Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sorry It's Been Soo Long!

So it has been quite a while since my last post… sorry about that.  I guess I’ll fill you in on what’s been going on lately.  Honestly not much has happened, I basically just lay on the couch all day every day watching movies or playing video games.  For a couple weeks after coming home my eyes acted really strange, I couldn’t focus them on anything… it was really weird and kind of hard to explain.  My mind has also been on the fritz… like I have very little comprehension of time.  Hours will go by and it feels like minutes and days go by and I don’t really remember anything.  For example, the other day I was in the bathroom and Tatiana kept knocking on the door to check on me what felt like every minute or two, but in reality she was checking on me every 30 minutes or so.  So what felt like 15 to 20 minutes in the bathroom was actually over 2 hours!!! 

                So the pain at home has been easier to handle than I had expected.  Sometimes I’ll move in a way that makes my hip hurt really bad, but it doesn’t hurt too badly for too long.  I am somewhat surprised that I haven’t had any pain from the incision, normally a 6+ inch cut would hurt right?  The hardest thing pain wise is still the muscle spasms.  It’s been a month since I had the surgery and the muscle spasms are still as bad as ever.  At my 6 week appointment with Dr. Peters I’ll be sure to ask about them.
                I’ve decided that the worst part of having a surgery like this is the sheer boredom and loneliness that has set in.  I can count the number of visitors I’ve had at home on one hand… Being so far out here in Eagle Mountain is my excuse, but I think I’m to blame for being so bored and lonely.  Sometimes I think, what if we lived closer, would more people come and visit?… Since getting married, Tatiana and I have been so consumed with school, work and each other that we have both neglected our friendships.  Sorry for that little rant, I’m just frustrated.

                Well, I have my 6 week appointment coming up soon so I’ll have more x-rays and more stuff to talk about shortly!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1 Week Post Op CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!

                So it’s been a week since I was sliced and diced!  I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by.  I’ve been saying all along that being on all of these drugs does weird things to my mind and makes time go by really fast. 
                                                  (I made it outside for a little bit today!)

                The drugs I’m on are having some weird side effects.  Some of the side effects are common ones like causing drowsiness and constipation, but some are really weird and annoying.  My eyes can’t focus on anything so everything is blurry, and sometimes I have double vision.  My mouth gets so dry at night that my tongue has a crack in it.  My brain moves so slowly that sometimes it takes like literally a minute to answer a question or just say a sentence.  Oh and I have awesome crazy dreams and sometimes I swear I’m hallucinating. 

                I decided to take a couple internet classes this semester and they started this week.  It took like an hour to read each syllabus haha.  One class doesn’t require me to follow a timeline so I can start on that class once my mind works again.  The other class has assignments due tomorrow…yikes…

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Two Days of Life At Home

                Sorry about not posting last night… It was a pretty rough night to say the least.  My muscle spasms are basically constant now and are making life at home pretty rough.  I am on the muscle relaxer Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) but it is not doing much for me at all.  For some reason the pain medication that I’m on doesn’t seem to do enough for the pain caused by the spasms either.  I called Dr. Peters office today and they want to try me on Valium (diazepam) to help control the spasms… we’ll see I guess.

                So Monday night I made it up the stairs and slept in my own bed!  That was really nice to be back in my own bed.  Tuesday morning though was kind of scary/funny…. I woke up to a bloody nose (which is somewhat of a common occurrence for me) and didn’t have any tissues or anything in reaching distance and my forearm crutches were out of reach too.  Tatiana was in the shower so I tried to get her attention by throwing anything in my reach at the bathroom door, like a powerade, my wallet and such.  She didn’t notice the sound while she was in the shower so I decided to roll off of the bed and then roll over to the bathroom door.  As soon as the door was in reach I just knocked on it until Tat got out to help me.  It’s kind of funny how much I am able to do, but at the same time so utterly helpless.

                There is another thing has really not been fun.  At least a couple times a day I have this really sharp pain that feels like my skin is ripping apart in the area at the top of my thigh by my groin.  I don’t really even know how to fully explain how painful it is.  I think it may be happening because my leg is SOOO swollen (and hairy haha) that it is chaffing on anything I wear or my other leg.  If it keeps happening I will definitely bring it up to my doctor.  I was actually wondering when the swelling should start going down, I know epidurals can cause swelling for a while after they wear off, and obviously major surgery will cause some swelling…
                           (Incision area 6 days post-op... can you tell how swollen my upper thigh is???)

                Well I’m not sure what else I should write, but I do want to keep blogging so hit me up with some questions so I have more to talk about!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Heading Home

Hey it’s me, Andrew… I’m still alive!!  I’m really thankful for my wife for approximately 1,000,492 reasons, but I’m especially grateful that she was willing to keep the blog updated.

                                           (view from my hospital room, not too bad right!)
             So we got discharged today around noon.  That was nice…  I called around to different pharmacies to see who had all of my medications today so that I wouldn’t have to make multiple trips.  The only pharmacy I found that had everything was the Target in Orem… which happens to be the pharmacy I work at!  It was really nice to see my friends at the pharmacy but it took A LOT out of me to stay awake and my pain quickly skyrocketed.  Moral of the story: after you get discharged from a hospital for major surgery you should probably go straight home…
            Personally I think that the surgery went well and that I am recovering quicker than expected.  All of the nurses were really impressed at how quickly I was out of bed and how eager I was to move around.  Tatiana was really impressed that I was able to use what I learned in physical therapy at home, like going up a whole flight of stairs (up to the bedroom and to take a shower) and to be able to get into bed with her.

            There are a couple of things that I’m a little concerned about.  First, my right thigh and buttocks are huge, like literally twice the size of my left.  Second, I occasionally have a sensation that the skin is ripping in my crouch region…  Third, I still have muscle spasms that make my pain unbearable.  And last, my nausea is somewhat still uncontrolled.

            The hospital stay went by really fast, and today is really kind of just a blur.  I’m really excited at the prospect of actually getting some sleep…  speaking of sleep… zzz…zzz

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Recovery: Day 3

So last night I slept pretty well.  It turns out though, that while I was sleeping Andrew was awake for most of the night.  Andrew got a new nurse at 7 AM, and he found out really quick that he wasn’t going to be his favorite.  I was sleeping when the nurse first came in this morning so I didn’t know who it was.  First, while I was in the cafeteria getting breakfast, Andrew wasn’t feeling good so he asked the nurse if he could get some Zofran for the nausea.  The nurse tried both of Andrew’s IV’s and told him that they were shot and that they would have to get the life flight team to put in a new IV.  No life flight team ever came.  Then, Andrew found out around 11 AM that since he hadn’t gone to the bathroom since his catheter came out yesterday that he would have to have the catheter inserted again to empty his bladder.  (He did end up being able to go the bathroom on his own today, just so everyone knows).  Andrew’s aunt Janell came to visit so Janell and I waited outside as the procedure was being done.  While we were outside a guy came to Andrew’s door so I told him that he was in the middle of having his catheter put in.  He just said that he needed to talk to the CNA about something, and then went in.  It turns out that the CNA was just in the middle of putting the catheter in and that Andrew was very traumatized by the sudden interruption.  Andrew told him off for coming in so rudely and the nurse told him to “get over it.”  Andrew then told the CNA (who is great by the way) that he wanted a new nurse.  His CNA came out and told us that Andrew was upset, so we went in to find him red-faced and very aggravated.  He told us what happened and he also told us that he still hadn’t gotten any Zofran.  Eventually they just called in oral tabs so that he could the medication he needed.  He also got a new nurse.  From there things were much better and he didn’t feel like he was being neglected.  Throughout the day Andrew had tons of visitors including; Janell, my mom, dad and siblings, Andrew’s brother Kevin and three of his kids, my grandma and grandpa, Andrew’s friends Greg and Nickelle, and Andrew’s boss Mason with Rachel and his three kids.  It sure kept Andrew occupied and hopefully he will get some good sleep tonight.  For physical therapy today he tried out the forearm crutches, which he says he likes way better than the walker.  He was a little wobbly on them at first but he has gotten used to them and he says they are a lot better on his shoulders.  He walked around three different times and probably a total of 200-250 yards today.  He is getting stronger every day, and has a great attitude and drive for learning and doing anything he can here to make home a little easier.  Andrew’s biggest accomplishments today were that he learned how to get in and out of bed and how to go up and down the stairs.  He says that the stairs are harder than just plain walking, but that it is still pretty easy.  I think he is getting a little cabin fever and I have to admit that I am too.  He will probably get discharged tomorrow so that will be exciting, but he will get another session with the physical therapist as well as some forearm crutches to take home before we leave.  They gave him his Oxycodone and some Benadryl for a little rash on his back, so right now he is completely zonked.  Yay for sleep!  Wish us luck tomorrow on our adventure of breaking out of this joint and heading home. 

Today’s Accomplishments

-          Learned how to get in and out of bed

-          Learned to get up and down stairs

(I know I already said both of those, but he did great and was rewarded later with a donut)

-          Stuck up for himself and got a new nurse

-          He is constantly impressing his nurses and CNA’s with how well he is progressing

-          He makes sure that every day he is trying to learn as much as he can about how to make post-op life easier.

So I know I told you about how he likes to show everyone his incision.  This is from day 1, so not too much bruising, but he still wants everyone to be able to see it.  So once and for all here it is.  Not too bad right?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Recovery: Day 2

So today started a little rough, I’m not going to lie.  We were up a lot of the night from beeping machines, and at 4 AM Andrew woke up and was having a hard time breathing.  There ended up being a couple of nurses and a doctor all trying to figure out what was wrong.  They did another EKG and listened to his lungs, everything seemed fine so the doctor told him it was probably from anxiety.  They gave him some Ativan to help with that and it also put him to sleep.  They came in again in the afternoon just to check up on him and see if anything has changed, so at least they are keep a close eye on him.  After that little adventure though today has been pretty awesome.  The first thing he said this morning is that he wanted to get up and move around today.  He has been such a good sport and had a great attitude.  He is going to show this surgery who is the boss! 

This morning they took out his epidural (which was fine since it didn’t seem to be doing much anyways).  They switched him from IV pain meds to oral pain meds, Oxycodone every 3 hours and Oxycontin every 8 hours, which he is handling wonderfully; they just make him extra tired.  They also changed his medicine again for the muscle spasms; he is trying Flexeril now to see if that works any better.  He sat up in the chair position to eat breakfast and watch TV but he was pretty disappointed when he realized that The Price Is Right wasn’t on this morning since it is Saturday.  He has used the CPM contraption thing twice today for about an hour each time. 

He ate his WHOLE lunch today AND kept it in his stomach! Yay! We got a nice surprise today as well.  Andrew got an Edible Arrangement delivered from Lisa Wall, a pharmacist that Andrew and I both love working with, and a Brooke Boren, a friend of mine from school who is also friends with Lisa.  When he saw what the deliver was he said “Yummy, yum, yum! Thanks a ton!”

He has slept a lot today, which I think is a good thing.  I told him that I loved him and he responded with “I nub you too”, so I think he was pretty out of it.  I did make sure that he was awake when the physical therapists came in to see if he wanted to get up and walk today though.  He was pretty excited to get up and try walking with the walker.  He did so good!  My family arrived right before he was getting up to walk and they were surprised to see him getting up.  Even the physical therapists were impressed. 

Here is the link to see him walking... be amazed, be very amazed.

He didn’t walk too far because his shoulders started to hurt, so they turned him around (We made a tunnel for him to come back to his room under. Go Andrew!) and taught him how to get in and out of the bed when it is in the chair position and he got to eat his dinner while sitting up. 

He says that walking is easy, like really easy.  He says that he wants to walk all the time.  As a reward for how awesome he did at walking he also got to eat some bread and milk, which he loved.  (If you don’t know what bread and milk is, it is homemade bread, with milk poured over it, with some jam or honey on top.)  P.S. thanks for the homemade bread Mom!  It is really good for Andrew to have the company, but it is also nice for me to have the company and feel more at home.  We played Apples to Apples with my family, which was pretty entertaining since Andrew decided to talk like a mob boss with a speech impediment.  I tell ya, those drugs are pretty crazy.  My family left and Andrew felt bored so we played a game of UNO which didn’t work so well since his eyes couldn’t focus on the cards.  He decided he was still bored and wanted to go walk again.  While we were waiting for a nurse to come he was looking out the window and said “What is that red light?” So I told him that it was a stop light and he told me “I want to walk down there.  I want to push the button and make the light turn green.”  He was a little upset when the nurse told him that he couldn’t go outside let alone off of the sixth floor, so he settled for walking to the drinking fountain.  Now, the first time that he got up and walk today he traveled about 10-20 yards round trip.  His second adventure was around 120 yards round trip and he only stopped once!  He is progressing so well and eager to try new things.  The nurses, CNAs, physical therapists, and doctors here are so awesome and I think they are growing pretty fond of Andrew.     

Today’s Accomplishments
- Great attitude
- Doing well on new pain medications
- Eating more at a time and still keeping it down
- Got to brush his teeth and wash himself somewhat

Friday, January 6, 2012

Recovery: Day 1

The night felt a little long as we got woken up every 2 to 3 hours because of machines beeping or nurses checking up on him. They gave us ear plugs for tonight though so hopefully we both get a little more sleep. Andrew woke up this morning around 7 AM happy and without much pain.

They brought breakfast, which he was really excited about since the new nausea medication (which is actually called Droperidol) was working wonderfully. He ate one bite of his toast and then his right hip muscles started to spasm. This is when his pain skyrockets. The nurses gave him more Valium for the spasms which pretty much knocked him out. His physical therapist, Katie, came around 9 AM and moved Andrew’s bed into a chair position. He sat there for about 10 minutes, which she said is pretty impressive for the first time up. (It probably helps that he was half asleep).

Andrew’s brother, Kevin, came to visit around 10:30 AM with his two little boys. Andrew was so excited to get visitors today, but he was still pretty groggy and he slept most of the time that they were here. Janell, Andrew’s aunt, came to visit a little while later and it was crazy how much more aware Andrew was. He was awake the whole time and interacting well. Janell brought us People magazine, some peanut butter m&ms, and an awesome turkey sandwich (thanks Janell) which I shared with Andrew. He loved it. He had another session of physical therapy and Katie sat him up again, but started moving his legs a little bit. That didn’t go over very well pain wise, but he is a trooper and did a good job. He got to eat a little of his lunch and his nurse, Heather (whom we like very much), got his pain medication changed from Dilaudid to Morphine, which seems to be helping relieve the nausea, as well as changed the Valium to Ativan because Andrew doesn’t like being so tired. My mom, sisters, brother, and homemade cookies came to visit next. Andrew liked seeing everyone, but was a little tired again. He kept telling everyone, “I’m sorry I’m so lame.” He is broken though so it’s okay if he is lame. Speaking of broken, Andrew finally convinced the doctors to print some of his x-rays so that he could show visitors more than just his incision.

Anyways, next, the physical therapist came and sat him up one more time and he got to eat some dinner like a normal person. He got settled back down and they came back with a contraption that they strap his right leg into, and it slowly bends his knee and gives his hip a 10 degree angle. Andrew really liked this and they kept him in the machine for about an hour. Then something in his body decided that it was mad. He started to have spasms in his chest and arms, it looked like he was really shaky, and he said that his chest felt really sore and that it was hard to breathe. His heart rate was also staying close to 120-130 beats per minute, which they like it under 100 beats per minute. The doctors ordered an EKG, to check his heart rhythm, a blood draw, to check for heart damage, and a CT scan of his lungs to look for a blood clot. The EKG and the blood draw went smoothly, and they decided that they needed a new IV set up for Andrew’s CT scan. This proved to be quite the task. Between 2 nurses, a couple of nurses from the life flight team, and 6 different attempts at setting the IV they finally got it in. They kept trying to start an IV and then they would say that the vein would “blow” and they would have to look for another spot. We think that this might have to do with his Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, but we aren’t sure. In the end they finally got the CT scan done. The EKG and blood test came back normal, and the nurse told us that they didn’t see a blood clot in Andrew’s lungs, but they would come and talk to us about the scan later. So for now there are no answers to why his heart is beating fast, or why he has the spasms and chest tightness, but tomorrow is another day.

Accomplishments for the day

- Kept all food down

- Made it through day one of physical therapy

- Kept pain under control for the most part

- Remained happy for most of the day
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