Saturday, October 13, 2012

1 Week Post Op

Five days after surgery and a lot has improved.

I can stand unassisted for ten-fifteen minutes at a time.

I'm not requiring as much pain medication

Most of the trapped air is gone (I'd been waking up to an airtight drain bag each morning, but the air from my lower GI tract still is present)

Still no vomiting (THANK YOU SEPARATE G TUBE!)

I am finally coming to terms with this type of J tube. I was really upset about it when I first came out of surgery. It's very short, difficult to kink to get meds in, and the particular T fasteners used with this tube hurt A LOT more than the MIC tube. I still can't stand to have the site covered with even my shirt, so I'm still camped out on my bed or couch with my shirt not covering the site. I'm hoping the T fasteners can come out in a few weeks.

I've had an outpouring of love from family and friends during this period. People that I've not talked to in awhile have called or texted, one of the city bus drivers is keeping tabs on me via text, my caseworker has been very comforting by just sitting to chat with me while I work through this. I feel extremely blessed in that I have support, and I really believe that is what is making the recovery so much smoother.

I've had some questions from others, and I can answer a few of them right now.

Why is a laparoscopic procedure causing you so much pain?

I have a hypersensitive gut (the fancy name is visceral hyperalgesia). Any time my GI system is messed with (air pressure, feeding rate changes, high volumes, etc) my gut sends pain signals to my brain. So naturally, surgery is going to send my gut into overdrive mode. The response was dramatic, so say the least.

What is the purpose of two separate tubes?

I used to have a G/J tube (gastrojejunostomy). This was a tube that entered through my stomach, while the "tube within the tube" descended down into the first part of the jejunum. This tube gave me access to both the stomach for venting (draining the stomach of bile and air) and the proximal jejunum for feeding. Unfortunately, there is a lot of problems with this setup for someone with a severe motility disorder in a small town. First off, my town does not recognize what the difference between a G/J and a G tube is. Second, I have reverse peristalsis. In September, this sent my jejunal portion into my esophagus during a violent retching and vomiting episode. To further avoid these predicaments, it was decided by my new treatment team to place separate tubes. As it turns out, my gastric drainage is too thick and such to pass through the tiny MIC-KEY G/J opening. This is due in part to the severity of the motility disorder, but the rest so far us unexplainable. The larger G tube was necessary to prevent me from vomiting (still retching though). The separate J was necessary due to episodes of reverse peristalsis. In order to properly combat this, the surgeon placed the tube deep into the jejunum. So far, so good.

You seem to be sending mixed signals. You told me you were doing better, but sometimes you say you're not. What gives?

When it's good, it's good, so I focus on that. But the pain levels differ, so when I am in pain, it escalates quickly. Then things are not good, and I will ask for support. Recovery is all about a state of mind, and I refuse to dwell on the parts I am struggling with. So unless I am talking to you when I am in acute pain, you're going to hear the good stuff.

Does anything go in the G tube?

No. The G tube is for venting (draining) purposes only. I tolerate nothing in my stomach. The silver lining in this is this allows me to drink small amounts because it is instantly drained out. This allows me to be social and not get sick.

If anyone has other questions they can leave a comment or PM me on FB if you are already a friend of mine :)

In other aspects of the post op recovery, I think I have torn something in my left lower quadrant of my abdomen. While I can stand for longer periods, it hurts in any position other than lying flat. This won't work, however, because lying flat for long periods of time is a good way to make things worse. Plan is to get a KUB and go from there. Why don't I go to the ER? I so despise it. Plus, an ER after surgery with a crappy immune system just really seems like a bad idea.

That's it for now. More later. :)

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