COLUMNISTS

Slow and steady is the prescription for Susan's recovery from surgery

Susan Manzke
Susan wrote this column on her laptop while in the hospital.

A week ago, I had an operation to repair a bad hernia and reposition my stomach. I’ve known about the hernia for a while, but doctors recently discovered how serious it had become. It turns out my stomach worked its way up around my esophagus and was very close to my heart and lungs.

The surgery took three hours, but of course, I didn’t know that at the time. My children sure did. Rebecca and Rachel were my two allowed visitors in St. Vincent Hospital, Green Bay. They kept in touch with the rest of the family with a lot of text messages and phone calls.

Day one in the hospital centered around the operation and recovery.

I was poked with a lot of needles during my hospital stay. Some went into my arms and a few medicines went into my belly. More would have been in my arms, except they took a shortcut through my IV setup.

Clear liquids were on my menu the day after the operation. Those included clear broth soups – beef, chicken, and veggie. On the tray was apple juice, tea, and orange Jell-O. It was nice to have something with flavor after not eating for a day, but I wasn’t thrilled.

Since my stomach has a lot of healing to do, all I could do was sip at my meals. At that slow rate, I could sip and rest, it took two hours to finish my meals.

Susan's yummy breakfast.

After eating I was happy when I could burp. Burping was, and still is, a big deal for me. The gas bubbles like to get trapped and take a bit of work to get moving. It’s amazing how thankful I was (and am) when a bubble leaves my body. (It doesn’t matter which end it exits either.) I celebrated the first time I burped.

When sleeping, my lower legs were squeezed into a gadget that periodically put pressure on my calves. It is used to prevent blood clots.

During the middle of the night, when I was half asleep, I imagined my cats were on my legs or at least trying to lay there. Of course, it was the leg pressure thing working. In a way, it was comforting thinking about my cats coming to be my furry companions again.

My meals advanced from the clear liquid stage to full liquid—which I’m continuing for two weeks at home. These very soft foods help my body heal without causing more problems to my insides.

My first full liquid breakfast consisted of Malt-O-Meal with a swirl of apple sauce, flavored yogurt, apple juice, and milk. Nothing can have any lumps at all, but boring is okay. It only takes me one and a half hours to eat this full liquid diet.

My nights went okay, only interrupted by trips to the bathroom.

All my nurses and aids were wonderful. I really appreciated all their efforts.

Susan’s Family gathered via zoom to play Yahtzee Saturday evening.

Rebecca and Rachel helped me through my long days at the hospital. We played card games, watched movies, and laughed.

My girls also had the added chore of taking care of my critters at home, too. They knew all about the food, but they never expected the cat performance late one evening. Car-E and Barn-E decided to have a kerfuffle in the living room where the girls were sleeping. The cats wrestled and chased each other for half an hour. This was when my daughters wanted to sleep but couldn’t. Eventually, the cats calmed down and everything was copacetic.

 Recovery will take time. They keep telling me “Slow and steady wins the race.” The doctor gave me hope by saying I should be able to have s’mores this summer. I am looking forwards to those and a pizza pudgie pie, too.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; susanmanzke@gmail.com; sunnybook@aol.com; susanmanzke.net/blog.