So the next thing I recall clearly was being back in the room. I don’t remember getting there and I hadn’t seen Rhonda being brought back in so I am personally unsure of the methods used therein. Here is the lore according to the wife:
TLR recalls that they wheeled me in in a wheelchair, stopped it by my bed, and just told me to get into bed. She is very protective of me and was so disturbed that they weren’t helping me that she got up from a dead sleep, got out of her own bed, and coached me into bed (“Grab the rail honey! Go toward the light!” Etc) at which point they started assisting me. I am told that once I was safely in bed I immediately conked out, which I find entirely believable since I don’t remember anything until a while later and nothing at all about the process of returning to the room.
The first day was pretty much a blur, lots of sleeping and having vitals taken and IVs swapped out. We were forced to march the halls twice by our friend/nursemaid Joni because she is mean. And didn’t want us to get pneumonia. Whatever.
At some point we were told we could have a Popsicle, which was incorrect, and this made TLR sick.
I had some nausea at one point and definitely some wicked bad heartburn, but otherwise felt just sleepy. As long as I didn’t move any part of my body, it was as though nothing had happened. I slept that night like a dead body thanks to the anesthesia drugs that were still working their way out of my body.
In the morning we were given a very small amount, perhaps an ounce, of very dark purple beverage and told to sip it down. (They encourage sipping, not gulping, with the new tiny stomach situation.) If any purple color appeared in the surgical drain dangling at my left side, this would indicate a leak in my stomach. I studiously avoided looking at my surgical drain at all times so I have no way of knowing myself whether any purple appeared there, but one assumes that it was noted by the nurse who emptied the drain. No news is good news, amirite?
A bit later that morning we were taken to have a fluoroscope of our stomachs which was taken standing as we consumed a bit of contrast medium. This was the more definitive leak test which we both passed. Cleared for popsicles for real this time!
Passing the leak test also means you get your drain out. If you’ve never had a surgical drain, they aren’t especially nice. They don’t really hurt, per se, but they don’t feel nice. Getting them taken out is quick and also not especially nice. Imagine a small tube bumping up against your tender organs as it is yanked away. Or maybe don’t imagine it, if you’re squeamish. TLR said a Bad Word when hers was removed which prepared me for the fun times ahead. I did not say a swear but I wanted to.
The remainder of the day passed in a slow motion blur of shuffling up and down the halls, failing to use the incentive spirometer quite enough, and learning how a swollen, healing brand-newly-tiny stomach responds to minute sips of various liquids. The answer: it twitches, and gurgles, and lurches strangely. Then if you’re lucky you’ll burp up a gas bubble and things will settle down, until the next time. Which should be every few minutes in order to get enough fluids into us.