Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Instructions at Home

I am a little behind here with catching you up but things are going really well! It has taken 3 years for me to realistically prepare for this (or since July 1999 if you look at that as the time I was told I have brain tumors). In any case, all the work and preparation has paid off over the years. I am actually doing better than I could have imagined on that very first day I was told I don't have one brain tumor but several. I feel well like I went to a very important interview, event, test or whatever and was truly confident and prepared. PREPARE I cannot stop thinking of or using that word. It is so important.

Before I get lost in a ramble as I could go on a long diatribe about the details of my preparation for surgery, let me lie out for you here the nice typed out and easy to read instructions I was given upon discharge:

Special Instructions for after surgery:

  • Do not bend over until cleared at next appointment.

(Wow! Amazingly this is a really hard one to remember. I had no idea we did so much bending over until I had to think about it. It is really easy to forget and I have to either have someone put on my shoes or develop new ways to do things so I am not constantly bending over. Maybe it is a good thing and I will develop better posture habits and ways to protect my back from injury.)

  • Do not scrub area of incision.

(This is kind of easy as it is swollen but I am told the incision looks really excellent. The incision is about 3 inches long in a cresent moon shape behind the ear with brown stitches that dissolve. I have not seen it but Harley took a picture with the camera phone while I was in the hospital. Today I accidentally dumped a whole handful of shampoo into my hand which I could not get back in the bottle. Thus I finally just whapped the whole handful on top of my scalp. I guess that is ok as my hair had not been truly washed for over a week - just rinsed with this leave in hospital stuff that makes your hair kind of gross but easy to comb out.)

  • No driving for at least 2 weeks of until MD says OK.

(I live rurally about 10 miles out of Redmond, WA so it has been IMMENSELY helpful to have my mom here for the week to take me where I need to go (grocery shopping, errand shopping for things we need, picking up my disabled placard tabs, the post office, and walking the dogs. In addition, the other vehicle needed to be taken to Seattle today which is a 2 person operation that I cannot do. Therefore, it was extremely helpful that my mom was able to drive the other vehicle for Harley to be able to do this. Tomorrow or Friday the dropped off vehicle needs to be picked back up which I absolutely could not do and we would need to make arrangements with someone to help. Thus it is even more appreciated that my mom is here to be able to assist us with this task.
As far as driving, the day I was released from the hospital I did not notice because I was comfortable and busy in the back seat of a different car. However, in the truck as a passenger in the front I feel rather uneasy. It is clear I would not be able to drive yet - park or move the truck yes but not drive. I do have quite a bit of weakness and I am still getting over episodes of double vision. My hands and head are a little shakey so I guess the doctors know best, eh? Afterall, there was a giant shift in my brainstem and 2 large tumors removed. It will take a little while to get readjusted.)

  • Showers only. Do not soak the incision.

(This is not hard either as it is setup for me to only take a sitting shower using my fantastic shower seat. I am really enjoying it! It is easier to shave the legs too! ;+) Egads I was a hairy bear before today!)

  • No lifting of anything over 10 lbs (yes that is correct only 10) for two weeks.

(On the other form it is written 6 weeks! Heavens I will become a weak Flabio by then! I sort of prepared for this too although I did not know I would be limited to only 10 lbs. That is not much at all and things - at least stuff I normally lugged around - was 10 pounds or more. Right now it is sort of ok but I know this is going to be a little challenging if not aware of it all the time. I will really have to hit the gym and get back into weight training once approved!)

I have to sleep at a 30 percent grade at least and cannot sleep flat on my back. Therefore, we stopped at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get a special incline pillow for me to sleep on the daybed on the main floor. In addition to this special pillow I also use a large square pillow on top of that and sometimes another smaller one. It was weird sleeping like this at first in the hospital but I have adjusted now and have a comfy setup (watch now that I say that I will probably sleep horribly).

So these are my instructions.
Apparently I was not to use the stairs and may have needed a walker. Well the walker and a cane were not needed thus far since coming home and I am handling the stairs well. My computer setup with the ergonomic keyboard I like is upstairs in the loft as well as my office. I guess you cannot keep me away from it for long (hehe). At first I sat on my rear to go down the stairs but now I am confident going down standing up. Harley installed a nice handrail there too along the area which did not have one. This makes it much easier and I really like it so it is something we should have placed there anyhow. Now I will not be using my shoulders as prior for support on the 90 degree angle where the stairs change direction.

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