April 23, 2011
Turns out all the kings horses and all the king's men could put me back together again. I'll never know who all the people are, never be able to properly thank them all. But I do thank them.
For now, I'm simply recounting the path back up to top of the wall.
Step one was the anti-nausea med. That problem stuck with me for a week after my first surgery and added other complications as I tried and failed to manage that on my own. It was gone in hours after this go round. Managing that was the key to getting me on track.
Once that was done 2 mg of morphine got me through the first couple hours after. There was no need for a second dose. I believe that was due to the excellent job they did controlling the swelling. The systems engineer in me appreciated the systems approach to healing.
Back to the food, I'm pretty sure I went a full week after my last surgery before I could face normal food. This time I had eggs and French toast 12 hours after.
I will say that I was ravenous while eating. It had been 36 hours without food and when I finally came tongue to fork with real food, I started shaking. But the body needs building materials to heal. It was processing them quickly.
Had a final CAT scan and more and more paperwork to do before they would let me go. Then the wait for the shopping bag full of oral meds. Then the exit surveys (couldn't say enough positive.)
Then, I was gone. After two days of acclimating to hospital life, I was back home. Home got weird quick. I was used to the light coming in over-top my ward room from the hall. As soon as I hit my all dark bedroom and tried to sleep, it seemed foreign.
The first night passed oddly. A couple hours sleep, up for 4 hours, then back to sleep for a few. But I made it without incident with my usual response-putting on my running shoes and going for a 5 mile run. I was following the docs advice. They told me that any strenuous activity would burst the capillaries that were forming in my forehead, cause swelling and slow up the whole healing process. Had to go slow to heal fast. Ok, ok. I was on board.
The day after discharge my body went through a total power outage. I'd been running on adrenalin for three days. I needed to shut down for a day and I did.
I tested myself a bit. The first night home I played a computer game online and found that exhausted me. Hrmm. Not a good sign as to my stress level. I'd need to test more.
My plan was to go into the office Thursday and see if I could do a couple hours with the students. Big picture, this was a good idea. Small picture, it's up in the air.
Small picture was that I didn't sleep a wink the night before wondering if I could work. Turns out I went in and did fine. That anxiety was probably normal. And big picture it was good to get it out of me sooner rather than later. Laying home for 5 days worrying and wondering if I could do my job would have been destructive. Now I know I can get up Monday and work, so I can sleep easy until then.
And sleeping is a lot of the issue. Being able to rest and give the body a chance to mend. No working out, no bursting capillaries. Just taking it easy and letting the body use its energy to rebuild itself vice run me around the park. It was sound judgment. Something I've never taken a cotton to, but suddenly decided to try.
After that I got the best night of sleep since going down this road. Cobbled together a bed at home that is somewhat elevated. It seems to be working.
I'm on a no sneeze regimen (So I don't re-break the sinus with pressure from the inside.) Had one close call Thursday AM, but avoided that and continue to use the sprays and oral meds to limit that risk.
All in all, this was a huge management problem that dozens of people worked on and enabled me to reassemble my life in less time than I imagined. So to each and every one of them, my thanks.
I'll finish this with the walk to my pub last night. They knew the story by now, but looked at me puzzled when I arrived. Nick sized me up warily and inquired
"So what are we doing here?"
"Water and a crab cake sandwich"
Even though the doc's didn't say "no alcohol", it seems like a good idea.
All the wait staff came by to say hi and put some spin on the event. One of the owners had texted me asking if I was more "Terminator or Robocop". I said Terminator and she validated that in seconds. The surfer wanted all the details on exactly what happened in the water. The geology student was making alternate suggestions for headgear to camouflage the damage. Finally the man who is moving to Portland came by and after assessing the scar determined that "I was going to need a better story to match the scar" and finally determined that my future stock took a big boost with one demographic.
"Chics that dig hockey players are gonna love you!"
So there it is. I have another 5-6 weeks of healing ahead of me. Besides sitting around reading and watching DVD's...I can start working on one of those annoying Canadian accents.