Sleeping during that first night in the hospital didn’t go too well. It was mostly sleepless. At 5am I had the lab guy in my room drawing blood to check for infections, hemoglobin levels, and a few other things. Then I had the nurses in there stripping and emptying my drains, checking my incision, and trying to get me up and around for walking. Pro tip for nurses and patients alike: ALWAYS OPEN YOUR BINDER SLOWLY. My nurse was new to the floor and sprung the binder open and I cried right out loud for a while. It was agony. I didn’t end up getting up to walk until around 10am because the pain got so far ahead of me. But once it was under control, it felt good to get back on my feet again and get the cathedar removed.
All of my lab tests came back great, so I got moved to a normal room out of ICU. The 2nd night was uneventful. I got up and walked the hallways a few times. I had supper. Jake and I sat in the room and watched some Netflix and Hulu together. And we got a little sleep. Then today would be day three. I got woke up at 5:30am this time, for the same set of tests, vitals, and incision/drain check. Everything was still good, so they asked me when I’d like to go home. I got up and around, had breakfast, walked around a bit while they were finishing up discharge paperwork, and then got out of the hospital by 9am!
Once I got home I wanted to get a shower taken to wash the hospital smell off of me. And I learned about another mistake I’d like to warn anyone about who wants to go through this procedure. DO NOT LOOK IN THE MIRROR WITH NO BINDER in those first few days. With all the swelling and bruising, staples and drains, its hideous! The sight of myself looking like I do 48 hours after this Panniculectomy was shocking to say the least. It scared me and made me quite emotional about my current physical appearance. However, I do know it is still very early, I am still in the process of bruising and healing, and it WILL improve. I am wearing my binder always (except for showering) just like I am supposed to, I am exercising my lungs, drinking plenty, moving around just enough and resting, keeping up on my pain meds and prophylactic antibiotics, and emptying my drains… I know I will heal well. I just need to trust the process and not worry so much about what it looks like right now. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.