One of the unexpected events that happened because of my surgery and hospitalization was the fact that I could not go home. What you ask? Yes, my sister Sandra and friend Daniel before her were the only 2 people who went to my apartment and found that was a total mess. I was told by both of them that I could not go back until the mess, which consisted mostly of electronic equipment, cameras, CDs, tapes, records, DVDs and paper was cleaned up.
So on January 5 I started my long stay at the “affordable” Aqua Pagoda Hotel on Rycroft Street. On discharge day (January 5) Sandra flew in from Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii to begin her stay with me. Her mission was to help me in my recovery after the operation. She knew about my heart attack early on, but we decided there was no reason for her to come during the time I was in the hospital. She saved her trip to help me with my recovery.
For the next several weeks Sandra and I were almost permanent residents of the Pagoda Hotel. That was not cheap.
The hotel is nice. Not a “five-star property” but genuinely hospitable, convenient (very near my place of residence), and “affordable”.
So there I was learning how to recover some of my most basic skills. Doing stuff like walking, cooking, bending, eating and even sleeping had its challenges. I was also still in pain.
After you have a bypass surgery one of the major annoyances is the constant, painful coughing. The doctors all encouraged me to cough so that liquid junk does not build up in the lungs. Every cough was greeted with stinging pain and at the beginning the words I used to describe each cough were not the type you use in pleasant company.
Surely at the outset I took pain medication along with all of the other pills that were and still are required of me to this day. By the way, medications are also not cheap.
Eating was a hassle because I had to make a major change to my eating habits, which from that time going forward consists mostly of fruits, vegetables, fish, some grains (like cereal) and water. Occasionally I do eat other foods like chicken or turkey. Beef and pork have been off limits and so are foods that you get at places like Burger King, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut.
The other fact regarding food is that I had to learn and am still learning how to cook my limiting types of meals (mostly lately, steaming, microwaving or “saute” (what does tht mean; seems like frying to me)….. More on food again, in a later post.
After discharge from the hospital I could not walk very far without running out of breath. For every few feet that I walked, I would have to stop, rest and catch my breath. At first I only hung around the hotel and occasionally walked down the hall or to the downstairs lobby. Later Sandra took me shopping to WalMart, where walking to and from the car was a chore. I ended up usually sitting at the front bench at the entrance while I waited for her to shop.
Other things that I had to get used to with was taking a shower on my own (I needed assistance at first), using the toilet, brushing my teeth, putting on my clothes, getting to bed and trying to lie down in a specific way. Because of my pain and my weakened condition, all of these tasks that we all take for granted are not easy after you get out of surgery. I also did not feel like updating my blogs, websites or even visiting Facebook.
In time though, I did get better and slowly improved, though another major bump was looming.