Surgery – Complications & Recovery; Part 2

I DO NOT have the weight of the world on my shoulders and need to remember that!

(Note: This blog was written about my recent tummy tuck and arm lift surgery and the recovery process)

Monday 20th Feb – The pain is not too bad today  – I finally got out of my room and walked with one of the funnier nurses, i’ll call her Ye. She is an absolute cracker (this means she is extremely funny in Aussie slang for my American friends) and makes me laugh…  We walk up and down the ward a few times, and that is it – back to bed, wiped out again..but at least my hemoglobin levels are rising…  Mum came in after work and we went down to the cafe for a latte… It is the simple pleasures.

Tuesday 21st Feb – Had one drain tube removed today! One down 4 to go! I also went outside for the first time since admission and had coffee in the court yard! – Lovely day and I feel the last of summer slipping away as i am still stuck in here. Today was supposed to be the day I would get out… But given the complication of blood loss and still having tube in I will be here for a bit longer, House is not even talking release dates yet 😦

Wednesday 22nd Feb – Two more drains out today – Still get light headed easily and resting a lot. Went for a couple of small walks off the ward today. My Dad came in on his way past which was a good distraction. Not a lot to report, my pain levels increased a little tonight managing this has been a little hard, but pain means your healing right?

Thursday 23rd Feb – Well I awoke today in pain, big pain and I was also upset on top of that, I suppose being my 10th day in here was getting to me a little. For some reason I am feeling the pain in my arms and abdomen more, it is a burning aching feeling.. I struggled with pain management all day.

Thursday night turned into a bit of a farce.. I asked my nurse at 7:30pm for pain relief she never came back with it. I am not one to keep buzzing and annoy them and thought that she must be caught with another patient. But at 7:50pm the pain became worse, a lot worse. So I buzz again and 5 minutes later she comes in – sees the tears rolling down my face because of the pain ( I don’t like to cry by the way) and exclaims “Oh I forgot about your pain meds” scurries off and then comes back in (sheepishly) and gives them to me, and seeing that I am clearly upset, quickly leaves.

The problem is that the pain was full force now, and took ages to get back under control… The key with pain management after major surgery is to keep it at bay and take the meds on time otherwise if can become excruciating… A point lost on this nurse today.

I do want to add that although I have been harsh here, I have massive respect for Nurses. Two of my best friends are ICU nurses, my house mate is also a nurse, plus the nursing staff here have been amazing, most going above and beyond the call. For me the issue was the nurses attitude to me today, which was short and abrupt all day and then she snuck away after giving me my medication, not a great look really – but you get poor performers in every industry!

Friday 24th Feb – Day 11 Going a bit stir crazy, but got another tube out – Only one to go…House said that I can hopefully have the last one out tomorrow and be released! YAY – but it depends on how much fluid collects… I am literally willing it to stop… Power of positive thought can’t hurt, can it! The pain is a little better today. Have been very grateful for all my visitors and friends / family calling. On a bad note though I found out that my Grandpa fell over, tripping on a step and has fractured his pelvis! -He is currently in hospital too! – My parents have really hit the jackpot with both of us in!

Saturday 25th Feb – Day 12 I didn’t sleep well last night – I awoke to House and a Nurse coming into my room, House was on his early morning rounds, and, at 8:10am I got the news that I wasn’t going home. Still draining too much and the tube can’t come out; House explained that while sometimes they let people go home with one or two drains still in, he won’t release me today given the extreme heat and my continued low hemoglobin levels, he said he wants re-assess the drain tomorrow and hopefully I can go home then.

It takes all my energy not to cry when they are in the room. I fully understand his reasoning and know that it is made in my best interests… But I just want to go home, sleep in my own  bed, sit on my couch…

I call my friend Janelle who was going to pick me up and take home. She listens to me cry and assures me that I can continue to hold out. She comes to visit later together with her partner – they make me laugh and cheer me up. I have continued to receive many supportive texts and calls from friends and family, thanks guys – these are so very welcome.

One of the things that has surprised me is that I tire so easily, I still have to rest regularly after 12 days. I really didn’t think of that prior to surgery, I thought that I would be sore and tender, but the fatigue really does hit me hard a few times each day. I just spoke to one of my nurses who just dropped in to say hello.  She asked what I was doing and I explained about my blog and that I was writing about the fatigue.. She explained that it has hit me harder because of the lower hemoglobin levels and that my body may continue like this for a few more weeks. This means that I will need to reassess my plans for when I return home, building in short walks and naps over the course of the day.                                     But that’s OK because at least I will be home.

So, being excited about going home tomorrow may have been premature. It is 10:00pm now, and I was just about to post this when I decided to check the drainage bottle, it is already at 100ml, so I think that it is now unlikely that it will come out tomorrow, my nurse agreed… I am worn out, sad, I can’t get my hopes up anymore 😦 that being said I should be more grateful for the good care I get here!

Will keep you updated in the next installment.

Till then, Lin xox


Surgery Day Reflections – Here we go!

Riding the wave of emotion all the way to Surgery Day (Those Stay Puff arms soon to be gone!)

(Note: This blog was written over a few days and is about my tummy tuck and arm lift surgery)

I had dinner out tonight (Monday night 13th Feb) ate some lovely seafood and a few laughs with a friend – my last supper before surgery. Got home, packed my case for hospital, gave myself a pedicure with a lovely foot soak, tried to calm down. But it is now 3:30am and I still cant shut my mind down! It is the day of my surgery now, a day that I have been waiting for for many months. I have turned on the Macbook because sleep seems elusive, and my mind is racing. I turn it on to get all these niggling thoughts out of my head….


I had to stop writing above it wasn’t really helping – It is now 4:30am,(Tuesday 14th Feb) Writing usually helps me deal with stuff, but I just had a bit of a panic attack – this has only happened a few times in my life where the physical symptoms become unbearably palpable.

My heart started to race, constrict and I felt like I was about to have a heart attack… I knew almost straight away that it was a panic attack, my chest hurt, my back hurt – and a headache was brewing..I also knew that I needed to calm down; given I am about to go into surgery in less than 12 hours I can’t take a calmative or any type of pain killer. So I grabbed my heat pack, popped it in the microwave for 3 minutes and tried to walk and breathe through the pain. I used the heat pack over my back chest and head and heat then began to release the muscles. I then called my friend Janelle and she talked to me for a bit, reassuring me, helping me to breath and work through it… It all helps and I feel calmer now, just opened up the Macbook to type what happened – for some reason it feels important to get it all down… I have to stop all food and fluids at 7am. I am tired now – will have a quick sip of water and try to get a few hours sleep.


I wake at around 9:30am, shower, blow dry the hair, dress and change the bed (I love coming home to fresh sheets) Everything is packed, the day is here and my Mum picks me up to take me to the hospital.

We arrive at the hospital for my 12pm admission and I am taken through to the surgery waiting ward. Next the fashion stakes go up! I gown up in the lovely backless frock that hospitals specialize in, but I do get a nice terry toweling robe for modesty. I also get to wear lovely white compression stockings and a red colored hair net, I strategically (and to pass the time) place the hair net to one side to look like a raspberry beret, then spend the afternoon singing the Prince song to myself…

While I am supposed to go through for surgery at 2pm, I don’t end up going through until around 4:30pm – This doesn’t help with the nerves but I am so tired from lack of sleep I doze in and out, Mum does a good job of keeping me distracted, they come to take me to theatre and I say goodbye to mum. When I get to the holding area I am encouraged to hear some decent music coming from theatre. I joke about the music not being a fan of country music with House (my surgeon) while he marks out all the all the excess skin he is going to chop off a with a Sharpie. The anesthetist gives me some sleeping juice and the last thing I remember is moving onto the operating table….

I don’t remember much from that night – I remember my nurse explaining that I can just press the morphine pump for pain relief, and I vaguely remembered my house mate (who is a nurse at the same hospital) stopping by after her shift (she tells me the next day that I told her to go so she wouldn’t miss her train:) )

In the morning I am told by my nurse that I am not really using the pain pump that much, she asks if I am in pain- I am but don’t want to hit the button – We realize why I am reluctant because when I begin to use it more it makes me nauseated and I am promptly sick. Apparently Mr Morphine pump and I are not going to get along, despite really wanting a relationship him, he is too strong for me, overwhelming and just makes me sick rather than feel better (someone say toxic relationship 😦 ) The Nurses clear with Dr House for me to switch over to a few types of pain tablet and this concoction is much better…

Surprisingly I feel ok by Wednesday afternoon. House and a hospital physician tell me I am still losing a bit of blood through the drainage tubes that are coming out of my arms and stomach (gross right!) and everyone comments that I am a little pale, after blood tests  this is discovered to be due to low Hemoglobin Levels. The Doctors tell me they plan to give me an iron infusion the next day… I have my mum and then later a friend visit Wednesday night  – This makes me feel better, and I think that I am on the road to recovery… While I can’t really get out of bed by Wednesday night I feel quite good & I am hopeful that recovery will continue on this trajectory… Unfortunately things aren’t to pan out quite as smoothly as I would hope…But that will have to wait till the next blog post…                          Till then,

Lin xox