Squeamish? Come Back Tomorrow!

* This is the post where I lose all my readers.  If you're squeamish, skip this post and please come back to visit tomorrow! *

I'm making baby steps in this whole post-car-accident surgery medical mess.

For instance, today I'm allowed to take my first shower!

Woo Hoo!

(I've been bathing in a half inch of water in our bathtub up to this point and washing my hair one handed in the kitchen sink.)

It's all about baby steps …

Each small step is a milestone – minor to you, but huge to me.

Yesterday, I drove myself to the doctor.  It was my first outing and, in reality, I was in no shape to be driving but I needed to get there – and I did.  

Baby steps.

My bandages were removed.  My stitches will dissolve on their own, in time.  They're covered with surgical glue so I can shower now.

My shoulder looks like this right now:


The electrodes were turned on yesterday and I have one, beginning, program they run on.  

As time goes on, I will have multiple programs.  Right now my body is still healing and sensitive from the surgery.  I will be getting "tweaks" to the programs and the strength of them for probably a few months to come.  (I think they told me I will be up and running 100% at the five month point … it will take awhile to get the full benefits of the system.)

I have incisions down my back where the wires were "tunneled" down, and around, to my abdomen.  I have no photos of those to share with you.  Some of you love science and medical stuff and WANT to see this stuff.  Others of you definitely do not.  I understand BOTH types of people!

The right side of my tummy looks like this:

My skin looks yellow in the above photo because it's stained from the iodine they used on me during surgery.  Inside that tummy incision is a "pocket" my doctor made where the generator (little computer!) is.  It tells the electrodes in my shoulder what to do.  I can turn it on and off by using a little remote that goes right through my skin.  Kind of like a TV remote … but smaller.

The technology is amazing!

This is the good news ….

The day prior to having the electrodes turned on, I took five pain pills to get through the day.  Yesterday, with the electrodes working – I took only two!  Keep in mind, today is only my sixth day post-surgery.  Also, the electrodes don't help the surgical pain in my abdomen which has been significant.  As I heal, I expect my need for pain medication to decrease even further.

I can't wait!

The very bad news?

It is going to take me weeks to do a "gradual step down" of all the steroids I had to be put on due to the allergic reaction/medical screw up that took place.  The steroids make me feel like crap and I had hoped to be off them within a week.  Instead, it will take another three full weeks to be "weaned" off them.  (It's dangerous to stop taking them cold turkey, I guess.)  

That means another three weeks of feeling like crap on them.  Yes, it does make me angry that I'm going through this and shouldn't be.  I do hope to hear that whoever's incompetence is responsible for my misery has been fired.  I'd fire them personally if I could.

Sorry if I seem bitter, but I could have died due to the "mistake" made.  I've been through a hell of a lot in the last four and a half years … I didn't need someone's incompetence to nearly kill me during a "safe" surgery.  

Nothing like adding misery to the miserable!

Ok, off my soapbox ….

The other, not so great – but expected – piece of the puzzle is I have to be very sedentary for the next eight weeks.  I knew it going in, but once I start feeling a bit better it's going to be really hard NOT to do stuff.  The electrodes, the wires, the generator … they all need scar tissue to form around them to hold them perfectly in place.  If I do more than I should do – they will become displaced.  The last thing I need is to have another surgery to fix them.

So, I will have to find ways to entertain myself in sedentary ways for the next two months.  No lifting, no exerting … not much of anything.  I suppose I will get caught up on movies, and reading, and do my holiday shopping online this year.  

Time will pass, and everything will get better.

When January rolls around, I hope to find an indoor pool and get back to my daily swims.  I may upgrade my very old point and shoot camera in the next week or two so I can take some decent photos over the next two months.  I'm not sure when I'll be cleared to use my DSLR again, but I know it's too heavy to use for quite awhile.

In the meantime, if you have favorite websites for shopping, good movies to suggest, great music I might be interested in, wonderful books you've loved – I'd love to hear about all of it.  

Today is definitely better than yesterday –

Tomorrow, I know, will be even better.

© Twenty Four At Heart

24 Responses to “Squeamish? Come Back Tomorrow!”

  1. Pam

    What can I say? Keep up the good work, 24. I wish you strength – though really, you seem to be well supplied with that. And see if you can find a copy of People Who Say Goodbye by PYBetts. Memoir, funny and sad, beautifully written, very unusual.

  2. Michelle

    That is sounding so good. The sitting still, not so good. Hope you find lots to do, and recover quicker than they expect.

  3. karen

    You are an amazing woman. Here’s to HUGE benefits reaped by your newest surgery, and a speedy, uneventful recovery.
    Have you read Nora Ephron’s books? One is titled “I Feel Bad about My Neck”… They’re really funny, I think you’de like her humor.

  4. unmitigated me

    I recommend anything by Mary Roach, all available via Kindle! And look for a Nikon D100, very light point and shoot, but with almost as many features as your DSLR!
    I am so happy for you!

  5. Hallie

    Haven’t commented in a long time. I apologize for that. Just haven’t been able to read blogs much or find the energy to say anything that isn’t depressing.
    Decided today to leave you something, just so you know I’m thinking about you and hoping that your recovery goes as smoothly as possible.
    In other time, I would have had a ton of great shopping sites to send you but now? Now, shopping is not something I can do. I can’t fathom the idea of Christmas. Just want to hide away in a hole and pray that my nightmare ends.

  6. jenn in tenn

    So glad to see you’re doing better and know that things are looking up! Stinks you’ve got to stay still for so long!! I would go nuts! I’ve been reading the Dexter series books lately, and love them…(don’t know your preferred genre, but I like them!) Also, etsy.com always has some great gift ideas! Another thing I like to do is go to ebates.com and shop through their site and get cash back at the same time! Hope these ideas help a little…
    You take care!

  7. Jenny in MN

    Great news! You’re getting there!
    Roid rage to come too. Oh how fun. (not) Been thru the steroid thing too.
    The stomach surgeries are uncomfortable. Learning to use your legs and not your tummy to get up and down from sitting takes a bit of practice.
    Maybe all this downtime means next year you will be so busy and running around that you will have been thankful for all this extra down time for full body healing. Hard to tell what the future holds for us, but I’m hoping this will lead to all great things for you!
    Progress! Yes, let’s hope the person responsible for you life threatening episode is fired. ugh, what a nightmare.
    Sending you healing hugs!

  8. Jan

    I am THRILLED to see you write the words “Today is better than yesterday” and to hear that you are already able to cut down on your pain medication! I’ll put together a list of suggestions for books and shopping sites and email them to you.
    As for the steroids, yes it’s dangerous to just stop them. I wondered if they fired that nurse myself – any way to find out?

  9. sandi

    THE HELP is a must read. It’s my new all time favorite.
    500 days of summer is my new watch over and over again and again movie. I just love it!!
    I love you my dear. I am happy to bring lunch to you and hang out by your pool and shop online with you anytime. Brandon is gone again. I need entertainment.

  10. Kelly

    I’m so glad your starting to turn the corner. I think treating yourself to a new little pocket camera is a GREAT idea. It will cheer you up and allow you to do something you love while you’re healing. worth the investment, no question. Will you be able to take slow leisure walks in a few weeks? Maybe at the beach?

  11. Tami

    I know I’ve said this before, but you are so damn strong and so inspiring. I shudder when I think all you’ve gone through. Now, on top of a huge surgery medical negligence nearly kills you and yet you end this post on such a positive note. I know you must still really be hurting and your recovery will be long. Being on steroids long term DOES make a person feel like crap. Your resilience and attitude are a wonder to read about. Personally I think the person responsible for giving you the meds needs to be fired AND you need to get a lawyer. If I were you I’d be spending a lot of time on Etsy looking for holiday gifts. I love their stuff! I’ll try to come up with more ideas for you too!

  12. missy

    Is lunch an option??? We could entertain ourselves people watching somewhere. Let me know when you are ready. Don’t forget Stella & Dot for all the girls on your list!

  13. Marissa

    Take your time and heal. I’m sure twitter will provide plenty of fun in the months to come.
    I wouldn’t worry much about Christmas, let the family do it for you this year.

  14. Karen in Texas

    I’m glad to hear that you are doing better. I have also been through a deadly allergic reaction before. It is miserable I agree, I am just glad that you made it through.

  15. Erica

    Your strength amazes me. So does your spirit. I think down time video watching is great when you can watch tv series with no commercials or time between episodes. Most are available now so pick one from the past or present. I like the scifi or fantasy ones myself. 🙂 Try to look at more pictures and take fewer for a while. You push yourself hard sometimes. Don’t do it now.

  16. Diane

    Etsy.com — I could (ahem, do) browse for hours. An online marketplace for handmade and vintage items in every category you could imagine. I like the “treasury” feature where sellers group things they like by a theme.
    Wishing you a continued speedy recovery. You amaze me!

  17. Freda

    You are doing so well and I long to be able to suggest the definitive easy past-time for you, but of course they have all flown out of my head. How about naming all your photos (perhaps you’ve already done that!) Or you could go mad on ebay, as to reading, how about Ken Follett – unfortunately they are heavy to handle, but you could try a kindle. Whatever you do I shall look forward to reading about it on your blog. Every Blessing

  18. Amy_in_Stl

    I love to shop online! I think the mail lady must be convinced I never leave the house. I shop at the gap (which includes Old Navy, Banana Republic and Piperlime) online a lot. I also shop a lot on Etsy. I can spend hours browsing jewelry and handmade goods there. I’m currently contemplating some vinyl tree decals for my living room wall. Definitely visit a site called Not Martha dot org. It’s a great place for links that send me down the rabbit hole with my credit card. Don’t forget zappos which now has clothes, beauty stuff as well as shoes.
    Get better soon!

  19. Alexis from the MN

    That’s awesome news woman! Prayin ya continue to mend well even if it does seem slow. I can’t really recommend shopping sites but I stumbled across a new artist this year that you might like if you like woman folk singers at all. Her name is Carrie Newcomer and she’s got her own website. We saw her at a coffee shop in the Twin Cities this year and she is truly wonderful.
    Glad to see you’re up and around! Continue to heal well!!

  20. Jason

    These don’t look so horrible. But the whole ordeal you’ve been through IS horrible. And now you have to lay low for two months! I’m sure we, your loyal readers, will reap the benefits!

  21. stacy

    So glsd that you are feeling better. Let’s see, I saw The Town with Ben Affleck and I loved it. It had suspence, romance, on the edge of your seat action. I also saw Hereafter, I think that is what it is called with Matt Damon. This was also good but not as good as the first. Have you read Lee Child’s books? He has a series of books, all with the character Jack Reacher. He is a loaner and a traveler and they are all about suspence, murder etc. Clearly, our character is the hero. I also recommend the Janet Evanovich books all of which star a bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. If you have not read her they are hysterical. I liked the Girl with a Butterfly tatoo series. I sort of liked the first one and liked number 2 okay and I loved the 3rd book. I’m not far away if you need something, I would love to help. I go to work late on tuesday and wednesdays if you need me to pick up something for you.

  22. Jill

    Love your photos – I’m one of the few who love to see those things. Still can’t believe your allergic reaction… oh my goodness. Here’s to hoping you feel better soon!
    And if you need any good books – I have the Hunger Game Trilogy here and would be happy to drop it by! Along with a Starbucks. 😉

  23. Linda Tustin

    The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Come to goodreads.com for lots of reviews and good book recomendations. hang in there, you will be glad you did this when you feel better!

  24. Laura

    I am glad today is better than yesterday. And Im with you, the person who screwed up should be fired. After all you’ve been through you didn’t need that crap on top of it. May each day bring less pain, less required pain meds and best of luck with the electrodes!


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