A Painful Lesson About Plastic Surgery Recovery
My doctor told me of nothing to expect after surgery except my breasts would seem large but by the 3rd day they would go down. The liposuction I had from my belly to my knees, might feel a little numb, but that should clear up shortly.
The day of surgery I was on pain pills and went up and down my flight of stairs 3 times. The second day I awoke at 6am took my pain pills and unloaded the dishwasher, picked up the 20lb dog, magazines and dishes around the house. Went to the doctor that afternoon, he and my husband chatted about how mush blood was coming out of all nine holes in my body and that I began bleeding vaginally, the doctor was surprised. He gave me a new girdle and sent us on our way. Afterwards we went to Wal-Mart to buy a present for the people we were staying with. I then returned to their house exhausted, climbed the stairs and took another pain pill and laid down.
I returned home on Sunday the 2nd day after surgery, the 4 1/2 hour drive was so bumpy, I take a pain pill and a sleeping pill so I wouldn't feel the pain. I arrived home and unpacked my suitcase. I better cook dinner because everyone was starved, I set the table, lifted pots and pans, a gallon of milk, and the heavy deep freezer door to get out some fish. Why do I hurt so badly, I could cry the pain is so bad? I take more pain medication and lay down.
I sleep till two am and awake my breasts feel like they are being torn from my chest, I can hardly breath and my legs feel like they are being stabbed with an ice pick repeatedly. I take a pain pill and a sleeping pill and wait for an hour for them to kick in; I might as well do a load of laundry while I am awake. I fill the washer with all the towels and lift the gallon jug of bleach from the floor, my God, it's so heavy, I almost drop it, it must be that corporal tunnel syndrome I was diagnosed, I'm always dropping things, after 30 minutes I reach into the washer and pull the wet heavy towels out and put in the dryer. I return to bed.
At 7am I awake as usual and I crawl out of bed holding my breasts, gasping for air and standing up like a 100 yr. old man. It's so hard to put one leg in front of the other. I reach for another pain pill. I head to the kitchen to fix breakfast. I take out a lb of bacon, 2 1/2 dozen carton of eggs, gallon of milk and set the table. I am walking very slowly and everything seems like it weighs 200 lbs. I feel my breast and stomach are being ripped out, I have sharp stabs of pain in my left breast and it is swollen much bigger than the right breast, this must be normal. I feed everyone and as my husband leaves for work. I have three more loads of laundry to do and the floors need mopped badly. Again I am lifting gallon jugs, moving clothes from washer to dryer and into the laundry basket to carry into the den where I fold them, I must then carry them to various bedrooms and put them away. I'm so exhausted, it 10:45 I have an hour to lay down before I must get up and make my husband lunch, he will be home at 12:15pm. I lay down, God I hurt so bad, why is that? I call the doctors office, his secretary answers and I tell her all I am doing and that I am in so much pain, She says I'm doing great and that it just takes awhile for the swelling to go down, don't worry. I say O.K. and think I never knew it was this excruciating of pain. I'll just have to tuff it out.
I arise the 4th morning after surgery, I do my little ritual and head for the kitchen, by the time I get to the kitchen I take out the gallon of milk I am in such excruciating pain that I begin to cry and gasp for air and begin hyperventilating. Bill rushes in, puts his arm around me and tries to help me sit down. I am sobbing uncontrollably. The pain in my left breast is so intense, it's as if I cannot get air, Help me please. My daughter calls my doctor's paging service and tells them this is an emergency. He calls 10 minutes later, he is shocked. He has never heard of that much pain from a patient; maybe I just don't have a high tolerance for pain. Why most people are no longer taking their pain pills by now. Maybe you have a blood clot, do you have a doctor up there you could call, no I want you, you are my surgeon. OK fine drive down to Houston (4 hours away) and I will look at it.
Four and 1/2 hour later we arrive, I'm over my crying and the pain medicine is working, I tell the doctor how it felt, he looks at my breasts, looks at the stitches and says there is no blood clot and I'm fine. He says jokingly "You're just a wus" I tell him all I have been doing and if that's OK. He replies "Great" I don't think you should be taking these pain pills anymore after 7 days of Lortab 10mg. I think you are addicted. I say no I'm in pain. What should I do? He replies, I don't know, we have these other different kinds of pain pills, which do you think will help? What the heck do I know about pain pills? You're the doctor you tell me. He repeated the 4 kinds, which do I want. How about Tylenol 3, that sounds harmless. Kari drives me 4 1/2 hours back home. I'm in pain and I hurt. I take my pain pills and go to bed.
Friday morning I do the same ritual. I begin thinking about what the doctor said and I sure don't want to be a drug head, I will completely stop taking my pain medicine and I will tuff it out. By Friday evening it's 6 pm I have been in pain all day but I will not take a pain pill. Finally I give in and take one pill and ask my husband to drive me to get cotton candy ice cream that should brighten up my spirits. We are half way there and I begin to cry softly, Bill goes in and buys me a gallon of ice cream, he comes out and I am sobbing and crying to God that he would please help me, maybe I am going to die. I think the doctor has made a mistake in surgery, I have a heart murmur, Irritable bowel syndrome, pain in my L 4 and L 5 from back surgery. He said he took 2,800 cc of fat from me and when he ran into ribs on my stomach he said he got out of there. He must have done something to me and doesn't want to admit it. We arrive home and my husband fills the bathtub to the top with very warm water and a whole bag of Epsom salts, he helps me in and gives me two pain pills. He looks helpless as I am crying and laughing at the same time, because for the first time my breasts are floating and feeling is coming back to parts of my legs. In the morning my husband will call the doctor and they will discuss pain management.
The doctor suggests Bill handle my pain management because he is a dentist. Bill refuses, and makes a suggestion of other medication and the doctor will call it in but only for 1 more week. I am so mad at my doctor that I clean ever inch of the 4 bedroom 3 bath house, and cook three meals that day, by that evening I am laying in bed and an older friend calls to check on me and I begin to cry and tell her what my week has been like. She was horrified. You can't do that, any of that. What? I ask dumbly. Honey, she says you have had surgery on your body, your body is in trauma, She began to reveal that she too had implants 20 years ago, those should be bound and not in some flimsy sports bra, you are not allowed to lift anything, and you must stay in bed and allow your body to recuperate. I then began to think, why I have always gone 100 miles and hour and I told my doctor what I was doing and he said "Great". I never thought that I was tearing at my muscles and tender tissue that was trying to heal. If only my doctor did not have such a lack of awareness, he would have known right away what was my problem. I wonder how many other patients would suffer like me from lack of knowledge. Here is my story, I hope I help just one person suffering after surgery and not knowing what to do. Take it from me rest, let your family do the chores and have take out brought home and give your body time to heal.