Thursday, 29 September 2016

Three weeks post op

So I'm three weeks post op, and it's been two weeks since I got to come home. On the one hand recovery feels incredibly slow, like I'm making no progress at all. I almost can't remember life before the operation, which is crazy. I think a lot of this is down to me being so poorly for quite a while before the actual operation took place. It's been months really and they've all blurred in to one long Summer of yuck. 

Despite it feeling like I'm taking one step forwards, two steps back I know that every day and especially every week I am making big improvements. Since my last post I am now able to do a few of the things I couldn't before. 

I can now:
- Lie fully on my left hand side and back comfortably and right hand side, less comfortably. 
The tummy is still a no go. 
- Get from standing to kneeling, slowly, and I've become an expert in picking things up off the floor with my toes/feet and bringing them up within hand reach. Joint hyper-mobility has come in handy! 
- Open car doors and some drawers.
- My posture is a lot better but not perfect. I am able to twist round & reach up much more easily. 
- Sit in a car, kind of. This is still really, really uncomfortable and I have to hold myself off the seat with my hands, but it is still progress. 
- Get in and out of the shower on my own. 

I still can't:
- Sit straight down on my bottom.
- Pick up Toby, although I can hold him for 2minutes if someone puts him in my arms. 
- Sit at a table to eat. 
- Sleep in a bed. I'm still on the sofa which is frustrating but getting in and out of bed is difficult when your stomach muscles don't really work. 

I have also been working really hard on my walking, which sounds ridiculous. It's mad how quickly you can go from a perfectly independent, able bodied person (minus the knee episodes) to someone who celebrates walking down the road and needs to follow it up with a nap. Over the past week I've built up to being able to walk for around 20 minutes, I'm getting faster and able to go further every day... Next stop marathon eh! 

This week I also had my first visit from a lovely friend. This hasn't been due to a lack of people wanting to visit but more me not feeling quite ready. When I'm feeling at my worst and my body is at it's weakest I tend to turn a bit recluse-like and surround myself with just my parents & brothers. My friends, of course, have been wonderful and I think totally get it. I needed to feel a little bit more myself and be in less pain before having people pop in. Seeing my friend Cara twice this week was so great, she bought round the Nandos I've been craving as well as sweets, ice cream and flowers. She really has been such an amazing friend throughout everything. I've got more visits planned for this week, so little by little I'm getting back to some kind of  'social life'.

I've also felt incredibly thankful to have received some really lovely packages. From the most stunning flowers and cards to the best smelling pamper products and a gorgeous watercolour set from a mystery sender. The thoughtfulness and kindest of people has been amazing, and really brightened up a really hard time. 

On Friday night, when things seemed to be going steadily in the right direction for a few days my tummy wound leaked a lot of fluid. This gave me a huge a shock and I really panicked. The wound had appeared to be healing really well so it took me completely by surprise. My parents were away and I rang Mum in floods of tears, I was convinced something awful had happened. Following Mums advice, I rang 111 & had a call back arranged from the out of hours Dr who assured me it was okay and not to panic. My brother, Sean, who was staying with me was brilliant and in the end I did calm down enough to fall asleep. The following day I headed to the out of hours, walk in clinic, with Sean, and a lovely nurse took a look to confirm it wasn't infected, which I was most concerned about. They think I had a little pocket of fluid underneath the wound and being more active had caused it to come through the skin. It's not the end of the world but it did really scare me. Since then I've had two brilliant district nurses come round to keep an eye on all the wounds. Once the scab & waterproof spray stuff had been lifted off my tummy wound, it turned out I have a little 2mm hole in the wound. It's kind of freaky but apparently extremely common and should still heal nicely over the next few days if all goes to plan. The nurses are now monitoring & treating the wound, they don't seem worried at all, so I'm trying to take their lead and relax. Aside from the little hole the rest of the wound is healing really well, it's currently a pink line which although a bit tender still, is very neat and the nurses think it will heal as a super thin white scar, which is such a relief! 
I've also developed two pressure wounds or bed sore type areas from being in the same sort of positions a lot of the time. These are also now being treated so I'll hopefully be a lot more comfortable soon. My four key hole & drain wounds are all great and already fading. The tail end wound is what has caused me a lot of stress despite it actually being fine (touch wood). I think it's because I can't see it and I know it is a notoriously tricky area to heal properly so it constantly plays on my mind. 

Ever since being at home I've had multiple mini crisis or panicked moments. I'm ultra paranoid about infection and wounds not healing. I'm scared of things deteriorating and ending up having to go back to hospital or needing more procedures. There's no reason to think that would happen but every night, especially for the first 10 days, I seemed to find something new to worry about. I think the toll of the past few months, the operation, the hospital stay and now the recovery has taken its toll on my stress levels. I didn't fully realise how debilitating and lengthy the recovery was going to be. Although I am making progress every day, it's going to be months before I'm back to normal. I am, however, making lists and plans for things to enjoy after the new year, once I'm a bit more back to myself. 

It's my birthday next week, which will be spent on the sofa as I still can't easily get out or sit down at all but I plan on celebrating once I'm a bit better. 
In the mean time, let's see what the next week holds!


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