View Full Version : How about my surgery - long and a bit graphic!

10-05-2006, 06:23 PM
Okay so feeling well enough to do some posting. This is the summary of my surgical experience. Sorry for the length. I'm sharing my experience for others who maybe facing the same consequences.

The surgery was last Thursday. On Tuesday before I started to fast. Only clear liquids until midnight Wednesday and then nothing. I showed up late for the pre-op. Wednesday I had to take 3 doses of phos-fer soda and even though I thought I was clean, Thursday morning there was some more left to go. Ugh. Felt awful. Very hungry and empty. Anyway, get to pre-op. All the nurses scolded me for my lateness.

I meet the very dreamy anesthesiologist. I tell him about my troubles with going under. He assured me there would be no nausea. He had the staff installed a epidural pump in my back and added a "scopes" (sp?) patch. Next thing I know I'm in recovery. No way to say that process is pleasant 'cause it's not. I did not have nausea however. A plus. Because there were no rooms available, I had to stay in recovery 4 extra hours. That sucked!!! Finally made it up to my room and was pleasantly surprised it was a private room.

Once in my room I started feeling uncomfortable. I had alot of gas in my stomach and intestines. I had on pressure cuffs on both legs, an IV in my left hand, a nasal gastric tube, oxygen tube and still the epi pump. Tubes coming out of everywhere. Dispite the nurses' caution I tried to sit up in order to relieve the gas. Big mistake. I get dry heaves and oh boy, discovered, the incision site was very painful. I passed out. I also had a bad bout with the nasal gastric tube. The nurse tried to reposition it, I gagged and started to pull it out. She stopped me and put it back good. That was not good.

The first 2 days were bad. I got no sleep unless I was drugged. I also discovered that until my body started working again (i.e. I had to "pass gas") I could have no food or water. Food OK but no water!!!! I finally talked the doctor into removing the NG tube on the second day withthe promise I would not drink any water. I kept my promise but it was very hard. I also stopped all drugs after the second day as they delayed my system working.

On the 3rd day I discovered the couch. The hospital bed was so uncomfortable I could not sleep. On top of that it constantly moved driving me crazy. The couch, thank goodness was stationary. The nurses all thought me crazy but understood. I actually got some sleep the 3rd day.

I set up "house" near the couch. Really for the first 3 days it was not a pleasant stay. There is no privacy in a hospital. As soon as I would doze off someone would come in to take blood or my blood pressure. Doctors came in at all hours as did the nurses and cleaning staff. You get resolved to it after a while. What can you do otherwise.

I had started walking the second day although I was very sore. They took out the catheter on the second day and told me to go use the restroom. This was the highlight of my day. I started walking around the halls (thank goodness for studly cyclist legs) on the third day mostly to relieve gas and boredom. Sunday morning at 3:30 after using the restroom I passed gas. Such little things have such great meaning!!!!! I praised God and thanked him profusely. I knew I could now drink water and took my very first sip. Ah so sweet!!!!

I got my first meal Sunday afternoon - clear liquids ( I'm starting to hate clean liquids!!!). I did OK and doctor then ordered "full liquids" for Monday. I was in Heaven. Breakfast was Cream of Wheat and a Boost and lunch was Cream of Mushroom soup and Vanilla Ice Cream. Doctor came in that afternoon and was surprised how well I was doing (had a bowel movement that morning) and ordered me a regular meal. I got a nice apricot glazed chicken breast and rice pilaf. I couldn't eat much but each bite was delicious. He let me go home Monday night after 7.

Anyway I'm home. I have so little energy it's amazing. If I take a shower I basically have to sit down awhile and rest. Yesterday I went out to Costco (with my sister who has been here for me and has been my guardian angel) and was dead the rest of the day. Today we are meeting a friend for dinner and that's my big outing.

My experience I guess could have been worse. The staff at Mission Hospital is TOP NOTCH, just awesome. So caring and understanding. My sister was just there for me even when awful crabby (and I was). Good friends came by - I looked horrible but they didn't care. I love my surgeon. He's just so cool. I also cut my hair - a last minute decision and was so glad to have gotten rid of all that long hair especially since I couldn't bathe for 3 days. That long hair would have been in the way. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with this short hair.

Anyway - I know I have a long recovery and need to follow the doctors instructions. It's so hard not to be riding especially since the weather here in So Cal has been beautiful. But I just don't have the energy anyway. Hopefully it will come back. One plus right now - weight lost of 12 lbs!!!! I'm sure it will come back when I start eating. Oh well.

10-05-2006, 07:01 PM
So glad you're doing well! You went to Costco???? I'm blown away.

If you were a guy, you would have no problem farting. It's built into the "Y" chromosome. That must have been absolutely miserable - no water!! I know what you mean about no privacy. A hospital is no place to be if you want to get rest.

Keep us updated & try to take it easy!

Tri Girl
10-05-2006, 07:47 PM
Wow- what an experience! Thanks for sharing everything- the good (was there any besides the dreamy anesethesiologist?), the bad (sounds like lots) and the ugly (clear fluids- ick!).
I hope you recover quickly, and can get back on your bike before too long. Take very good care of yourself, and keep us posted on how you're feeling!!

10-05-2006, 08:00 PM
Oh, pam, you made me laugh with your gaseous challenges. I think anyone who has had severe gas issues can relate -- not to your level -- but certainly can appreciate the (comic) relief. I am so glad to that you're up and about.

George Hamilton and Jane Curtain did a SNL skit where they played a very hoity-toity couple passing gas. They kept describing the results in symphonic terms (such as basso profundo) or as one (or two) cheek squeakers. To this day, it's kind of an inside joke for Bubba and me. Just do it with style and grace.

10-05-2006, 08:11 PM
well i'm glad you got through it ok and your back home.

when i got out of surgery from my apendix i couldn't drink or eat anything for almost a week. i thought i was going to die. finially the nurses felt so bad for me they gave me little green sticks with little green sponges on it to dip in water and swab my mouth out with. so i know how bad it feels.

just glad your home and recovering. don't try to do to much. just think of all the posting you can do on TE while your recovering!

10-05-2006, 08:22 PM
Glad you are back!

10-05-2006, 08:38 PM
Rest and recover
It is a real challenge all this tiredness and being still I know first hand; but you can get used to it and even enjoy it for some little things that you don't even notice when you are 100%; like you enjoyed tiny amounts of "real food" after being on medically-induced fast.
Let people help you and remember we are all with you too.
Thinking of you

10-05-2006, 08:40 PM
I'm so glad you discovered that couch. I know what you mean about no sleep unless drugged. It's rough being a patient. I'm glad you're home--take it very easy, and know that your body's overcoming all sorts of challenges. Listen to your fatigue level. You will gradually get stronger and stronger. Take care, L.

10-05-2006, 08:42 PM
Outings less than a week after surgery? You're doing so well! Take it easy, you'll be back on your bike in no time!

Several years ago, after abdominal surgery and a 5 day hospital stay very similar to yours, I did a hilly metric century at 10 weeks post-op. I know 10 weeks sounds like a lot now, but for many weeks to come you'll know exactly how many weeks and days post-op you are without even counting, and the weeks will pass quickly. You'll be good as new - no, even better - very soon. :)

10-05-2006, 08:53 PM
so glad you're doing ok. hang in there. the bike rides will eventually be back on the agenda i'm sure. you made me laugh when you said the couch was stationery :D i'm sure it wasnt funny at the time, but it did sound funny in a relieved sort of way :o

10-05-2006, 09:40 PM
Wow Pam out and about already. Glad to hear you are on the mend. Get plenty of rest and you will be out on the bike before you know it.:)

10-05-2006, 09:53 PM
Glad to hear you're on the road to recovery..

wow...up and out already!! that's great for you!!

Adventure Girl
10-05-2006, 11:27 PM
Glad to hear you're on the road to recovery. TRY to take it easy a little! Give it some time and be sure you listen to your body!

10-06-2006, 03:57 AM
Good to hear from you, Pam. Rest and recover and take things slowly.

10-06-2006, 05:04 AM
Great to hear from you! I felt for you after recently watching my Dad have a colon surgery and my husband land in the hospital for 6 days with suspected Crohn's. I had to laugh about the gas because my husband was so relieved to finally have a bowel movement. The things you can admit to being happy about when you are recovering! :D

Take it easy and just think how you can climb on the top posters list at TE.

10-06-2006, 05:31 AM
Great to know that you are doing well. Keep up the good work. You will have your energy back and be back to riding in no time. Then the whole thing will be behind you and you will feel great.

I had to chuckle a little thinking about the fact that this would be one time that a girl wouldn't care who was around if she need to fart. :D

Duck on Wheels
10-06-2006, 05:57 AM
Ouch, that all sounds so familiar. Well I remember the day I was allowed more than a sip of clear liquid. The doctor on rounds in the morning said I could have up to 500ml. "You mean I can have a pint?" I asked, implying beer. The "great white flock" on rounds laughed, and so did I ... which I immediately regretted. Laughing was NOT a good idea with fresh stitches and an incision from breast bone to pubic bone. But recovery went apace from there. And once I was home the pace picked up, as in walking to the store with breathers (sat down on neighbors' retainer walls) en route, then fewer breather stops, then all the way there and back and make dinner without needing a nap. Then longer walks, then hikes, and so on and so on. Walking is good. Keep it up. Sounds like you're doing well!

10-06-2006, 07:43 AM
Pam, glad to hear you are progressing well! And we call that a "tootie bootie" in our house. You do what you have to do girl, lol. Keep us updated and enjoy the weather at a slower pace. Time will get you back on two wheels.

10-06-2006, 03:34 PM
Pam, I can't believe you went to Costco!! I don 't like going there even when I am full of energy. You'll be back on your bike in no time.


10-06-2006, 05:34 PM
Good energies and best wishes, Pam. Be patient with yourself and take the time to heal- it'll be a good investment. :D Lotsa sleep and R&R!

10-06-2006, 06:47 PM
Soooo glad you're on the mend!!! :)

Slight hijack alert: I had a little laugh too at the "passing gas" portion of your surgery. I had a colonoscopy a couple of years ago, and they also wouldn't let me loose until I made wind. They wouldn't let me (and other patients) get out of bed until the chuckle-juice (anesthetic) had left our system. Try to imagine half a dozen whacked-out patients desperately grunting and groaning trying (and succeeding) to make the doctors happy. Like a symphony of tubas....

Hope you're back on your bike soon!


10-07-2006, 09:16 AM
I can't believe you went to Costco! That's hard enough even without any surgery recovery issues! Good for you. I hope you continue to feel better.

That hospital bed moving thing - OMG the same thing happened with my hospital bed this summer. It was as if it was receiving secret messages from someplace and kept adjusting itself slightly up or down - even though the little controller thing wasn't being touched! Super annoying!!

10-07-2006, 01:38 PM
Hi Pam!!!

I am SO glad to hear you are recovering and making good progress! Don't overdo it though :rolleyes:

Please thank your sister for the updates! I'm looking forward to the news that you are able to get back on the bike and enjoy yourself!

Thank you for letting us know how you are doing!


10-07-2006, 03:52 PM
Glad your surgery went well and hope you're feeling better every day!

10-07-2006, 03:59 PM
Welcome back Pam!

Take is slow and steady. It feels wonderful to be home, does it not? I spent 5 months on hospital bedrest and I was so happy to see my own bed again.

Keep us posted, but above all rest. Your body has been through a lot. My continued prayers for a rapid healing.

10-07-2006, 04:58 PM
Happy to hear you're doing so well Pam! Best wishes for a quick recovery.


10-07-2006, 06:25 PM
Great News Pam!!

I'm so happy that the surgery went well and that you are back at home and recuperating. The worst is over. Be extra kind to yourself right now and allow yourself to heal. Take all the time you need.

Blessings and Hugs,

10-07-2006, 07:14 PM
Pam, I'm happy to hear that you're doing so well after your surgery. :) You've been in my thoughts (I wish it wasn't so often, "it could be worse, I could be that poor lady who's having surgery for colon cancer") and it's inspiring to see your courage in your ordeal. Thanks for being strong!

10-10-2006, 11:09 AM
Best wishes for a speedy recovery and getting literally back in the saddle!

10-11-2006, 08:49 AM
I'm glad to hear everything went well! And no ostomy!!


short cut sally
10-11-2006, 12:59 PM
Pam. best wishes for a speedy recovery..sounds like you're doing well but don't do too much too soon..could send you back a few steps..

10-13-2006, 09:45 PM
Pam! Thank you for telling your surgery story! I'm so glad you're home and your recovery is going so well. Do listen to your body, though, it does know best and it will recover at its own pace....it may seem slow at the time, but at some point you will be amazed and how fast the time has gone by when you're riding your bike again! wahoo!

Hugs and butterflies,

10-14-2006, 04:40 AM
Pam, haven't heard from you on this thread - is everything OK? Or are you at Costco? If so - could you pick up some paper towels for me? :D

10-14-2006, 07:28 AM
Pam -- I am keeping you in my thoughts -- as you can see, we all care about you. Hope you are doing well. By the way, if you are still at Costco, get me some of those cookies from the bakery ;-)

10-14-2006, 10:04 AM
Yeh, Pam, if you are still at Costco, how about a hot dog!


10-14-2006, 12:49 PM
muffins! i love their muffins.

and i need paper towels too.

10-14-2006, 06:19 PM
I might not be doing Costco anytime soon... although I need kitchen sponges and razor blades... anyone going?

I went for a nice hike today. My buddy Richard and I did the Back Bay trail on the West side. I think we did about 4 miles. I actually did OK. We went slow and had alot of scenary stops but all in all I felt fine. Tomorrow I plan on doing Irvine Park and some of the back side trails.

The doctor wants me to get out and start walking/hiking. Not fast but he wants me to do some distance. Now that I know my body can tolerate it I'll try and get out everyday. I'm going stir crazy inside the house. And all that weight I lost after surgery, it's back on with a vegeance. So sad, I had skinny legs for a week... that's it!

10-14-2006, 06:30 PM
glad to hear you got out for a good hike. fresh air always does a body good.

that weight will come off, don't worry. look how quick your up moving around as it is. just remember: don't over do it. glad your feeling better every day.

10-14-2006, 09:44 PM
You sound like you're doing well Pam!

Keep up the good recovery! :)

10-15-2006, 05:30 AM
Pam -
I'm glad to hear that your recovery is going well. And walking really does work to start getting you back to your old self. Happy healing...

--- Denise

10-15-2006, 09:39 PM
Hi Pam, Glad to hear all is going so well. Keep on mending! I'll be down in So. Cal. the end of the year. I'll be bringing my bike and I'm hoping for a ride with you and some of the other TE'er in the area. bikerHen

10-16-2006, 09:21 AM
WOW Pam glad to hear your recovery is going so well. Enjoy your walks.:)

10-16-2006, 09:36 AM
It is so wonderful to hear your recovery is going so well. Enjoy those hikes and do not over do it. :)