Saturday, 29 June 2013

Day 2

Shoulder pain back in full force in the morning. I'd heard from others that moving around/walking helped, but that made it much worse for me. If I lay down still the pain was tolerable. After breakfast a second dose of tramadol and paracetamol helped. Every 6 hours now I take tramadol (50mg) and paracetamol (500mg).

I had been drinking water through the night with no problems -- none of the typical cold water coming back up the throat as usual. My surgeon said it was too early to judge anything, but I was pleased nonetheless! It's so important to grasp the positive signs, because naturally the negatives weigh more heavily on us.

That said, I was pretty worried about breakfast. It was hard to believe that the LINX was actually implanted and that things could possibly feel the same. The nurse recommended starting with porridge and raisins. Nothing felt stuck, and I made sure to drink warm tea every few bites. The Torax rep I spoke to mentioned that drinking something before a meal can help prime the LINX, so I'll plan to do that - probably with warm water - until I feel more confident. I didn't experience any reflux afterwards but did have one very painful hiccup (short-lived, thankfully!) and several moments where I wanted to belch but didn't. I say didn't rather than couldn't because I didn't try very hard! No nausea.

I have six incisions (despite being told I'd only have 4) and like most people, the onsite pain isn't really that bad, just sort of insistent when the meds wear off, and it sure lets you know what mobility limitations there are! I've been able to sit up fine, squat to pick something up off the floor, and generally take a deep breath when I need to by bending forward slightly. Not really a big deal when on the meds...although I fear the meds allow me to overdo it a bit and by the end of today I was really feeling the pain everywhere.

Left the hospital at 11am and the car journey home was a little unpleasant on the incisions. Talking is definitely difficult and painful, and my voice is still hoarse. The nurse recommended walking around to prevent blood clots but at the moment I can't stand up straight due to the pain from the incisions and so walking is a little bit feeble too. Good reason to snuggle up in bed with a film...

Lunch of toast with cheese and avocado went down fine with water to help. Bread is always harder to swallow but I wanted to test it out. Delicious British strawberries were a treat as well. A few hiccup/spasms as in the morning but not nearly as painful.

Most people seem to experience the worst of the dysphagia between weeks 2 and 6, and describe a sort of W effect, where scar tissue will form and cause restriction and dysphagia, before the body readjusts and you feel better again. Then scar tissue reforms and causes issues, then readjustment...etc. I've been encouraged to eat regular food to help exercise the tissue, though was told, with a smile, that a steak and french bread might not be the easiest to manage for the the first few days.

It certainly seems true that after the first 5 or so swallows, things feel almost normal for the remainder of the meal. I'm taking one Gas-X with every meal as other LINX-ers have advised as preventive medicine. 

I've heard from others that pain improves around days 3-4 quite a bit...looking forward to that!

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