Recovering from Surgery: Roll with the Punches
The hardest part about recovering from surgery, for me, was allowing my body to heal. I wanted to be better yesterday; I don’t have a lot of patience. But the bottom line is that you have to have patience, roll with the punches, and take each day as it comes. Some days you feel like you can conquer the world, others like you’re on your last legs.
Trusting my healthcare team
Once I realized it would take time, I fell into it. Listened to what my doctors, nurses, physios, healthcare workers and yes, even my wife, had to say. I allowed the team of experts to take care of me. They had the experience, I was the student.
Progress was slow at first
The staff decided to leave all the plumbing in me for six weeks because of the previous complications. They wouldn’t remove anything until the drainage slowed to a trickle. There were days I leaked like a sieve, but eventually, it slowed to a trickle. After having a catheter in me for almost two months, I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to get rid of it; I was born again. The appetite returned, I could stay awake for more than a couple of hours at a time, I could move freely. Life was looking good. I still had to be careful because the staples were still in my stomach. The scar was hideous, about six inches long from just above my pubic bone to my navel.
There was a nasty welt next to my belly button; I worried it was there permanently. It wasn’t. I was off the painkillers completely now; as long as my movements were deliberate, everything was fine. Once in a while I’d forget and pay the price for a few seconds.
Having visitors helped during recovery
It also helped to have visitors during my recovery. Friends and relatives were dropping by to say hello and see how I was doing, bringing all kinds of food to lighten Melanie’s load. It was great because I didn’t have to worry about going to bed. If I got bored with the company, I’d beg off saying I was tired or sore and had to go to bed. We all have boring friends.
Eight weeks later
After eight weeks, it was time to remove the staples. I was nervous not knowing how they would come out and how much it would hurt. There were 50 of them and yes, they were staples, the kind they use in industrial applications, big suckers. The tool they used looked like a stylized pair of needle nose pliers. There was no need to be nervous. There were probably two that pinched a bit when they came out; other than that, it was painless. I was sent home with instructions to come back in three months for my first checkup to make sure everything was progressing.
By the way, I did lose 25 pounds following my surgery. I was happy with that and have managed to keep most of it off.
Have you tried medical nutrition therapy?