Friday, December 23, 2011

Dave's Surgery

It's been twelve days since Dave's surgery. It's been a roller coaster time. To summarize, Dave had about 5 inches removed from his small intestine to restore health lost due to Crohn's, along with having his gall bladder removed since he had gallstones. This is his third surgery. This time the incision was longer, he was in a hospital out of town b/c he chose a colo-rectal surgeon, and there were a couple extra things that happened post surgery that hindered a quicker recovery.

First, his pain wasn't fully managed from the epidural upon waking up from the surgery, and this affected his blood pressure. It took the rest of the day for them to get his pain under control. It was a little scary when the nurse told us they needed the doc's approval to up the epidural because the higher it goes, the greater the chance you can stop breathing. Upon that news I had to leave and go home for the evening. They said they were going to monitor him so that was somewhat of a comfort.

The increase made a huge difference and Dave was feeling much better by Day 2. Unfortunately he was struggling to get uninterrupted sleep not only from the nurses but his roommate, who kept his TV on nonstop, talked to any and every nurse and tech that came in, and talked incessantly to visitors, even to himself at night. Dave tried to make the best of it and doze when he could. He eventually got earplugs and that helped a lot.

The first couple days Dave was only able to swab his mouth with water, then he was given permission to have ice chips. On the third day they took an x-ray b/c the output from his NG tube was almost twice as much as his fluid intake. They thought the tube was in too far. The x-ray didn't show that it was, but by day 4 they concluded that they needed to adjust it, and after they did, the output reduced to the point that he could finally go on clear liquids. However, since the epidural was still in place (longer than the usual time), his bowel function didn't resume. Finally the epidural came out and "normal" recovery kicked in Friday night.

One surprising thing in comparison to other surgeries was that Dave had more energy and wasn't exhausted after doing his walks. The first day he was able to stand up, the second day he tried his first walk to the end of the hall, and by the third day he made it around the whole floor and was even doing laps.

True to Dave's nature, he kept the nurses laughing and told us some funny stories. One was that on the weekend, he "sneaked" out for a walk by himself. He was supposed to have a tech, but when they changed shifts, he figured that the new ones would assume he got permission to be out on his own and wouldn't say anything. He was right!

Things are going fine here at home. Yesterday he was more adventurous and tried french fries; he didn't have a very good night so I guess he's not quite ready for a full diet even though the doctors said he could have it. He didn't eat very many, but even so, his body wasn't prepared to handle them. Other than that, things have been going about as well as can be expected. The first two or three days home he couldn't get any motivation to do anything outside watching business news (of course the huge story about ATT and T-Mobile was going on, something he teaches about!), but the last day or so he's had an interest in reading, doing email, and other somewhat mild activities.

Thank you all for praying!