Five days after my surgery, I sat up on the side of the hospital bed in the early morning hours and all I could think was “I wanna do it all by myself.”
Sound like a two-year-old, doesn’t it?
Let me explain.
I had a finger monitor on the forefinger of my left hand that was monitoring the oxygen in my blood. And I had an oxygen tube in my nose to ensure that oxygen level stayed up in the 90’s. I needed it … I found it difficult to get to even 200 ml on the infamous Voldyne 5000 Volumetric Exerciser (at home I average between 1500 and 2000 ml).
Oh Lord, I just wanna breathe all by myself …
I had an IV bag providing me liquid sustenance … for nearly seven days (counting pre-op prep) I could not eat and could not drink. Just chew a few ice chips from time to time.
Oh Lord, I just wanna eat and drink all by myself.
For five days I had an IV bag feeding pain medication through my epidural constantly.
Oh Lord, I just wanna decide when and if I need to have pain medicine all by myself.
For six days I was on ureter stints with a catheter. A tube flowed out of me to a bag capturing my urine.
Oh Lord, I just wanna stand up at the toilet or urinal and go to the bathroom all by myself … and flush the toilet.
For the rest of my life, the colostomy bag will be a permanent part of my life. For now the nurses and my wife (God bless her!) empties my bag.
I just wanna (and Lord I need your help desperately in this regard) be able to swap and empty the colostomy bag all by myself.
For my entire stay, I wore the ever popular open-air back hospital gown … a gown loaded with snaps and strings that would even confuse the great Houdini. Only trained nurses can truly make it work. And for most of my stay I lost all sense of modesty.
Oh Lord, I just wanna wear t-shirts, underwear, shorts and Crocs and dress myself all by myself.
And to top it all off … and I really find it humorous … then the nurses tell you to get up and walk the halls … the one place you are actually encouraged to moon the population. OK, I’m on pain medication, I need to drag an IV pole along without getting entangled with any of the four or five tubes sustaining me and find my way back to the room that oh-by-the-way I was under anesthesia when I entered … the big plus in all this is I have those cute slip-on non-skid socks (not that I ever thought I could reach a speed where skidding would be an issue … even with the highly waxed floors).
Oh Lord, I would love to be able to walk without an IV pole, pain medication and tube free ALL BY MYSELF.
Perhaps … just perhaps … having such a desire to do these things all by myself … is a good sign in recovery and release from the hospital. Two days later I was on my home.
Thank you Lord!
(to be continued)