Thursday, 6 August 2015

Adventures of Surgery Recovery - Getting out of Bed

The first afternoon after surgery, a very nice physiotherapist came to help me get out of bed.

It was really hard. I had to have an orderly helping too, as well as Dave and the physio.

The first challenge was to get me sitting upright with my feet over the edge of the bed. I was sore and scared. It's amazing how limiting fear of moving can be.

That was the most difficult bit. Once that was done, I discovered how helpful my (then) super strong legs were. I was able to rely heavily on the strength of legs and use my core, where my wounds were, less.

I stood. I shuffled over to a chair about 2 steps away. I sat there for a little while.

Then I spewed. It was a really intense shade of green. I've never seen anything like it before! At that point I decided it was time to get back into bed.
This picture of me looking awful pits my vanity against my love of documenting stuff. I must have already been feeling sick as I have a sick bag on my lap ready.

It turned out that getting back into bed was just as hard as getting up. I needed help from the hospital staff and my strong legs but once I was in it was a relief, and I had some food later. The first food since I'd started fasting before surgery, my last meal being dinner on the 3rd.
Mushroom soup

Some Adventures of Surgery Recovery - The Day After Surgery

Dave had worked a night shift overnight, so I was alone in the morning, visiting hours started at 11 am.

Here's an interesting little thing about catheters. They are supposed to drain automatically. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, they don't drain. If this happens, the nurses have to periodically come and help it drain, simply by moving the tube around a bit to get things flowing. They call this 'milking' which sounds so revolting to me it goes back to being funny.

Nurses come and check on you a lot at first, and as my catheter needed milking I may have been getting even more visits than otherwise.

In the morning a lady came in and said she was here to take my blood. She was probably used to patients then just dutifully sticking out their arm at her. 
Instead - I asked her what the blood test was for. I was not expecting a blood test. I know now it is very standard after surgery. But I'd never had surgery before.

She told me it was standard. Well, OK, but what are they testing for? She didn't know. Well who asked for the tests? She didn't know that either.

This was not very reassuring for me - quite the opposite. And I don't think she really appreciated all the questions! By the time she was taking my blood, I blurted out that she was taking my blood and I didn't know why, to which she told me it was her job and she wasn't steeling it!

I burst into tears. This made my wounds hurt. My beeping machines started beeping quite urgently. It was all quite pathetic really. 

The blood test lady scarpered out with my blood closing the door behind her. I felt too foolish to call for a nurse, but my catheter needed milking again anyway so eventually I did. They were horrified when I told them about my experience, sent some feedback to the pathology people, and put lots of very big warnings on my notes that I don't like needles. 

It was just bad luck really, it all could have been fine if I'd been less nervous or if she'd been more informative. And apart from that, all my blood tests have been fine.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


We arrived at Calvary hospital for 7.30 am. There was a bit more paperwork to do when we got there. I forget why, but for some reason I thought I'd be one of the last people to be operated on, and be in for a wait.

I was first. Which was good really. I'm terrified of hospitals and needles and a lot that goes with it, but I was keen to get it done. To get this tumor out of me.

I got changed into a gown and got on the bed and they wheeled me away from my husband.
Some waiting in another room and questions and discussions. Everyone was really nice.
Then into the operating room. Needles, tears, the nurse held my hand and talked to me. I don't exactly remember falling asleep. 

I remember waking up - I could hear voices, one of them was Dave's. It was good to have him there when I woke up.
I was already in my own private room, not that I gave it a lot of thought to that then. I had one of those tubes that put oxygen up your nose. I had a cannula in my left hand. I had one of those oxygen reading finger clips on my right hand and blood pressure cuff on my right arm. On each leg was a thing like a giant version of the blood pressure cuffs, puffing up and deflating to no pattern that I could tell. That's to help with circulation. And I had a catheter in. Things attached to me were beeping.
Dave fed me water by dripping it into my mouth with a straw. But the pain killers we doing their job. I even had a little button which allowed me to give myself a dose of painkiller. I mostly slept the rest of the day.

I had one large wound where they took out my sigmoid colon and the tumor, and 3 small 'key hole' ones - one of which was in my belly button which I find kind of weird and yucky!

The surgery had gone to plan, the sigmoid colon with the tumor had been removed via keyhole and no bag required, so although I was hooked up to a big bunch of tubes, I'm lucky it wasn't more.