Monday, January 08, 2007

home from hospital

I returned home this afternoon at about noon. I stayed in the hospital Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. I was given the choice to come home yesterday but I decided to remain there one more night so that the staff could watch me just one more time. I didn't want a problem to develop during my first night home and then, need to return to the hospital the next day.

My hospital room, 8-218B, faced the East River and Roosevelt Island just like the room that I had during my transplant. I was placed on the floor, where patients recover from surgery (non-emergency I think). During my first night there, my neighbor was a very friendly gentleman, whom had his appendix removed. After his discharge, he was replaced on Saturday by a middle-aged gentleman named Smith, whom had surgery to remove a part of his colon, where cancer had formed, and that had spread to his liver.

The release of gas from my body, I was told, is a sign that the intestines are beginning to function normally after the trauma of the surgery. (Although Dr. Dakin said that the intestines themselves weren't touched or moved, surgery in the abdomen still causes trauma on the body and that's why it takes some time for the intestines and the body at large to normalize.) As of Sunday I hadn't released any gas, so I stayed Sunday night in the hope that I'd eventually start to pass gas by today. Well, it happened. Yesterday evening while Su escorted me on one of my regular laps around the floor of the hospital (I was encouraged to walk regularly around the hospital floor to stimulate the release of flatulence as well to aid my overall recovery), I passed gas for the first time since the surgery. Since then, I've been doing it a lot more often though the gas itself has been very small and has had no odor. My abdomen has rumbled at times too with the feeling that gas is trying to get expelled. This is another good sign that my intestinal tract is slowly starting to get back on line. I have yet to have any bowel movements, however. That will come I was told.

The reason why gas is such an issue is because gas was pumped into my abdominal cavity during the laparoscopic splenectomy in order to aid the removal of my spleen. Dr. Dakin said that my abdomen is puffy at the moment, because of that gas. As the gas continues to be released, the size of my belly should subside.

My discharge orders were to not do any strenuous activity or lift anything too heavy. I was encouraged to walk as much as possible. With regards to food, I can eat what feels comfortable although since the surgery my appetite has been very small. I become full very quickly. For the next few days, I'll imagine that I'll continue to eat lightly. I was given a prescription of Percocet to alleviate pain.

I've been on a mostly liquid diet since the surgery. In the hospital, I was served the same thing at each meal: chicken broth, jello, apple juice, water, tea, and at least twice there appeared a slice of whole wheat bread. My mother bought several cans of soup for me and she prepared some cherry flavored jello too. There was a ripe avocado at home, which I tried and it went down quite well.

The left side of my abdomen where the three incisions were made is sore. Some times it is most painful when I attempt to rise or sit down. If I laugh, as Su and I have experienced, my abdominal hurts a lot or if I cough some times. Basically, any movement that may involve my abdominals muscles/diaphragm can hurt.

I'm supposed to see Dr. Dakin for a follow up appointment on Wednesday, January 17th. I will also see Drs. Decter and Coleman on the January 16th for consultation on the next step now that the splenectomy is complete.

I just need to make a shout-out to Su, my girlfriend, who has been so amazing through all of this. Enough can't be said about her. She and my other moms have been wonderful.

Here are some photographs from my hospital stay:


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