So day of surgery rolls around on 2/22. The move for the Operation from the Outpatient facility to the hospital is actually a positive for me since I live literally two blocks away. My wife drove me since she is so nice but drove back to park at the house and walked to the lobby. Standard issue stuff at the hospital as I was being prepped. They had me flip over to put the nerve block but I don’t remember a thing after flipping over until I woke up several hours later in recovery. That was one of the deepest “sleep” I’ve had ever. I felt great.

Further on in recovery I felt some pain and uneasiness in my leg. The nerve block only worked on one side of my leg, strangely enough. Anesthesia came up and talked to me and they agreed to redo the block for me so I’d have a longer period of comfort. This time they went up higher in the leg in m thigh, which meant that my entire right leg would be useless for about 24hrs. Even after that it was strange how some parts, especially the back of my leg, was not numb. But it felt better and I was on my way home… They wheeled me to the lobby, and we asked if we could take the wheelchair all the way home since we’re only 2 blocks away. The nurse nervously said yes so we braved the rain and my wife rolled me home. It would have been a chore for her to lift my numb leg into the car so this was nice.

Back home it was just sit on the bed and rest. We took home one of the urinal bottles so I could use it if I didn’t feel up to standing to go to the bathroom. I made use of it in the middle of the night. Day 2 was when the pain started. It’s kind of a scary thing and  I wasn’t doing a good enough job of “staying ahead of the pain”. I had to get Oxycodone by calling in the on-call doc as what they had given me wasn’t working. This eased the pain somewhat and I was able to sleep. This lasted until the end of Day 3 or so when I started to wean off the meds…by Day 4 I was using Tylenol only. This entire time was spent on the bed with leg elevated and icing almost constantly over the top of the splint (only ace bandages on the top). I also iced behind the knee based on advice from Nurse. My wife was a champ during this time, with helping me get up when I needed to, getting me ice, food, and even dumping the urinal…

I was not really ready for the next set of pain to reach me. Constipation. Narcotics used as pain killers slow everything down, and that includes bowel movement. I’d never experienced anything like it before in my life and was in extreme pain. This was even with the stool softeners I was taking from Day 2 or so (ignored wife’s warnings on Day 1, I shouldn’t have). After an all day agonizing ordeal it was through but then I dealt with diarrhea (probably the softener taking effect). Maybe this is TMI for some but just be warned when taking those pain meds to stay on top of whatever counter measures you have for bowel movement!


4 Comments so far

  1. normofthenorth on March 8, 2013 9:25 pm

    There’s some good news here, take it from a surgical (and non-surgical) veteran: Once you’ve made it through the pain of ATR surgery, you very likely have nothing to fear from the pain of open-heart surgery! Hard to believe, I know, but that was my experience, as detailed on TWO normofthenorth blogs (here and on!

  2. Jack on March 9, 2013 8:23 am

    NOTE: Possible “TMI alert:
    Regarding the constipation - if you don’t, you may want to consider keeping a toilet plunger in the bathroom during the first few days after surgery - especially when you’re taking the heaviest doses of pain meds and coming off of the hospital anesthesia. Not only will your INTERNAL pipes become clogged up, but it’s highly likely that the toilet plumbing will too. Keeping the plunger close and handy will keep you from freaking out when the toilet starts overflowing due to a clog; you won’t have to rush (on crutches none the less) to retrieve it, and you can plunge it immediately before it overflows.

  3. normofthenorth on March 9, 2013 1:45 pm

    If there’s one thing worse than falling because your crutch hits some rainwater or melted snow…

  4. yakswak on March 12, 2013 11:55 am

    Jack, that’s hilarious. Yeah, I kind of got that TMI thing rolling with this post… Thanks for the tip, hopefully it helps someone (?)!

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