Sunday, March 5, 2017

tummy tuck: recovery

Well, I made it through surgery and all that extra skin is gone and now I'm recovering.

Today is day seven of recovery (counting surgery day) and I'm feeling decent. A couple days ago I would have said "pretty good," but the swelling has kicked in so my compression garment is getting tighter, and I'm dealing with the back pain related to being sedentary and sleeping in one position. I don't feel terrible, but I don't feel quite as good as I did on Friday.

After surgery on Monday I wasn't feeling too bad. As a matter of fact, I felt quite alert. Obviously the drugs hadn't worn off yet. Getting up and to the bathroom was difficult and Bob had to help me get up. But otherwise I didn't feel too bad.

Tuesday...did not start out good. And I had to go to the surgeon later in the day, which I couldn't imagine having to do in my state.  I woke up and the pain and muscle tightness had set in. I woke up somewhere around 4 am having to use the bathroom. Even though Bob was sleeping on the couch just a few feet away, I didn't want to wake him up. Also, I was in pain and didn't want to get up at all. Although I had set my alarm to wake me up every four hours to take the pain meds, I found that they wore off after about 2.5 hours. I was hesitant to take them more often, but then said screw it. I took the equivalent of three doses at once. But since the pain was at about an 8 from the meds having worn off, it wasn't quite as much relief as I was hoping. So I laid there for another couple hours, dozing off and on. Finally I couldn't take the combination of the full bladder, gas pains (narcotics stop you up!), back pain and overall pain anymore and had to go use the bathroom. I must have spent at least a half our psyching myself up to get up. Then once Bob was in front of me to help me get up, I spent at least another five minutes sliding myself to the edge of the recliner and trying to decide when the right time was to actually get up. Eventually I got up, but holy cow the pain!! I honestly felt like I was tearing in two. It was awful. Then I had to get to the bathroom, use it, get back and get back in the recliner. I did it, but it was tough. I was actually sweating from the pain and crying because of the overall misery. But then something wonderful happened: the surgical center called to check up on me. I explained the pain issue and that the pain was at a constant 6 most of the night. I was told that they had given me one of the strongest narcotics they could and couldn't really give me anything stronger. I was then told to take Tylenol along with the pain meds, because it enhances the effects. After I hung up I immediately took two 500 mg Tylenol.  Best suggestion ever! My pain lowered considerably and I felt much better the rest of the day. I made it to the surgeon's office, where she declared that everything looked great and I was cleared to take a shower. No thanks. It was hard enough getting myself to her office.  She changed the dressing in my belly button (the look on Bob's face was hilarious!) and also the bandages around the drains.

Wednesday was better. Still difficult to get up and down, but I started doing it on my own. It was tough, but I managed.

Thursday I took my first shower since my cousin was arriving that day. It was a project, but I managed it by myself and didn't pass out or anything. I washed my hair and the important parts, but that was it. We threw the compression garment in the wash, as it was covered with leakage from the incision and drains. In the meantime I put on my second garment, which was smaller and tighter but I managed. Once the bigger one finished in the wash I threw it back on. I did pretty good the rest of the day and spent a little more time walking around the house. We had a casserole for dinner, which I had prepared and put in the freezer a couple weeks ago.

Friday I was back at the surgeon's office and got one drain removed! I was so nervous thinking it would be painful, but it wasn't at all. I felt maybe a small twinge but that was it. And I wouldn't even call it pain or even really discomfort. I will say, however, that I had the forethought to take my pain meds before we left the house. She took all the surgical tape off, as well as all the bandages. She told me to call on Monday and let her know the output on the remaining drain and if it was low enough, it would be taken out.  Dinner was pizza delivery.

Yesterday was emotional for me. Basically it was a "when will I feel normal again" thing. I didn't expect, at all, to be feeling good by now, so I didn't have any unrealistic expectations there. But the whole sitting/laying in a recliner 24/7, with nothing but TV, my cell phone, and a few walks around the house to occupy my time was (and still is) really getting to me.  I honestly didn't think that being this sedentary would bother me as much as it does. But I know this will take time. I knew it going into this. I just need to deal with it. Plus, the swelling has started. I managed to cook breakfast for all three of us yesterday, and I was ready for a good rest after that. Dinner was Chinese. When they went to pick up the food, they stopped at Walmart and got me some bra extenders for the compression garment. It has a hook-and-eye crotch, but with me being so tall, it was uncomfortable to keep it fastened. But without it fastened, the garment keeps riding up. So, I hooked together two bra extenders and now I can fasten it. Also, my sister came to visit, so that was great.

On Thursday I started reducing my usage of the narcotics and only took them when I woke up, went to bed, and went to the surgeon's office. Today I''m going to try skipping them. Most of what I'm feeling is back pain and muscle tightness in my abs, and I think Tylenol will take care of that.

This week has flown by and everyone has been great (thank you!!), even the kitties (I think they love me being home).  Let's see what this week holds.

1 comment:

  1. If you want to increase the effectiveness of the Tylenol, take it with caffeine. I usually use coffee/tea and/or a small piece of dark chocolate.

    I know how difficult it can be to allow your body to rest. I really struggled with it when I had the diverticulitis - I just wanted to get back on the treadmill but my body was not at all ready for that.

    Do you have a tablet which you can use as a book reader? If yes, shoot me an email to snoskred at gmail dot com and I will google drive you my big book directory. ;)