August 17, 2001 (Part B) - Recovering and Rehab
Thanks for all the kind words and good wishes. I am doing terrifically well.
As I mentioned in my last update, I came home from the hospital on Sunday AND immediately went to bed and to sleep! Our next door neighbor, Colleen Burkett, was kind enough to "keep an eye one me" as Roy went to pick up my friend and personal trainer, Rita Hofmann, who we'd arranged to have come and stay with me so I'd have 24 hour care and he'd be able to go back to work without worrying. Then he had his adventure! It was a dark and rainy night...long story short, Rita's flight didn't get in until four hours after it was due and they didn't get back to York until after nine. In the meantime, I woke up - starving (no food in the house of course) - and called Colleen to beg for food! She took care of me very nicely with fresh peaches and ice cream (yum!)
Monday was a good day - I had no real pain, just a stretching sensation where the incisions are. Still pretty tired, I slept on and off most of the day. As of 11pm Monday night, I was off pain meds. There is no reason to think I should have a "normal" sensory/nervous system considering my circulatory system is there?
Since Tuesday, I have been up and about. I've been walking and doing my "exercises" - limited arm movements to build back in flexibility. We had a follow-up with the docs in Baltimore on Tuesday and they took out the Doppler wires (that allowed them to listen to the blood while I was in the hospital) and one of the four drains. As I mentioned last year, the drains are a "reverse sprinkler hose" concept. Named Jackson/Pratt drains, they have a section perforated like a sprinkler hose which is inside the body and is connected to a solid tube which in turn is connected to a plastic bulb (picture the bulb at the end of a turkey baster with a smaller top and a plug). The bulb has the air squeezed out of it and the top corked so that it forms a soft vacuum which in turn draws excess fluids in through the holes in the hose, down the other tube and into the bulb where they can be emptied and measured. The magic number when thinking about JP's is 30 cc. 30cc of fluid collected or less within a 24 hour period and they can come out.
Drs. Chang and Fabian were extremely pleased with the incisions and how things are progressing. And yes, I am now cancer free with an extremely minute chance of getting breast cancer again (no breast tissue, ergo, no breast cancer).
Wednesday, after I got tired of walking the circuit within the house, Rita took me for a stroll to my neighbor's and back. No problems at all - really good to get out in the fresh air. I am walking almost 98% upright already with no pain. Thursday our outing was to WalMart - I pushed the cart while she got what we needed. Must admit that I get tired easily, but there is still no pain. I could not be doing as well as I am doing without Rita - she's cooking healthy meals for me, making sure my incisions and drains are cleaned and functioning, makes me do my exercises( ! ), plumps my pillows, helps me bathe and wash my hair. I'm so well-pampered I'm not sure I ever want to get back to "normal!!!!!"
Today we saw the docs again. They're both extremely pleased! I don't need to come back to them for a follow-up again until September. The nurse removed two of the three remaining drains and I'll get the last one out on Monday. This is going to make sleeping heavenly - it's difficult to sleep anywhere except on your back with drains in and I'm usually a side-sleeper (that's sleeper, not winder!). Rita and I celebrated with a short walk down by the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and then lunch overlooking the harbor at the Center Club.
And how has Roy been handling all of this, you ask? Well, he left town Monday morning to go to some mandatory meetings - guess where? Right - Orlando! He got back Wednesday night and had to leave again this morning for another meeting and will get back on Saturday. Guess where he went? Right - Orlando. How ironic that I'm up north for two weeks and he spends a week of it back home in Orlando.
Rita and I leave for Orlando on Tuesday, so should be back in normal digs by late Tuesday afternoon. Assume all is healing terrifically unless you hear from me again. Next update in September after the doctor's visit. Thanks again for all your care and prayer. This adventure has been much easier knowing that you were out there backing me up!
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