May 27: In Stow at Judy’s for my rehab.

May 26: Have to say a big massive ditto on this morning compared to the prior, and the prior, and the prior. It’s just amazingly tough to roust after all those night hrs of inactivity of the upper body musculature. Now despite the fact that I’m just ingesting about 1/2 the amount of the daily pain med that I’m allowed to ingest, my first feeble reach in the morning is for the pain meds. Then I have to hold my heart shaped pillow tight against my chest until the meds actually begin to kick in. 

Funny, but when I was originally told that I’d be heading down the open-heart surgery track, the only thing that kind of bugged me was the fact that my sternum would have to be split and pealed from side to side. Just couldn’t imagine the process nor the pain that would result. Now, having dealt with it every day for the past ten days, I have to say that it’s not as bad as I imagined it could be, but bad enough of a pain that I don’t think I’ve ever dealt with anything this severe in my lifetime. And ever so slowly it’s getting a bit better with respect to the pain involved with my range of motion and movement in bed when in the supine position. 

The other gnarly thing about the sternum surgery is the fact that the zipper feels as tight as a banjo string when I’m standing, kind of putting a strain on my upper back - right between the shoulder blades - especially when I’m walking. Now it’s getting so that I can go further and longer with slightly less pain, but it’s still darned near at a debilitating level. I want to push my chest forward to kind of stretch the upper back out, but then I put an inordinate amount of strain on the suturing, which is a big no-no. And finally, two other minor peeves about the sternum suturing:  it really hurts when I breath deeply, which doesn’t occur often because I’m not supposed to take any of my activities past an RPE 3-4, and it itches like mad. I find myself lightly scratching in and around all those sutured areas. Sometimes I just have to sit around without a shirt on because the shirt can ever so lightly rub against the suturing thereby causing this endless circle of scratching. 

Ok, so yesterday, for some odd reason, I just could not get myself up and moving in the morning. Hell, I didn’t even have the gas to crack open the computer and work. Just seemed like an never-ending cycle of waking and going back to sleep. I was able to summon up enough gas to eat some raison-brand cereal for brekkie, but then I was right back on the couch going in and out of sleep again. That must have lasted until about 1 PM, when I finally forced myself to sit up, take some pain meds, eat some lunch and work on the computer. What a freaking existence!

Felt I needed to somehow, someway, make the day a positive one, at least from a physical and rehab perspective, so I slowly began to mull around house and then outside on the patio after getting my work done. Decided rather than have Judy do some kind of easy, quick-fix dinner, that I’d help her prep for one of my Chinese stir fry recipes we’d done all that shopping for the day before. And believe you me, just doing that prep work sitting at the kitchen table, that kind of tires me out! While the pork was marinating in the fridge, I do a 2-mile walk, with the last stretch involving walking up this small hill that connects the main road to the Bike & Hike trail. Amazing how much I felt that little hill. Now I think I did stay within my RPE parameters, but it was definitely at the high end. 

Came back, did the stir fry with Judy and that was it, another day down. Feels good to see that over the course of 10 days post-surgery, I’ve been able to go from being able to walk from the hospital bed to the bathroom, to being able to walk 2 miles outdoors. Not only that, but to have been able to push through a malaise of wanting nothing more than to sleep on the couch all day, to helping out with cooking dinner and getting in my longest walk, that felt like a wonderful little victory.