Here We Go Again

Posted on: 4 February, 12


Yesterday, I had my fourth surgery in less than four years.  Yeah, I am so over this.  Before the Fulkerson surgery (Sept 2010), I was prepared for the worst.  My surgeon kept saying, "This surgery will take you down.  It will flatten you." There was no typical "you will feel a pinch" doctor-speak.  He even sent me to Connecticut to see Dr Fulkerson, who developed the Fulkerson procedure to be sure that I really needed this surgery.  My PT guys shuddered when they talked about the post op rehab.  I was told I would need to take at least three months off of work.  I was given prescriptions for large quantities of narcotics and told to "stay on top of the pain."  I woke up in the recovery room with a death grip on the button for the morphine pump.  As the anesthesia wore off, I realized I was not really in pain.  The pain never really came.  It hurt.  The doctor broke my leg and screwed back together.  So, yeah, it hurt, but not even as bad as my other surgeries. 

All that fear and hype for nothing.  The doctor and PT guys had a hard keeping me down long enough for the bone graft to heal.  I was the rock star of the ortho department.  Five months later, for a reason we still have not figured out, I woke up in terrible pain.  For the last year, we have tried injections, e-stim, Russian stim, acupuncture, pool therapy… just about every kind of rehab imaginable.  My surgeon sent me for second, third, and fourth opinions.  My PT guy brought in other PT guys for advice.  No one has been able to unravel the mystery.

The screws have always bothered me.  Because my bones are so thin and there is no fat or muscle, the screws stuck out.  In an effort to take away even a little bit of my pain, my surgeon agreed that it was time to remove the screws.  Hallelujah.

Everyone said this was a simple surgery.  Crutches would not even be needed.  When PT guy said he wanted me back in the clinic the next day, I took that as a sign that this would be a piece of cake.  I woke up in recovery with no pain.  I made it up the stairs to my bed with no assistance.  Piece of cake.  Then the drugs wore off.  Pain. Ok, not the worst pain ever, but more than I was prepared for.

The appointment with PT guy was encouraging, but exhausting.  He was so thrilled that I could still fire my quad that he called in the other PT guys to come see it.  The whole time, I was holding my breath in fear that he would make me do things that would make the pain even worse.  He didn't.  He changed the dressings and told me to spend the weekend in bed, with movies and martinis.  Then he said the C word, crutches.  He wants me to use crutches for a few days.  Hmmmm….perhaps this isn't as easy as everyone said. 

The pain isn't horrible.  The swelling is.  When PT guy isn't pushing me to the point of tears, that tells me something.  I thought I would bounce back from this in just a few days.  Yeah….that's not going to happen.  It isn't horrible.  I've been through worse, but that's the problem.  I have been through this too many times.

I will get through this.  I know that. It is just hard to keep "getting through this."  I need this one to be easy, uncomplicated.


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