let the tedium commence…

what they don’t tell u up front – and no reason you should guess – is how tedious the next few days post-op are. wednesday was difficult, cause i was still on quite extensive pain relief. I’ve lost track of the drugs stuffed into my body, but the list appears to have included diazepam, tramadol, co-paramol (?), paracetamol and maybe one or two others.

This made wednesday to some degree a continuation of tuesday. I wasn’t morphine-slurred, but i was having all manner of vaguely out of body experiences. conversations i was sure i’d spoken but which apparently i didn’t.

And not helped by the fact that the main prob (and now i see how important it is to be fit, pre-op) is that you don’t get to sit up much above 30 degrees from horizontal for four days – and not at all on day one. So your back starts to hurt. Then it hurts more. And more and…ow!

Basically: the pain from the op is pretty minimal. The pain of back-ache quickly gets very nasty indeed. Hence the pain relief. And hence other modern medical gadgetry like a leg cuff that automatically massages your ankle. All very well (and quite nice, really) except that when you’re still a bit disoriented it feels a bit like there is some invisible maniac manipulating your legs under the covers.

wednesday was seriously spooky..the sort of day that i suspect baudelaire and absinthe-drinkers used to have a lot of.

andrea hung on. Embarrasssing, given that i wasn’t too sure when i was talking, when not. Also, not overly impressed by my throat which, having had a breathing tube down it was decidedly rough.

anyway. i have no criticism whatsoever of the clinic (Nuffield, Brighton, in case that wasn’t clear)…though i do wonder whether there are any techniques they can come up with to help with the awkwardness of the diet (known as “low residue”) which had to be consumer whilst flat on my back.

to begin with, low residue also meant high tedium: a choice of beef consomme or veg consomme with jelly or sorbet to follow. Yum! to begin with. But not after two days…

rice krispies on friday morning was distinct improvement, but then there was the issue of trying to eat them whilst lying on my back. Suspect it would make good japanese game show material…but quite scary (in the end i just let them mush and drank them down).

Horizontal shaving also a bit of an endurance test!

But in the end, all survived and on thursday evening i was allowed – oh joy! – my first solid food. Toast.

Now…imagine buttering toast horizontally. 🙂



7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Becca said,

    If you’re allowed to lie on your side, eating solids lying flat on your side is vastly easier than flat on your back. Use straw for liquids, teaspoon for solids, put bowl on bed more or less under your chin.

    I’m so glad that you’re not in too much pain, back notwithstanding – maybe worth talking to a physio about that if you get a chance?

    • 2

      janefae said,

      problem is…you’re not allowed on your side…not for days at least. Cause they are afraid that bringing your legs together would hurt the sutures and start bleeding, particularly of the urethra.

      Seriously, though, any ideas very gladly received, not so much for me as for others following after. I think they are trying very hard, but might benefit from a fresh pair of eyes.


      • 3

        Becca said,

        Ah, gotcha – makes sense.

        Very long bendy straw – small bore aquarium tubing works extremely well – is helpful for drinking while lying flat on back, if you really have to. Ward staff can probably improvise by cutting up a giving set (from a feeding pump) if you get someone reasonably good-natured and helpful.

        For solid food, firstly please be VERY careful as it’s a real choking risk, small bites and take it slowly, finger foods are much easier, don’t try to use a spoon for soup cos it just doesn’t work when you’re horizontal – things you can spear on fork to bring to mouth without dropping it can also work.

        I’m sure the nursing staff have already said this to you, probably several times per shift but do make sure you drink plenty, having a catheter in is something of an infection risk all on its own, quite aside from just having had big surgery! I have a catheter long-term, likely for the rest of my life and I get a fair number of urinary tract infections (got one now, yuk) – can make you feel spectacularly crappy, even only minor ones.

      • 4

        janefae said,

        yep…just been told off. my wee has been fairly clear so far, but today a bit darker…though that may be blood.

        Today’s getting up and sitting is resulting in me leaving much blood around the place…and something pongs. i hope its just stale dressings.


      • 5

        Becca said,

        dressing pongs like decomposing mouse after a week under the sofa, or just stale blood?

  2. 6

    They may not advise you about your throat – they often forget – but after having a breathing tube in there it’s important to speak as normally as you can, even if it’s sore and your voice is faint. Don’t be tempted to switch to whispering, you can do lasting damage to your voice that way.

  3. 7

    andrea said,

    those screw top jugs are thermal… get them to fill it with hot water and a couple of herb tea bags…. i bet you’re just not drinking enough.

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