a toy for them, very self centered those dogs are.  I covered it with a blanket and they completely forgot about it, other than finding it a comfy place to rest (while perfectly cushioning me from puppy paws).  So, if you happen to have a surgery in your future, or just need a smiling face around, I suggest you get yourself a pillow pet too :).

7. You might not know how to feel about the future

I know I've talked  about this before, but its been heightened lately.  I'm so ambivalent on how to feel about it things now.  The Hubs is hopeful.  When I pointed out a cute toddler in a batman sweater to him (we have a game where we point out cute kids to each other), he smiled and said to me "soon".  My mom is hopeful.  So hopeful in fact that she bought baby hats at the hospital and presented them to me on the car ride home.  I, however, have been more cynical than hopeful, according to the Hubs.

I want to believe the surgery will be successful.  I want to believe that this time next year will be different, that maybe we'll have a use for those hats.  I'd like to think that some day I can show those hospital wrist bands to my kid(s) and tell them the story of everything that led to them. But at the same time, I can't really see that in our future, and I don't want to get my hopes up again. I want to be prepared for the surgery not to be a success.  Its kind of weird though, instead of all the pain I'd been feeling as usual, its been like a lot of confusion. I guess its to be expected.

8. Don't underestimate the power of prayer

I very greedily asked for prayers multiple time on here and other places.  I'm so thankful for all those that prayed for me, and really believe I've felt the power of all those prayers.  I know those prayers helped us get to the hospital on time, helped the doctor to sew my ovaries back together when they didn't want to cooperate, and helped me have a recovery that's been surprisingly easy and uncomplicated (despite all the things I've said above).  I know they've been there helping the people taking care of me put up with me too :).  So thank you again I'll be praying for you too!

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