Post op in Paradise; adjusting to the pain

After my first surgery, my doctor told me after about 3 days that I could probably stop taking the acetaminophen/codeine combination. It made me drowsy and one of the complications is  constipation. Besides, the ibuprofen was a strong dose, and it also helped with the swelling.

I thought I would follow the same protocol this time, but again, I underestimated my pain level this second time around. I woke up on day 4 and decided I wouldn’t take any Co-dydramol. By midday I broke down and took my dose.  At bedtime I decided to skip it again. The next morning I was back on it, but I only took one instead of two. Tapering off in this way, I think I had stopped taking it by the end of Day 5.

Meanwhile, I was trying to eat fruit and fibre. Co-dydramol really can make you constipated.

I started feeling more alert, which gave me more incentive to use my brain and planning skills. I went to work on some of  my projects. I could read without falling asleep!

I still experienced a lot of swelling. My foot swelled up when I was sitting. It swelled up if I stood too long. It fell asleep sometimes when I had it elevated. I started feeling cramps in my foot. My back and knees started to tighten up due to the awkward sitting positions and lack of exercise.

For the first two to four days, there was a lot of pain and swelling, but doing nothing at that time is easy. It’s the next 2 weeks that are difficult. Bathing or showering without getting the dressing wet is exhausting. Sitting with the foot up while trying to type something on the computer is very uncomfortable after about 30 minutes. Depending on someone else for your meals is frustrating, and humbling.

I started making the morning coffee after about one week. I wake up before my husband and I need my coffee. I’d given up having an omelette for breakfast, although he does cook eggs. I started eating cereal, or yogurt and scones or croissants, which were a nice treat.

One week post op, I ran out of the prescription ibuprofen, so I started taking my own. It was half the dose, so I noticed a difference in pain control. I also noticed that it was really hard on my stomach. I took the regular, over-the-counter ibuprofen for a day, then I stopped. After that I had to pay more attention to what my foot was telling me; to sit down and elevate it!

At this point, I started noticing the large pile of laundry, the dirty toilets, the dust on the furniture. I don’t have a cleaner, or a helper as they call them here. My husband finds it challenging to do all the cooking, errands and grocery shopping as well as his work. I started trying to do a little each day. The first day, I probably overdid things. The next day, I was sore, swollen and exhausted, so I did very little. I try to do one chore each day now.

Household chores remind me of what it would have been like to have surgery in the winter in Canada. Our house with two staircases wouldn’t have worked. I’d have had to set up in our living room. I wouldn’t be able to start going in and outside so easily on the treacherously slippery sidewalks.

Here, I can relax on the deck for the entire morning, eating breakfast, doing puzzles, reading and surfing the internet. If I’m energetic I can hobble down to the pool and relax on a recliner. It is either blissfully quiet, except for the sound of the sea, or I am entertained by the goings-on of the island.

That is how my recovery has been going. One day, I feel great and think I can do more. The next, I need to rest, which is pretty easy when you can sit outside and enjoy the sound of the waves.  The next day I have a better idea what I can handle. My next big step would be getting the stitches out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *