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Not-so-Fun Friday: Ouch, Part II

Friday, November 19, 2010

When we last left our plucky heroine, she was off to the surgical center to get her ankle bones plated back together. Now, back to our story.

I had to be at the surgical center (a small, formerly doctor-owned hospital adjacent to the building the ortho’s office is in, all of which is now owned by St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital) at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. As soon as I rolled up to the window in the waiting room, they looked at me and said, “We know who you are!”

As always, my reputation preceded me (and I was the last surgical patient they had coming in that afternoon). I sat and chatted with my parents for a few minutes before they came and got me to take me back for prep. I went into the bathroom and and peed in a cup (an eight-ounce Styrofoam coffee cup!!) and then was taken into a curtain area to change into a lovely open-backed hospital gown.

The nurse tried starting an IV in the back of my right hand, but even after a shot of lidocaine, I was about to come off the bed because it hurt so badly. So she pulled it out and ended up getting it into the top of my arm about a hand’s-width down from my elbow (so now I have a lovely bruise on the back of my right hand). The worst part of where she ended up putting the IV is that she had to tape it down over the hair on the back of my arm.

The assistant anesthesiologist came out and talked to me about the happy stuff—and we determined that since I’ve had such a bad reaction to anesthesia and pain meds before, they’d do a nerve block on the leg which would keep them from having to dose me up with heavy-duty painkillers post-surgery.

The lead anesthesiologist came in and they had me roll onto my stomach. They gave me just enough “milk of amnesia” to make me very relaxed and loopy before they started poking and prodding the back of my leg (and the assistant had never done one of these blocks before, so I got the blow-by-blow of what they were doing—which included, if I remember correctly, a couple of very painful shots into the back of my knee). Once that was done, I decided to stay on my stomach, because it had been a long time since I’d been able to stretch out like that—I spend so much time sitting or hunched forward to lean on countertops or rails that it felt good to be in a completely straightened-out position. Mom and Dad came back for a few minutes to pick up the stuff I wouldn’t need anymore (our wheelchair, the boot and compression stocking, etc.), and then it was good-byes and they wheeled me back to the surgical chamber. The lovely thing about being on my stomach is that they pushed the gurney right up to the side of the surgical table and I was able to just roll over onto it on my back.

After a little more laughing and joking (this has been my theme throughout this entire ordeal), the anesthesiologist put the oxygen mask on me and told me to breathe deeply, that he was starting to administer the good stuff. If he ever asked me to count down from 100 (or even 10), I don’t know—because two breaths later, I was gone. (I was ready to go, though, because I’d stayed up until almost 4 a.m. the night before finishing an editing project.)

Next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery. Apparently there are a few minutes I can’t remember (just checked with my parents about anything embarrassing I might have said—nothing to that effect, but there are a few blank minutes there). Blessedly, I did not get sick, either from the anesthesia or the painkiller they gave me in recovery. In recovery, my lower back was killing me—from an hour or so lying flat on that hard surgical table—but the painkiller they gave dealt with that readily.

When Dr. Olive got in, he discovered that the tibia and fibula were somewhat separated, so in addition to plating both bones, he had to put a long screw in that goes through both bones to pull them back together. That long screw will have to come out eventually—probably about six months from now.

By the time they got me to my room, I was much more alert and aware. My surgery started around 2:30 p.m. and it was right at 4:20 when they got me to my room (I know, because the wall clock in the room needed to have its battery changed and they had to set it). Mom and Dad stayed with me until about six o’clock—long enough to see that I could keep down the chicken broth and Jell-O they brought me. Then I was on my own for the rest of the evening. Thank goodness they have cable at the surgical center—I was able to watch all of my favorite HGTV and Food Network shows (did anyone else see the Throwdown episode featuring the Pioneer Woman?). By this time, my stomach was growling (and, no, watching Food Network wasn’t helping), so I asked the nurse if it was possible to get some solid food (all I’d had to eat in twenty-four hours had been that broth and Jell-O). The kitchen was already closed by that time, but they did have soup, so she brought me some veggie-beef (Campbell’s) and crackers and a Sierra Mist. While it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as what I was looking at on TV, at least it was something.

I never sleep well away from home—and especially when forced into an unusual position (I’m a side-sleeper, not a back sleeper) with a pillow that’s the equivalent of a two-inch slab of granite. I did manage to doze between 2:30 and 5:00 a.m. and then again from 5:30 to 7:00 a.m., when my doctor’s PA, David, came in for rounds. We discussed pain management, and he decided that since I was in so little pain the morning after surgery—with no pain meds having been administered throughout the night (the nerve block wore off about 12 hours after administration, or around 2:30 in the morning, and the last pain meds they’d given me were just after surgery) that he would send me home with orders to take two aspirin a day (to ward off blood clots) and over-the-counter meds for pain management.

That was at 7:15 a.m. Around 7:30, they brought me my breakfast (eggs, ham, grapefruit, coffee, milk, and oatmeal that I didn’t eat). Mom came around 8:30. But it was still almost 11 a.m. before I got to leave. And, of course, we had to go through the drive-thru at Starbucks on the way home.

So, now I’m back at “home” (my parents’ house) and keeping my foot elevated as much as possible to try to get the swelling down (no, my toes are not gangrenous—that’s bruising leftover from the original dislocation injury) so that when I go back to see David on Wednesday, everything will look fine for me to be put back into the boot and possibly to start trying to put a little weight on it.

Now, it’s back to re-reading The Art of Romance* so that I can get it finished by the end of the month.

      *When I opened the file last night, I discovered that the word count in the combined file was showing just over 68,000 words. This confused me, because I know the counter has been sitting at 65k for quite some time. Then I realized . . . I never got around to recording the word count of the chapter I finished at the library at Trevecca two weeks ago. I wonder why that is.
  1. Leslie permalink
    Friday, November 19, 2010 3:15 pm

    Oh Kaye – it sounds like your spirit is in good shape. I pray for a fast healing!


  2. Friday, November 19, 2010 3:27 pm

    Love the ‘milk of amnesia’ remark. Hope you recover quickly and let your mom and dad pamper you well! 🙂


  3. Friday, November 19, 2010 3:31 pm

    I’m glad to hear you’re living up to your tagline. :p

    And what an exciting thing to discover you have 3,000 less words to write! I’m reading Ransome’s Crossing right now and Love Remains is up next. Thoroughly enjoying it so far! I’m really paying attention to how you’re handling the multiple POV’s. Yellow Flag is turning into a 4 POV novel.


  4. Friday, November 19, 2010 3:48 pm

    Praise God everything went so well.


  5. Robin in NC permalink
    Friday, November 19, 2010 4:12 pm

    Hopefully the worst is behind you & you focus on getting better! Praying for you!


  6. Kav permalink
    Friday, November 19, 2010 6:17 pm

    Wow, when you do something you go all out, don’t you? Glad you’re safe back home and in recovery mode.


  7. Friday, November 19, 2010 6:43 pm

    Very glad the surgery went well, and that you’ve kept your sense of humor. Will be praying the swelling goes down.


  8. Friday, November 19, 2010 9:11 pm

    Glad you’re doing well!!! Praying that the next doctor’s visit gives an all clear for the “boot” 🙂


  9. Saturday, November 20, 2010 3:26 pm

    Glad to hear the latest installment about our plucky heroine! Praying for a quick recovery. Just think of all the new material you are getting from this experience. Research?



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