Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Last of the Lovenox...

One of the most annoying post-surgical necessities is the need for blood thinners to prevent blood clots. Since I came straight home rather than heading from the hospital to a rehab facility, I had to administer a daily dose of Lovenox subcutaneously into my abdomen.
Before I left the hospital, I was required to view an instructional video. Choose the site, clean with alcohol, remove the cap from the syringe, insert the needle into the site, depress the plunger, count to three, remove the needle, activate the protective sleeve over the needle, and dispose of the syringe in a sharps container.

For me, this was pretty academic. I waited for about an hour for the nurse to come back so that I could demonstrate that I was capable of administering my own shot. Jim sat patiently on the bed, anxious to load me in the car and head home.

When she finally returned, I opened the syringe and alcohol wipe packages, cleaned the site, removed the cap, gave myself the shot, and properly disposed of the equipment. She looked at me like I had two heads. “That was amazing,” she said. “I just spent the better part of the last hour explaining and re-explaining to the woman in the next room how to do that.”

It never ceases to amaze me how some people make something so simple into something so complex and onerous.

Regardless of the simplicity, I have to say that my abdomen, after 14 consecutive days of Lovenox shots, looks as though I have tattooed myself with a landscape of forsythia bushes and swirls of yellowish clouds. It should be interesting to watch as the colors of the landscape change over the next week or two.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Two Weeks Out and Counting...

As I walked around the house for the 500th time, slowly and deliberately, putting no more than 75% of my weight on the new hip joint while relegating the other 25% to the walker and my arms, it occurred to me that the surgery involved actual skeletal dismemberment. I’m happy I didn’t think of it that way beforehand! If you’ve been dismembered, are you then re-membered when they put you back together? I suppose not. Deconstructed and reconstructed would probably be better descriptors.

So how am I doing? I think I’m doing rather well. Two weeks ago at this time I was lying in a hospital bed, attempting to get some sleep, which my roommate managed to keep me from achieving. PT finally came to get me up out of bed for the first time on Thursday afternoon. I was hurting, mostly from the incision, but I had nowhere near the level of pain I had before going under the knife. When the surgeon came in Friday morning and asked if I was ready to go home, I thought he had lost his mind. I stayed the extra day, and I’m glad that I did.
The home health PT keeps asking about my pain levels, and when I tell her 1 or 2, she looks at me like I’m crazy. I have a rather high threshold for pain; maybe for someone else this would be a 5 or 6. I’m anxious to get to my follow up visit in two more weeks. Perhaps I will be allowed to move from the walker to a cane. Of course, I may miss my walker and its little basket in which I am transporting things like bottles of water, books, and other printed materials I’m working on over the course of the day.
I’m also looking forward to the time (hopefully soon) when I can sit and type for more than an hour without the operative leg swelling up. It is considerably less than it was at first, but I’m still not quite there.
We’ll have a post-surgical redux after the post-op visit!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

11:39 p.m. about 6 hours pre-op…

I hope the surgeon is sleeping well.  I’m not.  I hit the hay at 10, knowing I had to get up at 4 a.m. to skin prep with sterile scrub pads, air dry, get dressed, and make my way down to the main campus of Cleveland Clinic.  I’m now up for the third time since I crawled into bed.  The wind is howling; the furnace is loud; and I’m suffering from a bad case of pre-operative nerves. 

There is no reason for me to believe that this surgery won’t go well.  After all, people get their hips replaced all the time.  They all swear it’s the best thing they ever did.  And I’m younger than most replacement candidates.  But, the older I get, the more hesitant I am to go under the knife.  In this case, it is an absolute necessity, and I want to say to the surgeon “Call in a few of your colleagues, because as long as I’m going to be under anesthesia, you might as well fix all the other things, too.  Let’s see, a face lift would do nicely, and let’s not forget the bat-wing removal, the circumferential body lift, breast reduction and lift, butt lift, and thighplasty.  Oh and throw in a little lipo where ever it’s needed, okay?”

It is now midnight.  I will head back to bed and try again.  And if any of you readers out there want to send some good thoughts and a few prayers my way for a successful tomorrow, they will gladly be accepted!