Saturday, January 12, 2013

24 Hours Post-op

My fancy new footwear

  So, here I am almost exactly twenty-four hours after the operation to put a hemi implant into the joint just behind the big toe of my left foot. It's gone quite well, and I'm more mobile today than I was expecting. The road to get here, though, was pretty... interesting.
  My wonderful co-worker and friend Alan kindly volunteered to drive me to surgery yesterday morning, and picked me up at my apartment at 10:00. I was appointed to be at the Antelope Valley Surgery Center at 10:30, and my procedure was to start at 12:00. We got there with about ten minutes to spare, and I told him a nurse would probably be calling him to come back and pick me up in a few hours. He drove off, and I headed inside.
  When I attempted to sign in, though, I was told that I was in the wrong place, and that I probably wanted one of the other buildings in the complex. I tried to call Alan, but he didn't answer, because his phone was on silent.
  I walked out into the freezing wind and made my way down Avenue J, but saw nothing that looked like a surgical center. I turned around and headed the opposite direction up the street, and saw only the main hospital itself. At this point, I decided I'd just call my surgeon's office and see what I could find out.
  After an eternity on hold (during which precious minutes were ticking by), a man finally answered and we figured out that I was supposed to be at the Antelope Valley Surgical INSTITUTE. Center, Institute. Who the bloody Hell would name two different places so similarly? I asked him if it was within walking distance, and he said "No." Knowing that was my only alternative, I told him, "Well, it's going to have to be. Tell them I'm on my way." I hung up the phone and began to jog- on my broken foot.
  I followed the map on my phone, stopping to catch my breath as often as I needed. The wind was howling in my face, and I felt like complete crap from having to fast for the surgery. My head and ears were pounding, my foot was screaming, and I was sweating like a pig.
  About twenty-five minutes later, I made it into the lobby, breathing heavily. The receptionist immediately knew who I was. "Did you run here?" she asked. "Yep," I gasped, "I just wanted to give this foot one more workout before you sliced it open."
  After signing the requisite paperwork, I was admitted in no time, and taken to my hospital bed. The nurse drew the privacy curtain around me, and I got into my gown and hairnet. I couldn't resist snapping this photo:

  Shortly afterward, the nurse ran an IV into my arm, and I waited to be taken into the operating room. It wasn't very long at all until my surgeon came in and gave me the "Pep Talk" they always give patients. It was unneccessary, but appreciated, nonetheless.
  Next was the anesthesiologist, who I was very interested in talking to. Last time I was put under a general, I explained to him, had a very bad outcome. I was terribly sick, and passed out as I was preparing to leave the hospital. I woke up hooked up to an EKG, and it was all a mess. They said my heart was doing odd things, and I continued to be sick for quite some time afterward. He assured me that he wouldn't let that happen, and that I'd have a much easier time. For one, I wouldn't be swallowing copious amounts of blood, as I did in that previous surgery.
  They started me on oxygen then, and apologized if the sedative stung. I never felt it go in. The last thing I remember was the nurse saying "Goodnight."
  When I woke, in recovery, I was incredibly groggy. The nurse kept trying to talk to me, and I found it very difficult to reply. It was as if somebody else was speaking through me. It took a long time for me to come around, and once I did, as I expected, the nausea and vomiting came.
  About twenty minutes later, I was ready to go, and feeling a bit better. Alan was there, instructed by the nurse where the correct location was. I was pushed out in a wheelchair to his car, and stood on my bandaged foot for the first time. It was incredibly painful.
  I was going to bypass the post-op painkillers, but seeing as how I could already feel pain in the recovery room, I decided to try them out. I made sure they didn't give me any opiates, as I didn't want to spend the next couple of days puking. Speaking of which, I puked two more times in Alan's car (and kept apologizing for it) and then a further three more times while he was in CVS picking up my meds and a set of crutches.
  We eventually made it back to my apartment, and I got to put the shiney new crutches to use- that is, until I got to the stairs leading up to my apartment. Fortunately, if I only used the heel of my left foot, the pain wasn't too bad. Alan got me inside, I thanked him, and then, mercifully, I laid down on the couch and took a nap.
  All in all, the nausea was the worst part. The pain today (and in fact in the latter half of the evening last night) is pretty minimal. The drugs aren't having any adverse effects, and I already don't need the crutches to get around. I'd probably still take them if I had to cover a lot of ground somewhere. Here's an x-ray of what my implant would look like: (not my actual foot)

  Twenty-four hours in and I'm already so bored here at home. They want me to stay off this for five to six days, but I'm going back to work after four. Don't know how I'm going to keep myself from going stir crazy in the next three days. You can only watch so many movies and read so much. I need a good project. Model building. I dunno. Something I can do sitting down to occupy my brain. Ideas?

1 comment:

  1. Sounds a little like you are getting old and the warranty is starting to expire. It happens.

    At least you can now say "Dude, there's a Hemi in it."

    Get well soon.