Saturday, April 16, 2011

Limits

I am finding what my limits are, in terms of pain and levels of activity. I was dismayed and discouraged yesterday afternoon and evening because I got so uncomfortable and tired and tense after a friend came to visit.

I am trying to wean myself off of Dilaudid - Thursday into Friday, I took only one 2-mg dilaudid every 8 or 9 hours. I was fine as long as I stayed home and either sat in my chair or my bed with strategically placed pillows.

But yesterday, I went to wound care and about an hour later, a friend came to visit. Around the time of her visit, it was time for Tylenol - and I ended up taking a dose of dilaudid a few minutes after she left. My friend and I sat at the kitchen table, but I couldn't get my arm comfortable. My back - where they took the lat flap - was achey. My breastbone (sternum) feels pressure. And, where the drain comes out, around my ribs, bothered me. My shoulders were tense. I was restless because all I could think of as we visited was how uncomfortable I was. I couldn't wait to get horizontal in my bed.

Granted, before that, I hadn't been in bed since about 7:30 that morning. I sat in a chair in the living room, cleaned up, then went to wound care, then sat in the chair some more. I think that may be progress.

So, I took dilaudid and laid down and napped off and on all evening.

I was worried last night because I realized that if I can't sit at the table for long - or stand - I won't be able to teach next week. I still find it hard to concentrate for long on any paperwork. I don't know how I'm going to grade papers. It's hard for me to concentrate on what I'm going to say.

I tire easily. An hour with the wound care nurse and about 45 minutes with my friend wiped me out. How can I handle an almost two-hour class? I was also running a low-grade fever (99.4 - 100) last night.

In retrospect, I probably should not have taught our department's 4-credit class. I can probably handle the Honors College class (one-credit) that I'm co-teaching with a colleague. I will probably cancel all other appointments next week except for wound care.

So, recovery is still slow. I guess, when I think about it, it is not unexpected. I was anemic before surgery. They gave me two units during surgery, but my hemoglobin was 7.5 when I came home. It's been hard to retain nutrients - I am on a stool softener because of the dilaudid, but not all my food is digested; then the new antibiotic gave me diarrhea. My appetite is fantastic - I eat a lot. I'm also eating more yogurt to help with digestion. But my body is trying to fight off infections, build new skin and tissue, and fight pain/discomfort.

The good news is that the wound is healing. L., the nurse, took off some dead tissue. The honey dressing really helped with the odor. There is less drainage - from about 90 ml in 24 hours to 60ml yesterday. L. could see good pink tissue under the dead tissue. She was happy with it.

My plan is to take Dilaudid more often (i.e., every 4 or 5 hours, maybe 6), lay down more, rest. I'll see how I feel on Monday. But I tend to think that I may have to talk to my boss about this class . . .

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Fuck class. ;) I know this probably won't help; but I have no idea how you do what you do, much less do it while fighting wounds.