Saturday, 17 January 2015

Bed rest

Day one post-op - Wednesday

The whole bed rest period follows a common theme, very little happens with the occasional piece of activity to break the monotony up. Wednesday, I emerged from the tough night and actually felt fairly good. Liz Hills arrives early on and soon after she comes in with Mr. Thomas. He said a brief few words about how it went, it was all looking good and because he was off teaching for a time, I was in Liz's hands. He left quickly and I realised I never even got the chance to thank him.

Something I felt from the start of the day was the absence of testosterone in my system. Maths suggested it would be gone within 15-18 hours and I felt that peace in my mind I have felt when on the oestrogen. My skin feels less greasy already and later in the day the hot flushes made an appearance.

After my clear fluid breakfast of jelly, consomm√©, black coffee and juice, the first order of business was a bed bath. This is not an easy task post-op and is made even more difficult by the fact I was having to lie flat to keep fluids from accumulating in the surgical site. Shaving is also not easy on your back but I got through it and then the nurses changed the bedding. 

Everything cleaned up and then it was pretty much wait the day out. My difficulty was passing the time, I couldn't use the laptop on my back, TV was boring and I found it hard to read for much longer than 20 minutes. There was the occasional interruption from the nurses doing their observations but because I was doing so well, they reduced even that. Mandy visited in the afternoon but I was starting to become plagued by a new problem, trapped wind. She went home because I was getting tired and I spent a very difficult evening and night with agonising abdominal pain. I broke down in tears at 3.00 am saying to the nurse I couldn't carry on. This was one time that I actually had a fleeting regret for what I had done. She got some diazepam, we had tried everything else, and that at least got me a few hours of painful sleep.

Day two post-op - Thursday

Even with the problems of the night, I felt better once morning had arrived. Today was still clear fluid diet until the evening so it was still the unexciting jelly, consomme, etc! Once this was consumed, it was a case of waiting for the nurses to change over. I have found during the mid morning, I tend to become very weepy. There is no clear trigger, but it's often after I sit back after breakfast and reflect a little.I am not too sure what I am crying about, but I sit there for a good 10-15 minutes letting it all out. I am not trying to hard to work out the reason, I just go with it. As a rough guess, I think I am releasing all the pain and distress getting to this point.

Today's highlight was the removal of my drains, two tubes draining out excess fluid from the surgical site. I was very pleased to see Vicky at 9.00 opening the door and saying she was looking after me. All the staff here have been excellent but it is inevitable you develop a rapport with one or two. She has to sort other things out and then she arrives with her tray of tools. Not only does she have to remove the drains, she also has to redress the surgical site.

She slowly starts to peel back the bandaging and there is a little twinge as she knocks the two drains. She peels of more tape but leaves the vaginal packing in place. The dressing is pulled away and then it's time to pull out the drains. I know this may hurt because I am told to take deep breaths and relax. Three or four are taken and out comes the first one. It was a very stingy sensation and I was surprised how deep they had been. Vicky says she is on a roll and she'll go for the second one after a few more breaths. We are finally done with this and she holds gauze over the wounds to stop the bleeding. 

It's then time to redress the area which has the double effect of holding the pack in. She places the dressing over the and then places surgical tape from my belly around to my bum cheek. Whilst doing this, she pulls tight with the aim to push the pack firmly back into the vagina. For the first time, I can feel the pack moving inside of me and interesting is about the only word I can use to describe this. It was certainly not painful and was more pleasant than not. Yep, we'll just have to leave it at interesting.

That's the major excitement of the day over and it's wait it out until the next main event, the evening meal. Finally, I get to eat some solid food! It's only some toast, a pot of tea with milk and jelly but it is a real feast after the liquid diet I have been on. I am even asked what I want for breakfast and although it's not quite a full English, cereal and toast still sounds fantastic. My wind was easing and I was expelling large amounts of it which was reducing my abdominal pain. I also had a much easier night, not a massive amount of sleep but pain free.

Day three post-op - Friday

Today was to be another bland day, just bed rest and nothing else. Breakfast seemed a treat after the liquid diet and I was asked what I wanted for my other meals. Having to choose was overwhelming because I was not used to it! After breakfast, I had my ritual weeping session and again, it has no real reason to it. The crying has neither a positive or negative overtone but has a very beneficial aftermath because I feel like I have just given in and accepted my feelings.

Liz Hills popped in again and we had quite a long chat. She told me a few stories of less co-operative patients and they were quite shocking, who would want to put their outcome at risk by not doing what was asked? I talked about my weeping and she said it is common although I do not fit the typical person who would have this so it must run a little deeper. She left, and then returned shortly with Mr. Thomas again. This was a surprise and I actually got a little more from him this time. It was not a chat but I did make a point of thanking him and we shook hands with some genuine warmth. The man is an enigma for sure and I wonder what he is really like?

My bed bath today was an extra treat, the nurse offered to wash my hair. This felt so good after not being done since Monday and with all the grease from the days of testosterone. 

I also had to ask for my pack to be looked at because it felt loose to me, and sure enough, it was. A very experience nurse was called for and she strapped another piece of tape across. I had found it difficult to get comfortable all day, and then suddenly it was much easier to lie in bed.

My lunch was a lovely affair; Chicken, mash, carrots and gravy! Just having a plate of proper food was amazing and I was hard pressed not to lick the plate clean afterwards! I even asked Mandy to bring a bar of chocolate when she visited. Whether this was allowed or not, I was not sure but I couldn't see anything saying I wasn't allowed it! That chocolate was amazing!

After Mandy and Susan had left, I started developing a strange sensation of wanting to wet myself. This was different to the feeling I had had on the day of surgery, where I had an urge to urinate from the appendage of old, this felt like it was coming from the new exit. It got stronger as time went on and whilst on the phone to a friend it became so intense, I felt like I was actually holding my urine in. I called a nurse in, and she emptied my very full bag but it didn't clear the feeling. When the staff changed for the evening, the night nurse introduced herself and asked if there were any problems. I explained and she thought it might be a nerve reconnecting somewhere. She asked me to relax, give in to the urge and try to wee.  I did so and nothing happened although the urge did not go away. At least I knew that I was not going to suddenly be lying in a pool of urine.

The night was by far the best I had had and I managed nearly 6 unbroken and pain free hours of sleep.

Day four post-op - Saturday

I had my early morning painkillers with the advisement that they would help me mid morning when I got up for the first time and sat in the chair. However by 7.45 I was asked if I wanted to have my breakfast in the chair. I agreed it would be nice and we prepared for the massive process of getting out of the bed and walking over to said chair.

The top sheet was pulled out of the way, my catheter bag and tube were unclipped from the bed and I gently rolled over and sat on the edge of the bed. I was being advised every step of the way and I took some deep breaths before standing up. I didn't feel dizzy as was being suggested and I stood there for 15 seconds before starting to move towards the chair. For someone who did a run of over 13 miles three weeks ago, those 4 or 5 short steps took some serious effort. I literally had to command my legs to move. I got to the chair and as I'd been told, lowered myself extremely gently into it. It was not that comfortable because of the pressure of the pack but it was fantastic to have my breakfast sat up in that chair. It was also nice to see the view from the window at a different angle and it painted a lovely frosty scene with the sea beyond it.

Breakfast over and 30 minutes sat with my pack pressing into me was enough. I got back up and to the edge of the bed. I felt comfortable staying stood and we decided to do part of my bed bath whilst I was this way. Semi-cleaned, I got back into bed feeling very satisfied. One of the catering staff arrives and hands me the menu for the day. I am allowed to choose proper food now and it is almost overwhelming! 

The day is a slow day, again not much happens until later in the afternoon where I am sat in the chair again for 30 minutes. This was a little more uncomfortable perhaps because everything is still a little shell-shocked from the morning. 

We get to now on Saturday evening as I'm about to publish and I look ahead to tomorrow. This is a much anticipated day as it's the day of the pack removal and dilation begins. It also means that I finally get to see my new vagina. Exciting!

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