I’ve been home from hospital for three days and recovering is hard work, both physically and mentally. Like most people I’m so used to being active and mobile so curbing what I do is hard and at times I have to remind myself to slow down.
My sleeping pattern has improved since being home although it has taken a few days. The first night was a struggle with back pain from 12 nights on an uncomfortable hospital bed had come back to haunt me. The next night a headache which had been plaguing me for 24 hours solid kept me awake. Finally, on the third night the headache finally subsided and I was able to get a good night’s sleep.
The abdominal pain is very gradually subsiding but I’m always aware of it. When walking I can feel some slight discomfort and as I’m a fast walking I find myself having to force myself to slow down to minimise that discomfort. I am managing to walk short distances but do find standing, such as waiting around, to be tiring.
The old bum is still causing issues mainly because it is still leaking the leftovers of the infection so the packing and dressings are adding to the awkwardness and pain of sitting down. I’m finding this part of the surgery to be the most restrictive. Sitting on most chairs is uncomfortable, even with a cushion.
Such a common bodily function but oh boy can it be excruciating when you’ve had abdominal surgery. It’s surprising how much of your body is involved in sneezing including your abdomen. Thankfully I don’t sneeze often but that means I can easily forget to brace my abdomen.
It’s been 13 days since my surgery so it’s still early days and I’m still trying to understand when my stoma wants to work. The current pattern is probably inaccurate due to the my bowel still recovering and the antibiotics I’m taking but eventually I’ll be able to determine a more regular pattern. Right now, my bowel goes to sleep with me and wakes up when I get out of bed (except for today!). Is this going to be the pattern going forward?
So far I’ve only had to change the bag in the comfort of my own home or in hospital. I have been out to the cinema a couple of time fully prepared for a change but the stoma has mainly been inactive. In a strange way I am sort of looking forward to having to change a bag whilst out as it’s another part of the learning experience that I can tick off.
As far as wind is concerned, it’s currently all quiet on the western front.
From a healing perspective, the stoma itself is healthy and most remnants of the surgery and sloughed off. It does occasionally bleed slightly when cleaning but that is to be expected at this stage of recovery. The swelling around the stoma still which causes the bag to protrude slightly remains but is subsiding.
Still experiencing the ‘phantom rectum’ on occasion. Woke up this morning thinking that I could really go to the toilet and obviously there’s nothing there. It wasn’t as if I needed to fill my bag as nothing has come out there either.
I don’t mind having a hangover when I’ve had the pleasure of a few beers and a good night out but having a hangover when you haven’t been drinking? A headache started on Saturday and then for the entirety of Sunday I was plagued with one of the worst ‘hangovers’ I’ve had and pain relief wouldn’t touch it. Based on the cocktail of drugs I’ve been taking it could well have been a side-effect but thankfully it has disappeared today.
Food and Drink
If you search for what not to eat and drink with a stoma, there are plenty of foods and drinks that you should avoid but as each body works differently I’m planning on trying as much as I can and seeing what happens. I’ll introduce the more risky foods gradually and if I’m going to have a really spicy curry I’ll make sure I’m fully prepared for what comes out.
I drink a lot of fizzy drinks and that is one of the items you are told to avoid but rather than cutting it out without trying I’ve been drinking as normal and have discovered that the majority of the gas is coming out through the mouth. Beer may be a different story and I’ll have to wait until the course of antibiotics is completed before trialling that.