This was my first time getting this spinal pain killer, and it's kind of miraculous! Just a tiny bit beneath the skin somewhere there along the spine and *poof!* no pain! None! Kind of amazing. (The anesthesiologist says a dose of morphine is normally measured in milligrams, but this spinal was just a few micrograms. Amazing.) Now it's worn off this morning--which is why I can pee, of course--and there are a few aches and pains but hardly worth mentioning. Filling my lungs fully is a bit uncomfortable, and my drain on the left side hurts a little. Actually, not the drain, but just the stomach in that area, like I had been doing too many (that is, ANY) sit-ups.
Tough to see in the picture, but there are four small holes covered in tape, and a bigger hole at the drain. The icky-looking stuff in the drain is the leftover from surgery. There's a little bleeding during the surgery, and then the chest cavity is rinsed out; most of this is the leftover from the rinsing.
This morning we get our second test of the staple line to be sure it's not leaking (though very rare, this is this particular surgery's chief risk, a leaking staple line; these typically show themselves right away). The staple line is pressure-tested the first time during the procedure, the doctor inflating the stomach with air like a tire when the chest cavity is being flushed. Any leaks are seen as bubbles. Anyway, for test two, we get a sip of water followed by four little cups of grape-flavored intense blue dye (our first drink of anything). They watch to be sure nothing blue comes out our drain. It's not the end of the world if there is a leak, of course, but it'll mean they have to go back in and fix it, which restarts the clock here. Another day or two. So great pains are taken with the initial procedure to make it secure. Once we've passed the leak test, we're off and running with a variety of clear liquids--variant of which will constitute our sole diet for the next 10 days. Haven't seen them yet, but I expect some chicken broth, water, Crystal Light. No bourbon.
OK, leak check passed! Whew! Now onto clear liquids. Surprisingly, the water and dye / juice went down exactly as it has for 50 years. Small sips, admittedly, but there was absolutely nothing different in sensation. The grape tasted a bit funny, which could either be the grape or my taste buds courtesy of the antibiotic I'm on (the name of which I do not know).
We got some Gatorade, some warm tea and some apple juice. So far the two cold drinks have gone down totally normally. Cool.
I've asked Dr. Aceves to give me a look at the surgical staple they use. I'm curious what it is? Is it a series of individual staples (yes) put in like a sewing machine? Or are they mounted in a strip? He said he'll bring me one. I'll try to get a picture. This is now a permanent part of me, like a dental bridge or artificial joint.
Some pictures from the drive over:
|We drive over in CA and cross into Mexico at Calexico / Mexicali. There ain't much in extreme Southern California.|
|Mexicali. When we cross the border, there are a couple miles continuous of medical places--more dental than anything, but bariatrics, plastic surgery, optometrists, etc.|
|Residential Mexicali from our hotel.|
|The Hospital Almater. Not a clinic, but a full-service private hospital with ER and ICU.|
|My room, #25. Cozy. Everything is clean and being continually cleaned.|
|My occupation for three days (a day and a half with my scarecrow). Note the exquisite Omar-the-Tent-Maker couture! I'm thinking of petitioning UPS to adopt this as the new crew uniform. Compression wraps on legs come off today.|
|Our little ward. 13 rooms.|
|There's the damage. The two little electrode-thingies at the top are for the EKG during surgery, I think. The bag comes off on Day 3, when it's done doing its job.|
More hijinx tomorrow.