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Day 2 – Sitting Up

May 1, 2010

Well I didn’t get huge amounts of sleep due to a couple of naps during
the day, then the epidural dropping down to the level of the 5th
staple so was in quite a lot of pain and there had been 2 new ICU
admissions so I had to deal with it for a couple of hours while the
docs dealt with the new admissions. I managed to find a reasonably
comfortable position and dozed so it wasn’t too bad. Once the doctor
had been and maxed out the epidural it was much better; they had to put it in one vertebrae lower that they wanted due to the ligaments and tendons being too tough in their target one, but thankfully that has covered all but the highest staple which doesn’t really hurt anyway.

Once the doctor had gone I spent a bit of time, while the pain subsided,
looking at what Ses has set up and written for the blog, I must admit
seeing it all written down did bring back a tear or two, but it’s
amazing to think how far I’ve come already in the couple of days and
from the utter low of being told to the positive position I’m
currently in. A lot of that is to do with the immediate care I was
lucky to receive in this particular hospital and the stoma nurse who
had such a reassuring and amazingly positive attitude towards this
ileostomy not being a major change in lifestyle. You’ll be hearing a
lot about the stoma nurses as the weeks go on so I’ll not bore you now!

So the morning has gone well, having had the calories overnight through the TPN (Andy hasn’t really had anything to eat in over a fortnight – Ses) I felt really good and with all the signs being positive, lower outputs and improving vitals were discussed with the weekend surgeons on call.

I decided due to the lack of sleep at night to have a quick nap but
found the alarm kept going off. I thought it was the dodgy connection/
interface with my finger for the SATS reading, fiddling with that
for 15 mins didn’t help, so I called in the nurse. Turns out their
default pulse minimum is 50, which I was tripping as my body was
finally getting some calories so wasn’t having to work at eating
muscle and fat for energy so my pulse has dropped back to normal
levels 🙂 So that got lowered to 40 and I got a decent couple of hours dozing.

The ICU doctor & ward manager were also very pleased with my progress and so I’ve now had the arterial and normal canulars taken out my arm and should be able to take the catheter out so long as I can swing myself over the edge of the bed. Well that was my next challenge then! Up to now my back had been against the bed since laying down in the anaesthetic room so it was going to feel weird sitting up. Combine that with the complete lack on feeling due to the epidural which has number my entire core from just below my nipples right down to an inch above my crotch and all the way through from front to back.

With a bit of help from a couple of the nurses I managed to get my
legs over the edge of the bed and shuffle myself upright, it felt
weird and I was a bit light headed but it did feel good supporting
myself. I got myself back onto the bed and laying down, but what
struck me was just how hard doing that simple task was on my body.
Having lost more than 2 stone in 6 weeks and not lifted more than a jug of water in 4 days my shoulders were screaming with the effort! What’s that all about – my shoulders have always been one of the most powerful part of my body due to the swimming and mountain bike trials riding. Feeling them confirmed it, they’ve all but disappeared and are a few weak and limp muscles. It all of a sudden dawned on me why the recovery time post op is 10-14 days even before leaving hospital. I guess with the emergency cases like mine where you can’t get anything into your body it just wastes away very, very quickly, especially when you’re not using any muscles. So now having rested for half an hour I think I’m about ready to try again,
I’ll let you know how I get on later!

Andy

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