I won't lie to you; it's been a bit rough these last 11 days. They get you upright and walking ASAP which is just fine with me, but I was getting so dizzy, I couldn't even sit upright for a couple of days. When I was sitting, my BP would be a whopping 75/55. That is low. I would lose my vision, which was my "get down now" cue. If I lost hearing, that was really bad. After a couple of days of playing fighter pilot (clenching every muscle I own in an attempt to keep blood moving to the head, just like a pilot does under big Gs), we managed to get walking reliably. It still is 90s/60s when I'm up and about but no dizziness.
Then, they started me on soft foods and that's when all heck broke loose. While my guts were contracting, it was in random, non-productive ways, not in the coordinated waves of normal peristalsis. I ended up off of food again (thank God) but still with a digestive output of fluids that exceeded any capacity for matching input w/o IV fluids. The pain associated with all of this was remarkable. On Friday (a week after surgery), they x-rayed my abdomen and they decided I had a blockage. Now, I couldn't even have liquids. Also on Friday, they put in a PICC line, the procedure for which is delightful, especially when they have to do it 2x. The guy was sweating by the time I was done with him, or he with me to be more accurate. I took perverse pleasure in knowing I was getting to him. I'm very bad.
On Sunday, my doc decided to check improvement on my guts, but the x-ray showed I was even worse. Therefore, we had to do a CT scan since they were starting to suspect I might have an abscess or some other such thing. The prep for that involves 24 oz of contrast by mouth over an hour. I hadn't had that much to drink in 24 hours let alone 1 hour. I ended up consuming less than 1/2 of it with distension pain that had me right back on the morphine injections. You should see my abdomen. I look like the Michelin tire guy. I curve out at the waist from all 4 views. Yes, even my strip loin (hey, I'm a cattle rancher) was protruding. That is going away though. Yeah!
After I cleared that fluid (it was taking 24 hours to move liquids through), I felt better. I was still walking all over the place, going outside and trying to be normal, whatever that is. This morning, they decided to try me back on foods. I am happy to report:
Things are moving in the right direction, and what's coming out is what's supposed to be coming out!
I would anticipate tomorrow, they may see what happens if they pull my IV fluids. In other words, can I keep up with my output with what I can take in orally. I am excited. I can not begin to describe how good this feels to be rolling along the right track. Then I hope to bust out of here on Friday, a full 2 weeks after surgery. Followed by a week in Houston and then HOME. Say it with me, HOME. Home sounds so very good.
One final funny from today - I was escaping the hospital and heading over to the hotel to pick up a few things with Mom. 2 ladies ahead of me decided to pull over and remark in southern accents, "Good Lord. We're being passed by a woman with an IV pole!" Truth be told, I jogged several steps in the hall earlier today too. It felt good.
Thanks for sticking with me through thick and thin. There have been some wonderful family, friends and neighbors who've been helping Joe and the girls and that makes my heart melt. God bless ALL of you.