Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SUCCESS! Surgery and the day after.

Tuesday, July 22nd, 9:30AM:

I was supposed to be at the hospital by 9AM, but I didn't expect the traffic going into Boston to be especially ridiculous. We left at 8:15AM and didn't get there till 9:30AM - I was driving since my sister was eating her breakfast in the car. (Ha, I drove myself to my surgery.) We pulled into the valet parking area and ran to the Ambulatory Surgery floor in the South Building.

I got there and immediately recognized the area. It was where my father had eye surgery about 2-3 years earlier.

I got all the paperwork done and the PT lady saw me first. She was going to speak to me after the surgery but she knew the anesthesia and medication I'd be full of would make me forget everything she told me post-op, so she was there beforehand. She told me about having to keep the leg brace on for 72 hours (and not being able to shower until afterward), and to refer to my post-op sheet for reminders. She also told me the simpler exercises I should be doing (ankle pumps, quad sets, quad lifts) for the first two weeks to regain strength in my leg. I asked her some questions about icing (frozen peas will do the trick!), how my sister can help me from the car (support from the waist and NOT the arms while going up and down stairs), and dietary restrictions (of which I have none - WHOO!). Then I was off to be changed into my johnnie and slippers and to sign a bunch of consent forms and answer more of the same questions.

After changing, I headed to the surgery room to get set up - the nursing student I talked to guided me to that room and I learned that one of her friends is in the nursing program at Simmons. Pretty small world . . .

I was put on a stretcher and given an IV. I met with one orthopedic doctor who works with my surgeon (who drew on my knee), and I met with the anesthesiologists who IV'd me and drugged me up. I had to sign another consent form to get a femoral block going (which turned out to be an amazing addition) with my anesthesia. My surgeon also met with me quickly. I was given something that made me loopy but kept me conscious as I was wheeled to the operating area. Then I laid there and was given an oxygen mask to breathe in. I think I was out within 15 seconds (and luckily, I didn't wake up at all during the surgery).


As I was being wheeled back to the post-op resting room, I came into consciousness shivering. I remember hearing a nurse telling someone to put an extra blanket on me and I stopped shaking, but I couldn't open my eyes yet. I think I was having some sort of dream before I really came to . . . I awoke to the thoughts of, "Where am I?" "What am I doing here?" "Why can't I move my knee?" Everything was groggy as I came out of the anesthesia. The nurse (Janet, I think her name was) came by to check up on me and gave me a dosage of painkiller that knocked me right back out. Before she did that, she told me that the surgery went well, and that my surgeon only had to repair my ACL (everything else in my knee was well intact, thankfully).


My sister and second oldest aunt came by to visit. I finally awoke, but my lightheadedness from the anesthesia and medication made it hard for me to articulate the words that were in my head. I think we just talked about what my sister did while I was in surgery and at one point, my mom was on the phone speaking to me. I do recall that a patient under arrest was put in the waiting area across from me - there were two cops watching him and the sheets were closed. Very strange recovery time indeed . . .


I was given more percocet and graduated from the bed to the recliner chair. After I could finally be conscious for more than 10 minutes, my sister was told to get the car while I was wheeled downstairs in a wheelchair.

[Side note: my aunt gave my siblings and me money for the whole surgery - money for them to care for me and money for me to cover some of my medical bill costs (in case insurance doesn't cover the other two expenses I had incurred). How nice . . . a strange gesture since we don't get that kind of treatment during new year's and other major holidays.]

Once downstairs, my aunt and sister helped me climb into the car, and my aunt said goodbye to us. We then proceeded to get food for dinner and grab some necessities from my apartment before going back home.


We got home and I was too exhausted to eat, so I went to sleep instead. My bed was already set up with pillows and a blanket to prop my leg up, and once I laid down, I was out. I remember having some strange dreams before waking up again, starving.


My brother woke me up to get me some dinner, and I ended up attempting to drink some soup and eat rice. Instead, I was so dizzy from the percocet and anesthesia that the food just came back up. My mouth and throat also hurt quite a bit so I drank some juice, ate some bread, took some more percocet and passed out again.

Wednesday, July 23rd, 3:30AM:

OH THE PAIN. I woke up just as my brother was getting in from some work at the haunted house. My stomach was empty, I was no longer dizzy, and I need more painkillers. I had him make me some ramen so I could coat my stomach before taking more percocet. I couldn't sleep after that, so I've been up reading and hanging out on my bed.

It's now about 10:30AM and I still haven't gone to sleep yet. The percocet no longer makes me ridiculously sick, as long as I eat something small beforehand. My leg is sore and uncomfortable, and for some reason I just want to bend it (perhaps because I was bending it just yesterday). Propping it up is the best way for it to rest so far - when I have to crutch around the house, I can feel the soreness more acutely. I can't take my dressings off for another 2.5 days, so I guess I'm going to be sitting here this way for awhile.

Thanks to all who wished me well for the surgery - it helped me get through the mental struggles. :)


Davidx said...

Thanks for the update, I know it is not easy, I hope you heal quickly. Stay ahead of the pain and take your meds. If your doctor allows it, start working on getting the leg straight while you are still on heavy pain killers. It will help later. Take care, remember it gets better.

Anonymous said...

Glad it went well and great that it was just the ACL.

Cool about your family, too. Sounds like they really stepped up for you. (Well, except for making you drive to the surgery and eating while you were fasting to boot! ;-)

Stay chipper, take your meds, and try and think of it as a mini-vacation.

Michele said...

I am so impressed that you posted the day after surgery! I am glad things went well for you.

Ice was my best friend the first week after surgery. I agree with Davidx and BBBlues, stay ahead of your pain by taking your meds. It will allow you to get some rest.

Davidx said...

Ice was my best friend too! I still like to ice my knee at night and after exercise. It’s great to have family and friends around. Do accept the offers of help. Never loose sight that you will get better each day.