Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 16: Baby Steps

(NOTE: If you are seeing this on Facebook, please go to my blog - - to see my whole post. I don't make my points in the first paragraph, which is all that shows up on my Facebook page :).)

Gradually I have been able to reduce the painkillers. Today I will just have 3 doses, and one of those doses is ibuprofen, so I'm taking less than half the narcotic that I had been taking during the time I was recovering at my sister's. (The first 5 days, in the hospital, I was getting various narcotics day and night, so I'm not even counting that.)

Speaking of narcotics (have I written this before?): As my gut issues were so bad my doctor hadn't allowed me to take any aspirin or NSAIDs, and because my liver enzymes are coming back as elevated at least half the time, she didn't want me to take acetaminophen either. So for all of my pain (mostly arthritis - spine/hips/knees/foot) she has had me taking narcotics with a higher hydrocodone level but lower acetaminophen level. I have found that to be far inferior to just plain aspirin in most cases, but at least it made me not really care too much that the pain itself wasn't being adequately relieved. And now that my gut surgeon has given me the OK to take aspirin and NSAIDs again, and having taken so much narcotic for the last couple of years, I'm extremely happy to be able to lessen my doses as quickly as I can. I'm not only taking it less often now, I'm also decreasing the doses at the same time.

Anyway, today when at rest I have been able to downgrade to "uncomfortable" rather than painful, and decreasing the amount of narcotic, and not having become breathless with exertion or exercise today, I am happy to see several "baby steps" at once :). Last night I woke up sleeping on my side and it wasn't the horrible searing pain that has caused in the past - it was very uncomfortable instead which is a huge improvement. Biggest causes of pain are still bending/stretching/twisting/reaching/lifting, and if I'm not super-vigilant when I'm eating; most other things are now downgraded to various levels of discomfort - AWESOME!

I talk about how and what I am eating, and how I am reintroducing foods into my diet on my other blog, but I will say that I think it may have been a little soon to add the ground beef. I didn't get many guidelines from my surgeon but I wrote before about how I am doing this I think? I did ok with the beef, it went down, hasn't made me ill (although there is the instance about which I wrote in my other blog...), but it does leave me with a heavy feeling in my gut that doesn't go away for a couple of hours. So I think I'm going to back off of it for a while and go back to chicken and fish and egg sources of protein.

One last thing that has nothing to do with the surgery - well, not THIS surgery at least: In September I had a cataract surgery on my left eye. (Briefly, in case you don't want to go back and read about it, the cataract was OLD, my pupil was white, the fluid in my all was 100% cloudy, and from disuse my brain stopped communicating with my eye, so it star-gazed upward and outward; I have been blind in that eye for several years.) This week I picked up my new glasses, which are TOTALLY different from the glasses I got after my first cataract surgery in 2004, and have worn ever since. And the world is a completely new place compared to what it was to me just a few short months ago! The only thing is with reading music at my keyboards; I can either pull my head back about 6" and look through the upper part, or I can lean forward and look through the lower part. Probably the first option is the best since my back is hunched anyway (and has been since I was a teen if not earlier). But for now I will keep my old pair between my keyboards and wear those when I play. (It also hurts my gut to sit up with the keyboard at the proper height but that will go away the more I do it.)

So that is my news from the last couple of days :).

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