I decided to write about what's happened with me so far in the hope that I can help others because I found so much reassurance from this website prior to my surgery.
Ok, so after ten years of heartburn and reflux that required constant medication and propping the head of my bed up on ten inches of bricks (I'm a stomach sleeper - couldn't use a foam wedge), and four years of dithering and putting off the surgery I finally went ahead with it last Thursday 20th June.
My surgeon operates late so it was 8pm before I even got into the operating theatre and then almost midnight before I became aware of my surroundings again and looked at a clock. Usually I come out of general anaesthetics really well but this time my blood oxygen levels kept plummeting and there were multitudes of people around the bed saying scary things about collapsed lungs and i.c.u beds. However, the problem self-resolved and I went back to my own room but had hourly obs done which made the night seem endless. I had asked the anaesthetist before the op if I would have a p.c.a (patient controlled analgesia - eg: magic morphine button) and he wanted to just give me paracetamol and have me tough it out. I'll be paying his bill last. Anyway, I had my p.c.a which I was very grateful for. I woke up with a naso-gastric tube draining God only knows what into a bag, but no catheter so I had to struggle up to the loo but early mobilisation is never a bad thing.
On Friday morning my doctor popped by and told me it had gone well. He had put four stitches in the diaphragm after correcting my hernia and then done a reasonably loose wrap. He also told me about the stitches in the 'bullet holes', of which I have five. Two of them are more annoying than the other three - the one closest to my navel and the one under my ribs, slightly to the left. I didn't leave my room Friday as I felt very ordinary but was very happy that I had no gas pain which I had been worried about and no nausea. I kept the p.c.a for that day as I needed it but got rid of the naso gastric tube early on. They insert this so you don't vomit right after surgery.
By Saturday morning I was ready to get rid of the whole i.v set up as I had turned a corner on the pain around 3am and was taking fluids by mouth adequately since the day before, no trouble swallowing. The nurse then gave me an Endone tablet because they were concerned about me going straight from morphine to paracetamol and wanted to control my pain. I wish I hadn't taken it because I went from feeling quite good to feeling quite nauseous indeed. I reported this and was given a Zofran (Ondansetron) wafer which helped and I went back to sleep although my intention, having showered and dressed, had been to mobilise around the ward. After several hours I woke feeling much better but my oxygen levels were still ordinary so I still had to have nasal prongs. I had been on clear fluids and tolerating these well, so Saturday lunch was full fluids (I slept through it) and Saturday night was pureed food of which I ate practically none as it was revolting. I ate the jelly.
Sunday was a good day - porridge for breakfast, tolerated that well. Since Friday I had had no trouble swallowing paracetamol capsules. Plenty of walking around, lots of visitors and I wanted to go home. I might add that I had issues with constipation at this point, having not 'been' since Thursday morning. During the night on Sunday I asked for more coloxyl and senna and eventually things got going around 3am Monday.
Home on Monday and I probably did a little too much at first, being keen to tidy up and unpack and few little chores. After an hour home, I needed a good lie down and had exactly that for three hours! Slept like the dead. So wonderful to be in my own comfy bed. I also ate some of the stewed apple I'd prepared before hospital and a little tinned fruit (over several hours). I'm not sure if it's increasing the fibre in my diet or the wrap or what but I now have the opposite problem to constipation but it's not profuse or crampy and I'm not worried about it yet.
Tuesday I decided to have a very quiet day but yesterday I totally overdid it. I woke feeling really good, I was bored and there were things I wanted at the shops so I went out, got petrol, went shopping, came home, did laundry, visited my neighbour - basically did a little too much, I think, because I had a very uncomfortable evening and night. Both last night and this morning I have some pain in my right shoulder when I breathe in and I feel bloated. My stomach is very tight. I took some Iberogast last night and this morning and it seems to help. I will go out and do some gentle walking but other than that, I will rest.
That's about it so far. I've lost 3.2kgs in one week (a shade over 7 pounds). I have no appetite whatsoever but that's fine with me - it would awful to crave food when my stomach can't deal with it. My surgeon said I could have a cup of real tea, rather than decaf, in the afternoon if I wanted it and that, down the track, if I want to try chocolate I can. He said to avoid meat, white rice by itself and bread at this point and for a number of weeks. So far, not too bad. Lots of the things I was afraid of (nausea, bad gas pain) haven't really happened and I'm doing reasonably well. I just have to remember not to rush it. I'm still on Nexium - the doctor is going to wean me off that and I hope to get off it completely by the end of the year.
Now I'm off for a little walk and then catching up on some more N.C.I.S on dvd in front of the heater!