Things got off to a rocky start last Monday, as a 3:00pm theatre time, was pushed back to 4:00, then 5:00 then 6:00 (Oh come on, for crying out loud!) but eventually kicked off at 6:45.
After only 5-6 attempts at the spinal block, we finally got it right, and I was magically transformed into Gumby.
The anaesthesiologist and I agreed to start with a sedation level of 2; I likened it to 3-4 G&Ts. “Awake and aware,” but feeling no pain and “Oh, so comfortably numb,” just as my brother Tommy, would have recommended.
Appropriately, once in theatre, I cranked up Pink Floyd’s The Wall and watched the whole thing on a TV monitor. It was a bit surreal; kind of like watching a special “knee” episode of Hospital, but between the anaesthesiologists’ drugs and my music… it was a rather pleasant experience!
Sixty-three minutes later (Yes, 63 minutes!) I was getting a nerve block “thingy” inserted into my thigh and being wheeled into recovery.
The rest of Monday night, is a bit of a blur; however, let me just say, I absolutely understand the the current “opiate epidemic.” I have a whole new appreciation for anyone strung out on Opiates. After less than 48 hours, I found it incredibly hard to say “No thanks, I’m good,” when offered serious hospital grade, opiate pain relief.
Day two had me up, out of bed, going to the toilet, walking the halls and doing all my exercises! My appetite was not quite there, but I could stand to lose a few pounds anyway. And I managed to apply some of my signature Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet lipstick, which is very important in the recovery process!
Day three was discharge day. I was up, dressed, packed and ready to go! The Physiotherapist was due in about 10:00, and just to make sure she knew I “meant business,” I had already finished 99% of my exercises and was working on my last set.
It is the easiest and the hardest, of all the exercises.
You sit in a chair with your bad leg outstretched; your heel is resting on the edge of a footstool, in front of you. There is nothing supporting your calf, knee, or your thigh. And now… you just sit there.
Easy Peary, right? Wrong! It kills!
Did you hear me “There is NOTHING supporting your knee!” It’s just hanging out there in the breeze; and with all the swelling and fluid build up, it weighs a ton! You’re supposed to sit like that for as long as you can, up to 10 minutes! HA! I think I made it to maybe 2-3 minutes, and that’s probably an exaggeration.
As I wriggled my leg over to the side edge of the stool, the plan was to gently lower my foot and leg, down to the floor. What I forgot to take into consideration, was that I was weak, drugged and my leg was oh so freakin heavy.
BOOM! CRASH! THUD!
That was the sound of my foot and leg, falling 12-16 inches from the footstool, to the wooden floor. It hit like a ton of bricks and then the “THUD” reverberated back up my leg, rattling my teeth.
“Well… this can’t be good,” I remember thinking.
I sat there… in shock, waiting for my new titanium knee joint to explode from the incision site (picture Alien), but… much to my surprise… it did not. It just throbbed.
Shortly after this little mishap, the Physio came in, and all I could say was, “I fucked up.”
As I explained what happened (and watched her face flinch, ever so slightly) she took a look; “There doesn’t appear to be any permanent damage,” she said. And then suggested that the heel of my foot and the muscles and tendons behind my new bionic knee, had taken the brunt of the impact, and they would be a “little sore.”
Her advice was to do ALL my exercises regularly, ice it frequently, keep it elevated, walk on it and and rest, rest, rest it. It all seemed a bit contradictory, but okay.
It wasn’t until I got home and started to realise the enormity of the whole ordeal… that I panicked. My leg was now deformed with fluid, badly bruised, on the left side of the knee (Hmmmm, that wasn’t there before?) my ankle was throbbing and my heel was totally numb, but also aching with an annoying pins and needles (or was it shards of glass?) sensation. Like neuropathy, but on steroids!
I mentioned opiates above… however I was cut off, and made to go “cold turkey.” Opiates could/would not be prescribed for home use. *insert sad face here* There was no special ‘goody bag,’ to help get me through, but it was just as well, really, I’d be another statistic.
So what do I do about pain relief?
Codeine? Nope, I’m allergic.
Ibuprofen products? Nope ongoing stomach issues.
Gabapentin? Hell no, I’m already batshit crazy!
Paracetamol (aka Tylenol)? Seriously?
“Well, okay Doc… if you say so… Paracetamol it is!”
Remember the MC Hammer’s song, “Cant Touch This? Well, let me tell ya, Paracetamol/Tylenol) cant touch knee replacement/footstool pain!
After suffering through days 3 and 4, on day 5 (Friday) I broke down and started taking some old Co-codamol (codeine) I found in the cupboard. I’d deal with the horrible migraine and constipation later… just make this horrific pain go away!!! Seriously, I would have injected heroin into my eyeball, had it been in my cupboard.
This is day 6 and the going is still quite rough; it is much better with the Co–codamol.
I was naive and a little too “cocky. I was so intent on getting my life back I didn’t seriously consider the possible aftermath of a major surgery. I’d never had a surgery like this, and had no idea what to expect. And, come on, really… had it not been for “Footstool-gate,” it may have been much smoother sailing!
Whatever, what’s done is done. Here we are and we’ll do what we always do… we’ll take whatever life slaps on our plate and we’ll just get on with it.
…but seriously, in all honesty, wouldn’t wish this shit on my ex-husband… either one of them!