Wow, who knew how productive one can be when you know you will lose the use of your leg for 6 weeks. Powerwalked every day, massive amount shopping to stock up nutritional foods to support a speedy recover (fish, quinoa, eggs, plenty of veggies for vitamin dense shakes). My body was sore but it was a good sore, letting me know I was using it and pushing it a bit, and frankly I didn’t know when I would get that feeling back.
Pre-surgery SnapChat fun from my son
With my surgery time at 12:30, I knew I would be a bit cranky with no coffee and no food. My sister flew in from Houston to be with me and we got a great walk in that morning. Unfortunately I was a bit hungover from drinking the night before (not the best choice to go into recovery and health mode I know). But what was done was done with a mixture of Shocktop Beer and Fireball. The walk and plenty of water cleared my head a bit.
I wrote on my ‘good knee’ to give the team an extra bit of help not to work on the incorrect knee and then we headed out.
Being a team player
We arrived at our first location at 10:15 and it sure didn’t look like a surgi-center- – just an office building. I put a call back into KU and let them know I don’t really think they sent me to the correct place. They gave me an updated address just across the street and we arrive at 10:30 and I was quickly processed and taken to the pre-op area for the basics of giving a urine sample to ensure I didn’t have an active infection, IV and vitals. My sister soon joined me to wait.
All ready Doc, let’s do this!
The normal visitors of pre-op streamed into my room (Pharmacists, Anesthesiologist and Doctor Nelson). Dr. Nelson wanted to know how my quadriceps strength was. I told him I had been working on them and working out and and he lifted up the gown and informed me the right one looked weakened. I think he saw my saddened face because he was apologetic he said that! I guess with the injury I have the quad will be weakened because it is not activated correctly. He enjoyed the extra note I wrote on the good knee and then he marked the correct knee with his initials. I reminded him I wanted graphic pictures for my blog and he said he would just video the procedure and edit it and give it to me when I see him. Excellent! Mild chit chat and I wanted to be sure he ate lunch and had a restful night sleep the night before and was ready for MY surgery! The previous two times I saw him he had a full Grizzly Adams beard which was mweh looking. He was clean shaven and looked mighty hot this go around!
Then in walked Buzz, the head OR nurse. He said it would be awhile before they took me back and I was like ‘I just saw Dr. Nelson 2 minutes ago and he said he had already done 3 surgeries.” Buzz informed us that they leave the dirty work to the nurses- in fact Dr. Nelson was heading into his 3rd surgery; I was his fourth. So basically we have to buckle in for an extra two hour wait. I thought Dr. Nelson was a hottie but that changed when he didn’t inform me he was running late (not really, he is still a hottie).
The view is glorious waiting….
I sent my sister to get some food to eat and then around 1:30 they showed up in my room to get me ready to go back. They gave me the ever so lovely bolus of Versed which was fantastic – one of my most favorite drugs (in a completely legal way). My sister leaned over and gave me a kiss that reminded me of my mom and her ‘butterfly’ kisses. Nice memories floated through my head.
Into the OR and the team worked in unison to get me ready- tie this down, move here, raise your head, etc. Often times they let you know when they give you the first bolus to put you out but if they did I don’t remember it. I am assuming my surgery started about 2 p.m. and they didn’t get my sister until closer to 7 p.m. when the doctor came out and talked to her. He told my sister I did great (did I have a choice? I was just lying there). He also said he was reaffirmed this surgery needed to happen as apparently my meniscus was not in good shape. There was quite a bit of fraying that would have turned into a big deal down the road. He gave her some pictures inside my leg in which I don’t really recognize anything but the frayed meniscus.
Does my meniscus make my butt look big?
There was no one in recovery except the nurse and one other helper- the place was cleared out! Kinda creepy and made me thing about The Walking Dead or 28 Days Later when people wake up in abandoned hospitals. I determined I would immediately die because I am down a leg.
We got home about 8 p.m. and I was out of it, trying to stay awake to take my pain pills. The Percoset makes me itch quite a bit but I can deal with it and the first night was the standard dozing, awake, dozing, pee, dozing.
Motherfucker, the nerve block wore off. That was basically my first thought of the day. I didn’t realize they gave me one but it became much clearer that my previous movements now elicited pain that took my breath away. I don’t really like to take pain meds but decided I need to stay on top of this because when it hits I can barely move.
I was drinking a lot of water which meant I had to climb narrow hard stairs. I did more of a crawl which worked well going up but was pretty painful going down. I know fluid is important but damn, that was like nine times and towards the end of the day I could feel tears welling up in my eyes because of the pain.
Medicated, sore and with amazing fashion sense
My nutrition was great today and I hope to use this experience to get back on a better path. And I am day two of no red wine drinking (which is my norm). Since derby ended I have gained 8 lbs as I wasn’t exercising and worse, I was traveling for work and eating very poorly.
I put in a call to the nurse to ask how I am to change my dressings tomorrow as I am not supposed to be out my brace. The instructions said I cannot take a shower for 7 days as well. Gross but it is what it is. My dear friend is going to wash my hair at her salon tomorrow and I pray that my pain is stable.
The day progressively got worse with pain and even taking the medications it was not controlled. The night was just a blur of constant pain. I had ice water circulating 24/7 and nothing would touch it.
This is an AMAZING machine that circulate cold water through a bladder under the brace. I am using almost 24/7.
By the morning of Day 2 I was exhausted. I chose not to really go downstairs except later in the day because traveling up and down the stairs was more pain than I could handle. I kept thinking this might be my worst day and I would turn the corner.
Today was the day we were to unlock the brace, unwrap the leg and remove the dressings from the site and check for drainage and infection. I am terrified that one wrong move of my leg will void all the work that was done so my sister and I work slowly to get the chore done. Minus an ugly looking leg, it was uneventful but it felt good to let my leg breath for a moment even if I didn’t bend it.
Looks like I have grown fuzzy white hair from the bandages
Uh, that looks pitted and gross
I had to cancel a visit from some co-workers because of how bad I was feeling and I could not go get my hair washed. It was like the smallest breeze on my leg would illicit intense pain. Later that night I made the trip down the stairs and washed my hair and sat for a bit before retreating back to my room. I worked on getting help for the next few days. My sister stayed an extra day to help out which was truly a blessing. I always thought of myself as one with a very high pain tolerance but this brought me to my knees and to tears. I couldn’t do anything for myself.
You know it’s bad when in the deepest pain you WISH to be in full labor than going through the pain you are feeling at that moment. Seriously I prayed to the gods of pain to send me labor pains instead of what I was experiencing.
I realized I was also coming down with a fever and had that night had several episodes of chilling and sweating. I was too unsteady to go downstairs and just gradually made it through the night. At 3 a.m. I took my last hydrocodone with Tylenol and decided that was enough narcotics.
On Friday I was feeling worn out from the fever and tired of being groggy and unsteady from the medications. But I did feel like the pain was subsiding a bit. I ventured downstairs about 9 a.m. from yet another night of little sleep and feeling like I am going to have butt sores because I am required to sleep on my back. I was supposed to be working from home today but that is doubtful. I might get a few hours in later today and definitely this weekend. Right now it is best I rest and take care of myself. My sister is packing to leave in an hour and my son who is a firefighter/EMT is going to stay with me tonight along with my youngest (in case he gets called out to work).
Had a nice visit from some friends at work and who brought flowers and food including a fake bouquet of flowers with mini Fireball shots! True love.
Strangely the Fireball shots are missing
Felt pretty good throughout the day and moved with more confidence. My stamina is shot and I tire very easy. Another friend came over with more food that night. I truly feel super loved. Watched a movie with my kids and had a fireball shot and a beer and then got up to go make the climb to the restroom. Uh, probably not a good idea to do that again. Whether it be narcotics for pain or alcohol, being unsteady with your leg locked puts you at high risk for falling. I think I will use this experience to cleanse my body of my dear friend ETOH. Sigh….
My son had to do a quick errand so I put myself in the back seat and had my first car ride since Tuesday. Felt good to get out. Later that night I was doing my unsightly crawl up the stairs and both my sons said it was hard to watch. They want to help but they can’t- I just have to do it on my own. Trevor said to Tyler, “It’s hard to watch but you just gotta let her do it.” They are seeing their mom unable to really care for herself and struggling which is not the norm. I had similar feelings helping my mom when she was diagnosed with cancer- to see this incredibly strong woman unable to do things for herself anymore was very difficult as a grown child.
Closing out the day feeling a bit hopeful.