A few days ago I went in for surgery, and I am happy to say my recovery from my umbilical hernia surgery has been really easy and painless. What is an umbilical hernia, you ask? Well, for me, it’s when my belly button went from a normal looking innie, and turned into a strange looking outie.
My belly button was doing some strange things in the few weeks before the surgery. I could feel some pressure on my belly that would last for about an hour, and I felt a little pain on the center of my belly button. My belly button was very sensitive to the touch. Strangely, I found that if I pressed my belly button with my two fingers, I would feel something hard slip back into where my belly button was. After doing this, the pain went away. Needless to say, I went to the day clinic the next week and the doctor said I had an umbilical hernia.
My doctor said it it’s nothing to be overly concerned about, but I should get it repaired sooner rather than later. If I keep ignoring it, eventually I won’t be able to pop my belly back in with my two fingers like I used to, and it would become obstructed. So I took my doctors advice and we decided to fix it whenever he has his next opening in his busy schedule.
The Day of the Surgery – Friday
It’s Friday – my mom drove me to the hospital, and I cheerfully checked myself in for day surgery. I was eager to get this thing behind me. The nurses prepped me, and soon I had an IV tube in back of my right hand, with an IV bag on the other end. About 30 minutes later, they wheeled me down to the operating room. I was pleasantly surprised to hear some 60’s rock music in the operating room. I started singing along to the song, and then the anesthesiologist looked down at me and said “you are going to feel a little light headed now”. He injected the IV with anesthesia, and I looked up at him and said “Yeah I feel kinda goofy”. He gave me the rest of my anesthesia, and seconds later, I was out like a light, and I woke up in the recovery room.
The doctor came by and visited me after I was awake and told me that everything went well. He didn’t insert any mesh, because the whole in my belly button was too small. So he just used some stitches to seal the whole. I asked him if my “outie” is now an “innie”. He laughed and said “yep – you can start modelling those swim suits again. Your belly button looks great!”. I like my doctor, he’s got a great sense of humor.
My mom drove me back to her house the same day of the surgery. We thought it best if I stayed there for the weekend while I recover for a few days. My house has too many stairs to climb, and besides I really like her cooking. The nurses told me to eat something soft for the first couple of days like chicken noodle soup. So I ate lots of soup that day, and took some stool softeners to help me go to the bathroom whenever nature calls. I spent the rest of the day on the couch, and took a pain pill before going to bed. I had to sleep on my back, because sleeping on my side was a little painful.
1st Day After Surgery – Saturday
I woke up hungry and a little sore. So I took a pain pill when I woke up. I also felt a little constipated but the only thing coming out was gas. No biggy, I took another stool softener and I will let nature take its course. I plan on spending the day on the couch and watch some playoff football.
That same night, I was still feeling a little gassy, but not too terribly constipated. I am eating normal food now. I still haven’t had a bowel movement. I took another stool softener. I decided to not take any more pain pills – as this will restrict any bowel movements. The pain I am feeling is much less that it was this morning. I am still sleeping on my back because of the slight pain.
2nd Day After Surgery – Sunday
I woke up early and had my first bowel movement. What a relief. I had to be really patient while I was on the toilet, and I didn’t want to use any stomach muscles while I was sitting there. With 3 days of stool softeners inside me, it went fairly well without too much pain.
I am still a little sore in my belly area, but I did manage to talk someone in driving me over to the dog park with my dog. I didn’t throw the stick for him, I just stood there and watched him play with the other dogs. I am walking a little gingerly, and I will be headed back to the couch soon. It felt good to get out of the house. I got home and had my second bowel movement. The second movement is much easier than the first.
My doctor told me I could remove my bandage the second day after my surgery, so I took it off slowly. I have an “innie”! I was surprised to see the tiny incision below the belly button from where they did their work. No wonder why I am recovering so fast, with an incision that small!
I feel great just two days after the surgery, and I decided to drive myself home this evening. Now that I am slowly walking around, I think I will go to work the next day. My job does not require any heavy lifting. Being single, I am really grateful my mom let me stay at her house while I recovered.
3rd Day After Surgery – Monday
I went to work today, and had no problems. But instead of taking the stairs to get to my office like I normally do, I took the elevator. I sat at my desk all day and I only had a small amount of pain whenever I would get up to walk to a meeting or the restroom.
When I got home, I sat on the couch and watched the College Football Championship between Oregon and Ohio. I lived in Oregon most of my life, so it was sad to see the Ducks lose. The important thing, however, is that I didn’t over exert myself at work or while watching the game. My pain is much less than what it was, and I am tonight able to sleep on my side, instead of my back.
4th Day After Surgery – Tuesday
Woke up this morning and looked at my belly button. I have a little bruising around the area where the surgery was. Whenever there is trauma, such as surgery, this is to be expected. It looks worse than it feels. My belly button area is feeling better every day. Going to work and still taking the elevator whenever it presents itself.
10th Day After Surgery
I had my follow up appointment today with the doctor after the surgery. He told me the bruising is normal, and he was very pleased with the result. I’m happy that my bruises are mostly faded by now. I noticed there is a hardness underneath the skin that surrounds the belly button. The doctor said this is normal because the belly area is healing, and the firmness of my muscle tissue will last about 6 months or so.
I told the doctor I feel great, and I was curious as to how long it will be before I can start riding my bike to work again. He said I should wait for about 6 weeks after my surgery before doing any strenuous exercise. I am also happy I haven’t needed any pain medication since two days after the surgery. Since I can’t do any strenuous exercise, I asked the doctor if I could start taking long walks in my neighborhood instead. The doctor said that shouldn’t be a problem, just make sure it’s a slow walk and I don’t go up any hills.
One Month After Surgery
At this point, I feel so good that I forget that I have even had surgery. I have to remind myself to not lift anything heavy for the next two weeks or so. The bruising is completely gone. I have about 2 or 3 weeks before I can start riding my bike to work again, and go hiking in the forest lands. Life is good.