Tuesday, May 11, 2010

E-2 down none to go

I am now one week into my life with two replaced hips. It amazed me
how hard it was to talk about this hip resurfacing operation, or my stay in the
hospital, or any part of this experience without comparing it to the
first one. It made me realize just how much of my life is spent trying
to evaluate by comparison. And comparatively speaking this operation
was pretty good. Apparently I lost a lot less blood during surgery
and woke up feeling like my leg was far less swollen and painful.
However, over the next three days I seemed to make up for this as my
butt and thigh kept growing like Oprah did through the 80's. Okay, bad
example, but hopefully it conveys the image of progressively getting
thicker. By day 4 Saturday, the combination of ice and elevation
seemed to help as I finally began the deflation stage.

The surgery itself wasn't bad at all thanks to the sedatives and
epidural. Apart from a few, okay many, needles, IV's and blood samples
taken, there isn't much for a patient to complain about. The hip after
the surgery isn't too bad either. The muscles cut around the hip are
pretty tender but the pain killers cut the worst of it. However, the
effect of having so much blood flow and pool in the quad, glute and
hamstring is a different story. On both surgeries now, I have noticed
the pain and general discomfort that comes from doing anything other
than lying perfectly still in a very limited range of positions, is by
far the worst side-effect of the procedure I had.

Luckily, my only job right now is to lie and rest, with the occasional annoying trip to go pee. And the pee is a big catch 22. Last operation I woke up with a catheter in place. Although it is slightly uncomfortable and I was dreading it's removal, I was quite happy to not have to get out of bed every time I needed to go. As I prepared for this operation, I wondered whether I would get another one and if I wanted it or not. I woke up happy to find I hadn't been given a catheter this time, but was informed that I wouldn't likely be able to pee on my own until all effects of the epidural wore off. No problem, I can hold it for a couple of hours. What, that's 18-24 hours from now? At this point I realized I needed to hold it for a long time and that I was being told I absolutely needed to drink a lot of fluid while also being pumped full of saline through the IV. No problem I thought...with enough liquid and determination in my veins, I could surely make myself go....after all, how hard can it be to just let go.

For a while I remained optimistic....if I just keep concentrating hard enough, it has to work eventually. As desperation took over,one nurse who had probably studied Pavlov too much ran the sink in the bathroom for about ten minutes. However, as my lower abdomen became further and further distended, and I noticed that it was 3 am and I hadn't slept yet, I eventually came to the much fought against conclusion that I would indeed have to be catheterized. I hit the call button on my bed and moments later a young nursing student was asking how she could help.
I'll summarize the experience by saying that it wasn't a lot of fun......I'll take the discomfort of getting out of bed with a beaten up leg any time over having a nursing student shove a catheter up me in the middle of the night. I've always admired Stoicism in a person and feel like I have an appropriate amount in my life. However, anyone who heard me groaning as the tube just seemed to be shoved further and further inside would have seriously doubted this claim. My one consolation was that they removed over 3 litres in the next 3 hours, meaning it probably was good that I didn't wait too much longer.

Anyways, I am out now and that's all done. I am able to hobble around with the help of crutches and have a pretty good idea of what to expect from here on out. Les is once again taking great care of me, the kids and the home while also writing many hours a week. She really is the best.....but I know would be quick to deflect praise by saying how great the support from our families has been.

No comments: