My fever and nausea resolved last night, so I no longer feel sick, which is a remarkable improvement. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much sleep as either the dilaudid or steroids (or some combination) only wanted to let me sleep in 10-15 minute spurts, so I’m fairly exhausted. I also continue to have severe pain across my abdomen, which is my biggest current obstacle. My wife tells me I was in similar discomfort after my first surgery, but I don’t remember it being quite as bad — it’s amazing what the mind can block out.
The biggest source of pain is on my left side where my JP Drain comes out. It is EXTREMELY sensitive, with electric shooting pain if the surrounding skin is merely grazed or if I twist wrong. The pain is not limited to the surface, but extends deep into my torso. By far the worst aspect of it is when they “bleed” my drain line to clear any clots. With my previous drain in June, this process was painless. With the current drain, bleeding the line sends intense radiating pain through my abdomen and into my penis and scrotum. This is the side of my body where the inflammation was worst, so they think the pain is likely caused by the vacuum pressure created by bleeding the line in this sensitive area and/or because the drain line itself may be a adjacent to some nerves and any jostling triggers a reaction. Whatever it is, it hurts, and we’re bleeding the line as infrequently as possible.
Making matters a little worse today, I forgot that the JP Drain was pinned to my robe when I was changing clothes, and I accidentally tugged on the line, which not only caused a bit of pain, but also sent some nasty looking fluids dripping down my leg instead of into the drain. It was not very pleasant, but what can you do? You bite your lip, clean yourself up (or, if you’re lucky, have your wife help do it), and get on with your day.
Writing all of that, it’s tough to believe that I could consider this a good day, but I do. I was with my wife and mother-in-law nearly all day. Some good friends came and sat with me for a couple hours tonight, which was super nice and fun. I was able to walk several times around the unit with much less difficulty than yesterday. My breathing in the incentive spirometer is much improved. My new ileostomy is moving gas and some liquid, which is a good thing, and they advanced me to clear liquids this afternoon. They were also ready to remove my catheter, but I asked them to keep it a little longer because I think that my pain would have made it too difficult to make it to the bathroom. I am not interested in moving fast. I have all the time in the world, so even as they try to speed my recovery, I will be doing what I can to keep it cautious and measured.