Day 3: 72+ Hours After Surgery

05/13/2016

My first night was by far the worst. The pain after 10PM was growing until I was able to take another pain pill.  The 2nd day was painful, but I kept the pain meds going semi regular. I only skipped one.

Today I’ve only taken one pain pill and I only have occasional spikes or waves of pain, but not enough to warrant taking another pill… yet.  It’s bizarre because it only happens once or twice an hour.  I’ve been consistent with my antibiotic, stool softener, and baby aspirin.

The reason I would like to cut back on my pain pills is for multiple reasons.

  1. I don’t like how it makes me groggy and sleepy
  2. I’m not super worried, but I don’t want to run the risk of addiction
  3. It slows down my gut (hence the stool softener)
  4. I want to have a few ounces (roughly 6oz) of my homebrew beer, and its not a good idea to mix

I’ll certainly take them if I need them due to pain, but for now I think I’m okay.

As far as food, my wife has been awesome by making sure I’m eating high protein foods. I believe it will give my body what it needs to heal. I did have a few cups of coffee today. I can usually drink a whole pot black by myself. I did not have any coffee yesterday, and that could have contributed to my slow gut. I don’t want to talk about it too much, but it is a concern and I don’t want it to make me feel worse than I already do.

I am a little disappointed that I did not get my order from Amazon of Curad Cast Protectors.  Amazon said they were delivered, but we never saw them in the mail.  It’s pretty rare for Amazon to mess up for us, so I’m willing to bet it was the USPS that made a mistake. I was able to get a refund for the item, but I’m a little concerned, because I do want to take a shower soon.  My wife said she could pick some up for me on her way back from heading over to a nearby city to go see some friends. I took a long hot shower on the day of my surgery. Also, I’ve not done anything strenuous nor have I been really hot, so I’m still somewhat clean.  I do plan on taking a shower tomorrow though, even if I have to use a trash bag.

Since I haven’t been taking many pain meds I haven’t been as loopy. I’ve been able to try out my iWalk crutch. At first I didn’t latch the back strap that goes across the calf because I was worried about pain of putting pressure on the long cut up the back of my leg.  I tried it out, and it did not hurt, so I started wearing the crutch and was able to walk around carefully around the house. I even was able to go up and down the stairs in my house.  I think my wife would kill me if she knew, but I took my time and rested multiple times if I was feeling any sense of tiredness. I love the scooter, but this crutch will really give me the freedom to use both of my hands.  It enables me to get coffee, carry my laptop, or whatever I need. I’ve even gotten to where I can sit on my couch with my leg propped up without even taking it off. I will keep wearing it and trying different things and report it here.  I’m not getting paid or compensated for this information, so please take it as an honest account for how amazing this crutch is for giving you the freedom you will want.

Picture of me laying on the couch with my leg propped up wearing my iWalk. The towel is still there because my cast was wet when I got home. I didn’t realize it was going to be that kind of cast.

Here is a picture of my wearing the iWalk crutch before surgery. I wanted to learn how to move around in it before hand. My left leg was still at 10% strength, so that was why I was wearing the boot.

One thing to note, and I think I already said this, but going to the bathroom standing up is SO much easier with this crutch.


Day 1: Surgery was at 8AM and 12 hours later, throbbing pain slowly increasing

05/11/2016

I didn’t sleep much and the wife said I didn’t stop moving all night. I think I was just wanting to feel my leg move because I know I wouldn’t get to feel it again for a long time. I was pounding water the day before because I knew I wanted to be well hydrated for the surgery.  After waking up and going to the bathroom I weighed in a 235.5lbs.  I’m now down 17 lbs since I started tracking what I eat using MyFitnessPal.

We got to the surgery center at Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance and went through the admin process. The prep for the operation was not bad. I spoke with a few nurses and doctors. They asked me to spell my name, my birth, and to verify my birthday at almost every step of the way to make sure I was the right person. I had no problem with that at all.  I also made sure they knew that my weight was down by about 5 lbs since they last weighed me.

They shaved my leg after giving me my IV drip. I had another doctor come by to ask some questions and verify and mark my leg. Of course it was cold and even colder when I got to the operating room. They put warm blankets on me and had me breath some gas. It wasn’t bad at all. It wasn’t long before everything went dark and I don’t have any recollection of a thing until I was in recovery.

When I woke up I felt a little nauseous from the anesthesia. I’ve been put under before, but I’ve never been made to feel like that when coming out. Apart from the nausea I was groggy and my throat was pretty sore. Again, I expected the grogginess, but the sore throat was to be expected, but I didn’t know that. The sore was because of the tracheal intubation they give you while you are knocked out. My wife said it took a little longer for me to wake up, but they suspect it was because of my lack of sleep over the past couple of weeks.

I had a little bit of a Diet Coke, maneuvered to get dressed, climbed in a wheelchair and was rolled out to my wife’s car.  We picked up my meds on the way home and I started texting friends and family.  I was preferring not to talk because of my throat, but I was so appreciative of everyone for checking in with me.

When I get home, I hobbled into the house using crutches my wife put in the car the previous night.  From there I landed on the couch where I could push back my seat and put my legs up.  A few big pillows to raise my leg, a blanket, and some water was all I needed before drifting back off to sleep.  It was some of the best sleep I have had in a long time.

While I was asleep my wife did some research on my meds and wrote up my schedule on when I was supposed to take everything.  She even made me a chart using Google Sheets breaking down a way to track days and times to take my medications. It made it super clear and easy to follow.

This is the schedule my wife made up. You can use Google Sheets or Excel.

It’s my dad’s birthday, so we talked several times today. He mostly talked about my surgery.  I had a few other calls, but I appreciated my wife doing most of the talking because my throat was still pretty sore.  Also, I was going in and out a little bit because of the pain killers. Again, I was so thankful for my wife for taking care of me and the rest of my friends and family who called and sent me texts to check in on me.

I would recommend that if you do have to be put asleep where they will be performing a tracheal intubation that will lead to a sore throat that you eat some food.  I wasn’t hungry until I started to eat.  The sandwich my wife made me was a big help. I later ate almost a whole bag of popcorn I bought last week.  Skinny Pop or something like that is perfect for this situation.

The doctor also prescribed the Venapro vascular therapy system. Basically, it’s a sleeve that goes on my good leg that blows up every other minute to keep me from getting a blood clot.  When it blows up it makes a buzzing noise. My wife and I keep thinking it sounds like an old land line phone when it is off the hook.  I’m not 100% how long I have to wear it, but I think it’s for the next week or so.  One cool thing I noticed on the device was a mini USB port. As an IT guy, I wanted to see what it could do.  From what I read, you could use the USB port to get a data dump of the device’s operation. It can also be controlled using the USB port, but you have to buy a separate device because the sleeve won’t work on a computer.

I started this journal entry a few hours ago.  It’s not 10PM here and my leg is starting to  lose it’s numbness.  This means there are coming waves of throbbing and pain.  I’m not looking forward to the next few days, but I will be taking my pain killers to keep it under control.