It's been nine days since my DIEP Flap.
The night before the surgery Jim (the birthday boy), Stefani, Cindi, and I went out to dinner in little Italy in Baltimore. I was so very stuffed on eggplant parm amd a huge bowl of strawberry gelati.
The surgery took only 4 hours. Dr. Chang said I had a "perfect anatomy" so the blood vessels were easy to find and reattach.
I was in ICU the first night, limited to ice chips. The next day I was moved to the "women's issues" floor, and continued to be limited to ice chips. Frankly, the ice chips turned out to be the best food I had while I was there. Patient care in ICU was a one to two staffing ratio, but care was just OK because I was there as a surgical follow-up, not as a critically ill patient. I remember very little from the entire experience because of the meds, but there was the ICU charge nurse, Christy, who spent time with me because I was very upset because I could not move, eat or drink, or see Jim. She even called Jim for me to make sure he was OK.
Jim was not going to be able to see me until 11am on the day after surgery, and once the charge nurse in ICU understood that I was not going to calm down until I saw Jim, she worked on trying to get him in earlier. However, Jim, thinking he was restricted until 11am, took a late, leisurely breakfast and didn't get to me until 10:30.
Cindy came to visit on Wednesday noon, bringing a card of well wishes from the FDMB. Stef was going to visit later that day, but I called her off because I was so fucked up from meds.
I don't recommend Mercy Hospital in Baltimore. The food was lousy, response to the call button was excruciatingly slow, I couldn't keep myself focused because of the meds. I was so eager to leave on Thursday that I left before my visit with the Occupational Therapist, which the staff didn't tell me about until I was walking out the door.
Back home to my own bed and my kitty Ennis. He had been looked after by Leslie (from the FDMB) and Nancy, my neighbor. My sister in law Donna flew in the next day, Friday, and has been doing a great job watching out for me.
Jim and I traveled to Baltimore and back Monday for my one-week follow-up with the surgeon. (Very exhausting trip; potholes are no fun; neither are stop signs.) The tissue transfer from the abdomen to the chest area is taking well. No necrotic tissue. I have minimal swelling and redness in the surgical areas.
I was able to have one of my 4 surgical drains removed, and got permission to have the visiting nurse remove the remaining drains as conditions warrant.
I am still on heavy movement, lifting, and position restrictions. I can't even think about standing up straight until week 3. I am to start wearing a belly girdle to compress the area to help it heal more quickly, but it seems too small to get it fastened. Shower restrictions are completely lifted. I have enough pain meds for about 2 weeks, when I will see the surgeon again.
My sutures and bandages are self dissolving, and that should start happening in a few days. The home visit nurse (Joan) came today but the remaining drains were not yet ready to be pulled. Maybe tomorrow.
Donna will be here until Monday. She is doing a project, repainting a crockery cookie jar so that the kitties on the lid look like Max and Ennis. I haven't had much of an appetite, but she has been doing a good job trying to keep me fed.
Linda Lee comes in on Tuesday for 10 days. She is bringing her cat Josephine. I really think Ennis could use the company. I have never met Linda in person, but she is one of my best friends. We met through the FDMB.
On Wednesday I have an appt with Dr. Gillis, the physiatrist, to start rehab. I want to use Michelle Cooper, the dear woman who was my first physical therapist on this road. My earlier insurance had no PT limits, but I believe Medicare does, which I will have to find out about.
Well, the biggest info about this post is that I have taken pictures of my torso. I took one set the morning before surgery. It shows the mess that Dr. Boob had left me in. The second set I took this morning, showing my progress at day 9. I don't want to shock anyone, so viewing the photos is entirely voluntary. The first set is here; the second set is here.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Nine Days Post Surgery
It's been nine days since my DIEP Flap.