I went off all meds on Friday and felt much better. Saturday I took one pain killer in the morning (ibuprofen) and the dehydration symptoms immediately returned, so I'm pretty convinced my body is trying to get rid of them. Today I'm only on the anti-inflamatories I was taking before the surgery, and seem to tolerate pretty well.
Today I did some gentle stretching and can now raise my arm, extended straight out, all the way from horizontal in front of me to almost straight up. That was another reason why I went off the meds - I wanted to do some stretching, but not while I knew I couldn't really feel what was going on.
At this point I have gotten largely out of the habit of using my right hand for things - my left is dominant. I keep discovering my right arm hanging at my side or sitting in my lap and having to tell it to participate in things it can do again - like washing my hair, or eating. Tammy and Eric had us over for a lovely dinner on their deck Friday night, and I kept finding myself eating with my left hand. When I disciplined myself to cut my ribs apart with my right hand, though, it worked fine and it didn't noticably hurt.
The pain is variable, and has of course risen with a reduction of medication, but the general level of pain is lower than my common headaches. The quality of the sensation can be disturbing, though. Yesterday we went to one of Bill's Coworkers' for a barbeque, and mid-afternoon I laid down on his couch for a two-hour nap. When I woke up, it felt like the last of the medication had worn off and I could feel the healing surface of the bone as things moved across it. That's a particularly unpleasant feeling. It comes and goes.
In general I was able to sit and stand around and enjoy the barbeque. We went out on Tim's boat, and that was fun. Bill and I served Cheesecake from Trader Joe's, with fresh Kiwi, blueberries, Bananas and Mango sliced on top of half of it. That was popular and good, and we were pleased. The fruit slicing came after I woke up from the nap and I wasn't up for doing any of it, but Bill got it done and by later in the evening I was feeling a lot better.
Most of the day I was wearing a tank top and the bandages were clearly visible and a lot of people asked about them or already knew about the surgery. As the sun went down, I put on a sweater for warmth and a little while later I was talking to one of the other wives and she patted me on that shoulder while saying something. It didn't hurt but I continue to be amazed how many people do that sort of thing. I don't really want to get into the habit of flinching away from people, but I also don't want to get hurt.