Posted 8/19/2008 5:58 AM (GMT -7)
I recall being told not to take in more air, straws were out, as well as gum. I also recall an ET nurse saying "you don't want gum getting stuck in your tract!". I pictured more surgery, so I didn't chew gum for 8 weeks! I was petrified back then of straying from that ostomy diet.
Yes my first surgery was a doozy, I was in the worst pain of my life. Worse than childbirth! And I swear but I never thought anything would be worse than childbirth (I had an epidural wear off with my first delivery in 1987, so I had hard, active labor until the Anesth. could leave a C-section to give me another shot). Even though I didn't have natural childbirth, I did know what women felt w/o drugs! So when I first came out of the anesth. fog from my first colon surgery (5 hours), it hurt to just take a breath. If I wanted to fluff my pillow, more intense, gripping pain. So anything they told me not to do, I paid attention. Now of course the flip side to this is they also said to get moving - ie, sit up in bed, swing my legs over the side of the bed, sit upright in the recliner/chair and eventually venture out into the hallway and walk. I thought they were just absolutely crazy! I know I said - hey I just had surgery! LOL But eventually I realized they were correct - the sooner you move out of that prone state and move, you begin to feel better and healing can begin. For my second colon surgery - the takedown - I had the best experience (except of course when the bm's began, I was raw!). I was doing double slow laps around the entire surgical floor. An older kind nurse saw me late one night (my last lap for the day, my oh 5th or 6th of the day). She asked - are you going for a record? I laughed and said - oh no, I just want to get better, ASAP. Suddenly she realized - ah, you've had colon surgery before haven't you? I do think nurses love repeat surgery patients - no lectures needed! I was doing those breathing exercises too - the device you blew into each hour, 10 repetitions each time. The nurses soon stopped coming in every hour to remind me to do the exercises and ask if I had walked yet.
But that first surgery was a major shock. I will just forget how hard it was to recover from! Yes that young nurse was very kind to sit up with me. I kept apologizing. She kept saying - this is what I am here for. And it was around 2 in the morning. I probably was helping keep her awake on her night shift! LOL
What my entire experience told me was I wanted to give back, then and there. I wasn't joking with my doctors and/or nurses, I promised them I'd come back and sit with other colon patients, listening to them, gently encouraging them to walk. I said I'd even show them my scars (the women) if they didn't believe what I was attesting to.
None have taken me up on my offer though. I've only been able to find online forums/support groups for colon surgeries, ostomies, IBS (what I essentially suffer from now), etc. Nothing in person. People tell me - start a support group yourself. But I just don't think I am healthy enough to do that. My life revolves around a toilet now. But I do not want any more surgery - I am adamant. No more. Unless necessary. Our medical insurance leaves a lot to be desired for one thing and we are putting 2 daughters through college currently. So our budget is stretched tight-tight. I am just maintaining what I've got - less colon, 10% sigmoid. I do okay. Enough that I can manage a part time job! So that's something.......
I did chuckle at how little privacy you had. Me too. Between my temp ostomy, my two incision sites (colon, gall bladder), 2 grenades/tubes they gave me on each hip AND jump starting my period by 10 days (yes I had to wear an old sanitary belt!), the nurses were always lifting my gown. I eventually asked them to keep my door closed.
Now when I hear someone is in the hospital, I ask two questions - 1. do they want visitors and 2. what can I help them with? So many people think you want visitors who will sit beside you, eating, drinking (esp. when you can't!), blabbing on about their busy lives (while you're stuck in that bed), or help you with what they think you need. Instead of just asking.
I always, always ask the patient what they want. You learn the hard way don't you? Boy did I ever learn the hard way what it's like to have major surgery! And be in the hospital for days......and I mean days! LOL