It’s now been a month since surgery, and things are moving a little faster than I thought they would. The surgery went fine enough. Got to the hospital at our appointed time, after taking a cab ride with “The Most Interesting Cabbie On Earth” who had lots of stories about all the times he’s packed up and left his life to start new somewhere else. I don’t know how one really does that these days, but it sounded like a great adventure. The waiting room was very nice, but we only waited there for maybe 10 minutes before they brought me in. Very effecient. Got changed (they let me keep my underwear on, which has never happened in all of the surgeries I’ve ever had), and I answered the 49980928298098234 questions they must ask before any procedure. Then the nurse had to do a “wound/skin” check on me, which I thought was weird, and after that I had to wipe down with yet ANOTHER antibacterial wipe. They really take this stuff seriously.
The anasthesiologist came in after a time, explained that they’d do a block, and the whole general anasthesia song and dance. He was very nice, and has 4 kids of his own, similarly aged to mine, so we joked that this was like a vacation from kids. Met again with the surgeon, joked around a bit, he autographed the leg to be worked on, and I signed the consent. The OR was a bit backed up, but while we waited a little bit, it really wasn’t much time between when we got in there and when he gave me the happy juice. I don’t remember a lot of the OR, other than we got there, I made some joke about getting the surgeon’s initials tattooed on, and then I was gone.
Woke up, had some trouble with a number of the pain killers, (Diluadid and I do not get along at all. Fentanyl and I aren’t great friends either), but after several hours I was allowed to go home after showing them that I was able to walk on crutches. I was loaded up with something, so putting full weight on it wasn’t too big a deal. I don’t remember much about the ride home other than the fact that I kept getting text messages, but I couldn’t read my phone because my eyes wouldn’t focus — a fact I brought up about 400000 times on the way home. My father kindly opted to not video tape the weird conversation we had. I made it up the stairs to my bed, though I don’t really remember how, and set my alarm to take my pain meds throughout the night. Somewhere around midnight, the block wore off, and the pain flooded in. The pill bottle said I could take 1 to 2 pills every 3 to 4 hours, and I did. I failed to notice that it also said not to take more than 10 in any given day — my regiment had me closer to 16 a day. Decided to take myself off of those pills too fast, had some weird hallucinations, and a huge freak out panic on night #2 or 3 where I almost ripped off the brace and all of my bandages. I stopped taking the percoset for the most part after that. Friday the pain was bad, Saturday, I thought that was probably the worst pain I’d ever been in and was getting kind of hysterical, but by Sunday, it was like the pain was cut by 3/4s. It was amazing. I managed with ice and the occasional percoset over the next week, but pain was more than manageable after Saturday.
Pain wasn’t my biggest problem though — sleeping with the brace locked out was. For some reason, it triggered an anxiety response in me, and I couldn’t sleep at all. This continued for the two weeks that I had to sleep locked out. I tried everything. Sleeping on the couch, watching endless loops of “The Joy Of Painting” hoping Bob would soothe me, cheated a little bit by bending a bit in the brace. That was a very long two weeks.
I started PT that following Monday. I thought maybe we’d just talk about what needed to be done, do some ice and stim and I’d be on my way. Nope! The first thing they had me do was leg raises. I couldn’t pick my leg up at all. I had to do 30 assisted raises, and then they had me hang my leg off the table, which was agony. Wednesday, I did 20 assisted leg raises, and 1o on my own. By Friday I was doing all 30 on my own. It was really something how fast that went.
On week 2, I got the stitches taken out, which might be the weirdest feeling I’ve ever experienced. Not too unlike how a sweater must feel while it is unraveling. They just snipped one side, and pulled the whole fishing line out. I’ve never had more than one stitch in place (for gallbladder surgery), so I had no idea what having 5 inches worth pulled out would feel like. Not painful, just weird. The incision on the side of my thigh (where apparently he made a 2 inch incision to see where the drill was going) didn’t slide so easily, so they left those stitches in telling me they would dissolve. The scar looked pretty good, and it was nice to finally be able to take a real shower. The numbness was (and still is) a little weird, especially when trying to shave your leg, or scratch itches you can’t find. I was able to ditch the crutches completely, except for if we were out and about, and that was more to give other people notice that I wasn’t steady on my feet.
On week three, we unlocked the brace, and by week 4, I was out of the brace completely. In PT I am doing all of the leg lifts with 3lb weights, I can do a full squat holding onto the assist straps, and I can get full revolution on the stationary bike. My butt quits the bike before my leg does. My PTs are pleased with my progress, but sometimes it’s really frustrating. More on that later.