Location: Oregon, United States

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Post knee surgery update

This week I am celebrating 5 weeks post op. No doing the jig in celebration, but definitely a milestone.

Surgery itself: I was in pre-op when the anesthesiologist came in and said, "You want to go to sleep?" And I said, "Not really, I'd rather stay awake." And he perked up and said, "Really?" And I was like, "I have an option?" and he said he'd check into whether or not we could "do a spinal". So I can hear him while he checks with the surgeon and asks how long it will take and whether or not a spinal will be sufficient and he says, "Yeah, she's all gung-ho!" So he comes back and he's all smiles because he gets to do a spinal on me. Woo. So I was awake for the procedure, which was very cool because I could see a little of what they were doing through the reflection in the big surgery lights, ask questions about what was going on around me, and participate in the banter re: the Olympics. They said I might not remember anything because I was given a relaxing medication, but I remember all of it.

Week 1: In bed 24/7 with my new enemy THE MACHINE. I hated that thing. I had to be on my back even while sleeping, which is not natural for me. I finally got permission to sleep on my side just 2 hours per night when I needed it. That worked pretty well, except one night I never woke up to my alarm and slept way too long so that spooked me and I only used this freedom when I really needed it. I only took two pain pills, which made me puke my guts out, so I got permission not to take those either. That left me with The Machine, Tylenol, Aleve, a lovely white pressure stocking, and my new friend, Mr. Cryo-Cuff, which pumps ice water around the affected area. Nice.

The kids and Paul were supposed to wait on me at all times. I only had permission to get up and use the bathroom and eat dinner. They were amazing about this with only one glitch in the middle of the first night where I needed some food to settle my stomach and no one heard me ringing the bell. "Helllooooo!?" From then on, I had crackers by the bed all the time. Watched t.v. and played games with the kids when they wanted to, which I found amusing.

Week 2: Checked in with Dr., who really liked his fancy suture work. Felt dizzy for about two days from being upright again. Went to physical therapy to check in and get mobility measured. Drove myself in the van, which PT found a little nuts. Walked Stephen to the pool and realized it was too far. Fortunately, Paul was on his way home and came to get us in the car when we were done. Got permission to go to work the next day. Went to work but needed about 15 minutes just to pull myself together after getting ready all morning and walking two house lengths to my office door. Once there, did fine, but exhausted when I got home. Worked two days and then had three days off during which I was really good to myself.

Week 3: Felt great on Monday, so walked to the courthouse from work for a meeting there. (Really no other option - by the time I would have walked to my car, found a parking space near the courthouse and walked in there, it would have been the same.) Didn't think I could get Mr. Cryo-Cuff past security so I left it at the office. Once at the courthouse, realized I did not have any Tylenol with me. Sat down for the meeting and proceeded to feel my leg lock up and begin throbbing. Knew for a fact that I was in trouble and still had to walk back. Walked back, feeling like a chisel was being systematically hammered under my patella with every step. This was the first time I had actually felt pain since surgery. And it lasted all week long. I thought I was going to have to go back into surgery to fix whatever it was that I had screwed up, but was assured that I had just overdone it, needed rest and ice, and all would be well. Didn't believe them at all. Over the weekend, rested, iced, put the white sock back on, and used crutches for distance walking. Felt bored stiff but significantly better.

Week 4: Walked to the courthouse again, this time with no ill effects. Paul said I had looked "drawn" when arriving home from work last week so I agreed to cut back on some meetings I had in the evenings that week. Felt absolutely fine and probably could have done them, but no way to know this ahead of time.

Week 5: Beginning to feel functional again. Able to walk upstairs using both legs, and sometimes downstairs as well. This is a really big deal! Woo! Stephen is getting his Yellow Belt without me. Bummer.

So there's the summary. From here on out, I should just be getting stronger and better, so I'm thinking you won't have to hear about it any more unless something really huge happens. Like I break a record for recovery time and get to ski by Christmas. I can always hope!


Blogger Rosie said...

Glad you're doing so well.

Now you'll probably hear about everybody else's surgeries!

I'm writing about Paul's "cantelope-sized" right thyroid surgery in my column... if I can get him to read it first!


6:26 AM  
Blogger I'll think of a good name later said...

Hey Lydia, hope everything is coming along well with your continued recovery. I got a steel plate put in my arm when they did my shoulder surgery so I don't need to feel jealous about you being part zombie anymore. Cyborgs totally rule zombies.

Formerly SA

4:43 PM  
Blogger Lydia said...

I'll take that as a challenge...

3:22 PM  

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