Saturday, March 19, 2011

warning - plain talk of poo and pee

The nursing staff has smelly, disgusting work as each patient recovers from their major surgery and the anesthesia.  Anesthesia shuts down the digestive track and sometimes has to be shocked into working correctly.

The excess fluid in my body made me very clumsy and unable to work my fingers very well. So the first time the foley bag was out and I peed into the cup (urine output has to be measured), I couldn't even blot myself.  That was embarrassing to say the least, but the nurse assistant was so gentle and took it all in stride.  Another day, he was back just to see how I was improving and put his hand softly on my shoulder - it felt like a healing touch and reminded me how often my father would put his hand on your shoulder just like that to say he was there to help if you needed it.  Thanks, Delmar.  It meant a lot.

So, for a couple of days, I needed assistance to get in and out of bed just to pee and they would often have to unhook me from the oxygen and the leg cuffs that massage to keep circulation and muscle tone up.  I did get able to blot after a couple of trips to the toilet, thank goodness.

The fluid pervades everywhere including into your lungs and so you have to breathe into this contraption that encourages you to expand your lungs (ouch) 10 times an hour when you are awake and it encourages you to cough up the fluid.  Well, about Thursday, I had plenty of bowel tones and smelly, smelly gas but no action so they gave me laxatives twice along with the stool softeners I was already getting.  The stool softeners are because they are giving me iron as ferrous sulfate and that causes constipation.  So I am getting lots more gas and just as I was getting ready for bed, we had success with a bowel movement on the toilet.  The nurse and I thought all was good, and I feel asleep.

A couple of hours later I woke to a coughing spell and promptly pooped all in the bed before I could ring for the nurse.  What a mess!  Cleaning me off was problematic because the ferrous sulfate makes the poo green black and sticky and the stool softener make the poo soft enough to get in the nooks and crannies that women have.  It must have taken half and hour to clean me off and remake the bed.  This time they put a diaper liner under me just in case.  That was a good thing, because it happened again closer to morning.  At least this time, there was a diaper to dispose of instead of all new bed linen.

Fortunately for me, they removed the drain and cat whiskers on Friday and I was able to take a shower.  It felt heavenly.

I was still retaining too much fluid as they increased the dosage of diuretic each day but on Sunday, I finally peed out more than five pounds of fluid and my weight was back to normal.  This was key to going home.

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