Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On the Mend From My Colon Surgery

It had seemed like I was making little by little progress each day following the surgery to remove the colon cancer on May 15. But yesterday I was so bloated that it was hard to breathe even with my ventilator. I could barely talk on the phone with my wife.

Why was my condition so much worse yesterday than the previous day? Was the treatment I was getting here at the rehab hospital doing me more harm than good?

Well, I theorized that maybe I had the night time tidal volume on my ventilator set too high. Maybe it was causing air to go into my stomach as well as my lungs. So I lowered the tidal volume and then lowered it some more until it was as low as I could have it and still have acceptable oxygen levels reading on the monitor.

That change made a great difference. When I woke  up early this morning I was no more bloated than the night before, and I felt rested and refreshed.

Yesterday I was so bloated they put me back on a clear liquid diet. Today, with the bloating significantly down I got to have a lunch of baked fish, mashed potatoes, well cooked cauliflower, and a small cup of canned fruit. It tasted sooo good!

After lunch the therapist helped me get my back brace on. Then she stood by while I with considerable effort transferred from the bed into my wheelchair. It was the first time I'd done that since the surgery two weeks ago today. Praise God.

Building up the strength in my arms to do transfers is important, so I'll continue to work on that for getting in and out of bed and on and off a commode.

I'll also be working to extend the amount of time I can be off the ventilator. For two months I've had to use it 24 hours a day. It will so good when I can be at home with DebbieLynne and not have to use the vent while having meals together. And in time we hope I'll be able to go venturing outside and even into Boston without the ventilator doing my breathing for me.

Thankfully the new ventilator can be strapped to the back of my wheelchair so I could use it when I'm out. But when it's back there I'm not able to turn it on or off. My respiratory therapist is trying to figure out a way it could be turned on or off without reaching the controls.

My physical problems yesterday were distressing. But today things are looking up again. I wanted to share that with you. That's why I'm making this post.

I abundantly thank you for your prayers and for your caring about DebbieLynne and me.


  1. Set backs are never fun. I pray soon you will be home with your beloved!

  2. Thanks for the update. It's helpful to know how to pray!

  3. That is wonderful that the Lord gave you that insight into your problem, John. :) Continuing to ask Jesus for continuing improvement. :)

  4. Thanks for your prayers and taking the time to read my blog. I continue to work at rehab, getting in and out of bed, breathing on my own when I'm up in the chair little by little. They're also adjusting my med to see what will work best for me.