Day two was just as challenging as day one, if not more so. I had strictly followed by my doctor’s rules, and only laid in bed during night time hours. In addition, I got up from my chair every half-hour to do a lap around my wing of the building. Lastly, I was only able to have ice chips — despite how incredibly dry and uncomfortable my mouth was. Unfortunately, day two began just as un-enjoyably as day one ended.
At 5:45 AM my doctor walked into my room and woke me up to get me back in the chair, and resume my walking. Not only did I have an awful night’s rest, but I was also awoken way, way earlier than I typically wake-up. My doctor then explained how the rest of my stay would play-out. At 8 AM I would be taken down to x-rays, given a contrast solution to consume, and they would monitor my stomach to make sure there were no leaks at the staple line. Those next few hours felt like 600 years as I waited for the nurses to come and wheel me down to the x-ray area.
Finally, at 10:00 AM (not 8!), I was beckoned. When I got down there, they had me get out of bed and stand on the fanciest x-ray machine I had ever seen. I stood on a small platform while they raised me in the air and rotated me in different directions to take a look at me. Next they gave me the solution to drink, and asked me to take a large sip of it. It was literally the most disgusting thing I had ever swallowed in my life. It made me incredibly nauseous. They technicians performed their necessary duties, and assessed that my stomach was not leaking (yay!). This success moved me a little bit closer to discharge.
When I returned to my room, a ‘lunch’ was there waiting for me. By passing that test, I was now able to begin my clear-liquids diet. I delicious array of clear liquids were presented to me. My lunch options included chicken broth, tea, grape juice, and Jell-O. Unfortunately, the nurse quickly grabbed the Jell-O and removed it because I wasn’t allowed to have it yet. I was also given a pitcher of water. This was much better than the ice chips I had been consuming for hydration, but unfortunately the contrast solution I was given made my stomach so upset that I had zero desire to consume anything.
The rest of the day I struggled to ‘eat’ and drink because of how nauseous I was. I explained that to my doctor when he visited me later that evening, and he told me that wasn’t uncommon, but that he would have felt more comfortable discharging me if I had consumed more of my ‘food’. Regardless, I was able to convince him that I was well enough to go home. I strongly desired to get home and sleep in my own bed, and spend time with my family. Plus, I thought that I would recover much better in the comfort of my own home, rather than the hospital.
The car ride home was rather uneventful. I had never gotten car sick before, but it did heighten my level of nausea. The first thing I did when I got home was take a shower. A nice hot shower was something that always made me feel better anytime I had been sick, so I decided to give it a shot. Sure enough, it worked. I felt so much better following my shower. I was still suffering from extreme coldness, and this warmed me right up. I dried-off and slipped into bed. I think I fell asleep the second my head hit the pillow because the next thing I remember is waking-up the next day and seeing 10:14 on the clock.
Day two was definitely as challenging as day one, but for completely different reasons. This has been the theme of every day following the surgery though. Each day has presented itself with new and challenging obstacles that I have had to overcome. Honestly, I don;t think there is an exact science regarding what exact steps you should take following surgery because I followed the binder given to me ‘by the book’, and still experienced some of the more undesirable side effects. Some days I felt great, other days I required a nap in the middle of the day despite having a great night’s sleep.
In my next article, I will detail for you many of these challenges, and go into further detail on how I conquered them and better prepared myself the next day to avoid extreme fatigue, nausea, and other undesirable side effects.