::: my husband’s short basketball season :::

From a caregiver’s perspective

Day of surgery 11/11/09

Filed under: Uncategorized — shortseason at 12:32 pm on Saturday, November 21, 2009

Surgery was one week after the injury.  Neither of slept well the night before — nervous, I suppose.    Surgery was at a local out-patient facility; his check-in time was 6:30 a.m.  Whooee, did all those women have fun teasing him about playing basketball at his age.  They said almost all the achilles surgeries they see are related to basketball.

They did the usual stuff — blood pressure, a zillion Qs about his health history, hooked him up to an IV, the doc spoke to him for a bit, then the anesthesiologist appeared on the scene and more questions about his teeth, snoring, previous experiences with surgery.  She gave him a choce:  1) general anesthesia or 2) a block of some sort which would allow him to remain awake.  The down side of the block was he would have to remain at the surgery center until it wore off (5-6 hours).  He opted for the general.   She gave him an antiobiotic shot (not sure if it was a real shot, or in the IV — I was talking to the nurse at this time), and something to make him relax.  The relaxing med took effect almost immediately.  I could tell by his silly grin that he was gone.  Later, he said he did not remember anything after she gave him that shot.  They put him in a silly-looking cap and off he went.   By 7:30 a.m., I was in the waiting room. 

The doc said the surgery would take 45-60 minutes; he came out at about 9:15 to say all went as expected.   A tech took me back to see the patient around 9:45 (ish) — he was sleepy but seemed comfy; a bit goofy from the meds.   They took him by wheelchair out to our car and we were home around 10:30 a.m.  

The scariest moment of the whole day was getting him from the car to bed (which was where he wanted to go) — two stairs and about 50′ of travel.  He sat in the passenger seat with his feet on the garage floor for several moments to clear his  head and off he went.   He made it the entire way fine — a bit wobbly but no  incidents.  Whew!

The post-op directions were mixed regarding icing:  they told us 20 minutes per hour; but the written sheet said 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.   So, I did the latter.   The doc said even though it seems silly to ice while wearing that big ole cast, “humor me…do it.”  The cold apparently radiates through the cast.  They said to ice anywhere the length of the lower leg (front of calf, back of calf, ankle, whatever) — the exception being the toes and directly behind the knee (some big artery lives there). 

 They also said when he first had awareness that something had been going on down there, take a pain pill which they anticipated would be mid-afternoon.  He slept most of the afternoon; he took two pain pills around 3:00 (though he protested he did not need them) and wobbled to the living room around dinner time.  To my surprise, he was hungry so had a pretty big but bland dinner.  No nausea at all from the general (whew); no pain to speak of. 

He kept the leg elevated on two bed pillows the entire day — the goal is above the center of the chest when elevating.   They said to not have a “bridge” under the knee area — support that area, too.  Also, as much as possible have the pillows end just before the heel.  I think her exact words were “to prevent breakdown of the heel, thought that is unlikely.” 

I did ask someone to sit in the house while I dashed to the pharmacy to get the meds:  1) pain pills and 2) valium (to reduce spasms).

He missed the fiberglass splint — after surgery he sported a large, heavy, cast.  He was surprised at the weight of the darn thing. 

All in all, the day went well….better than we hoped!

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