You are never fully conscious of how often you use a muscle until it is in pain. I can tell you now from experience, we use our abdominal muscles for EVERYTHING. The common uses, I was able to brace myself for – like sitting up (although this is still one of the worst things), bending over, etc. The little pains I was not expecting were opening a door, turning on a tap, bumps on the road while in the car – these and more all caught me off guard. Since our core really is essential in our stability, having a good grip on a water bottle even became a challenge. Then I dropped one, cap off. My first reaction was to grab it but to my surprise, instant lighting pain from my core. I had no choice but to watch it all pour out while my mother got up to clean it.
Sleeping is and continues to be the hardest part of my healing. I am only able to sleep on my back. Laying on my side, all of my insides shift and put pressure on my wound. My staples feel like a buttoned shirt that is 3 sizes too small – all just holding on for dear life. So as morbid as this may sound, I now sleep like I am in a coffin. I should not really even call it sleep, it is more like a doze for a few hours if I am lucky. Then I wake up in pain because my back and neck want a break. A few nights ago I awoke with a tickle in my throat (Did I mention how much I now hate to cough?) – I had to first roll over and slowly pull myself up, and then cough. The word “cough” also does not accurately describe the action I am performing. In order to suffer the least amount of agony, my coughing is high-pitched and shallow – a perfect Zoolander impression.
A piece of advice to anyone who may help someone with abdominal pains in the future – pulling them up is worse than them sitting up on their own. The act of force causes my muscles to tense up more then if I slowly ease into a position. Someone should teach the physiotherapists this at the hospital. On the day after my operation they forced me to sit up by yanking my arms. It hurt a little.