Of Dogs, Knee Surgery, and Large Horses (Part 4)

May 23, 2013

You can find previous episodes at:

Of Dogs, Knee Surgery, and Large Horses (Part 1)

Of Dogs, Knee Surgery, and Large Horses (Part 2)

Of Dogs, Knee Surgery, and Large Horses (Part 3)

Of Dogs, Knee Surgery, and Large Horses (Part 4)

VinHospitalThe next thing I remember I was back in my room having brilliant conversations with my visitors and the nurse… one word at a time… between naps. I didn’t realize how little time I was staying awake until I asked the nurse for a muffin. Next time I opened my eyes there was a blueberry muffin sitting on the bedside table with my name on it. The nurse stepped back into the room to make sure I didn’t choke. How silly was that? I’ve been eating by myself for well over 50 years! I took a fork full of muffin and before I could finish chewing was falling asleep. I barely had time to swallow before drifting off again. So, I wolfed down about four tiny bites of that muffin… one bite at a time… between naps. Then I had to pee.

I groped around and found the call button and, like a genie from a bottle, it seemed that instantly there was a nurse with a smile awaiting my demands. “I have to pee”, I said, and the nurse disappeared to get a big, strong, handsome guy to carry me to the bathroom…or a wheelchair, I didn’t much care at this point as long as it was fast. Meantime, Dad and Carolyn mysteriously vacated the room and the nurse returned WITH A BEDPAN and sat it on the table then, began to flip up the covers in prepparation for sliding that THING under my backside.

ARP! Alternate plan! No sooner had my genie-nurse placed the bedpan on the little table than a wave of surprise nausea overwhelmed me. And, oh, the extreme gratitude of having a clean bedpan at your side when the post-anesthesia digestive rejection hits out of the blue. What a wonderful serendipity of timing! I totally understand now why they don’t want you to eat the night before surgery, and I will never complain about it again.

7photo 3Once the bedpan was cleaned and sterilized (don’t look at me, I don’t make the rules), I had the pleasure of actually using it as a bedpan. By the way, have you seen the new bedpans? They are a marvel of modern engineering! No more the big, oddly-shaped stainless steel bowls of the past that we perched on as they wobbled under us like a drunk donkey, the new ones are flat on one end so they slide under you easily. Of course, they’re also one-size-fits-all so at my size I felt like I was falling in; and it didn’t help that there was a very nice and awesomely chatty nurse keeping an eye on me the whole time. As you can imagine, it took a few minutes. Oh, and after my original use of the bedpan they made sure there was one of those little plastic kidney-shaped bowls handy at all times.

So…the hour of allotted recovery time passed and I was still asleep—more than less.   Since you can’t be hopping around on crutches dragging a leg around behind you in the dirt when you leave, the rule of knee surgery is that if you can lift your injured leg off the bed you’re ready to go home. And I was still asleep. Did I mention that I react very strongly to medications? It’s one of the big reasons that I would rather have a headache than take them.

Lifting the leg off the bed usually happens around the end of the first hour. Four hours and a nurse shift-change later, almost entirly spent in a drugged sleep, I finally managed to lift my leg off the bed….sort of. Good enough! It was declared that I could go home. WooHoo!

Now came the forty-five minutes of drive time strategically interspersed with stops to empty the little plastic kidney-shaped bowl they were kind enough to give me for the trip. After what was undoubtedly three days, we made it to my apartment.

photo 03Once there everyone hussled and bustled about, getting me in and settled, getting Rally Dog out of her stall prison, filling her water and food bowls, making sure I had water and plastic hospital bowl and crackers at bedside, and that my bubble-wrap water cooler thingy was hooked up and running, and I had taken my pain medication—as per doctor’s orders. We were all exhausted so Dad and Carolyn tucked me in and headed for home.

I was alone….the curtains blocked the late-afternoon light…it was quiet…I had just taken a Happy Pill…I drifted off into a deeply drug-induced sleep. Just for the record, I’m not a doctor person and I don’t take pills. If I have a cold, I use a box of tissues and get on with my life, if I get a cut, I put some cream and a bandage on it and get on with my life, so every pill I take has an affect almost twice as strong as anyone else the same size would get. Oh, I did mention this? Blame my repetitiveness on the drugs.

6photo 2When I woke the bedroom was dark, but the lights were on in the living room and, of course, how could I sleep with the lights on? Also, I had to pee again. So, I disentangled myself from the bed, remembered to disconnect the ice machine, grasped my crutches, slipped, and promptly fell down…Right Smack In The Middle…. of my freshly repaired knee onto the linoleum-over-concrete floor yelling, “Oh SHIT!” all the way down. I may have used the F word.

Even in a drug-induced stupor I knew nothing good was likely to come of any of this. I lay there attempting to assess the situation and the only thought that would form was, ‘How am I going to get up?’ so I rolled to the side, wondering if it mattered now whether I used that leg or not. After laying there for a few minutes and thinking (ok, not so much ‘thinking’ as rolling random thoughts around in my empty, echoing head), I grabbed the door handle and a book shelf and managed to regain my foot. As I was struggling to stand I realized that it didn’t matter if I tried to use the repaired leg or not, the nerve block was still in force and nothing this side of a cattle prod was going to get any use out of it.

Now I was afraid to trust my balance on the crutches so I re-connected the ice machine, packed myself back into bed, took another pain pill—more to kill my, ‘Will I ever walk again?’ thoughts than any imagined pain–and went back to sleep.

My thought, as I was being pulled to unconsciousness by the overload of drugs:

‘Please don’t let my kneecap be shattered!’

To be continued….


22 Responses to “Of Dogs, Knee Surgery, and Large Horses (Part 4)”

  1. […] Of Dogs, Knee Surgery, and Large Horses (Part 4) […]

  2. floridaborne said

    Nothing more helpless than going down and not being able to stop. You probably left your cellphone on your bed, too. Scary.

    • kayuk said

      Not sure where the cell phone was. Didn’t matter because I was too dopy to really know what I was doing at the time. But, even in that state of disconnection to reality, it was scary.

  3. Oh my goodness! This story is all too familiar to me! My mom had a very similar injury (severed ACL, shredded MCL and torn meniscus) and she had surgery in November 2012. Next to my dad, I was her number one caretaker. I saw the pain, know the reasons for the bedpan, and understand more than most what you’re going through. What you need to know is that it does get better. Mom is now six months post-surgery and is basically back to normal (except for some exercises she still can’t do and the high heels she is still told to avoid). Hang in there and take all the tender loving care your people (and animals) offer you! Lots of love and prayers coming your way!

    • kayuk said

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you stopped by to read the ongoing saga and share your experience. It’s a huge relief to hear that there is an end to this…. somewhere….. sometime. I feel like I’ve been stuck in bed for months, and it’s only been a little over a week. I live alone, in a barn, with a deaf, blind dog. I don’t really get a lot of help so you can imagine the humor of trying to make it to the bathroom by myself, trying to sweep the floor on crutches, trying to stand up long enough to cook without my knee exploding.
      The doctor did tell me that I should be walking fine in about 6 weeks and playing soccer in 6 months. Since I don’t play soccer, that part is not important, but the part about walking is a biggie. LOL!
      Just a question, did your mom get muscle twitches in her knee that felt like they were tearing apart the repairs? OUCH!!

      • Hello new friend!
        I know what you mean about feeling like you’ve been in bed for months when it’s actually only been days. It sounds cheesy but hang in there. You are very brave to be fending so well for yourself! Keep up the good work – the best thing you can do is remember this too shall pass. Truly, those six weeks will be behind you in no time! Mom didn’t have muscle twitches that I knew about, but she was also on some pretty high-octane pain meds so I suppose it’s possible she did and didn’t really know it.

        • kayuk said

          Since the first night I have not taken the pain meds. I can’t take a chance on being wobbly on crutches or walker by myself. I’d rather feel the pain than fall again….of course, I’d really rather not do either! 🙂

          • Good for you! I hate to think of the pain you’re in (my mom woke up crying a few times that first week) so my thoughts and prayers are with you!

            • kayuk said

              It sounds from your description that they may have had to disassemble your mom’s knee and rebuild it from the inside out. Fortunately, they didn’t have to do that with mine. They replaced the ACL and trimmed a torn edge off the meniscus. Since the newer proceedures are much less traumatic than the older ones the incisions were very small. She was likely in a LOT more pain than I am. And even at that she was almost back to normal in 6 months. Awesome!

  4. Dana said

    Sounds like so much to go through. I wish you the best.

    I wanted to drop by and thank you for your thoughtful comment on my blog last Monday. I appreciate your taking the time to participate in the Blitz; the comments really made my day. 🙂

    Have a lovely weekend.

    • kayuk said

      Thanks! 🙂 and thanks for visiting and commenting here. I really enjoyed my visit to The Daily Dose and I love the way you incorporate videos into your blog. They add so much interest. In fact, if I didn’t already, I think I’ll visit again and follow along….

  5. m33s66vr said

    I share your wariness of drugs… I feel a bit guilty enjoying your account of the ‘drug affected’ calamaities you’ve experienced. But, if things do “get worse, before they get better”, you seem to be past “the worst” phase. Now, on with getting better!…
    Oh ya – sorry to read that you didn’t get to pee that first time you got up!… :o)

  6. kayuk said

    Thanks Silvia,
    Sometimes it seems to go….one step forward, one step back…. But!! Things really are getting better. LOL!

  7. You’ll get there … one tiny step at a time.

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