From the hospital room, Day 1

This is Liza’s sister, Grace. It’s been 24 hours since Liza’s surgery and I’ve spent all day in Liza’s hospital room. She started out pretty groggy and weak this morning, but by lunchtime she had her voice back and had perked up. She feels like she’s been stabbed in the chest, which, if you think about it, makes sense.

So what have the first 24 been like for Liza (and this is only true to her experience and doesn’t reflect what it would be like for anyone else). She wants me to interview her and record what she says here for later. She thinks might forget.

GT: So what are you feeling?

Liza:
Pain. This is what it must feel like to be stabbed. I just feel sharp pain. I can feel everything. I can feel my stitches, the scraping; I can feel the drains snaking through my body. Even with pain medications, it still hurts.

You kind of forget what you use your chest muscles for until you can’t use them: sitting up, moving to the side, reaching–these are all nearly impossible for me to do right now.

In the first 24 hours, I was throwing up, nauseous. There’s nothing more difficult than experimenting with pain meds. I went through three different ones to find the one that didn’t make me throw up.

Sometime around Friday at 1:30, I felt much better. I began to talk, sit up. But then that quickly faded as the pain set in again.

Since then, it’s just been a blur of sleeping and breathing.

I didn’t anticipate being in this much pain. I feel tight.

GT: What did you expect before the surgery and how has this compared to what has actually transpired?

Liza:
I did expect to be in pain. I did not expect to be as nauseous as I was. The nausea was probably from my pain meds. The drain entry on my left side is killing me. Things I can do: go to the bathroom, take a walk, eat. I use the incentive spirometer. My brother (the surgeon) has called me twice today to check if I was exercising my lungs.

I still can’t look down.

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