Monday, November 2, 2009

Farting is your meal ticket.

I quit taking my robaxicet by mid afternoon Wednesday for two reasons. I wanted it out of my system before anaesthetic Thursday morning and because the label clearly says not to exceed 6 tablets in 24 hours. I'd had 8 in 18.

Thursday morning my surgery goes quick and successfully. I was scheduled for two hours in surgery then two hours in recovery. I was awake in recovery after an hour and a half by 9:30am. I fade in and out of consciousness feeling no pain anywhere. Not my back, my incision nor my throat (which had been really irritated by the tubes during my breast surgery one year ago.) I offer up thanksgiving for morphine and happily settle into my room about 1:30pm.

I don't have a window space so my area is quite cramped and my night table and rolling bedside table quickly become piled with stuff that needs to be maneuvered every time something else arrives. But I do appreciate that none of the rooms in our hospital house more than 2 beds.

I am on a steady low dose of morphine through my IV but I have the power to push the button for "extra shots" every 15 minutes if I want it. The only pain I feel is high in my right side. I assume it's a kidney because it feels like awakening in the morning and having to pee so bad it hurts. I watch my catheter bag fill and it brings no relief. I click my morphine button for good measure .

I have absolutely zero pain at the incision site and I feel no back pain. I continue to push my morphine button about once an hour just because I can and as a result I sleep for most of the rest of the day.

They bring me a meal tray - jello and apple juice. I am sure I'd throw up the juice if I drank it. I don't have the energy to pick up the spoon. I grab a piece of the jello with my fingers and it squishes and drops onto the bed looking like a blood clot. I lick my fingers and verify the flavour is raspberry. And that's what all I had for food on Thursday October 29 - a lick of raspberry jello.

Dr Galliford comes in to see me by 7:15 Friday morning. He is pleased with the results. "Of course we have to wait about a week for the pathology report but don't lose any sleep over it," he says, then adds, "Your liver looks fantastic."

I give him a high five and say, "Yay! I can still drink."

He chuckles, pats my leg and glances at the clock, then tells me breakfast will be here shortly. Good. I am starving.

My tray arrives. It has what I assume is a cup of coffee and my imagination is working overtime dreaming of the glorious breakfast hiding under the dome. I know it won't be a McDonald's Sausage and Egg McMuffin but that is clearly what I envision.

I pop the lid of the mug - it's full of steaming hot water. Oh. My heart sinks. I lift the dome on the food tray. There in the centre of the tray sits a lonely little 4oz cuplet of apple juice. And that's breakfast. Clear fluids.

A nurse comes to check my vitals and asks if I have farted yet. "Farting is your meal ticket," she says. "Once you fart you'll be upgraded to full fluids and you'll get something with flavour."

Try as I may, I cannot work up even a gurgle.

It is Friday and the hospital is teeming with student nurses tripping over each other to provide care to the patients. Cody becomes my main man, checking me every few minutes and cheering my bowels on to fart. (And they say "fart" not some politically correct term like "pass wind" or "flatulence.")

Cody is eager but not confident. He goes into panic mode at one point when the vitals machine starts beeping widely then flat lines. I suggest that he should perhaps not put the pulse/oxygen monitor on the the finger of my same arm he has my blood pressure cuff squeezing the blood supply off to my hand.

A while later I hear the instructor ask him if he was ready to do 24B (that's my number).

"I'm gonna try," he responds as he's walking towards me.

I tried not to be creeped out by his lack of confidence and reprimand him for such. I had already been forewarned that he was about to remove my drain tube and change my dressing.

Turns out he did a fantastic job and I felt nothing as he cleaned me up and put a smaller dressing on my incision that I was very happy to note was horizontal and closed up with dissolvable stitches. God bless you Dr Galliford, I didn't get a vertical zipper stapled closed that I'd read so much about on the internet.

Cody felt bad about freaking me out a bit so he pretended he heard bowel noises with his stethoscope so he could upgrade my lunch to full fluids.

Lunch was a packaged soup that tasted like chemicals. I ate 2 spoonfuls and it came right back up.

"That's because you haven't farted yet," the nurse gives me a knowing look that says she realized Cody upgraded me as a favour. Oh oh, busted.

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