Recuperation is a necessary corollary of significant abdominal surgery such as I had earlier this month. I left hospital with instructions not to lift more than about 3 kg for 6 weeks by which time I might expect to begin feeling a bit closer to normal. I also had instructions for some simple abdominal exercises and advice that gentle walking was probably the best form of exercise for the recuperation period.
Virginia had loaned Majella a thick cushion that I placed between my stomach and the seatbelt while Majella drove us home from hospital. Even with that held firmly, bumps in the road caused some discomfort to my tender middle. Almost 2 weeks on I’m still using that cushion on the rare occasions when I travel in the car, bracing and wincing if we hit a bump. That will pass but not yet.
This post was prompted when email from Fitbit arrived this morning with my weekly progress report. There has been progress, though I’m a long way from where I was a few weeks ago. I’m feeling better though still tiring easily and tender in places if I move the wrong way but I am getting the exercise that I need to aid my recovery.
On my first full day at home (Friday, 10 February) I was not up to much except sitting at my computer or in front of the television. I did manage one short walk to the end of the street where I sat for a couple of minutes before walking back. That distance of about 0.75 km required 15 minutes for the 1100 steps.
On the Saturday I managed to do that twice. Once in the morning and again in the afternoon. On Sunday I suggested to Majella that I might walk around the block but she is determined to ensure that I don’t overdo things so I was restricted to repeating my Saturday effort of walking twice to the end of the street and back.
By Monday I felt confident enough about going to the end of the street and back that I went out before breakfast and comfortably walked the 1.3 km around the block. For good measure, in the late afternoon, I walked down the street and around the Waterbird Habitat, about 1.5 km. That was a bit more than 2200 steps, taking my total for the day to 6000 steps.
I continued that pattern for a few days–around the block in the morning and around the Waterbird Habitat in the afternoon. Yesterday morning I was out just before 7:00 am and walked a figure 8 around the block and then around the Waterbird Habitat. That was a total of 2.6 km in 35 minutes, about 4.5 kph. By comparison, before hospital my early morning walk for exercise would be a bit more than 5 km at about 7 kph. This morning I walked to have coffee at Aromas, about 1.5 km away, and then home.
As the daily step count graph shows, in late January I was averaging about 8000 steps toward my nominal daily target of 10000 steps. It might be a few more weeks before I get back to that level but it will happen.
More generally, my wound appears to have healed well. The only real pain I feel is when I occasionally move in a way that disturbs something. The most annoying part of the healing process for the past few days has been the irritation and itch when clothing rubs against the areas where hair is regrowing. Hopefully that part of the healing will soon be done. That will make walking more comfortable and allow me to gradually increase my exercise routine.
Here’s an article on patience and healing. After 75 years at failing at Patience 101 in my case, you may do better!