So here I am…3 months after my surgery. I wish I could say that it was all plain sailing and that I’m doing great. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the reality at all.
Recovery at Home:
After I got home, I genuinely thought that recovery would be a whole lot faster. And it did…to an extent…I no longer heard women vomiting at all hours of the day…I was no longer sleeping on a plastic bed…I had my own bathroom again.
But you know what? Getting on and off the sofa is really hard if you don’t have someone to help you! Using the stairs was an absolute pain and climbing in and out of the shower (we have a shower head over a bath tub…) was again, only possible if I had some help. I was literally living the invalid life. I couldn’t do anything without help.
My poor parents gave up their bed for me as I couldn’t climb into mine (I have a mid-sleeper (similar to this…https://amzn.to/2Hagjco). So whilst I couldn’t use my stomach muscles…that bed was impossible to get in to! But it was a goal I could set myself…I gave myself two weeks, optimistic I know…but I managed it!
The part that I dreaded the most was getting my stitches removed. Well, stitch. I had one running stitch with a bead on either end. I had had multiple nightmares about waking up and having pulled my stitch out in my sleep…but luckily that never happened. Instead, 10 days later I found myself at the hospital (unfortunately not the one where I had had my surgery and appointments) waiting for my name to be called.
My doctors surgery was extremely busy, so the options I had was to wait a further 3 days and have them removed at my doctors, or go to the local walk in centre and have them removed there. So off dad and I went to the local hospital. My nerves were all over the place…Was it going to hurt? Was the entire wound going to open again? Would it be infected?
After an almost 2 hour wait, my name was finally called. To say that the nurse was confident…that would be really pushing it! She looked so intimidated, which as someone with anxiety…it really didn’t help! Luckily the actual removal of the stitch and beads, I didn’t feel at all.
However. She proceeded to look at the wound and didn’t look happy. Of course, where the beads had been, the wound hadn’t fully closed. She was also convinced that it was infected and proceeded to tell me that she was going to put a plaster over the entire area and it would have to stay on for a week.
Alarm bells went off in my head on the way home…growing up, I always learnt that an open wound needed air to close. Not be completely enclosed. But, her being in the medical profession, dad and I trusted her opinion. So guess what…7 days later when it was time to remove the plaster…the plaster had turned to jelly and it was completely infected.
So off I went to the doctors office where it was confirmed that it had become infected and I needed to go on antibiotics for 10 days.
Becoming ‘Normal’ Again:
A couple weeks after the surgery, I was finally able to get in and out of the shower on my own, I was able to climb into my bed and I was finally able to move around, without moving at a snails pace.
Reintegrating into society was different though. If you have read my previous blog posts, then you know that I suffer from anxiety. I had gotten so into my head over the previous weeks…scared that someone would hit my stomach and that would open the stitches again. Luckily that never happened…but I had to be careful.
Even though I was physically starting to look ‘normal’. I still had to be careful. I learnt that the hard way when I decided to make my chunky veggie chilli (chunky-veggie-chilli/). Chopping the vegetables hurt. I ended up in bed for the following 2 days in pain. The frustration was unreal!
So here I am…writing this 3 months after my life changing surgery. Still a far way off being in full health. But a lot closer to that than I have ever been! I’m learning now what its like to have a healthy human body. The swelling is still going down and I’m feeling better in my skin.
The one thing that no one warned me about was how intense the changes would be and there was no mental preparation. I also didn’t have any followup appointments for how I’m coping mentally. So the last couple months have been hard. I’ve been dark, but I’m working through a day at a time.
Now I’m just looking forward to all the things that I couldn’t do before!