I figured I should share one of the most memorable moments in the hospital with you all. This special occasion was tooting. You see, I needed to complete this action before I was to be discharged. Passing gas doesn’t seem like too big of a feat to many of you, does it? I assure you though, if that is how you think, in my perspective you are highly incorrect.
Immediately after surgery, and still to this day, my stomach looks distended. A couple of days after the procedure, one of my nurses informed me why. It’s gas. During the surgery, my doctors had to put air inside of me to expand the areas in order to get a better view of what they needed to move and remove. Once they sewed me back up, some of the air remained, and transformed into body gas. All gas in your body needs to exit at some point. Burping and farting (more politely referred to as “tooting” by my nurses), is very natural. We all do it. Men and women. Old and young. It’s a common occurrence of the human biology. Many people find humor in it. Which makes sense, because when flatulence is lacking, it is all but humorous…
Let me just jump right to the main show. I began experiencing pain mid afternoon on Friday. Once I informed my nurses, they explained the reasoning behind my pain. Simply put, it was the build up of gas. And it needed to come out. The only way it could be released was through me tooting. Seems easy enough, huh? Wrong. I never knew passing gas could be so difficult. It just wasn’t happening. I could audibly hear my stomach churning, gurgling, and moaning, but nothing was making it’s way to the exit sign. The pain that continued to build was becoming nearly unbearable.
Fortunately for him, my husband was out that night with my step-dad and papa. I had told him to have a night with the guys to get out and take a break. I can only imagine how draining it is for someone to take care of me 24/7. Typically, he would’ve resisted my requests, but he came to the conclusion that I was probably right. All 3 guys enjoyed a much needed fun night at a little bar downtown, playing pool and drinking beer. Guy stuff. Because he was out that night, my lovely and beautiful mom took his place. She and my step-dad visited with us a lot during my stay at the hospital, but we usually gave them the boot in the evening so we could have our private time. No naughty thoughts, people. Major surgery doesn’t allow for much physical intimacy like you’re imagining. I wish.
About an hour after Matt had left, or at least according to my “Delaudid time frame”, my stomach felt like it was a ticking time bomb. It appeared to have grown double the size, felt rock solid and protruded even further than the regular distend. I was describing it to my nurses and mom that there could easily be 3 or 4 balloons full of air inside all the spaces of my abdomen. They didn’t feel like they would pop. Rather, that more air would fill them, and they would continue to grow and grow.
My night nurse made the decision to give me Gas-X to relieve the pain. This specific medication breaks up the gas into smaller pockets, so they can be released easier. Still, nothing. The war in my stomach was not being called off any time soon. The nurse soon gave me directions to help assist the gas outwards. These steps included rolling from side to side, sitting up, and walking around. If you’ve read my previous entry about movement in the hospital, you know that it would be appropriate to laugh at that. HA, you want me to not just move, but roll around from side to side!? Oh I don’t think so. But, soon enough, my pain led me to it.
I felt awful for my poor mom who could only sit and watch. There was physically nothing she could do for me. There was nothing anyone could do for me, it had to be done on my own behalf. Another dammit, and multiple other expletives escaped my mouth during these throes of agony, as I’m sure you can imagine. I was writhing in my hospital bed. Rocking back and forth slowly, because any movement caused other areas to hurt. I would sit up just to lay right back down. Sometimes with the amazing help of my mom, I would get out of bed and walk around my room, hunched over holding my stomach. In my mind, all I needed was for someone to jump on my belly and all the gas would burst out of me, and all would be well. But, wait. That wasn’t possible. I had a fresh incision that would most definitely not be happy with that.
After hours of tears, writhing, moaning, complaining, walking, rocking, and moving around, no toots. I felt defeated. Defeated by flatulence, folks. How pathetic! My night nurse stopped by and assessed my situation again, and decided to give me a different type of medicine, a muscle relaxer. Through my expedition and determination to release gas, I had the rest of my body worked up and achingly sore. Within 2 minutes of administering Ativan, I was out like a light. What I remember her saying before I drifted off to sleep was, “This seems to be the problem on the floor tonight, many other women are experiencing the same thing. But the good news is, 2 other women just tooted! And I’m betting you’re next!”
I awoke to find my mom gone, and my husband in his little recliner that had transformed into his bed during our stay at the hospital hotel. Feeling a little more relaxed, I got up by myself as to not wake my sleeping love, and walked around a little. I slowly but surely began noticing the gas finding the exit sign. Ladies and gentlemen, it did not happen all at once. A teensy weensy tiny little bitty toot departed from my body. This for me was reason to dance and praise God! Finally! One toot leads to many others, and in my case it did. Over the course of the next 2 days, my gas had nearly completely dissipated and I was relieved! Now, I could really focus on the main thing: my incision and it’s healing.
It may seem funny to us to pray to God for certian requests, but He doesn’t find them humorous. He takes to heart every prayer you send to him, every desire of your heart. Even prayers for toots do not go unheard.
Psalm 107:28-31 (Message Version)
“Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; He got you out in the nick of time. He quieted the wind down to a whisper, put a muzzle on all the big waves. And you were so glad when the storm died down, and He led you safely back to the harbor. So thank God for his marvelous love, for his miracle mercy to the children He loves.”