It’s been a week since my operation; hard to believe. It actually feels much longer to me, mainly because I spend alot of time just kinda sitting around, and because my nights are filled with half sleeps and restlessness. I do my daily exercises, but beyond that I really don’t do much at all except sit around; can’t, actually. My attention span feels short as well, so it’s hard to get into something like gaming or watching a movie or whatever. That will come tho.
A week ago right around now I had been awake once or twice in ICU and was slowly being brought around. I remember very little from ICU; I remember waking up and seeing Ruth, and it making me feel all warm and happy. We chatted, and I told her to take lotsa pics thru the process. This is a quite clear memory, and in it the ICU was bright and clear; apparently I was getting excited so they put me out again. After that…all I remember is bleak. I remember it feeling like I was on a lone bed with a dim blue light over it, with a short field before pure darkness. I remember being deadly thirsty, yet every time I drank water or ate ice chips it would make me nauseous. I remember at one point getting sick; I think they changed the drugs then. Oh, I also remember seeing my cardiologist in the ICU before I got sent to the ward. He said that they call the procedure the surgeon did an “operation of a lifetime” because they used all arteries and no veins (arteries last much longer I guess).
Once in the ward, things are kind of blurry too. I was pretty wacked out the first couple of days, so if anyone came to visit and I said wierd or stupid or even mean things, you know why…sorry. I also had periods of moodiness and crankiness that would come out of nowhere for a few minutes then go away. My Mr. Crankypants persona coming thru maybe? The food was fantastic, by the way. (uh…sarcasm…) By Sunday I was starting to feel more coherent. I had been walking around a fair bit, had taken a shower, had watched the hockey game in the patient lounge the night before. Surgery did make me feel fuzzy brained, though, and I still feel it a bit.
So here we are a week later. I generally can sleep for 4 hours at a time, although last night I was excited to notice I slept 5 and a half; perhaps things are getting better. Other than last night, I usually go to bed quite early. It takes me a while to fall asleep , but I usually wake up around 2 AM. I get up, maybe take a couple tylenol if the pain is bad, drink some water as my throat is usually dry, and go back and try again. The second sleep takes me to 6 or 7 AM, and I get up then. During the day I take a nap in the early afternoon.
Because of the nature of the surgery and recovery, I’m really quite helpless, although I think I can start washing dishes soon, except for the big pots. Vacuuming is out though, and laundry as well for another couple weeks. I set myself goals every day as far as various things to do. These tend to include amount of exercise, intensity, things around the house and things body recovery wise. For instance, today my goal was to walk to the end of the block, back and then to the next apartment and back without stopping. I made it, and funny enough passed an old guy telling his buddy about his quintuple bypass a month previous. I almost said something, but didn’t. My other goal is to go have another walk around a mall or grocery store with Ruth tonight. The grocery store is needed, but the mall might be easier due to all the places to sit. We’ll see; I just want to be somewhere other than W. 5th St. north van or a doctors office. I’ve added another goal to wash the dishes in the sink. Exciting stuff huh? I’m ecstatic if I am able to exercise for 10 minutes without stopping, and overjoyed to do the simplest task. Sigh.
There’s a fine line between pushing the recovery too hard and not pushing enough, and I think I still need to discover where that is for me. I felt that my first few days of recovery were quite quick, and that I’ve stalled a bit the past few. I know it’s important to not push too hard, but it’s also easy and tempting to get into a habit of taking it a bit too easy and not progressing. By next Friday I hope to be able to walk a few blocks and feel comfortable about people coming by to visit, but that seems like a distant mark right now.
Anyways, that’s my story on the first week since surgery; I won’t tell the story of the terrifying event I had the other night until another time, or talk about the various doctor visits I’ve had this past week. Just…it is getting better every day, and I do try and be patient but not lazy.