Thursday, April 24, 2008
I had surgery on April 18th, and am now home for four to six weeks on short-term disability while I recover.
Instead of laparoscopically assisted surgery, they ended up doing a lateral abdominal incision. Thankfully, they don't cut through actual muscle. They have to cut through the skin, of course, and through some connective tissue, but they ease your abdominal muscles apart and hold them back with retractors. Then they inject gas into your abdominal cavity to allow them to see things. And of course there's the tube they insert into your trachea to keep you breathing easily. Oh, and they tape your eyes shut during surgery to protect them. Otherwise, in your catatonic state while under anesthesia, you'd lie there with them wide open and who knows what would fall into them. Ugh.
So, not only do you have however-many (I haven't counted) stitches across your belly to deal with, you also have bruising to the abdominal muscles, a very sore throat, AND gas in your abdomen that has to gradually percolate into your colon and work it's way out. Fun. And since I don't do well with tape adhesive, I also have a place on my eyelid that's healing from where a layer of skin got pulled off. Ow.
I'm ok with the wound itself. I expected that part, and most people understand how cuts heal. But the bruising makes movement more painful, and the cramps from the gas can cause strange sensations all the way up to your ribs or shoulders. I still notice it under my ribs when I breathe in deeply. And I'm still coughing and throat-sore nearly a week after surgery. At least my digestive system is beginning to work more normally. That's always a milestone after major surgery.
So here I am at home, with no demands on my time at all. I am merely supposed to get better. If I want to sleep, I can. Or I can read, mess around on the computer, watch TV, walk a bit, eat carefully, and generally relax. What I CAN'T do is lift things, drive, eat lots of sugar, talk a lot, or walk long distances. So I can't do housework, especially vacuuming, go anywhere on my own, eat chocolate, dance, go to Aikido, or do heavy gardening.
Of course, I've only been home from the hospital since Sunday evening. Eventually I'll be able to do a bit more - like plant the veggie seedlings that have come up and need bigger pots now. It's nice to get out and walk around the garden to see what's happening, but I can't pull weeds yet, so it's also frustrating. Maybe next week I'll be able to sit somewhere and pull the smaller ones.
My parents are in town for a few weeks, so I might be able to get them to help me with a few garden projects that I can't do alone. There is an area of overgrown irises that could use thinning, and we want to build a new compost bin. Not to mention the amazing crop of tall weeds that have taken over the area we rototilled last year. Yikes! There's a job for Round-Up if I ever saw one. And it's definitely convinced me of the value of mulching to keep weeds down. I have resolved to do more mulching in future.
It's nice to have more reading time. I finished the latest Kim Stanley Robinson book, 'Sixty Days & Counting', the last in a trilogy. It's been a great series. I highly recommend his 'Antarctica' novel, which is the beginning story for the characters in this trilogy. And has some of the best women characters that I've found in a SF novel written by a man.
Now I'm on to a mystery series by Eliot Pattison, beginning with 'The Skull Mantra'. Pattison is a political journalist who spent a lot of time covering China. His main character is a Chinese police inspector who works in Tibet. There's a lot of factual information on Tibetan culture and the treatment of Tibetan people since the Chinese took over. It's a good story so far, too.
I'm also planning to read Michael Pollan's 'The Omnivore's Dilemma'. Hubby read it. He said it would make me angry, and seriously consider not eating commercially produced beef, as well as a whole lot of other things. The incredible over-use corn has been put to in our food supply is scary to think about, given the current shortages.
Call or email if you feel like it. I’ll have plenty of time to answer in the next month or so. If things go well, I could be back at work after four weeks, on May 19th. We’ll see.