I forgot just how difficult certain things were after surgery. I remember having issues, but some things do get blurred with time. From the major cuts in my abdomen to the after-affects of the anesthesia to the side-affects of the pain meds, I am getting reminded rather quickly. The biggest issue is using the toilet. Not so much peeing, but pooping is more of a hassle. Not only do I have to factor in my Crohn's, but I also have to utilize obscure methods of force since I cannot fully use my core and I had to get my bowels moving again due to the anesthesia.
You read that last sentence properly, get my bowels moving again. Many people don't realize this, but anesthetics put your who body to sleep. Everything is shut down. And the last thing to restart after you wake up from the medically induced coma is your bowels. What that means is that you probably should save that 10 course meal for a few days since any food you do eat will be moving rather slow at the moment. Your best bet is to keep it small and soft. In addition to that, I find that drinking a lot of liquids helps me at this point since it will reduce the need for too much interaction from my core. My green juice helps in this respect a lot. Another thing I like to do is to take 2 cups of water and mix in 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon of REAL brand salt. With as much water as I drink at this point, the water-electrolyte mixture is helpful in making certain I don't ruin the electrolyte balance in my body while replenishing needed minerals and potassium.
The electrolyte solution is also helpful because of the side-affects of the pain medicine. If you are having a similar operation, chances are Hydrocodone or something similar will be given to you. You will take it, and if you don't at first, you will learn you should. It is just better to take it and slowly wean yourself off of it. For day one I was taking it every 4 hours until bed. I didn't take again for 12 hours and then I was taking every 8 hours. I can feel it, but the pain is manageable. I have lots of experience with this sort of pain; chances are if you have never dealt with something like this before you will be completely taken off-guard by how much pain you feel. The wonky feelings and suppression of pain aside, you will also notice that your bowels become a tad more difficult to budge. Yeah, that salt water solution I drink two to three times a day coupled with my green juice and soft food really makes my life easier.
Even with all of the precautions I put in place, my abdomen not only feels swollen but it also feels bloated. If you think I am being redundant, I am not. Think of it as having one person pushing on the inside and another person pushing on the outside directly at the point of incision -- yup, take those pain meds. I don't think the anesthesia fully wore off until about 18 hours after the surgery. At that point, the "relief" was much appreciated. As I remove the pain meds from my diet, I find that the last hurdle for me is the actual incision. So far, that means sucking in my gut, holding my belly at that position with both hands or with a pillow, and then allowing myself to do what comes naturally.
So far so good...and did I mention the abdominal wrap yesterday? I think I did. I love this thing. It makes me look like a dog that is being trained not to mark the curtains, but I don't care. It makes life so much more bearable. Where was this thing when I had the other surgeries?