I was discharged from the hospital the next morning after a visit from Dr. R. He told me I’d only lost about a teaspoon of blood during the surgery. Wow. Robotic surgery’s claim to fame is less blood loss, less pain and quicker recovery time than traditional surgery. This sounded great on the surface until I stopped to think that no matter how they get inside, they’re still doing the same procedure once they get in there – cutting ligaments, severing nerves and blood vessels, removing organs. I tried not to think about it.
The Farmer picked me up and we headed home. From my check-in at 12:30 p.m. the previous day to my checkout the next morning, I was in the hospital 21 ½ hours.
After a stop at the pharmacy for drugs, we were home by 11 a.m. It was a beautiful warm sunny day. I sat at the patio table and the Farmer turned the dogs out to see me, one at a time. Jamie anxiously snuffled me from head to foot, the poster child for gentle concern. That’s my sweet big red dog.
Phoenix shot out of the house like he’d been launched from a cannon. I thought he was going to spontaneously combust. He turned himself inside out, bouncing and squeaking like a deranged chipmunk and tried to jump on my lap (TG I had my “defense pillow” at the ready). That’s my crazy malinut.
I was in bed by 11:10 a.m. and slept for five glorious hours. Phoenix stayed on the bed the whole time, snuggled close and quiet.
I had two different pain meds, one to take every four hours and one every six hours. This was great in theory and sucked in reality. For the first couple days, I was inevitably asleep when it was time to take one or the other. I started a list for each med and when I should take the next dose. This quickly turned into a list of when I should take the next dose and when I actually did take it. Somehow I stayed ahead of the pain. Not sure how, since I don’t think I ever took anything on time.
The first couple of days were a fog of moving between the bedroom and my recliner in the living room. It took Phoenix about 2 minutes to decide I wasn't "right" and needed to be monitored closely. He knew something was wrong with me but couldn’t figure it out. His answer was to get as close as he could. He watched me intently. He napped on the bed with me. He curled up on the recliner with me. I made sure I had my defense pillow clamped across my belly and it all worked out. He was determined to turn my laptop into his own personal pillow and was quite disgruntled when I kept shoving his head off the keyboard.
By the third day I worked up the energy to go outside and sit on the patio and toss a ball. The dogs enjoyed this tremendously but it clarified in their minds that while I throw like a girl when I can stand up and put my whole body behind it, I throw like an even worse girl when I am sitting in a chair. They didn’t actually say that but I caught Phoenix looking at a couple of my weenie throws with an expression on his face like, “Really? That’s all you’ve got?” But he really didn’t care and happily returned the ball with slobbery joy.
We ventured out on short, slow walks. We got the mail. We walked around the farm. We sat in the sun and petted the cats. We practiced doing nothing. I am generally not good at doing nothing but the combination of pain and drugs changed that. I’m even mastering “endurance napping.”
This is Day 5, I think. The wonderful side-effect of taking narcotic drugs and not going to work is that I don’t have any freaking clue what day of the week it is. The pain is a bit less. The bruises are as colorful as ever. Not only do I feel like I’ve been beaten with a 2x4, I look like it, too. The incision sites, with their sub-q sutures and tight seal of steri-strips, are starting to itch annoyingly, which everyone assures me means the skin is healing.
I’ve not been eating much, no appetite, which I am also assured is a side-effect of the narcotic pain meds. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to take them forever, so they’ll be gone soon and my appetite will probably come roaring back. In the meantime, friends and the Farmer have actually been concerned I am not eating enough. Me, not eating enough? What are the odds!