Following surgery, my goal was to get up and walking so that I could return home as soon as possible. The nursing on the orthopedic floor at the General was fantastic; but there were three other roommates, all requiring active care day and night; and less than a full sheet/divider between me and the next bed. There was very little privacy or rest.
Sunday and Monday I was not able to get up and walking. My blood pressure and hemoglobin were very low after Saturday’s surgery. I got very dizzy sitting up on the side of the bed. The nurses and floor resident decided on Monday I needed a blood transfusion to get my hemoglobin up and get me stronger.
The transfusion involved inputting a bag of blood via IV, followed by Lasiks, and a second bag of blood. I developed a fever, nausea, shortness of breath, and a lot of pain in my left flank/abdomen during the process. This was a reaction to the transfusion by my remaining kidney, which didn’t appreciate having to process so much of someone else’s blood all of a sudden. I was sort of writhing and just asking for cold compresses. I was very worried that I had put my only remaining kidney at risk. Regis came back to the hospital that evening and kind of sat a vigil with me at my bedside, waiting to speak to a doctor (who did not come).
By Tuesday, the transfusion effects had diminished, and I felt a lot stronger. I was able to walk out into the hallway, with a chair to take a break. That day and night I was able to make it to the bathroom and back on my own. However, I still wasn’t strong/mobile enough to go home.
Wednesday, I was able to walk all the way down the hallway and back. I was eating and feeling better. It was determined that I could be discharged that evening. Regis came after work and brought me home by about 8.
Since then, I have continued to be very tired and sore. There were issues filling the prescriptions but we got that sorted by Friday. My friends, family, and colleagues have been very supportive, bringing meals, visiting, helping Regis with moving furniture and reorganizing so that I can get around in a wheelchair.
It was wonderful to have Rachel and Kristin up this weekend, flexible about applying ‘Plan C’ which didn’t involve me skating OR going by wheelchair to the art gallery, but rather having tea with them after they skated and got the Ottawa Winter experience. It was wonderful to have Regis’ delicious cassoulet on Saturday, and Gabrielle’s sugar pie (for a nice light dinner :p).
I still have to take the pain medication to get through the day and night. I am only able to take small steps using the walker. I need help getting into the shower, but have been able to work up to being able to get in and out of bed on my own. It’s hard to concentrate either because of the pain, or when I take the pain medication.
What I wait for next: a call from Riverside to schedule rehabilitation for my hip; results of the perpetually-rescheduled CT scans on the 27th; follow up with the surgeon February 2; an appointment to be set with the radiation oncologist mid February to do stereotactic radiation on the lesion site once the hip has recovered sufficiently from surgery.
It is very good to be home, in my own bed, with privacy and better ability to get rest. It is really sweet to feel all the help and love that people have shown. Things are complicated and the process will be long, but it feels like it will be OK, with all the support.