Monday, November 21, 2011

Operation Detail Dump pt. III

All in all the time I spent in my hospital room was pretty positive. If I graded the experience as an employee evaluation, I would say it "exceeded expectations."

The doctors and nurses at TGH were generally great. They were positive and helpful, if a little laissez faire; I now know that with all the patients they are juggling at any given moment, one can help oneself a lot with self care. Things like how often I should walk, how much I should drink and pain management will all go better if (and I hope there isn't) a next time.

For the first few days I had no compulsion at all to get out of bed. Light squirming to avoid bed sores, ankle turns and leg lifts to avoid clots and breathing exercises to open my lungs were about all I could handle, both physically and mentally. The breathing exercises were especially hard. All I was required to do was six deep inhalations through my nose followed by sharp exhalations through my mouth, then a few coughs. The problem was that the desired result, loosening of phlegm, was pretty uncomfortable. And it bugged the heck out of my mom that the sign on the wall imploring me to breathe was hung off-kilter.

What was not difficult was the food. Although the hospital was kind enough to bring me breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I never ate a speck of it. Christi brought me homemade smoothies and soups and my mom found an excellent and healthy sandwich joint a few blocks from the hospital. Of course, even that food went largely to waste. I had a nibble here and there out of a primeval sense of self-preservation, but I felt not a pang of hunger during my entire stay.

On only the second day it was time for me to get out of bed. Thank goodness these sorts of things are done in baby steps. Here I am enjoying my first extra-bedular activity:

(dig the off-kilter breathing sign and the sexy white stockings)

If I look bad in this photo then the photo isn't doing a good job. I felt like death warmed over. I was sweaty, nauseous, tired, and hyper aware of my IV, catheter and epidural lines. After less than ten minutes I was helped back to the horizontal position whereupon I fell fast asleep.

But it was not for nothing. The next day I took my three tubes for an assisted walk into the hallway. If I had to guess I would say that I walked thirty yards before crawling back to my bed for another sleep. But it was easier than sitting up the day before.

And the day after that I walked further. And the day after that further again. As I gradually shed one tube after another, I was starting to feel like Dustin Hoffman in "Marathon Man." You can't stop me now!

Well, if I don't wrap this post up I will have written myself out of the hospital without divulging all sorts of fun stuff. So I'll sign off now, only two weeks after my surgery on a day when I walked 2km for a coffee, drove myself to an acupuncture appointment and surprise visited my friends at work.

Until someone tells me different, I feel great.


  1. Hoss you are amazing! No doubt you dropped several speed walkers on the way to get that coffee!

  2. Your mother and I must be kindred spirits - that crooked sign alone would have been all the motivation I'd have needed to get out of bed and straighten it! Must be the designer in me. Sorry that I missed you during your surprise visit to Shaw. Sounds like you're progressing in leaps and bounds!