post pneumonectomy

my mum just underwent pneumonectomy of the left lung on the 21st of sept. she was discharged from the hospital on the 25th. she has been doing her breathing exercises on the spirometer and walks, very slowly ( drags her feet) the length of the room... a few times (around 20- up and down) during the day. My only concern is that she wants to sleep all the time. is this normal?

before she was discharged, her vitals were all normal, the wound is healing very well and looks good. there is no fever. her temperature actually reads anywhere between 35.7-36.2. she does have swollen feet though which we are trying to correct by putting pillows under her feet as she rests so the blood can flow back to the body! the pain killer she is on is - oxycodone. the required dosage is 1-2 tablets every 4 hours depending on how bad it hurts. she has however taken max 3 tablets during the whole 24 concerned as to why she wants to sleep all the time.

is this a normal thing -seeing how recent the surgery is? she is also very weak but eats all 3 meals...

if anyone has experienced the same please do tell as it'll be very helpful!


  • dennycee
    dennycee Member Posts: 842
    Hi QAC and welcome to the
    Hi QAC and welcome to the CSN website. What your mom is going through is totally normal. From what you have described she is doing exceptionally well. After all it is only five days since she had a MAJOR organ removed in the course of major surgery. If she had it removed during a VATS procedure they may have gotten away with only breaking one or two ribs to do it. If she had a standard thoracotomy they would have had to break more.

    Mom has lost forty percent of her breathing capacity. One lung is doing the work of two and the reduced oxygen will tire her out. There is a huge difference between her pulse-O2 when she is at rest and when due is walking. If you have ever cracked a rib think back to how painful it was and remember she is in a lot of pain when she stands. To perform the surgery they had to cut through her flesh AND her nerves. Honestly, i am surprised that she is only taking three pills a day. She should be given those three to control long term pain and Vicodin for breakthrough pain. Cancer patients don't become addicted to these meds they can become dependent. There is no excuse for her to be in any pain. I had the less invasive procedure a year ago and the rib they broke has not yet healed. Lack of oxygen, pain and pain meds all cause fatigue. If she is using her spirometer and getting up and shuffling about ten or twenty times a day she is a champ.

    You are a dear for making sure she gets her three meals a day and making sure she gets her exercise. You can help her by having her do gentle stretching exercises in bed and it will help reduce the fluid retention as well. She can flex and relax her toes, point the toes and relax them, things in that vein.
    My best to you both.
  • PBJ Austin
    PBJ Austin Member Posts: 347
    I am impressed by your mom
    Hello there and welcome to our club.

    I had my upper right lobe (about half my lung) removed in 2009 when I was 45 years old and in great shape other than having a huge mass in my lung. I did not have VATS and that surgery kicked my butt!! I was in the hospital for 7 days and when I got out I huffed and puffed just walking from one room to another. I was SO tired all the time and I slept many hours a day. I felt like a 90-year-old woman. My strength came back very slowly but it did come back. Keep in mind her body has just suffered a major trauma and it is exhausting. Even if she is not on a lot of pain drugs, the trauma to the body could be draining her energy.

    Your mom is doing a lot better than I did in such a short period of time. Even if she did have the less invasive VATS she's still making a nice recovery. If she did not have VATS and she is doing so well then she is twice the woman I am. :-)

    Please post back if you have any further questions. Every question is important.