Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The good, the bad, and the ugly

A semi-lucid report from my recovery armchair

Well, hello folks. Welcome to "the other side", as it has become known here in the TV household. Obvy, the good news begins with the fact that I am alive and the fact that they did not lop off my fingers by mistake. (Because, you know, hips... fingers... so easy to get mixed up.)

I'm on pain meds but am essentially lucid at this point (or at least I think I am - whether this blog translates as such in the morning, I guess I'll find out.) No vicodin for moi, my cocktail of pleasure is Hydrocodone (generic for Norco), which Hubby reports, as I write, as a new version of vicodin with less acetamenaphin (sp?). I'm a little spacey but overall seem to be less of in a fog than I was a few hours ago - hence I figured now was as good a time as any to blog a status update for those of you holding your breath for one. Um, yeah, right.

So, from my super-cozy (ok, relative for someone who has just had her leg pulled out of joint and her bone shaved down) position on my red armchair, here is the rundown...


Which is a very good place to start.

My day started off well enough, given that I was immediately at a loss of what to do with myself - no coffee to make or drink, ditto breakfast, and 4 long hours before we had to head to the hospital. I did a yoga video, which was great distraction and a good way to calm my mind, took a shower (shaving all the important bits - can't have the surgeons playing with fuzzy legs), and then Hubby and I went on a long walk around the neighborhood. Luckily the weather was very cooperative - sunny and mid-sixties.

Calls of the morning included my sister-in-law, whose birthday just happened to be today. In a demonstration of just how out-of-sorts Hubby was, he managed to talk to her and hand the phone over to me without even remembering to wish her Happy Birthday. Of course, he was mortified when I (the freaking out patient) remembered. Haha, I thought that was pretty funny. I also got (but missed a call) from my friend, CJ, who left loving wishes with my voicemail and ever-so-touchingly proclaimed that she too was fasting all morning in solidarity with me. That brought a tear to my eye. Of course, I also spoke with Mum, who I think was more nervy that me. It has to be hard to be 6000 miles away from your daughter in these kinds of situations but I know she would be here in a nanosecond if I asked. I'll see her soon, I'm sure, when I'm more mobile and can walk long enough to go on one of our mammoth shopping trips!

Shout-outs should also go to my friend, Mala and 'e' of The Gerli Life, who called the day before plus blog-mate, Urban Koda, who sent words of encouragement through a blog comment.

All-in-all, I felt (feel) very lucky to have such wonderful, loving friends and family to support me through this. Thank you everyone!

Then it was off to the hospital.

We checked into the Ambulatory Observation Unit (probably means about as much to you as to me unless you've done this before or work in a hospital) and got assigned a curtained-off spot with wheely bed right away. I changed into my ever-so-sexy, butt-revealing blue gown and had all my vitals taken by the nurse. For the first of what seemed like 100x, she had me confirm my name, my DOB and the surgery I was getting - I was all like seriously, who would want to pretend to be me just to get this surgery. Heck, if I could pretend not to be me today, I would!

Shortly after this, my Mother-In-Law, Rosie, arrived. I wasn't expecting her so early and was really thankful to have her there to keep both Hubby and I talking and thinking about other things. I felt really special because I was the only one there with somebody by my bed side, and how cool that one of those people was my mother-in-law? Most people hate their mother-in-laws but I couldn't have been happier to see her face.

The next bit falls into the bad, so I'll skip to... Waiting in the recovery room for the anaesthesia.

While waiting, one of my surgeons (the one who was helping not the one who I'm listed 'under') came to say hi. He remembered me from 3 years ago when I was originally his patient, and tool some time to talk to me about what was going to happen. Give that my current surgeon has never done part of my procedure arthroscopically before and this guy does it all the time, this had a significant effect on calming my nerves.

One of the good things I got out of him was that he usually sees his patients 10 days after surgery and sends them to PT right after that. I told him I didn't have an appointment with my surgeon until almost 3 weeks out and he said he would talk to him to get it moved up for me. Maad amounts of cool! We talked about him being as conservative as possible with the goal of me being a normal, active 33 year old again, who skis, yogas, and hikes. He listened, seemed to really 'hear me' and told me not to worry. I felt immediately better. He also suggested that I try to stay on the crutches, with weight-bearing on my affected leg as tolerated, all the way up to my next appointment with the surgeon. His experience was that those people that listen to this advice progress through physical therapy much better than those who try to push themselves in the first 10-14 days. Given that I now have the "bone"(pardon the punn) of a closer appointment with an expressway to PT, I promised myself right there and then to listen to his advice. Two weeks sucks but is entirely tolerable.

When the time came to be wheeled into surgery, the anaesthesiologist started with a light (so he said) sedative. We picked up my possy (2 surgeons and very nice surgical nurse Sherry) and headed out. Along the way, my surgeon attempted to mess with me by talking about all the great meals he's eaten in the past six months. Are you kidding me? I instructed my nurse to smack him with my medical chart, which she did, although I was careful to point out that she should avoid arms and hands... we needed those!

The surgical room was a bit funky - there were so many pieces of equipment seemingly strewn around the room haphazzardly, I felt like I was in a machine graveyard! The bed I was moving to was a whole other thing entirely. Because they needed to be able to get to my joint and manipulate it freely, it was missing the bed-bit in a number of odd spots, and had lots of weird-looking metal contraptions sticking out of it. Actually, it looked more like a torture device! Anyway, they popped me on that thing and... that was the last thing I remember. I don't even remember them admistering the anaesthetic. Wow, that was some 'light" sedative.

Skip to... recovery. Not much to say there that falls into "good" except for the fact that I wasn't nauseous and I had, aparently, already peed (the thing I needed to do to get me out of there and back up to the Ambulatory thingumy bob).

Skip to... now. Pain mostly gone (except for the expected), head mostly clear, negotiated the trup to the bathroom twice already... cool beans.

Thus ends the good.


OMG! I wasn'r expecting my IV to go in until it was time to be knocked out. That's been my experience in the past and so I wasn't even thinking about it because it's usually like, stab, burn, trickle, sleep - no time to think about the tubes in your hand. But this time I had to have the IV hooked-up in the Ambulatory area mainly because they were going to give me 'breakfast', or a white fluid that masqueraded as breakfast. Thus started the process of finding a suitable vein, which ended up being in the oddest of all places - on the inside of my wrist, down from my thumb. It didn't look like a likely candidate to me but I guess the nurse knew better. In short, it hurt like hell going in and Rosie and Hubby's faces during the process weren't encouraging. Worse still, I looked down when I thought she was done, only to see the thing actually in my arm (something, for sanity's sake, to be avoided at all costs.) A little more freaking out ensued until she covered it with tape but still I was left with the thought that I had to sit there, for who knows how long, with this thing in my arm. I was not a happy camper!!!

Skip to... an alarmingly fast move into the recovery room for pre-surgery prep. It was like, waiting, waiting, waiting and then, suddenly, full speed ahead. Even Hubby looked surprised and a little panicky - this was where I left him and Rosie behind. This was one of the hardest parts of the day, knowing I was on my own from thereon out. I had a really nice 'cheauffer', however, who distracted me by telling me all about her lying, cheating, husband and her pending divorce. Somehow it happened that I was telling her it would be ok. Typical.

Skip to.... waiting, waiting, waiting for my surgeon to show up. Yep, that's right he was late! He gets some leniency because we were in a hospital he doesn't normally operate in (due to my co-surgeon who does all his procedures there) and because there's a lot of construction going on and parking's a bitch, but in total, he made us all cool our heels for 40 minutes!

Skip to... waking up in recovery. OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEE! OMGOMGOMG! It really hurt and it wasn't at all the type of pain I was expecting. I was expecting burning, sore, incision-site pain with some other pain on movement. But what I got was an unrelenting, bone-grinding, deep ache. Did not dig this at all. The nurse pumped in some painkiller and knocked a little of the edge off but that didn't last very long. Back in Ambulatory, they gave me a couple of those Norco things but they didn't made a blind bit of difference, even after 45 minutes. My pain level was definitely up around an 8 or so and I was not handling it well. I was in so much pain I couldn't even cry, so much of me was focused on dealing with it. So, I turned to yoga - all I had left. I grabbed a pillow, hugged it into my chest, buried my head and began long deep breathing. Amazingly enough, I managed to breath myself to sleep (on and off), giving me the space I needed to compartmentalize the pain and give the pills a chance to work. I still wound up at around a 4 or 5, but that's like 1/2 of where I was before!

Finally got my crutches delivered and my wheelchair arrived so, before we knew it, it was time to go. It was around 6pm. Not too bad for a 2pm surgery!

Skip to.... being home. Time to do the first bathroom visit. And here is where I get to the most alarming and most unexpected part of this recovery process. I can't pee. At the risk of delivering TMI, my ladies bits are somewhat... um... numb. Fortunately, the co-surgeon had warned me of the possibility of some transient numbness in that area because of the proximity of those nerves to the hip joint. However, he had not been as specific as to explain that peeing may be an issue. I mean, I have the urge, I know it's there ready to be released but... I can't make it come out. Eventually it just sort of, trickles out in spurts but it's not a normal process. This is just the weirdest development. I'm not freaking out... yet... but I'm not digging it at all. Prognosis for how long this will last? Could be 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months. Let's hope not the latter. Yikes. Weird, weird, weird.

And yes, folks, I've lost all ability to be coy. You read the blog, you accept the TMI disclaimer by default.


Blood, blood, blood! My dressing ia literally DRENCHED in it. On top of the dressing is some sort of super-sticky shrink wrap which prevents it from bleeding all over everything but it is not a comforting or pretty sight. Being squeamish, I have been offering up my bloody hip for Hubby's inspection. He seems unalarmed and, as long as that continues, I'll probably manage some semblance of the same. However, we do need to change the dressing in a couple of days (the way it's going, I'm surprised they think it will last that long.). I just can't see that whole process happening without a sedative. Thank God for Hubby but still, the thought of even exposing holes in my hip is panick-inducing at best. One hurdle at a time, I guess. One hurdle at a time.

Well, it's almost 10:30 and I'm feeling a little tired. I'm going to sign off for now and will probably update y'all tomorrow once I get the lay of the land. With a bit of luck I might even be able to find something other than my hip to blog about. We'll see what we can do over here in TV land.



bjh2obury said...

Glad to hear you made it to the other side. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

e said...

Well done!! You'll be back full speed ahead in no time at all.

Urban Koda said...

Wow! Wasn't expecting you back this soon, or this coherent.

Sounds like it went well - or as well as surgery can. Hope you're back up to full speed soon!

CGBCYouth said...

At least from now on you can rant about something OTHER than "when is my surgery going to happen?!" though we might hear more about your hip still...

You are in my prayers!

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