It’s Done

Posted on: 14 September, 10

My apologies for not posting sooner.  My darling readers have been wonderfully supportive (and tolerant of whining) throughout my knee ordeal.  Your kindness is definitely appreciated.

5:30 a.m. was an early call time, but also a lucky call time.  Previous surgeries required lots of waiting, while starving.  This time, I did not even have a chance to sit down in the waiting room.  It was Express Lane the whole way.  Even the IV went in quickly and painlessly.  By 6 a.m., the anesthesiology team swooped in quickly to begin dropping the happy juice into the IV.  I vaguely remember the team converging on me to do the nerve block, but I don’t remember the nerve block actually happening… or anything after that point.  That’s just the way it should be.  Hubski said the surgery part was about 2 1/2 hours.  Waking up from the happy juice took a little longer because I was in no rush to leave the blissful oblivion.  Hubski said I had a death grip on the button for the morphine pump.

I have no memory of the trip from the surgical floor to a room in the orthopaedics ward.  Again, isn’t that the way it should be?  My nurse appeared to be about 12 years old.  (So did one of the anesthesiologists.  When did everyone get so young?!?!)  All of the nurses were very kind and very surprised that I loosened my death grip on the button for the morphine pump so quickly.  Within 12 hours of the surgery, I stopped taking pain medication.  I won’t say it did not hurt, but it didn’t hurt any more than usual.  The resident on duty freaked out when he saw how little morphine I had taken.  He was worried that the pain would overwhelm me when the nerve block wore off.  He had no idea who he was talking to.  He said he would stop by the next day to see if I would stay another night.  WHAT!?!?!  I agreed to one night.  Two nights was never part of the bargain.  Twelve hours was more than enough hospital time for me.  

The nurse came in the next morning to tell me I had to pass two tests before they would consider releasing me that day.  Bring it on, baby.  The first test was switching to oral pain medication instead of the morphine pump.  Since I had not used the morphine pump in hours, oral medication seemed a little ridiculous.  She handed me two Percocets.  Goodness gracious.  That would put me down like a lame horse.  If I took two Percocets, there was no way I could pass the next test.  I distracted her and palmed one of the pills.  Watching all those movies about insane asylums came in quite handy.  

After an hour, the nurse came back to check my pain level.  If it did not hurt before the Percocet, it certainly did not hurt after taking it.  An adorably young, perky, and new physical therapist came in to see if I could manage on crutches.  Pffft.  I could do that, even if I had taken both Percocets.  Since they broke my leg and drilled screws into it, I am not allowed to put any weight on my leg.  That does make crutches a bit more scary.  If I stumble and come down on the bad leg, I could shatter the bone.  (My bones are very small and there was not much room for the screws.)  Once I made it down the hall, she took me to the physical therapy room to teach me how to manage stairs.  I ended up showing her a couple tricks to make stairs easier and safer.  I passed with flying colors.  When the resident came back, the nurses said I was hard core and more than ready to be released.  

Free at last!  

My surgeon made it very clear that my leg is extremely fragile right now.  The lack of pain is in no way a green light to hop around like a manic Easter bunny.  I am under strict orders to “lay low” until he sees me again in a few days.  My return to active duty will be a slow and carefully monitored process.  I am in a brace from ankle to hip that prevents me from bending my leg even one degree.  The brace will be gradually unlocked to allow more range of motion.  I have a feeling my pain free status will be altered dramatically the first time I am allowed (forced) to bend my knee even slightly.  

My physical therapy has taken quite a turn.  Prior to the surgery, I could do 85 pounds (my full body weight) on the leg press with only the bad the leg.  Each repetition was accompanied by a grunt, groan, or scream of pain, but I could do it.  My PT guy knew I was done with a set when the room got quiet.  Since the surgery, my only permissible exercise is to flex my foot back and forth.  In the first few hours after the surgery, I had to choke back the pain from each flex.  Twelve hours post op, I asked for something harder to do because this was too easy.  Nope.  That is all I am allowed to do.  It is a far cry from the hour long “show no mercy” sessions from only a few days ago.  However, all that hard work has paid off.  The nurses commented on how easily I could move with the brace because the core and hips are so strong.  

Slowing down will be my biggest challenge.  However, I will do it.  I want to recover as quickly and as completely as possible.  Since Dr S went to medical school and I did not, I shall defer to his judgement.  

Thanks for hanging in there with me.  The notes and comments mean a great deal to me.  When I am allowed out of bed for more than a few minutes at a time, the sewing room will be one of my first stops.


1 Response to "It’s Done"

Glad you are home and that surgery went well (considering it WAS surgery, anyhow). . .I am with you in not wanting to stay in the hospital a minute longer than necessary. Take it easy–the sewing room and blog will still be here when you’ve mended. 🙂

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