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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day Two-My kingdom for some ice chips

Much like when you start a new workout regime, day two (and sometimes three) after a surgery are where you feel the worst. Its normal. Your body is adjusting, the anesthesia has mostly left so sleep may not come as easily and you aren't quit as numb. You are likely on less medication so the pain shines through a little more. And in the case of kidney donation, they want you to get up and start moving around.
On day two I was awake at about 6AM. I was getting good at sensing someone about to come in my room about two minutes before it happened so I had woken myself up. I was insanely thirsty but my ice chips had become water and the water I had consumed. I was slightly nauseous-kind of like having a slight hangover and there seemed to be pains in places I had never felt before. Nothing terrible though.
A lab tech came in at little after 6AM and took two vials of blood. I believe that was to measure my creatine and probably something else (hence the two vials). They don't tell you. They don't say much of anything actually.  They then came back at 8AM and took more blood-same two vials...I found out later that this was a mistake and the nurses had put the request into the system twice by accident (and almost a third time!) At least it was just two vials!

During the surgery your breathing slows down a fair bit because of the intubation and also the co2 they pump your belly full of (it puts pressure on the diaphram).  These shallower breaths keep the little air sacs in your lungs from filling with air. These sacs can flatten and their insides stick together like a water balloon after you let the water out. In order to get air back into these sacs, you need to do special breathing exercises using a little contraption every hour for at least five minutes. It helps your lungs fully inflate and prevents things like pneumonia and lung collapse. The deep breathing also helps get the gas in your stomach moving which can be a main source of pain post op. You basically have to blow as hard as you can into a tube and inside the contraption a ball moves up based on your effort. It wasn't the most comfortable activity for my abdomen (pillow brace or not) but the worst part initially that day was that my already dry mouth became unbearably dry (which would also lead me to cough which hurt). It was so dry that when I tried to say something, I just kind of squeaked as well.

I realized to continue the exercising and also just to feel better, I need the ice chips and or some water. I had though around 7AM that I would just wait for shift change and ask for more ice then. But no one seemed to be coming in to check on me. I was  also starting to hurt as I hadn't had any pain medication since 3AM. At about 8:15AM I couldn't take it anymore and I buzzed the nurses station. I asked for some ice chips. They said no problem.  I waited. Half an hour later, still no ice chips. I didn't want to be a pain but I was so uncomfortable. I buzzed again. They seemed annoyed and said I'd get some soon. Shortly thereafter Dr W, the nephrologist came in to check on me. He wanted to see me do the breathing exercises. I attempted but apparently wasnt exhaling deeply enough for him (I was at 1000-1500 output and he wanted 2000). I tried to tell him I wanted to practice more but really needed some water and ice chips as my throat was painfully dry. He said he'd ask someone for some and left. Fifteen minutes later my nurse showed up and I asked her for ice chips. She did my vitals, said she'd get me more pain meds and ice. I think by about 9:30 I had the pain meds but still no ice.  It showed up at 10:15. I never though ice cubes could make me so happy. I teared up a little after I got them.

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