Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'm back... kinda

So Jeff and I arrived at the hospital Tuesday morning and as they're admitting me the hospital's computers freeze up in Admitting, Radiology and pre-op. But, of course... As the clock ticked off minutes the receptionist and Admitting manager were very apologetic while they waited to get back online, I gently reminded them that it was okay with me, I already had a room, but at some point I was sure that the surgery team would come looking for me.
A half hour later found Robin (R.N.) leading Jeff and I into pre-op, take 2. The surgery of another patient of my oped surgeon was taking longer than expected- the 91-year old patients blood pressure dropped so there was some drama going on while Robin and Marilyn preppred me. What was one of the first things they did? Shaved or as they say "clipped" my legs around the knees. Wasn't this the exact same thing that had delayed my last surgery I asked?
I had been scheduled fpr surgery at 10:30, but wasn't on my way until 11:45.  Which was fine as I had the best surgery team assembled together at last...
They wheeled me into an OR that was pulsating with DISCO music. Flashback to my high school years.  Before receiving a spinal I had to (no really, I did) show the anethesiogist and surgery nurses a few moves...

Dad would always ask his surgery team if he would be able to play his harmonica after surgery. They would always respond with, of course, Mr. Swan. To which dad would add, that's good because I couldn't play it before! (he could). So after slowly busting a few moves to the beginning of this disco tune I asked my team if would still be able to disco dance after surgery? To which they replied, of course, you can Carie. My surgeon had arrived a few moments before as we were doing the classic John Travolta moves. He assured me that I could but first the spinal before we could get the show on the road.
I loved the spinal, not the actual injection- which wasn't painful, but the after affects, which were almost immediate. My anethesiologist had also given me something for aniexty. So everything was warm and relaxing. I would wake occasionally during surgery a few times to feel my surgeon applying pressure to my legs, but that was it, then they would give something to fall back asleep.

I woke in Reovery a little after 5 and was soon talking with the nurses who were telling Jeff I was an amazing patient-- that was the word back from my surgery team and they agreed.
At 6:45 I was getting settled into my room and even though dinner had already been served the staff gave me dinner- I was starving. It didn't stay down, of course, but I enjoyed every bite. The nurses were terrific...
Aims arrived the next morning with goodies; a pina colada from Scooter's in San Andreas. She also brought tons of gatorade, trail mix, yogurt bars and natural fruit bars, etc. Aims stayed until her classes began in Stockton. Jeff arrived to keep me company. He told me that my surgeon told him that he had planned originally on using less expensive (for me) knees, these would somehow adhere to my knee bones... of which there were nothing left on either knee. So, he went with the most expense, complete stainless knee replacements. He  confided to Jeff that my knees were the worst he had ever seen and how I was able to walk at all was a mystery, basically.
Later in the AM my physical therapy team arrived. I have a new best friend. the breath analyser, for lack of a better word, it moniters the export of air to yout lungs. I am at a consistent 1500-2000 need to get up to 2500. It's a process.
Then Gerald, my walker arrived. He gave me a walker and a waistline belt to stabilize me.
The first time I walked down the hall to the nurses station. He was absolutely amazed. When I later did a couple of laps around the nurses station and floor I was on, he was astonished and told Aims and I that I was amazing, this was from 47 years of having done this line of work, my only other competition was a 90 year old woman, but I was the best. 
My oped arrived in the evening and was completely blown away by my progess. He told me this was not the norm- it was exceptional, patients didn't do this for a few weeks. No one gets up and walks and is able to do the physical therapy to the lengths
I just did, it just was amazing to him. After reading my notes he thought I could very well go home today. I was up walking to the bathroom (brutal) and this stunned him. The hospital has to follow the legal guidlines for toilets and let me tell you getting down to 32" or 34" takes everything you have. Getting back up tests your endurance.

I arrived home this morning and will tell you about it tomorrow. And about the cool new medical technology that I got to take for a test drive.
I thought I would close out this blog with a disco classic dedicated to my OLD knees...


At March 23, 2012 at 8:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The perfect ending to today's blog! I am happy to know that I need not worry about potty breaks for you. You are strong and wonderful, and I so look forward to your comfort and enjoyment of each day,when you are complete pain free.
We all miss you. Carol

At March 24, 2012 at 11:15 AM , Blogger c_wildswan said...

Carol. each day is getting better, except for yesterday because I overdid, but I have nothing to gage this new territory by. Today is much better and I am making progress. It's ALL good. I miss you too, but love your posters and comments- it helps to have wonderful friends like you.


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