Waking-up from surgery was an experience like none other I had ever experienced before. I was very disoriented, and even slightly confused regarding where I was, and what had just happened. It took me several moments for me to collect my thoughts and regain my composure; but finally I was able to concentrate on myself, and my surroundings.
The first thing I remember feeling was relief. I was relieved that I had made it through surgery, and that I was seemingly OK. The second thing I remember feeling was an extreme sense of cold. I was absolutely freezing! I was so cold that my teeth were chattering uncontrollably. I then realized that I was being wheeled in my bed — I had no idea where, and I was still too nauseous and disoriented to ask the nurse in back of me where we were going. So, I decided to just wait and continue to regain my composure.
After traversing the hallways of the hospital, for what seemed to be a lengthy period of time, we finally arrived at a hospital room. I was a little bit anxious to see where I would be staying for the next 24-48 hours (or longer, I had no idea at that point), but I was immediately relieved to see that I would have my own room, and that it was a rather comfortable looking room. It had a full length couch in it, a nice large chair, a little flat screen TV, and a lot more room than I would have ever imagined. I was definitely impressed.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to initially marvel at it for long because my nurse broke the silence and informed me that I was going to have to move from my travel-bed to my hospital room bed. This was one of the most excruciatingly painful things I had ever experienced. It was at this point that I was made fully aware of the incisions on my abdomen, because they burned and throbbed intensely as I struggled to sit-up and then transfer myself to my other bed.
With some assistance from the nurse, I finally was able to make myself comfortable in bed. That nurse departed, and two more entered to introduce themselves as my nurse and my Personal Care Assistant. It was at this point that my nurse noticed how erratically my teeth were chattering, and she asked if she could turn-up the temperature in the room and get me a heated blanket. Of course, I emphatically nodded, and then I requested for my personal items so that I could call my wife and let her know that my surgery had been performed and I was alright.
The pain was definitely profound, but it wasn’t unbearable. I had a pretty good idea of what I had gotten myself into prior to having the surgery, and I had a rather high threshold for pain. Regardless though, this was a pain like I had never felt before. That day was very rough. My doctor stopped by to let me know that everything went according to plan, and there were no complications or surprises during surgery. He then informed me that I had one more hour to rest before I would be asked to sit-up for the remainder of the day.
I fell asleep immediately following his departure, and was quickly awakened 1 hour later by my nurse who began removing my blankets to help me out of bed. The reason behind making me get out of bed so soon, was to get me in a seated position to try and avoid blood clots. The same leg warmers that they had fitted me with during surgery were still attached to my legs. They helped me relocate to the chair, and asked if I needed anything. My mouth was as dry as the Sahara Desert, but I was not able to drink anything until the following day, so I was given ice chips to help with my dry mouth.
The ice chips also helped me with my throat. My throat was very sore, and my voice was extremely hoarse from the scope they had put down my throat to monitor the inside of stomach during surgery. On my nurse’s way out the door, she informed me that in 30 minutes she would be back to get me up to walk around the floor. Again, this was to help avoid blood clots; but also to get me moving and recovering.
The rest of the day was a blur. I was in and out of consciousness from the pain medication that I was given. The few things I remember though were rather unpleasant. Every 4 hours I was given an injection in my belly of a blood thinner. These injections came every 4 hours, regardless of whether or not I was sleeping. Waking-up to meet a needle meant for your stomach is the least enjoyable to wake-up! In addition, I could never get comfortable in bed, because every time I tried to turn, sharp pains would shoot through my midsection in a flurry of intense pain. It was at this point that I was very unsure whether or not I would be going home the next day.
In my next article, I will detail the second day of my surgery, and beyond. There is a lot of valuable information for anyone considering the surgery, or for someone who has already made the bold decision.