Personal Update: Surgical Recovery
Brownies are in the oven, Valium is in my system. Hoping the lovely smell will spark my appetite. I’ve been sleeping about 17 hours a day since I saw my doctor on Tuesday. Here’s an update: First post-op doctor visit, hiccups, and the weirdest referred pain ever…
On Tuesday, I saw Dr. J, my spine surgeon for my first post-surgery appointment. It was actually two appointments in one— my sister has a slight curve and was being checked as well— and it was nice to have her with me for the long, painful, yet productive four hours.
After four x-rays and being poked and a car ride, I had hit my pain level limit. They removed the staples while my mum video taped it (yes I’ll post it). Other than a few staples that got stuck the actual removal didn’t hurt too bad.
The steri-strips originally applied to my back after surgery had all fallen off, so they re steri-stripped my back (for those of you that don’t know what steri-strips are, they’re like adhesive stitches that hold the skin together and help the scar heal faster and make it more aesthetically pleasing). They steristripped the side incision as well.
The x-rays looked good; no abnormalities. In fact, there is some speculation that removing the rods actually increased some disc space (where I still have discs, that is) and that is excellent news and could prevent further nerve impingement. I’ll know for sure if that’s the case next week when I call my doctor for confirmation. The rice crispy feeling I’ve been having when I breathe is from air and fluid trapped in the cavity between my lungs and incision that accumulated because I did not have a chest tube after surgery. At the time I lucked out and didn’t need one and the trapped fluid and air will go away in time. It’s not enough in quantity to cause a problem other than drainage and an uncomfortable sensation.
Since the surgery I’ve had excruciating pain on my shoulder blade, so severe that up until the other day, I wasn’t able to have any fabric (hospital gown) even lightly touch the area or it felt like my skin was being lit on fire. I knew it was nerve-related, but it turns out it’s actually related to my diaphragm healing. Talk about strange referred pain. It’ll take some time for the nerve to heal (along with other ones that were affected by the operation), but such is recovery.
By the time I got home from the appointment I was exhausted. I took a painkiller and slept from 5PM-8AM, and then awoke to find my body was paying for the ordeal. It was a bad day today, probably the worst since being home. After some tears and enough drugs to kill the awful pain, I slept nearly the entire day away. In the past two days, I’ve probably been away for nine hours total, not consecutively. I’m up now because my fever is spiking (RA related, not infection) and I’m trying to lower it, but I’ll be asleep again soon.
It’s a bit weird; normally when I flare like this I’m equally as exhausted but I have a hard time sleeping. Thanks to the meds, I’m sleeping like crazy. Way past hibernation at this point.
Oh, and if anyone makes me laugh I immediately get the worst case of hiccups imaginable. Problem being that my healing diaphragm does NOT appreciate the spasm and it is possibly the most painful thing ever. Only valium makes it stop, and I can only take that every six hours, so…
Despite the rough recovery, I’m healing well, can wear t-shirts now (albeit absolutely giant ones), escaping infection, and staying positive. Oh, and my sister’s curve remains small and unchanged :) No bracing or surgeries for her (she got the good genes).
Hope everyone is well & had a happy World “Arthritis” Day!