Sunday, July 6, 2008

What to expect when you have a hernia surgery...part 2

Day 1 of recovery

We set up one of our newly found patio lounge chairs in the living room with a pillow and a blanket so that my husband could recline and take the pressure off his wound. The first day of recovery consisted mostly of rest, lounging around the house, watching movies, and drinking lots of liquids. It was hard for him to do much else with all the pain. The doctor had prescribed him vicodin for the pain, but he didn't want to be dependent on it, so he took them when he couldn't bear it (about 1 or 2 per day).

The doctor said that he wasn't able to take a bath or a shower, because he couldn't get the suture wet, however he still smelled of iodine, so I was able to very carefully give him a sponge bath. This was a difficult task in and of itself as he was still very tender and difficult to move with all the busing and swelling that the surgery had caused.

His diet was very light; I believe he just had some crackers, toast, and lots of water and Gatorade. He had to wear his loose fitting PJ's or scrubs during the first few days of recovery, so that the incision area wasn't causing him pain. All in all the first day was kind of rough and required a lot of time off his feet.

Day 2 of recovery

Going to the bathroom on his own... what an achievement! He was still in a lot of pain, but was able to get up out of bed without holding on to the book shelf or needing me to assist him. He said he felt great and was able to get up and around just fine, so we decided to go to a friend's house for the fourth of July. Today he was also able to shower, however we decided to leave the bandage on just to be safe. He was able to eat regular food again at the fourth of July party, but still ate less then he usually does, but the burger went down just fine, and didn't seem to have any adverse effects. The ice pack was very helpful to reduce the swelling and bruising.

Day 3 of Recovery: Took bandage off

Today he was able to take the bandage off! It was so strange to see a bit of his flesh pieced together by staples, as if his seam had popped and was mended by an amateur seamstress. The Iodine was able to mostly wash off in the shower, but the bruising is still around the effected area. ICE has become his friend.

He is much more mobile, so it looks like he will be able to go back to work after the weekend is over. Since his job requires a lot of heavy lifting, some of his co-workers have offered to help. It should be a fairly relaxed work week ahead.

Day 7 of Recovery: Took staples out

My husband went in for his follow-up appointment and the doctor took the staples are out. There is less pressure on and around the suture area now that the staples have been removed and the skin is released. Half of the incision has healed, and the other half opened up a bit when the staples were removed. The doctor re-assured us that this is normal (even though it's hard to look at) it's actually beneficial to get all the "old blood" (the blood that has been sitting underneath the skin since the surgery).

Fresh bandages and tape are to be applied over the suture area, and needed to be changed often as they would get saturated in "old blood". We had to tape the area really well, as we had a few mishaps with leakage.

Day 11 of Recovery: Bleeding out of suture beginning to lessen and pain is subsiding.

The wound is beginning to heal on it's own, and the need to take the prescribed vicodin is becoming less and less. He is able to get around just fine, but he still has to be careful when lifting heavy things...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What to expect when you have a hernia surgery...

Some of you might be unaware of what a hernia is, let alone what to expect from a hernia surgery. I assure you that it's not an uncommon procedure, lots of people have them. 
A hernia is usually brought on by lifting heavy objects, causing the abdominal wall to tear or weaken. This can allow intestines to protrude outside the abdominal wall, which can be painful or uncomfortable at times. 
Sometimes hernia surgeries are not always necessary. Depending on the location/type of hernia you have it might not need correction, but some hernias are more serious then others. I recommend consulting a hernia specialist if you have a hernia, to find out if a hernia correction surgery is necessary. (Here's a website with more information about hernias).
My husband first noticed his hernia about 8 years ago, but his wasn't as serious as others, just the occasional pain or discomfort when he was more active. It seemed about the right time to finally get it taken care of so here's our story we hope it proves to be helpful to those of you undergoing the same procedure...
The Day of the Surgery
My husband and I went to the hospital at the appointed time, filled out the necessary paperwork and waited to be called in. Once inside the pre-op area, the nurse took my husbands vitals and then lead us to a pre-op room where he was able to change into a hospital gown, hair net, and socks. As we waited, we were able to meet all the doctors and nurses, who would be performing the surgery. One last visit from the anesthesiologist then my husband was taken into surgery, and I was sent to the waiting room.
Behind the OR doors my husband was administered a general anesthetic "twilight sleep" and then a local anesthetic at the incision sight. Then the surgeon was able to start the surgery. The whole procedure took about an hour and then I was called back into the recovery room. When I got there my husband was just starting to wake up from his twilight sleep...
He was a bit groggy when I asked him how he was feeling, but responded with "oooh... intense pressure in my side..." Later when I asked him what he could remember he said he remembered looking at the clock, when they gave him the anesthetic, and not a minute passed before he had fallen asleep. The next thing he remembers is talking to me and the nurse, but couldn't remember some of our initial conversation.
The nurse then had me go down to the pharmacy and get his vicodin prescription while he filled out some paperwork. When I got back, my husband was a bit more awake, but still in a lot of pain. They gave him a few doses of morphine through the IV to help with the pain, as well as some juice to get him to pee. 
Usually you are supposed to go home a couple hours after the surgery, so that your in a relaxed environment when you start to wake up from the atheistic fully. For us that wasn't the case, we ended up waiting two to three hours later then we should have, because our nurse was really concerned that my husband hadn't peed yet (which we later found out from another nurse that it's not really an issue). 
It was starting to get late and our nurse's shift was about to end, so I signed the discharge papers and the nurse insisted that my husband to try to go pee before we left. So I helped my husband to the bathroom and after a short while he started burning up and complaining that he was feeling nauseous. So I asked the nurse to come help take him back to the room (in a wheel chair). On the way back my husband threw up all over the floor. It was brought on by all the movement and because the anesthesia wasn't out of his system yet. We laid him down back in the room, and in a short while were finally able to go home.
That night was quite exhausting as my husband continued to spew his guts out, only to find short relief when is stomach went dry. Drinking more water and Gatorade proved to serve as ammo for his stomach, and it  hurled more punches into his already pained abdomen. Finally he fell asleep and was able to rest... 
To be continued...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Two lounge chairs on the side of the road... cost zero dollars... relaxation after a hernia surgery... an act of God

Two days before my husbands surgery I happened to find a pair of lounge chairs that had been meticulously placed on the side of the road along with a bunch of other used and broken stuff. After careful examination, and trying to figure out how to configure the mess into something that resembled a chair, I decided to take it home and surprise my sweet husband with it.

The wood was a bit worn and the fabric was a bit faded and dusty, so I decided to spray them down and rub mineral oil on the wood. Here's how they turned out...

I set the two of them up on either side of a little demi table that my grand-mother-in-law gave us a week or two ago, with a few napkins and a candle. 

Coupled with some smoothies, that were coincidentally the same color as the chairs, made for a nice relaxing evening.

I'm sure my husband could have gotten by just fine without them, but God was so gracious in providing us with these two chairs anyway! Praise God, now my husband can relax more comfortably during his recovery!