Saturday Night at the Rockeyview

There have been moments where I sincerely questioned my ability to make it through to the weekend, so it came as a lovely surprise that my roommate be allowed to escape on a day-pass, leaving me to enjoy some much-needed quiet time. I’m fortunate that mine is a room with a view, providing a big-sky panorama of City Centre to the right, and Nose Hill park in the distance straight ahead. At night I leave the blinds open, allowing me to drift in-and-out of consciousness as the lights from a city that rarely sleeps provide both distraction and comfort.

Surgery went well on Monday: 4 hours in the OR, slightly less in recovery. Altogether, a 7-ish hour ordeal. I was expecting/worried about the post-operative shortness of breath and disorientation – two fairly common side-effects, and both of which I’d faced to some degree following GI surgeries 1 & 2. But this post-op experience was something entirely foreign: the body rigid with pain, seizing, completely unable to regulate the signals my nerves were screaming to the brain; the brain unable to respond appropriately to even the strongest/most potent mix of narcotics.

By the end of Tuesday, however, the pain-management was finally under control, and my surgeon saw to it that there were zero restrictions to the PCA (Morphine): a high-dose injection every six minutes allowed enough pain tolerance to be able to get up and walk around, which, frankly, is the *last* thing one wants to do after having had – quite literally – half one’s guts torn from the body.

Tuesday evening also saw the introduction of small amounts of food – mostly ‘soft’, easy-to-digest things like yogurt and banana – and by Wednesday, I was tolerating basic liquids, too: Diet Ginger-ale, water, broth.

My surgeon has been incredibly pleased with the progress thus far; he calls me his “superstar patient” for the milestones I’ve been hitting in days, rather than weeks. He also, for the first time, told me he was convinced this was the right decision – that this course of treatment I opted for, though more invasive and more ‘permanent’ than the other options presented to me, was indeed the right one. That he can see me living a good life after this.

Those words mean the world to me, and right now, might be all that’s getting me through these nights.

The catheter was pulled yesterday, as were the HemoVac (internal) drains. The main IV was removed today after another round of antibiotics, and this afternoon I began to transition from Morphine to Percocet. Though I’m slightly sorer than I’d have been with the drains/tubes intact, the body seems to be doing a fair job of once again taking over the various functions those external tubes temporarily provided.

Of course, the longer those things remain in the body the higher risk of infection and complications, so it’s a good thing that I’ve been able to rid myself of them fairly quickly. It does, however, take the level of discomfort up that extra notch, as the body tries to remember what signals to send for various, normal functions. (The worst is getting a full-on fever – body dripping with sweat and radiating heat – for what amounts to a full bladder. Seriously body – not necessary. At all.)

And that’s about all there is to say for now. Thanks for the kind messages and even kinder thoughts. Will check in again soon, so long as things continue to progress well.

Apologies if any of this made zero sense, grammatically or otherwise. Writing under the influence is far easier said (or imagined, rather) than done.

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View from giant room window one.

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2 thoughts on “Saturday Night at the Rockeyview

  1. Dear Alheli,
    Thank you for the effort to keep we people that care about you informed. Personally, I was going crazy “not knowing” how you were doing. I can see that it took a special effort to put it all together for us in your typically cogent way. To mix metaphors, I can see why they had to take half of your guts out… you have at least twice as much guts than the average person. The more I get to know about you, the more impressed I become. Can’t wait for next year when you promise to be 100% again (and maybe up for a free lunch).
    Hang in there. If you feel yourself being stretched, it’s just your friends. We are all pulling hard for you, but we may not all be patient enough to pull slow and steady.
    You are such an inspiration!
    A speedy recovery to you, my friend.
    My thoughts and very best wishes will be with you until, and even after you are back in the Dog Park with Brio.
    Doug

    PS 13.7 k yesterday. Thanks for sitting on my shoulder and yelling cheers in my ear whenever I thought about quitting. ;~)

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  2. Hey sweets, I hope you have the speediest of recoveries and you’re back irritating us conservatives as soon as possivle. Remember to let me know if there’s anything I can do for you. xxxxoooo

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