Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Laparotomy part II

morning alert: MY STOMACH IS DEFORMED. and I am actually not referring to the shark-biteesque 10 inch scar across my "bikini" (they call it that, i am just using *their* technical term) I am referring to my stomach profile which, no matter how big or small has always sort of sloped from my waist into a little hill and leisurelyily( not a word) rounded down using length rather than width. now it is like...a little shelf. a thick, rounded shelf. it JUTS out from my waist and pelvis. it is like a cartoon, which julia has always accused me of being anyway. oh the humanity! ok, people in sudan, brothel kids in india. i'm fine. shelf-stomach is fine. deep breath.

so yeah. farting. recovery from a laparotomy is all about farting, okay, "passing gas". your entire diet, mode of pill and fluid intake (IV vs. Oral), and discharge depend on you passing gas. it's like a little chain reaction that isnt activated until gas is passed. and they don't tell you why, but i will. it is because, when you have traumatic surgery on your abdomen, your bowels sort of paralyze and peristalsis stops and passing gas is the first sign that things are moving. and if they give you food when things arent moving, it could just pile up and you could barf or have complications. and no, burping doesn't count as passing gas. example: they would like to take my IV out and give me the "stronger" pain medication, but...have i farted yet? no? oh,sorry. here's your clear liquid diet. i became very fond of chicken and beef broth and *certain* flavors of jello--no they are not all equal. why did i get orange like 80 times? it is the bastard child of lemon yellow and cherry red, both superior flavors. finally when my candy striper came around and asked if i needed anything i said "yes, i NEED red jello" and she diligently gave me some. but you can't force the fart. especially because your abdominal muscles are dead. so what could you even use?

i had a kickass room. i cannot tell you how i pity anyone who has to share a room while recovering. i however had my own little room in the pediatrics ward with 2 big windows that let in lots of light and occasionally delighted viewers with a picture of my ass where the gown didnt cover, as i hobbled to the bathroom. i also had Get Well tv which has lots of channels and lots of first rate on-demand movies. not that i could stay awake long enough for a whole movie. i fell asleep in the middle of just scrolling through the list the first time. had a little bathroom, a little sink area where i could painfully bathe myself, a completely nonsequitur goethe quote about piety, a window seat i could not bear to sit on, and lots of gorgeous flowers provided my friends. i'll have pics soon.

speaking of which, my friends have been awesome. i've been feeling very loved. charity and karina have come over and lounged with me and given me wacky news of the day and played games and just been all-around there for me in every way. jennifer came twice and brought me some blueberry pomegranate juice that i am now totally addicted to. and many others of you have sent very sweet cards and flowers all of which make me feel very loved. my family also stepped up, my mom/dad and gma/gpa were there multiple times a day. my aunt barb and mark came every day too and were totally cool with me passing out midsentence.

I am now in the capable care of my grandmother and grandfather who have red jello and comfort food like cream of rice and who have made me mustard greens (though let's just say they weren't as *gentle* on my recovering digestive system as other things I have eaten) I have a little room o'healing. they also don't wake me up every two hours in the night to take my vitals or check my scar or inject me with anti-clotting crap. still, I have come into a few interesting challenges now that I am in more familiar surroundings:

You forget that you cant sleep on your stomach after abdominal surgery. It seems pretty obvious, but i keep automatically trying to flip onto my belly/side with knee out as i have done for decades and then am hit with excruciating pain. and the thing is that i have incredibly vivid dreams/nightmares when i sleep on my back. and in the hospital you are in this molded bed and so hopped up on meds that you drift off immediately and know you cant flip over because your whole body is like grooved into the bed. not so at home.

you cant lift things. they tell you this, but you don't get it until you try it.

well, i've gotta go take my walk and my nap.


Blogger Amy said...

you sleep how i sleep! I love it. i hate when i have to sleep on my back; takes forever to fall asleep. i'm really glad you've had lots of peeps taking good care of you. praying for a quick recovery!
love, hugs, and pudding pops,

4:04 PM  
Blogger Naomi said...

We were talking about you at lunch and how you're a superstar. Love you.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Allison KwaH (laparotomy "sister") said...

hi! I'm taking a shot in the dark that you'll get this as you posted it 4 years ago and your last post on this blog was in 2011 but I reaaaally would like to speak to someone who had a laparotomy. I've just had one 2 weeks ago for endometriosis and I am have a tough time at it. The hormones gping crazy And this shelf and bloated preggo belly is so depressing. (does it EVER go away :( i went in with a six pack flat as aboard stomach!) I know of noone else whose had this to give me any advice/personal exerpeince and knowledge. If you would be so kind as to email me it would be GREATLY appreciated. Many many thanks. allisonkwah@hotmail.com

4:42 PM  
Blogger Nazish Dar said...

I just had laparotomy two weeks ago.. I have started walking a little. My tummy is also shapeless n im missing my old one :-( flat n shelf type.. my sister says it will go away but right now im not feeling good about it. Also my tummy center line is not straight I guess the doc did something wrong while stitching :-@

1:03 AM  

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