Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Adjusting to life at home and coming to terms with what we had been through....

Once we were home and settled things seemed a little strange. I was still weak and tired from my ordeal and needed to sleep on an afternoon to get through the day. Food was still extremely difficult to get down and I was only eating small amounts. I weighed myself and had now dropped down to 10 stones 13lbs. I'd lost nearly two stones since the operation.
The day after we came home the district nurse came by to check on me and to remove my staples. I wasn't looking forward to that bit as I thought it may hurt. In the end it wasn't too bad, led on our bed the nurse removed the 47 staples that had held me together for so long. The wound was healing nicely. She also re-dressed one of the chest drain dressings.
We ordered more medication to be delivered to the house to ensure we had plenty, she also organised my sick note for work and in light of the fact that I was loosing weight also sorted me out some Fortisip shakes. These are high calorie milkshakes designed to boost your calorie intake. Bloods were also taken to measure my platelets count (previously over 2000).
A few days after that the local stoma nurse came to visit to check on how I was doing and to check the measurement of the stoma to ensure I was cutting the bags to the right size. Whilst I dislike every minute of having to have a stoma its a necessary evil and for me luckily a temporary thing.
Tracey and I were sleeping in separate beds for the first week or so. Tracey was so conscious of not bumping into me and hurting me or woke every time I moved worrying that something was wrong it resulted in her not sleeping at all the first night and it was important that she was well rested and strong so she could care for me during the day. This only lasted about a week and once she was a bit more relaxed things got back to normal.
In the immediate weeks after returning home both of us were shell shocked I think. We looked back at what we had just been through and realised what a complete nightmare it had been. Whilst you are in hospital you become so focused on what you are doing that you block everything out. Its only when you get home and start to relax that it really hits you. We struggled to discuss the events of the last few weeks and were both quite emotional for a while. The hallucinations still haunted me. There were three in total that really upset me, the one in intensive care when I thought it was the end and then I had two instances (one in intensive care and one on the ward) where I awoke from sleep not knowing who I was,where I was or why I was there? Each time it took several minutes for me to rationalise things and be talked down by the nurse. They scared me.
I started doing the short walks that the physio wanted me to do. Initially just to the end of the close and back (about 50yrds!). This soon turned into circuits of the close and then further.
I was still tired and found conversation difficult. I was happy just sat quietly and to be honest couldn't concentrate enough to hold a lengthy discussion. This resulted in Tracey and I often sat in silence. It wasn't an uncomfortable silence but it was silence never the less and was starting to bother me. I also felt that I wasn't interacting enough with the children and that upset me too. As my strength started to grow things did start to change and I became more "chirpy". Some days were better than others but I was making progress. There was a lot of adjustment to be done and some rationalization needed in my head in order to get back to something resembling normality.

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