Archive for the ‘ Photos ’ Category

Doing laundry

TIP: Take stock of the apartment upon arrival. You never know what may have been added or left behind and you’ll probably need to go shopping for a few things.

The Soap

I brought laundry soap (travel-sized liquid Tide) with me to Belgrade. As it happened, there was laundry soap in the apartment (an open bag beside the machine and a unopened bag in the cabinet below the bathroom sink) though I didn’t see them the first couple of days.

I did use the Tide for the first couple of loads but once I spotted the powdered stuff I began using that. I would think the machine will operate sufficiently with liquid but I saw only powdered soap residue in the machine so from that point I used the powdered soap.

At home while using powdered laundry soap, I typically place the soap into the washer while the machine is filling with water. Once I’m relatively sure there soap has dissolved, then I add the laundry. Though I added soap to this machine before starting the wash/dry process, I did not have undissolved soap in my laundry.

 

The Machine


The clothes washer/dryer in the Jovanova apartment (address Gospodar Jovanova 25) is a Hotpoint Ariston model ARMXXL 129. There was a operator’s manual in the apartment (lower kitchen drawer while I was there) and I even found the manual online – but not in English.

I have no doubt that any of you who go to Belgrade and have to use this unit will be able to figure it out for yourselves. Then again, since I’m sitting here doing nothing anyway, why don’t I give you the basics so you have a head start?

In short, this unit both washes and “dries” in one very long, uninterruptible process. Here are some high points:

  • I say “dries” because it’s more like “steams” and the clothes do not come out completely dry.
  • Uninterruptible because while the unit is in operation the door locks.
  • Long because the process will take a minimum of 3 hours to complete.
  • Though the unit is a XXL, the load capacity is pretty small.
  • The more laundry you put in, the more wrinkled the clothes will be when you take them out.

 

    Sometimes I did laundry at night, other times during the day. The machine is not very noisy and there is no buzzer to indicate it has finished.

    The first load I washed included a pair of blue jeans, a t-shirt, and a fleece jacket, among other things, and the jeans and t-shirt were very wrinkled when I took them out. Fortunately, there is a ironing board and an iron in the apartment.

    For those items you don’t want or need to iron, there is a rack from which to hang the laundry so it can finish drying.


    Because the machine could not hold a lot I washed laundry as I had enough to fill it (after the hospital this was every second or third night).

    I did not use fabric softener nor did I need it. Since the clothes did not dry completely there was no chance for the fabrics to build static electricity (aka static cling).

    The clothes on the rack in this photo were the sum of one load (7 towels both small and medium, 2 t-shirts, and 3 boxer briefs). As I mentioned, while in the apartment after surgery I only had to do laundry every second or third day. I spent the vast majority of my time in underwear and a shirt.

     

    Operating the machine

    Operation is simple:

    1. Add soap
    2. Turn machine on
    3. Set dials
    4. Press start

     

      Here is what you need to know:

      Since I was without a readable owner’s manual I just tried to figure out the symbols. Most of them are unfamiliar but decipherable.

      Click on the photo to see more detail


      The settings on the dial on the left match the symbols further left.

      I decided to use setting #3 and used that the whole time I was in Belgrade.

      The left side of the panel opens so the laundry soap can be added. The bag of soap calls for 150ml of soap for a normal load (more if the laundry is more soiled). There was a plastic scoop with measurement markings in the bag of soap while I was there.

      To the right side of the panel are the dials and buttons you’ll use to get your laundry on the road to cleanliness if not dryness.

      You’ll want to turn all three dials to the desired setting. As I said, I used setting number 3 on the first dial. On the second dial I used 60° and on the third I chose the symbol which resembles a bureau or closet. (For a couple of loads I used setting number 6 and 90°. Though the symbol shows a medical cross, 90° is not hot enough to provide sterilization)

      Why the closet? I decided that setting was likely to get my laundry as close to dry as it would get. The two symbols below it (a hanger and an iron) seem to imply less dry because the clothes will be hung or ironed. To me that meant the bureau (or closet) setting implied the clothes should be able to be folded and put away. Of course, they weren’t quite that dry but they were very, very close.

      As for the uppermost symbol… For all I know the symbol that looks like a sun means the laundry will be as dry as if it were on the surface of that great star. I don’t know. I didn’t try it.

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      Cleaning the Urine Bag


      I’ve found recommendations online to clean the bag and tubing once per week with either bleach and water (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) or vinegar and water. On the vinegar and water I’ve found everything from 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water to equal parts of each. I imagine a lesser amount will do the job. What I did amounted to about 1 to 3.

      In the kitchen, I put some warm tap water into an empty plastic bottle then grabbed that and the vinegar bottle and went to the bathroom. I emptied the urine bag completely then grabbed the 50mg syringe and pulled the plunger out. Ta-da! Instant funnel.

      I double-checked the closed valve at the bottom of the urine bag then held the syringe and the end of the tube together (photo). Then I simply alternated pouring water and vinegar into the syringe/funnel (water more often than vinegar).

      I could only pour a little at a time then had to let it pass through before adding more to the syringe. Keep an eye on the bag because it blew up with more air than usual and it actually appeared to be straining from the pressure.

      Once I had a reasonable amount of fluid in the bag I put the syringe/funnel aside and used both hands to agitate the bag, sloshing the contents around inside for a few minutes. At that point I opened the drain valve and drained the contents into the toilet.

      Once the bag was empty I closed the valve, place the syringe/funnel on the end of the tube again, and repeated the process with warm water. Not as much liquid as before; I only wanted to rinse a bit more of the vinegar out. After putting in maybe 200ml of water I drained the bag again.

      When the bag was empty the second time, I loosely folded the bag from top to bottom to get the vast majority of the air out before closing the valve.

      And that, as they say, is that.

      Post-op Day 8: Better than yesterday

      Overall in the pain department I’ll give today a 3. Late afternoon and into the evening it bumped up to a 4 or so. A Tylenol day.

      LESSON LEARNED: After leaving the hospital, keep the urine bag detached from the catheter unless you feel the urge to urinate. More details below.

      Clean-up Supplies (not including the absorbent pad and the saline solution)


      I was up and in the shower a little after 0900. I showered, shaved, then headed for the bedroom to flush the stent, give my genitals a good cleaning (mirror needed), and change the gauze and tape around my supra pubic catheter.

      When I finished with everything I pulled on my boxer briefs, complete with sterile pad, and reconnected the urine bag to my catheter. I was happy to see immediate, normal urine flow.

      While I was going through my clean up routine I decided to email a couple photos of my genitals to Miro and to tell him about the catheter issues. Though I’ve seen Marko I haven’t seen Miro since Saturday and had last talked to him on Sunday evening (4 days ago). I was pretty sure everything was ok but why take a chance?

      I made myself a cup of coffee and something to eat then hit the couch. I made sure I had plenty to drink and other stuff within reach. After yesterday I’m staying on the couch as much as possible. Until the stent comes out I’m not moving around any more than is necessary.

      1130
      The rash at the crease of my upper, inner thigh is looking better but I’m still applying baby powder on both sides. When I went to do that this morning I noticed that my stent was a little bloody. I think having a bowel movement used muscles that pushed a bit of blood through. It’s all normal, no big deal, but I’ll flush it again.

      1320 Talked to Miro
      I had a telephone conversation with Miro. He said things looked good and that it was fine to put baby powder on the irritated skin. The irritation was likely caused by the tape while bandaged and me being overweight.

      He also told me I should clamp the catheter line off and keep the urine bag detached unless I feel the need to urinate. At that point I could either attach the urine bag (the lazy way – my way) or pee into the toilet through the catheter (which is like watching paint dry… for 15 minutes).

      He said that leaving bag attached all the time keeps the bladder empty (everything goes right on through to the bag). A constantly empty bladder means the catheter is more likely to irritate the inside of the bladder and cause issues.

      Well, hell. I’d say that’s good information to have. I wish I’d had it 3 days ago.

      On another note, pretty much every night I had a difficult time getting comfortable when I went to bed. I had to move the pillows back and forth between the bed and the couch morning and night and that may be part of the problem. It can be tricky to be sure I’m comfortable on my back all night.

      Not only am I on my back but my legs are spread (no pressure, remember?). I need to prop the sheet and blanket so they don’t sag down onto my crotch (still a highly sensitive area with that stent in there). It occurred to me that a blanket support like they have in the hospital would be really helpful here in the apartment. There is a lap try here but the legs are too short to use it over your midsection.

      So I emailed Miro and Marta about getting one of these for each apartment.

      A while later another post-op guy suggested using one of the donuts so I tried that. I arranged my pillows and when I got into bed I basically centered the donut over my crotch then [carefully] pulled the sheet and blanket over the top. It was better if not ideal. But hey, at least it kept the covers off my junk (thanks for the advice, man!).

      By the end of the evening the pain was climbing a little. That seems to be the norm. Staying in bed, not moving, is where everything is happiest, lol. So I try to minimize my movement during the day now.

      Post-op Day 6: A good day and a shower!

      A Tylenol day.

      This was a great day.

      I slept until around 0900 (thanks to the blackout blinds) and woke feeling really good. I had plenty of energy and almost no pain so over almost 3 hours I had two cups of coffee, put a load of clothes in the washer, fixed food, washed dishes, put a few things away, and even took a bunch of photos for the blog. By the time I settled down I was ready for it, lol. The bandages were a little irritating with the walking (waddling) but not painful.

      Don’t misunderstand. I wasn’t buzzing around the apartment like a mad man, lol. I was moving pretty slowly and was definitely being careful to keep my legs apart. We’re supposed to be walkin’ like a cowboy, remember?

      The only issue I really had was that my suprapubic catheter just wasn’t doing what it was supposed to be doing. After all of that productivity I was sitting (slouching, lol) on the couch and chatting online with a couple of people when I realized that my urine bag wasn’t filling. I went to the bathroom to take the tubes apart to flush them but just from moving around and messing with them they started working again. I chalked it up to a pinched tube and went back to my relaxing afternoon on the couch.

      Around 1730
      Marko showed up to check on things. He removed the bandages except the tape around my penis and said everything looked really good. He actually said that from appearances I seemed closer to two weeks post-op. I don’t know if I believe him but ok.

      So I no longer have the bandages on my testicles and I just wear my [one size too large] boxer briefs with a sort of sterile cotton gauze pad (photo at right) to absorb any fluids leaking from the drain holes. There is very little of this fluid leaking now and I’m not sure how much longer it will continue. I do know that these particular pads bother me because they’re like over-sized cotton balls. Little bits of fuzz stick to me as well as my underwear.

      I’m thrilled to be rid of all the gauze and tape. Moving (and sitting, and lying down…) is so much more comfortable now. It’s still tricky, mind you, but it’s better. I also no longer have gauze around my penis. Basically the pad is placed just along the mid-line beneath and behind my penis and to the rear. The loose boxer briefs are perfect because they hold the pad in place but are loose enough to keep the fabric away from the stent in my penis. I do not want pressure on that stent, believe me. It’s just too sensitive right now.

      Also, I get to shower now! A couple of hours after Marko left I removed the bag from the catheter and took a shower – it felt great. Then I used baby wipes, cotton balls, saline, and cotton swabs too clean well, but gently, around my testicles. I also applied baby powder to a rash inside the crease between my right thigh and my testicles. Marko said the tape and walking had irritated it but it should be better in a few days. I’ll just keep it clean and dry.

      After that I had a great evening. Chatted with folks, worked on the blog, watched television. I stayed up really late because I was feeling so good, late enough to feel the earthquake.

      Well, dang it. By the time I finally headed for bed I was having catheter issues again. The flow had slowed and finally come to a stop. I tried to flush it again with little success and went to bed with a trickle moving through the tube. I planned to call someone in the morning if I couldn’t get it to work.

      Flushing the Stent

      PLEASE NOTE: This blog is currently in development. As the next several weeks pass I’ll be adding posts as well as adding more information to old posts so be sure to check them again. Eventually I’ll have added everything I remember and I’ll remove this note.
      -Thanks!

      If you’ve read the last few posts you know the nurses flushed the stent in my penis multiple times each day while I was in hospital. Yesterday Marko showed me how to do this myself.

      Basically I have a bottle of solution, a syringe, and two needles. The larger needle is inserted into the membrane at the top of the bottle and left there. I am to insert the syringe into that needle, invert the bottle, and draw 2 ml of solution. Then I turn the bottle upright and remove the syringe (leaving the large needle in place in the bottle). I attach the smaller needle to the syringe.

      At this point I move to the bed and lie back with my lower body on a absorbent pad beneath me (a small amount of solution comes out of the stent). With a hand mirror in my non-dominant hand (so I can see what I’m doing, lol) I insert the small needle into the stent and flush it by injecting the solution.

      While you’re in hospital you will see the nurses do this using the same method.

      Post-op Day 2

      From this point forward I’ll place a pain scale box in my progress posts so you can have an idea how my day went.

      The pain shot higher during the bandage change, up to around a 8 or 9, but it was over very quickly.

      Definitely a Norco day.

      I eventually went to sleep last night. I was awake again around 3am and on Skype for an hour or so. I also took another pain pill while I was online. After my Skype call I went back to sleep and slept off and on until almost 1000.

      I woke in a sweat a couple of times but that may be because my hormones are way off. Who knows? I tend to run hot anyway.

      The inside of my mouth is a little more tender but still not painful.

      The only time I saw the night nurse was when she heard me laughing (while I was on Skype) and came to check on me. She said it was ok just to keep it down a little. I smiled and apologized as she smiled and left.

      0711
      The night nurse woke me when she came into the room. She touched my arm; I think to wake me so I wouldn’t be startled. She put an antibiotic drip in one port, emptied my urine bag, flushed my catheter, and checked my temperature and blood pressure. After the antibiotics finished she removed the tape from around my ports, removed one of the ports completely, then put fresh tape around the remaining port. When she left I fell back to sleep.

      1011
      I’d been awake and stirring for about 10 minutes when a lady came in to mop the floor. Seems I remember her doing it twice yesterday. A minute later Vessla came in. She told me she needed to take blood and asked if I was hungry. I wasn’t, so much, but said I’d take breakfast. I know I need to eat. She had a difficult time getting blood and had to stick my right arm twice. Most of the time I give blood very easily but every now and then my veins don’t cooperate. I guess today is one of those days.

      About 10 minutes after she finished with the blood, she brought me a croissant and a cup of yoghurt. She said my breakfast was cold since I had been asleep when they brought the food at 0800. I told her it was fine (it was).

      I occasionally feel as if I need to urinate. Only a slight pressure. My lower back hurts and my genitals ache. I really just want to sleep, to be honest. I think that’s just my way of getting through the discomfort – sleep until it goes away, lol.

      1115
      Just got back in bed. Vessla came in twenty minutes or so ago and asked if I had walked today. I told her no and she said I must. She pulled my compression stockings off first then with her close by I sat up (much better than yesterday) then stood. She checked several times to be sure I wasn’t dizzy. Definitely still keeping feet far apart (will be for weeks, I imagine) I waddled around. Immediately I went for the bathroom so I could brush my teeth and used soap and a washcloth to clean from my head to my waist. I even wiped some of the iodine off my upper thighs. Vessla changed the bed sheets while I was up.

      Have I mentioned that I’m naked? I can’t remember. But other than the bandages in my crotch I have nothing on. Do I care? Not really, lol. Normally I would but these people have been seeing me naked for two days. And if I had any clothes on I’d be hot, I’m sure, so it works out just fine.

      She left the room with my water bottle and told me not to try to lay down without calling her. I just stayed up until she returned with my bottle (which took her a suspiciously long ten minutes). Once I eased back into bed she flushed my catheter. She accidentally poked me and I flinched (I think my stuff moved while I was up moving around). She apologized a few times and commented that it was “so small”. Thanks. lol

      She said I need to get up and walk more and to call her so she can come help. In her accented English she says, “Eat, drink, walk, be better.” 🙂

      1200
      I’m beginning to think I can make a bowel movement soon. I have mixed feelings about that. I’ve been passing gas off and on since yesterday but that’s a little different.

      1500
      The male nurse just brought me a antibiotic pill to take. Around 1315 Vessla put liquid antibiotics into my port. At 1400 was shift change and Vessla left, as far as I know. I have the guy and Beelyana (?) now.

      I’ve been thinking of getting up and walking a bit. Vessla wanted me to buzz her but she’s gone. I don’t really want to buzz the guy. Honestly, I don’t want to buzz anyone and I honestly had rather not get up.

      1515
      Ah, Marko and Miro came in for my first bandage change. They changed the bandages pretty quickly and the re-bandaging hurt more than the removal. Fortunately the pain was over quickly.

      The only part that really hurts is the drain at the back of my left testicle. I’ve had pain there since early yesterday morning; sometimes just an ache but a lot of the time like a little pinch. Not unbearable, just really annoying.

      While Marko and Beelyana re-bandaged me, Miro drew my testosterone, made sure he had the right dose, and asked me where I usually inject. Beelyana gave me the shot. Miro said she would be better at it, lol, and Marko said she would be more gentle. Heck, she does a better job than I do – I barely felt it.

      Miro told me everything looked good and there was no unusual bleeding. He said he’ll be back about 0900 tomorrow to look again. If the fluid leakage has stopped enough to remove the drain I’ll go back to the apartment tomorrow. If not I’ll stay in hospital until Sunday morning.

      He also asked if I have been in touch with my family and seemed pleased when I told him I had.

      1600
      Nurse Beelyana asked if I’d had lunch (nope) so she asked what I would like. Yesterday’s lunch was good so I asked for chicken and salad. She asked if I wanted barbequed chicken (yes!) and barbequed vegetables (er, um, sure). When I asked for salad she said, “Serbian salad? Tomato?” I told yer, yes, please. Their salad is just cut tomato, cucumber, and onion. Maybe a little shredded cheese. I love it.

      Oh, and FYI, by barbequed she meant grilled.

      1725
      Beelyana took my plate away and emptied my urine bag. She asked if I want juice, coffee, or hot chocolate. I had hot chocolate last night and it is good so I opted for that.

      By now I’ve figured out that the woman who waved and said goodnight that first night was probably Beelyana (she did it last night and it seemed familiar). That spelling is the closest I can get to the pronunciation of her name – it’s a tricky one. Today she laughed and said I could just call her Bee, lol.

      I’m getting twinges in my genitals. There’s no sharp pain, really. Just a general ache and discomfort. Beelyana just flushed the catheter. That doesn’t hurt either, it just feels weird.

      2027
      I hadn’t seen Beelyana in a couple of hours. She just tapped on my door, opened it, and said bye and good night. Yep. I think it has been her since the first night. 🙂

      2115
      I’m two hours over due on a pain pill. This is the first time I’ve done that.

      The nurse just took my temp and BP then took a close look at my crotch. As closely as she could with all the gauze anyway. You know, it’s amazing how quickly one becomes accustomed to being poked, prodded, and stared at – not to mention being spoken about in a language one can’t understand – and all without missing a beat.

      2140
      I think I’ll wrap this one up. I never did have a BM today but still have gas now and then. Tomorrow may be the day, we’ll see.

      I’ve just taken a pain pill. I want to be able to sleep and I’m hurting enough to prevent that. I’ll sure be glad when that drain comes out.

      Post-op Day 1: Grateful for IV pain meds

      First, while in the hospital at St Medica I had a blanket support that is placed over your midsection to keep the covers from touching you (the penis is wrapped and sticks straight out usually with the stent protruding a bit further – and this is very sensitive).

      The first couple of days back in the apartment I wish I’d had one of these or something similar. There was a lap tray in the apartment but it wasn’t tall enough to do me any good.

      Here’s a sort of time line from just before surgery yesterday. I took notes on my phone so I wouldn’t forget things. I won’t go into so much detail as the days pass. I think guys will want to have a more detailed idea of what to expect especially in the first 48 hours.

      NOTE: People have varying levels of pain tolerance and heal differently. My experience is mine – yours may or may not be the similar.

      27 October 2010 ~ Surgery Day
      I left off yesterday at about 11am…

      1100
      Vesna gave me the anti-embolism injection in my upper arm

      1230
      Changed from street clothes to hospital gown and compression stockings

      1330
      “Pre-medication” injection in the buttocks (to help one “relax”). Miro said this would be done about 15 minutes prior to going to the operating theater.

      1355
      Vesna looked in but I was still wide awake. She smiled and closed the door.

      Foggy Memories
      Vesna pushing my bed through the hallways.
      Gradimir (Dr. Korac, the anesthesiologist) asking if I could walk. I said of course, and he and someone else held my arms while I shuffled to the operating table. There was a big guy standing nearby and Gradimir joked about him being there if they needed more help. I felt very drunk and made a joke about having a worse time with tequila. I sat on the operating table and that’s my last memory.
      What must have been hours later, I remember being in pain and trying to tell the people I could hear (but not see) around me. I was struggling to come out of the anesthesia and I vaguely remember trying to clear my throat and uneven breathing. I was soon out of it again.
      Drifting in an out.
      I remember receiving something for pain some time later and back in my room. I remember a nurse saying good night and waving to me from the door as she left. I waved in return though I could neither see her face nor remember who she was.
      Foggy memory of a woman injecting something into one of my ports. I asked what it was. She smiled and told me it was for pain; that I had asked for it a few minutes before. I smiled and said, “I think I was drunk,” and drifted away again.

      ~ Based on the time Miro telephoned my mother and my fiance, surgery must have been over between 1830 and 1900 ~

      2207
      Groggy.
      Inside of mouth on left side completely numb. I remember thinking that whatever it was they used as a local anesthetic, the dentists in America need it. I’ve never had a local last so long.
      Still groggy and sleepy. Have to close one eye to type on my phone and still make a lot of errors. Back to sleep.

      2257
      Grogginess lifting but I’m sleepy.
      The nurse comes in to check my IV or something. I think this must be Miro’s nurse from the children’s hospital (he always has her with us the first night). I ask her name. She tells me and when my eyebrows go up and I shake my head with a smile she laughs. I asked her to say it again, slower, and she does. “Ah, ok.” She asks if I know it and I say, “Drageetza,” rolling the r. She smiles and says yes. So I repeat it 2 or 3 times and she smiles. Then I reach for my phone to type it in phonetically (as it is here) so I won’t forget and she laughs.

      2304
      Drageetza started antibiotics through one IV port and changed the (saline?) bag to the other port. I asked for pain medicine. The pain was becoming a bit sharp again. It wasn’t unbearable but I didn’t want it to become so. I’d rather stay ahead of it for the first couple of days.

      2317
      She pushed pain meds into the port then gave me a glass of water. I had to gently rinse my mouth a couple of times first (in case of dried blood from where they took the tissue for my urethra) then I drank a bit of water. Good!

      In and out of sleep through the night. Every couple of hours sterile water was flushed into the stent in my penis. It doesn’t hurt but it’s an odd sensation to feel cool water moving through.

      My temperature and blood pressure are also checked periodically, and they empty the urine bag that’s connected to the suprapubic catheter.

      28 October 2010 ~ The day after surgery
      0442
      Drageetza just flushed the stent again and refilled my water glass. Because the nurses are in and out so much they usually leave a light on. I wish I’d brought something to cover my eyes. I asked her to get my black t-shirt out of the cabinet and I used it to cover my eyes (and my ears) to help me sleep.

      0706
      There is a heavy cloth that is folded three times over and lays across the bed beneath me (on top of the sheet that covers the mattress). Drageetza and another nurse just changed that cloth which meant I had to raise myself up off of it. Sort of balancing on heels and shoulders, as well as I could manage.

      I haven’t been terribly thirsty and I’ve only had 2 glasses of water since last night. I wonder if it’s because I’m sleeping so much or because they’re really keeping me hydrated through the IV.

      The inside of my left cheek feels weird when I explore it with my tongue. Of course it feels as if they took almost the whole thing, lol.

      My stomach just growled again. It did a few hours ago too but I’m not really hungry.

      0828
      Gradimir just stopped in (Dr. Korac, the anesthesiologist). I really like this guy; he’s quick to smile and has a great sense of humor.
      He asked whether I’d had breakfast and checked the bandages. He said everything went fine. He gestured toward my bottle of water and said the more I drank the less they’d have to hydrate me through the IV. An hour or so ago I’d asked Drageetza to get my bottle out of the cabinet and fill it with water. It has a sport top and is easier to drink from while lying down. I told Gradimir I would drink more, he said good.

      I told him I was beginning to feel some sharper pains again. It’s been a little over 9 hours since I last had pain meds. He said they would give me some more then I could start using the pain meds I brought from home (hydrocodone). He also told me I could get up and move around but to keep my legs apart, “you have strong thighs” lol. The doesn’t want me to put any pressure on my testicles. I think I’ll wait for the pain meds to kick in before I try anything!

      0845
      Just got breakfast – a cup of yoghurt and a large croissant with sesame seeds on it. Very good! You drink the yoghurt; it’s thick and tastes a little like buttermilk. I like it a lot. The croissant is more dense than those in the states and is good too.

      0911
      I don’t know if they forgot to give me pain meds or Gradimir forgot to tell them but I just took a hydrocodone and a anti-nausea pill (just to be safe).

      1250
      Just woke from a nap. Some time ago I woke to a needle in my arm. Vesna was giving me a shot for pain. Oops. I guess Gradimir did tell them. I should have buzzed and asked about it when it took so long.

      A few minutes ago the blond nurse came in (I don’t think she knows any English but she’s friendly). She took my temp and BP and removed the fluid line from my IV.

      I still haven’t had any unbearable pain. It’s gotten a little sharp a couple of times but it hasn’t been bad. I want my laptop from the cabinet and I consider getting up to get it. Nah, maybe not.

      1330
      Vesna just asked if I’m hungry (a little) and got my laptop for me (yay). Then she pushed a fat syringe of antibiotics into one of my ports. Now my arm is warm from my knuckles to my shoulder. Weird. A little later they brought my lunch. It was good. Chicken, salad, french fries, a roll, and soup.

      1358
      Vesna, the blond, and a guy came in. They looked at my dressings and chatted amongst themselves. Vesna told me I could sit up on the edge of the bed but they would help me with that in a bit. She and the guy also told me I cold move my legs around (I told them I have been). I think they want me to move them even more.

      1630 Walking
      The guy and a female nurse came in and wanted me to get up and walk a bit. Man, that was awkward. And a bit painful. They lowered the bed and helped me to get up. I swung one foot off the bed and pretty quickly went from “maybe I’ll sit on the edge of the bed” to “oh, hell, that hurts, I think I’ll stand up instead.” Rather than “walk” I kept my feet very wide and tried to keep my thighs as far apart as I could so it was more like a painful penguin waddle.
      The up side is that I went into the bathroom and brushed my teeth and washed my face.
      Getting back into the bed was awkward but not as bad as getting out of it. The female nurse had left but the guy was still there. I sort of leaned and “landed” on my left side, keeping my legs as far apart as possible, then rolled to my back. MAN did I have a sharp pain in the area of my left testicle (everything is wrapped up tight down there). I tried to position myself as best I could on the bed but that pain wouldn’t stop. I made plenty of faces and noises but the guy finally left. What was he going to do?
      Part of the problem with getting up and then back into the bed is my left hand. The ports are in just at the wrist and I can only bend it so far. I really can’t use that hand much to prop or push. This also makes moving around much on the bed tricky.

      1700
      Eight hours since my last pain pill – good timing for me to take another one. After 30 or 40 minutes the pain was pretty much gone.

      I’ll tell you, I am not looking forward to dressing change tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to walking again either. Not at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crying about it or dreading it every waking moment, lol, but I’ll be glad when, say, the next 3 weeks is over.

      1940
      Dinner. A huge roll, cheeses, ham, and another cup of yoghurt. I love that stuff.

      2240
      I’m wrapping up this blog post. I have twinges now and then but nothing painful. The nurse on for tonight came in about 15 minutes ago to start an antibiotic drip and flush my stent. I asked her to lower the head of the bed so she gave me the remote for adjusting the bed myself. Great! I wish I’d known about that before.

      Alright, time to get some sleep. The first day is over.

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