My Post-Operation Hospital Stay
The hospital wants to get you home as soon as possible following surgery. The first 24 hours was a blur, I was aware that a nurse was in the room with me the entire night, taking notes on every sound and move I made. She was my guardian angel. The next morning I woke up to the day nurse asking how I was feeling. Because of the painkillers, I felt terrific. Then she said, “Let’s go for a walk.”
I looked at her, “Not a chance.”
“You have no choice, let's get you up, even if you take two steps; you have to get out of bed.”
Getting up for the first time
She took the blankets off, and for the first time, I saw what can best be described as a “minefield”. Tubes and bags and bandages covered my abdomen, and somewhere under all that was the surgical scar. I had no interest in seeing it yet.
I couldn’t move my legs; they were like dead weights. She slowly moved them to the side of the bed and took my right arm. “Try not to use your stomach muscles, I’ll pull you up; use your arms as much as possible.” She pulled and I went along for the ride. It was agony, I hurt everywhere. Sweat poured out of me in seconds, and I was exhausted before I moved an inch.
“You’re doing great” she encouraged. “Just a few steps.” It was more like a shuffle, in fact, three of them, but I reached the end of the bed. “Terrific, let’s get you back.” A hospital bed never felt so good.
A little farther each day
Each day we progressed a little farther, and at the end of the week, I actually took a walk around the recovery floor. The dressing was changed regularly, and they gave me as many painkillers as I needed, or wanted. I had a morphine button that became my best friend. At the first sign of discomfort, I hit it and was floating in minutes.
One of the side effects of morphine is hallucinations. I had one during the third night. I woke up to see someone standing in my doorway. It would move every time I did. “Can I help you, is there something you need?” No answer. “Why are you standing there; what do you want?” No reply.
I started scrambling for the call button as the dark figure lingered. I panicked when I could find it. My distress must have woken me up because I suddenly realized what I was looking at was not a human figure but the outline of the Purell hand sanitizer bottle sitting on my night tray. The angle made it look like a person. I felt like an idiot and went back to sleep.
7 days later
But the entire time I was on painkillers, I heard singing, music and conversations from people of all ages. The hospital was haunted. I mean thousands of people must have died in the building, and their spirits were still there. Or at least that’s what the morphine told me. I stopped the painkillers after five days, and on the seventh, they told me I was ready to go home.
Or so they thought.
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