Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Other Stuff After Surgery

In my previous post I only spoke generally about my hip and stay at the hospital. I'll go a little more in-depth in this post. Of the 8 days I was in the hospital, I had a catheter (a tube allowing me to urinate without using a bed commode or a bedside commode) inside me. It was actually very weird. The first 5 days, I had no bowel movement and would only urinate - peeing while a catheter is inside is the most awkward feeling. I always had the urge to urinate - even when I wasn't urinating. When it was time to take the catheter out, I was anxious, because I didn't know what the hell would come out of my urethra. The nurse just did her thing and in one shot pulled out a snake-like tube. It was rather disgusting - the thought of it.

Because I was still in bedrest and unable to use a bedside commode, one that was right next to my bed but would have to make me walk to it, I was given a bed commode, one that went right underneath my ass while in a sleeping position. After the catheter was out, my first few attempts at trying to pee was very unsuccessful. I was bloated and knew I had to pee but nothing was coming out because none of us pee while laying down (hopefully not)! So, after complaining to the nurse, another catheter had to be placed inside. The first time around, I didn't see the catheter being placed in me. But the second time around, I had my legs spread out, with the world seeing (nurse and nurse-aid), and the rubber-tube just slid right into the urethra. The nurse rubbed my belly and urine was flowing out. Damn, I felt so much better. You can't even imagine. Not being able to urinate freely is deathly. I rather be dead.

The next day, however, the catheter had to be taken out because with a tube inside, I was more prone to infections. The nurse took it out and I was sad because I knew I would have a hard time peeing. But I actually didn't. Somehow, I don't know how, after the bed commode was placed underneath, I just prayed, adjusted the bed so I was in a sitting position, and damn, it was a good flow.

But the next challenge was to make bowel movement. It was impossible to take a shit while on the bed. I just couldn't. But I was constipated. And with all my medications, I was on stool softeners that weren't so helpful. By the 6th day, when I was kind of up and walking with a walker, the nurse agreed to bring in a bedside commode. And on that 6th day, I legit took I don't know how many hours, but the curtains on my side of the room was shut and I let the nurse know that today would be the day. The day I take a good shit. This may be funny, but the reality of it is that I was in a lot of pain. Unbearable pain. And for those who have ever been constipated, you know what I'm talking about and recall those harsh memories of when you just couldn't - just couldn't let it out.

While all of this was going on, I managed to start physical therapy. I looked forward to physical therapy because I knew I would be able to get up, sit, stand, walk for a bit, and regain some of what I had lost. To walk, stand, sit, all these little activities, we take for granted, are so important in our lives because once you lose the ability to do one of these, life will change forever. I remember not being able to sit properly in a chair before the surgery or stand for more than 2 minutes at a time or walk because I'd always be in pain. And I always told/tell my friends that without our legs, we're not human. Without any part of our body, we're not human.

I started physical therapy at the hospital and was supposed to continue at a rehab facility. Unfortunately, the plan did not work out with my health insurance and my doctor decided I should stay home for PT (physical therapy). My physical therapist, a Filipino man, is quite a character. He's very active and always happy. I just love it when he comes. We do simple leg exercises to strengthen the muscles on the left leg. I started off by doing leg exercises on the bed to walking down the hallway to going outside and up the stairs of my basement. The day I went out, which was after 14 legitimate days, I was just thankful for life. I saw the world once again and it was an amazing feeling. I love being outside. The weather was fresh too. In previous posts I mentioned not being bale to sleep in my own bedroom, well, two days ago, I went up the stairs in my house up to my bedroom, which I hadn't seen in a months. Wow. I can't even descrive how I felt being upstairs. I went from being on a walker to two crutches to one crutch. By next week I'll be using a cane. This is called a quick recovery. I don't want to jinx it.

I also have a nurse that comes in every morning to take my vitals and give me a blood thinner injection to prevent blood clots. I actually hate it when she comes because it's usually mad early and I like my sleep. I'm usually cranky as hell when she's checking my blood pressure and shit.

After the nurse, the nurse aid comes to help me bathe, clean my room, and help me with my exercises. Gail is from Guyana and she is so selfless. My mother is always feeding her even though she's not supposed to be eating or drinking during duty. I'm just thankful to God that all these people I'm meeting and continue to meet are good human beings. It shows God is with me in every step.

I have an appointment with my surgeon on the 21st of June - upcoming Monday. I'm actually very excited to see him because he's going to remove my staples. I feel legit with staples up the side of my thigh. It's like a zipper. And I love showing it off to people because I'm just cool like that and because most of my friends are future doctors, they are just amazed every time they see the staples.

Though I don't do much during the week, my days seem to be occupied well. My best friends accompany me and we just have good ass times laughing and fooling around.

I just hope this post makes my readers take time to reflect upon their lives and think about the body - without one part, we're not the same.


  1. Shahana Mama, I just want to say that I love you, I'm proud of you, and I admire you so much. You are more than inspiration and your strength is really something to be admired. I thank God every day that I have you in my life because you teach me so many things, like how not to take life and the simple things and the beautiful people in it (like you) for granted. I love you so much!

  2. Although I speak to you everyday, after reading your post its still hard to imagine everything you've went through. The details and level of imagery you provide are a clear indication that this is something that will stay with you forever. It is a part of you, but also something that will help you grow and only add to your immeasurable strength. You are so amazing and I am so proud to have a friend as wonderful, brave and talented as you are...and yes talented because you are one hell of a writer!! Seriously girl!