Discharged, with restrictions

I had my 30-day checkup at Dr. Gaudiani’s office today; they were happy with my progress and they don’t see any reason for me to return!

I’m not completely recovered yet, though, so my activities are still restricted for some time to come. Here’s what I have to look forward to.

I can start driving tomorrow, but I need to avoid heavy traffic until mid-March (I guess that translates to “stay off freeways”). And I should be especially careful about bad weather (at least I don’t have to worry about snow here).

I’m allowed to move my arms freely, as long as I don’t hyper-extend myself or reach backwards; in fact, they want me to stretch after my shower. Until today, I wasn’t supposed to raise my arms above my head except to wash my hair, and then I was only supposed to use one arm at a time.

I still can’t lift more than 5 pounds for the rest of this month; then I’ll be limited to 10 pounds till March 15th, and 20 pounds until April 15th. Once tax day comes, I’ll be allowed to bear as much of a burden as I want.

They want me to slowly cut down my pain relievers; I need to stop taking Tramadol before I start driving. As far as Tylenol goes, I should switch my nighttime dose to just before bed; I can stop taking the midday dose when I’m ready, and if that goes well, drop the morning dose. The bedtime dose may continue for quite a while.

They were happy with my walking (both distance and pace), but suggested I be better about bringing water with me.

Golf is not going to happen soon – I can try putting at the beginning of March. A week later, I can chip – if that’s successful (which would be a pleasant change from before the operation), I can hit some balls at the driving range a week later. And if I feel no pain from that, I can try a 9-hole round at the start of April. Bowling and bocce are out for a while, too.

I also need to be very careful and keep the scar from my incision from getting sunburned; if it sees the light of day, I need to cover it with SPF 72 sunscreen.

And the best news: I can stop wearing my HeartHugger and I don’t have to use my incentive spirometer any more, either.

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5 Responses to Discharged, with restrictions

  1. Sam says:

    Yay! Re water … get a small Camelbak or similar backpack; I’ve got an old one you can borrow to try out. Lets you carry the water (and drink while you go) much easier.

  2. David says:

    I’ve got a Camelbak, but it’s got something like a 3-liter capacity. I only need a half-liter at most for the little walks I’m doing (2-4 miles, mostly flat) — I might just shove a bottle in my jacket pocket!

  3. Jon says:

    Can’t drive on tramadol (generic ultram)? Really, that’s like the mother’s milk of pain relievers.

    I lived on tramadol and vicodin for 5 years for nerve pain relief, with no restrictions. So your comment is surprising.

  4. David says:

    I was surprised, too, but I suspect that was the doctor’s office being extra cautious; I certainly haven’t noticed any drowsiness while I’ve been taking it. OTOH, if I don’t need to take the tramadol, I’ll be perfectly happy not doing so.

  5. Jon says:

    I certainly hope you don’t need it in the near future. But I’m still troubled by the comment. An estimated 50 million Americans live with chronic pain. I was exposed to that for a while (and now get relief from cox2’s that are banned in this country). The
    idea that doctors are controlling ultram (probably due to legal concerns) reinforces my belief that our healthcare system will due us in.