Saturday, April 7, 2012

lung surgery recovery

"He whoknows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.” 
Sun Tzu,‘The Art of War’
At thetheoretical half way point of recovery from lung surgery, the word itselfremains somewhat alien after decades of spouse caregiving for MultipleSclerosis.

Me feelinga little better each day is strange, almost guilty, contrasted to decades of MScaregiving where ‘progress’ is measured in slowing decline.

Though afterthree weeks not every lesson learned is a quandary. Foolishly trying to be ‘muymacho’ I kept the pain meds in the bottle - until the first time I coughed oraccidently rolled over on my surgical side while sleeping, then I grabbed thatOxycontin like a baby grabs its bottle. … Though unlike a chronic illness, hourby hour it does get better. Yesterday, I only took two (2) ibuprofen.

For me, mainly it’s my ribs that were retracted for surgery thatache and ribs take time.

Essentiallyrecovery is about not stressing my incisions. I have lifting restrictions. Mysurgeon’s anecdotes of repairing lung hernias for those who do not listen were deterrentenough for me. Not lifting more than 5 lbs - also means no pulling, no pushing,no sliding, etc of anything over 5 lbs for six weeks.

While Ido not need assistance with my activities of daily living, our adult daughterhas been a godsend for grocery shopping, lawn mowing, etc. even things I neverforesaw such as lifting the weights weekly on our grandfather clock.

Exercisingand strengthening lungs ... When Iwoke up after surgery I was handed my very own Voldyne 5000! Actually it’srather fun once you get the hang of it, inhaling steadily to try and keep thebobber suspended in the “best” range.

Walking is unrestricted. I’ve currently built up walking to a miletwice daily, stretching it each day. Pre-surgery I walked two miles most daysof the week.  

I must confess that in our parallel universe I have found ithelpful in my healing that Patti’s outings from her care facility, now madepossible by our daughter, have only fallen off about one day a week during myrecovery.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 

related entries:

when caregivers get sick - lung cancer Mar 24