it only hurts when I laugh…or cough…or move

When last we left our intrepid heroine (that would be me! *g*), she was trapped in a hospital room, newly recovering from surgery…

The doctor finally released me on the third day, & thankfully I was feeling much better.  (Seriously, when the cleaning lady & respiratory therapist both say, “Wow, you’re looking much better today!” you know you had to look like sh*t.)  No cartwheels, but the morphine-induced nausea had worn off & the new pain meds—Lortab & 800mg Motrin (oh, yes, I love these two prescriptions)—were working their magic.

The kittehs were so glad to see me when I got home.  Madame Mommy Dearest had taken pretty good care of them while I was gone, but it’s just not the same as having Mommy-Mommy dote on them.  Of course, I wasn’t up for much doting at the time; I pretty much gave them each a pat, got myself situated in the recliner, & promptly slipped into Coma Mode.

PhotobucketFor the first two days, MMD did stick around to take care of me, but then she took off for a pet-sitting job in another town.  You do not want to know how big a fight we had over this, because I wasn’t even remotely feeling well enough to take care of myself—or the kittehs—yet.  It was all I could do just to get up & go to the bathroom once in a while.  (FYI, 9 out of 10 doctors do not recommend getting into a verbal altercation so soon after major surgery.  The 10th doctor knows betterh than to tell a Scorpio who still has her ovaries what to do. )

PhotobucketBut since I did have to take care of myself (thanks for nothing, MMD), I had to devise a way to feed the kittehs without lifting or bending over.  Enter my very own creation—the lifting & reaching sticks…i.e. a Grab-it & a handled dustpan.

I do love my reaching stick, especially when stuff falls (or is mysteriously knocked) behind the stove.  And for lifting & lowering, the long-handled dustpan was a lifesaver.  The cats didn’t quite know what to think of it at first, but once they realized the big yellow thing delivered food, they were okay with it.  I would simply set a bowl of food on the dustpan, lower it to the floor & nudge it off with my toe…or use my toe or the Grab-it to nudge an empty bowl onto the dustpan & then lift it up to table level.  A little extra work, but definitely saved me a lot of pain & unauthorized bending.

The first couple of weeks, I slept like the dead.  Even if I woke up early, I’d do the bare minimum (feed the cats, get a bowl of cereal so I could take a pain pill), then conk out again for hours.  It was actually kind of fun, if moderately disconcerting.  But then, I love to sleep; I’d do it as an Olympic sport, if I could.

Even when I was awake, I was extremely groggy.  Couldn’t read because everything got fuzzy after a paragraph or two.  Couldn’t move around.  Could barely even focus on television.  I did a lot of the same thing I’d done in the hospital—find something good to fall asleep to.  I even started setting the DVR to automatically turn to certain channels so that when I woke up for all of five seconds, something decent would be on.  (Don’t ask; I think it must be an OCD thing.)

The one thing I did enjoy, though, was working on the puzzles in a Pop Culture crossword book Darling Pam had sent as part of her Care Package.  I hardly ever do crossword puzzles, but these were fun!  And easy—they made me feel mad smart. Plus, I didn’t miss anything if I nodded off in the middle of trying to think of a 4-letter word for “Alan starring in M*A*S*H.”  Sadly, the puzzles got harder the farther I got into the book, & I had to give them up when I started to feel like the village idiot.

Only a week after my surgery, the doctor wanted to see me in his office to take out the staples they’d used to close me up.  Staples!  This was not something they mentioned in the brochure.  I also didn’t feel even remotely up to taking a shower, getting dressed, & leaving the house yet.  It was not fun.  But I did it.  Ironically, the incision was just starting to not hurt quite so much…right up until he yanked off the pressure dressing, swabbed it with alcohol (none too gently, I might add), pulled the staples out with—I kid you not—a staple remover, then rubbed it with an alcohol again.  Ouch-frickety-ouch!

The one highlight of the visit, however, was the vindication of hearing that I was once again right.  (Thank you, thankyouverymuch. :elvis )  After the surgery, they tested all the tissue they’d removed (just to be safe, I guess) & discovered that my endometriosis had worked its way into the muscle lining of my uterus.  It has a whole different name & becomes a whole other diagnosis after that, but it’s not something I can pronounce.  Bottom line is that the doctor admitted the hysterectomy was probably the best solution to the problems I’d been having.  So there!

I’d also woken up in the hospital with a really dry mouth.  I thought it was just a result of the anesthesia, or maybe having my mouth hanging open (snoring?) all during the procedure.  But even after I came home, it just kept getting worse.  My tongue was swollen, had ugly white patches on it, & constantly felt as though I’d burned it on hot soup.  I couldn’t eat anything with a rough texture or much flavor because everything either felt like sandpaper or burned like cayenne pepper.  I mentioned it to the doctor when I was there, & it turns out I had thrush.  I don’t even know what thrush is…sounds like a species of bird to me.  But apparently being on oxygen for so long had dried out all my little mucus membranes, & being on antibiotics had lowered my resistance to every damn thing.  Gee, thanks.  He also said there wasn’t much they could do about it; just let it run its course, maybe swish some mouthwash around.  Oh, yeah, because mashed potatoes burned like fire, but gargling with Listerine wouldn’t hurt at all.  Gack!  I’ve been doing just that, & can eat normal food again, but still have a touch of it on the very tip of my tongue.  It’s darned annoying. :face

But I am happy to report that I am finally starting to feel better.  I spent so much time worrying about the incision that I didn’t realize how tender & sore my entire abdomen would be, & that’s still the part that bothers me most.  It makes for slow-moving, regular rest periods, & continued pain medication use.  (Okay, I kinda like that last part. :coffin )  But I’m back to sleeping in my own bed instead of camping out in the recliner—no rolling around, though…& I forgot how much the kittehs enjoy using both my bed & my body as a bouncy house in the middle of the night, so I have to build a bit of a cocoon out of the covers to protect myself.  And as soon as my head clears & I stop needing so many naps, I might even manage to get back to real writing instead of the hen-pecking I’ve attempted so far.


13 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Mary Kirkland says:

    I cannot believe your mother left you there to take care of yourself so soon after surgery. Omg, I would be so mad. Grrr, that’s not right.

    Glad to hear you are feeling better though.

    • Heidi says:

      I know—bad MMD, right?! And I was totally going to get her in trouble with the dr. at my one-week check-up, but can you believe he let her off the hook? Said I was doing fine, as long as I took it easy, & *somebody* had to watch the dog.

      REALLY?!?!?! Somebody had to take care of the *dog* but not *me*? I wanted to smack them both. :biteyou

  2. Kathleen O says:

    It gets better.. You will start to feel like your old self by Christmas… Are you sure you didn’t channel me..I had everything you had including the endometriosis within the unterine wall..
    Shame on MMD, my mother was there right from day one. She took me to the hospital, stayed through the surgery, all the days that followed. And believe me it wasn’t easy. My loss of hormones and the replacement went into over drive. I stayed with my parents and my brother, and somedays the guys didn’t even want to speak to me, they never knew what daughter or sister they were going to get.. The Angel from heaven or :tada the witch from hell…..

    You are a good mother, you looked after your babies, even thought you were in terrible pain and discormfort and you devised away to get things done.. I wish I lived nearer, I would have come and looked after you…

    Everyday you will show new signs of wellness.. Keep up the good work and take care of yourself…

    • Heidi says:

      Thank you, thank you—I knew you guys would sympathize. I have since forgiven her, & she wouldn’t have left if she didn’t think I could take care of myself, but it sure wasn’t very comfortable or convenient. She was also a phone call away if I really needed her, but that didn’t help much with the everyday stuff, y’know. :face

      I am feeling better, but it’s not constant. There are days I wake up feeling pretty good, then get worse as the day wears on; & others where I wake up needing a pain pill, but perk up later. And a few where I’m groggy & slow all day long. But I haven’t even been back for my 6wk post-op appt yet, so this doesn’t surprised me. :call

  3. kathi robb harris says:

    heidi, I join th eothers in knowing you really needed her to stay. dog vs daughter?
    anyway glad you are better and I think you handled it all much better than most of us would have.
    sending healing thoughts. kathi h

    • Heidi says:

      He he. To be fair, I have a really great mother. Most of the time. :flash And in her defense, she’d agreed to pet sit well ahead of time, then my surgery came up kind of fast. Feeling as I was, I thought she should have made other arrangements once she knew I’d be going in (have the person find another pet sitter or get somebody to cover for her the first few days), but I survived. Not happily, but nothing that popped a stitch, either, so I’ve decided to let her live. :cape

  4. kathi robb harris says:

    PS, there is a treatment for thrush( which i get every time I take anibiotics). they are a quick disolve lozenge you let dissolve on your tongue. i don’t know the name but it is a prescription.

    • Heidi says:

      I can’t believe the dr. didn’t give me anything for it! Weeks later, I went to the dentist & he mentioned the lozenges, but said it was nearly cleared up already, so there was no point. The surgeon saw me only a week after the surgery, tho, & didn’t give me anything, which annoyed me. Just told me to scrub my tongue when I brushed my teeth & gargle with mouthwash & it would go away. :littlevamp

  5. Hollie says:

    Awww Heidi!! I am just so glad that you are feeling better and that you have forgiven MMD…forgive…but never forget..hahahahahahaha

  6. Anne says:

    Just wait until MMD needs help next time! Though she will have forgotten about abandoning you. I don’t think people realize how hard abdominal incisions are to recover from.

    Glad you’re getting better despite the bout with thrush. I had it when I was a baby and they painted the inside of my mouth with something purple. I assume it was an antibiotic of some type. From the pain you describe, I’m glad I can’t remember.

    • Heidi says:

      Yeah! The worst I ever did to her when she was sick was forget to feed her cuz she was sleeping when I had lunch! *hmph*

      MMD says I had thrush when I was a baby, too…tho I don’t; remember how I got it or what they did about it, of course. And the dr. did say it was likely due to the antibiotics, as well as being on oxygen for so long. Everything got dried out & susceptible to infection…tho how I could have picked up *anything* is beyond me. Isn’t that what antibiotics are for?!? :thinking

      Sadly, it seems to be all cleared up now & I am back to eating. Everything & anything. *sigh*

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