Monday, November 25, 2013

Sex, Menses, and Nudity

What's been going on since my last recovery post?  Not much, everything is going well.  I'm feeling close to normal.  I will point out a few things about my recovery that I didn't mention in previous posts, though.  The following can be considered private or touchy material which is why I originally didn't mention some of them.

1.  Although my libido is healthy and rarin' to go, my husband is scared of hurting me.  According to the doctor I was fine to have sex, as long as I felt up to it, as of two weeks post op.

2. I have always been a very vivid and active dreamer.  I always remember my dreams, but for almost a month after surgery I rarely remembered a dream.  This may have been because my sleep was so broken, but I'm not sure.

3. My November period was nearly two weeks late.  This is a common occurrence after major surgery.  Your hormones get all messed up and it can take some time for things to get back to normal.

4. For about three weeks after surgery, food tasted off, almost like it was going bad.  Not all food, just some things.  I'm not sure if this was because of some medication, or more likely because of the pinched occipital nerve in the back of my head which can cause some numbness of the right side of the face, which, I assume, can effect the taste buds on the right side of the tongue?

5. One of the main things I missed for over a month was the simple act of picking up my cat and cradling her in my arms like an infant as I walked around the house.  I wasn't allowed to pick up anything over five pounds for the first two weeks and anything over ten pounds until week twelve.  Although as of today I am only on week five, I started picking her up...she's not much more than ten pounds.  I only lift her up into my lap, I don't carry her around, yet.

6.  For about a week and a half after surgery I could see better without my glasses, but then my vision went back to the way at was before.  I have no idea why this happened.

7.  For the first three weeks post op, I had some random mood swings.  Most often when these happened it was a sudden burst into tears for apparently no reason.  Other times it was anger or, more accurately, frustration.  This is normal after major surgery and usually clears itself up within a few weeks.

8. One of my medications has manifested in me an annoying side effect, restless leg syndrome.  Thank goodness it is a mild version and only bothers me for up to two hours after I take my pill.  Another annoying side effect of one of my medications is a runny nose.  It is a very watery running and can happen suddenly at any given moment.  One minute I'm fine and the next it is like my faucet starts to drip!

9. I have found that I am one of those people who have no qualms about displaying my war wounds.  I am by no means proud of them, but I find no shame or embarrassment in them.  These scars are part of who I am, and if anything, they are a story for the whole world to see: "This woman has been through a lot, and now she is stronger for it."

10.  It is hard to stay down.  I am supposed to rest a lot. Yes, the doctor says I need to walk and get some very mild exercise (20 minutes a day of walking) but I need to rest a lot. I just can't sit on my ass all day!  I've got shit to do, man!  I may not be an athlete or super active, but I get way too antsy just sitting around "healing" all day. 

I see the doctor again on December 6th, we'll see what he thinks about how my healing is going.  In my opinion, I'm doing great.  I feel good, not near "normal" yet, but better than I was.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

White Trash Double Magical Beach Wedding

Weirdest dream ever.

In a small town in Maine lived a group of people who, over the generations, had become a very tight knit community.  This community had little money, education, or teeth, but they were deeply religious and had each other.

Missy Jane loved Edgar Jay with all her heart, and Missy's cousin, Mary Jo, loved Jimmy Ray with all of her's.  The two couples could not marry, though, because the mystical spirits would not allow it.  No one knew why the spirits got angry every time the question of these two deeply in love couple's marrying came up, but they did.  The sky would turn dark, the wind would howl, and sometimes members of the community would fall ill.

One Sunday, right in the middle of Pastor Billy's service, Missy Jane came crashing through the doors of the First Southern Baptist Church of Our Saviour Jesus Christ You Dad-Gum Know It yelling that she had found a way.

"Look! Look!  I found a way to git us hitched!"  She hollered as she ran to the front pew where sat her love Edgar Jay.

In Missy Jane's hand she held a locket.  It was an old locket, silver with etchings of a fox surrounded by tall grass.  When Missy Jane opened the locket, it was empty.

"What about it?"  Edgar Jay asked, confused.

"If we go and get married on the beach and put some sand in here and keep it forever, we can be married!"

Edgar Jay looked at his love with an expression of doubt.

"As long as the sand stays in the locket here, we can stay hitched without angering the spirits."  She smiled big.

"OK, well how in hell we gonna git the whole town to the beach?"  Edgar Jay asked.

"Yeah, you now Jimmy Ray can't travel far seeing's how he's so big."  Mary Jo spoke sadly as she looked to the back of the church to the only spot her man could fit.

"We'll do it at White Sands beach, it ain't pretty or big, but it's less than a mile from here."  Missy Jane explained.

That very day the entire town packed up their trucks and campers, stayed dressed in their Sunday best, and drove out to the beach to marry the two couples.  Just before the ceremony started, Missy Jane took a pinch of sand from the beach and placed it into her magical locket and closed it up forever.

Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm good, I'm good

*As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it: 

It is time for another update on my heart surgery recovery.  I'm thinking this one will be short because there really isn't much to report.  All is pretty quiet right now.  This is a good thing, I think.

I have not been in contact with my doctor in a couple of weeks.  He had asked me to call in and report my blood pressures and how the swelling in my feet had been doing.  When I called in, of course, the nurse was the one to speak with me (the doctor is always in surgery).  She took a note that my blood pressures had been creeping up and the swelling in my feet was going down, and said the doctor would call me back later that day.  He never did.

I went in to the office three days later to drop off some paperwork for disability, and while I was there I also took the opportunity to drop off a detailed list of my blood pressures ( which were now slowly dropping again).  I happened to cough while I was there and the nurse was concerned that I still had a cough after nearly a month.  I told her it was a dry cough and quite persistent.  She didn't say anything but her expression was one of mild concern.  She finally asked if I was still using the breathing toy to exercise my lungs.  I am, and am getting stronger, but the cough persists.

As far as problems or, more accurately, irritations go, I am still having trouble with the pinched occipital nerve on the back of my head.  It sometimes feels like it is getting better, but at other times feels as if it is just as bad as ever.  I feel as if the back of my head is deeply bruised and so very sensitive to any touch.  Also, sometimes the right side of my face goes slightly numb and I get a sharp pain behind my right eye.

When I first returned home from the hospital, I experienced a rash in my armpits and groin area.  I had thought it was because of chafing, but then, despite thorough cleaning and drying, it became more moist and smelly.  I treated it with clotrimazole cream and that seemed to slowly take care of the issue.  Even though my pits and groin are good now, I have developed a rash under my left boob.  I don't know why I am getting these rashes, I am bathing normally ( no more sponge baths) and am sure to dry thoroughly. My mom tells me these things can be a normal occurrence after major surgery.

I am starting to have more sensation in my chest now.  Since the surgery, my chest, along the incision, and inner halves of my breasts have been completely numb.  This is a good thing since without the numbness I am sure I would have experienced a whole lot of pain.  Every now and then my incision feels powerfully itchy and I have to resist the urge to scratch.  Also, sometimes I get sharp shooting pains in my breasts and along the incision or in my shoulders, but they only last a couple seconds and then are gone.

The incisions on my left inner thigh, where they took one of the veins, have been sore and feel bruised.  This is simply because of the location.  I am a chubby woman and so you can imagine the rubbing and pressure these incisions have to endure whenever I walk or lay down on my side.  They are healing very well despite the abuse, though.

Speaking of weight, According to my bathroom scale, I have lost a total of ten pounds since surgery.  I am thinking this is because of the healthier diet.  I am disappointed that I haven't lost more, though.  But I have to take into consideration that I am on restricted activity orders.  I walk around the house a lot and do very light activity, but can't do anything close to even mild exercise.

Sleeping is much better these days.  I can sleep comfortably on either side now and  have even found that I can, for short stints, sleep flat on my stomach!  These are my natural sleeping positions so sleeping is very comfortable and restful now.  The only problem is when I need to change positions it takes me a good minute just to roll over because of the stiffness and soreness in my chest.  I am still healing and far from back to normal, so I still need to be very careful whenever I move.

My energy level has sored in the last week and a half.  I still have to move slowly or else I get short of breath.  I still get tired easily, but I can do much more before I get to the point of needing to sit and rest, or take a nap.  Like I have said, I am far from being back to normal, but I can see and feel improvement everyday.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Faint Drowning with Acid

 *As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it:

I suppose it is time for another update on how my healing progress is going here at home.  I had heart surgery, a triple bypass, on October 18th and have been home since October 24th.  I have already written about my first several days home, so this update will pick-up from there.

On Tuesday, October 29th, I had to get some blood-work and a chest X-ray done in preparation for my first post-op exam.  My husband drove me to the lab in Selma at 6:45 in the morning.  He had to get to work so he dropped me off all on my own.  Here I was, weak and exhausted already and the day hadn't even gotten started yet.  I stood third in line with my cane, heart pillow, and purse, all of which felt like they weighed a combined fifty pounds.  Thank the gods that I didn't have to stand too long and the blood-work was done quickly...even though they had trouble finding a good vein.

After the blood-work, I was supposed to wait for my mom to show up and take me across the street to the hospital to get the chest x-ray done.  But I was in and out of the lab so quickly, I thought I could walk across the street easy enough and mom could just pick me up there.  I'm so smart, aren't I?  The short walk across the street and through the hospital parking lot (it is a small, and I mean small, hospital) would have taken a healthy person all of three minutes, It took me probably close to fifteen.  By time I got to the waiting room I was so exhausted, and several people asked me if I was OK.

I called my mom and told her where I was.  She showed up less than five minutes later.  My doctor had forgotten to put a reason for the x-ray on his order so the hospital had to call his office for a new one.  Of course, his office didn't open for another hour, so mom and I went home and had breakfast before returning to try again.

On our second try everything went smoothly except that there was a lot of walking involved and  I was exceedingly exhausted and had to stop and rest every few steps I took.  My mom was concerned about this.  We thought at first that it was the fact that I had been doing so much walking all at one time so soon after major heart surgery.  She bought a blood pressure monitor before we went home, just to be safe.

When I got home, we checked my blood pressure and it was low.  A healthy blood pressure is around 120 over 80.  Mine was 88 over 65, very low.  This explains why I felt so tired and why my vision was going dark every time I stood up.  I called my doctors office and told them what was going on.  My doctor was in surgery so I had to wait for him to call me back.  When he did, he lowered two of my blood pressure medications and told me to keep monitoring my blood-pressure.

On Friday, November 1st, I went in to see my doctor.  They removed all the staples in my chest and leg.  I never did count how many staples there were.  The lab had not sent over the results of my blood tests, so the doctor could not review them with me.  He did look at the chest x-ray and found that there was quite a bit of fluid on my lungs, which would further explain my breathing trouble and exhaustion.  He immediately set up an appointment to have a thoracentesis done at the hospital.

Mom and I went over to the hospital and didn't have to wait long to get in for the procedure.  They first did an ultrasound of my lungs and found that the right lung had a lot of fluid and the left lung didn't have very much.  This perplexed me a bit considering it was the left lung that was giving me the most grief.  The next step was to clean the area on my back (upper right side near my shoulder blade) and then stick me with an injection of numbing agent, and then another deeper one.  Then they took a rather large gauge needle and stuck in between the ribs and deep to the lung.  On the back end of this needle was a long tube connected to an empty bottle.  They squeezed the bottle and that caused a suction.  They ended up removing 500 ML of fluid from my right lung.  They didn't do the left side for two reasons:  They never do both sides on the same day, and there wasn't enough fluid on the left to warrant the procedure.

After the thoracentesis was done, they did an x-ray to make sure everything was clear.  Within ten minutes of the draining, I was already feeling so much better, I could breath easy again!

In the days that followed, things were pretty uneventful, I suffered a lot with stiffness and soreness, especially in my neck and back and chest.  I had some trouble with swelling in my feet and ankles, but it slowly subsided.  I also was having trouble with high blood-pressure now and then and had work with the doctor to adjust my medications.

The worst of my complaints was my neck trouble.  This actually started while I was still in the hospital.  My neck was stiff and sore as if I pulled a muscle, which is quite possible, and the back of my head was numb for over a week.  When the numbness subsided, the oversensitivity set in.  It felt constantly as if someone had poured acid on the back of my head, and if anything touched it even slightly, it felt like I was being stabbed by a million little needles.  sometimes, the right side of my face would go slightly numb and I would get a shooting pain in my right eye.  The doctor said it was damage or inflammation of my lesser occipital nerve and should go away with time and moist heat treatments and resting my neck.  It did, after several months.  It got better, slowly, like everything else.