Yesterday, Saturday, we had decide whether to stay in the hospital another night or get discharged and go back to the hotel. A big decision!
Several of the doctors came by on their rounds in the morning. They expressed satisfaction with my progress and said that if I wanted to leave that day, I could. But they weren’t going to push me out, either, if Mom or I weren’t ready to leave.
After a long night of light dozing and a lot of discomfort, I wasn’t initially sure I would be able to do everything I needed to get back to the hotel — namely walk down the long, long hallway from the front door to our room (happily on the first floor). And although the bathroom in our room isn’t far away in absolute terms, but it’s probably twice as far as the walk to the hospital bathroom.
Midmorning or so, Mom and I tried walking out of the room to see how walking felt. That would ultimately determine our decision.
The long and short is… It felt painful in the surgery site and bizarrely normal everywhere else. Mom admonished me to walk slowly, and I did — but I’m having no trouble with balance, or my legs, or anything besides the incision. I walked a little ways down the hallway and then my legs started shaking and we went back.
I think this experience feels weird because I’m so used to being whole-body sick, like with pneumonia or even a cold. In that case, all of you feels weak and exhausted and often terrible all over. With this surgery, all of me feels pretty good, except the place where I have a major wound.
When I try to walk, it goes okay, but when I lay back down, my legs shiver for a long time afterwards. I asked a doctor about that and she didn’t have a specific explanation, but attributed it to the surgery location and the fact there are a lot of nerves that probably got disturbed down there. It may also have to do with pain and how I’m processing it.
After taking a couple very (un)exciting hallway perambulations and talking with one of the general surgery doctors, I decided to go back to the hotel yesterday. The driving factor was that I would probably sleep better in the hotel, and sleep is ultimately what I need to heal.
Also, although it was new and shiny, I still worry about picking up some horrible antibiotic-resistant bug in the hospital. Those places are germ breeding grounds, even though I know they try hard to keep everything clean. They even gave me a couple doses of IV antibiotics prophylactically, just in case.
Honestly, one of my biggest fears in life, besides climate change, is living in a world where antibiotics no longer work effectively. That day is coming, and then people will look back with astonishment and horror at the way we wasted antibiotics on farmed animals and fish, people who had viruses, and even plants.
But back to the subject at hand… I decided to leave and so got to ride in a surprisingly uncomfortable wheelchair down to the entrance of the hospital. Then a one-mile, seatbelt-free, extremely cautious car ride to the hotel. And then the hotel actually had a wheelchair, too, so another ride down the hall and into our room.
That was pretty much all the excitement in the day. I got settled in the room and kept doing what I had been doing: reading, dozing. Watched a little Netflix but not a lot; I’m too tired. Mom and I took a little walk partway down the long, long hallway. I ate a soft dinner, because my throat hurt still from where the put in the breathing tube.
During the day, we’ve been doing a regimen of alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen every three hours. At night, at the doctor’s suggestion, I take one Norco, which has acetomenophin and some opiate in it. We count it as a dose of Tylenol because of the acetomenophin. That seems to work well for sleeping.
I woke up some in the night, but not nearly as much as Friday night, and I was able to go back to sleep pretty easily. My wound looks a lot better — much less swollen, not at all hot or red or anything concerning.
I’m planning on spending the day mostly asleep, if possible, with a keenly anticipated shower and bandage removal in the afternoon, and maybe a few walks down the hall with Mom to spice things up. Life is pretty exciting in surgery recovery.