Saturday, June 9, 2012
One Week Post Surgery
It's been a while since I wrote about my experience, and I considered deactivating the blog because I wasn't sure if I was going to keep up with tracking my recovery. But I figured I would post a few updates on how surgery went and the week after surgery.
I went into surgery on Thursday May 31. It was a very straight forward procedure, and my husband was there with me. The surgery was in an outpatient surgical center. All of the staff was very helpful for the most part, and I think my most traumatic experience of the day was when one of the nurses was attempting to release the brake on my wheelchair and instead released/dropped the leg rest that my broken ankle and 20 pound full leg cast were resting on!!! My leg/cast went crashing down onto the hard hospital floor, and I yelled a FOUR LETTER WORD at the top of my lungs. Several other nurses came rushing into my pre-op room to help, and I am pretty sure I was in shock.
The nurse felt so bad and was so apologetic, I know it was a mistake, and I was really just ready to get some sleepy meds at that point. From there I was wheeled into the area for my anesthesia, and also so the nurses could remove my full leg cast. I don't really remember them removing my cast, because I was falling asleep when they started and completely asleep when they finished. I had local anesthesia from the knee down and was put to sleep through an IV, so I wasn't completely under - I really like this option because I was not groggy when I woke up and didn't have the risk of being completely sedated.
When I woke up, my leg was still numb, and I wasn't experiencing any pain or grogginess. The bottom part of my leg was in a split cast with ace bandage and padding around it. My husband and I headed home and I started taking my pain meds immediately. My surgeon and nurses suggested I do this, so that I was always ahead of the pain. This worked until about midnight that night, when the local anesthesia on my leg wore off.
Thursday night and all day Friday were bad. Really bad. I experienced a pain that I really can only describe as someone taking a knife and dragging in around your ankles, non stop. The pain in my ankle resonated all the way up my leg. It was excruciating. I knew it would be bad, but really wasn't prepared for this. Friday we called into my doctor's office and got a stronger pain medicine prescription.
This new medicine helped me so much to get through the weekend - but with any pain medicine, you also typically have side effects. I had a raspy voice, and was pretty dizzy and nauseous most of the weekend - but I wasn't in too much pain. I also had really itchy skin. I started to only take a half tablet of the medicine along with a benadryl and that seemed to work really well.
Things were ok (considering) through Wednesday night like this. I did experience some random pain and also this strange feeling when I was asleep or falling asleep - almost like a shock of some sort from leg that caused me to jump (imagine when you are dreaming you are falling and you jump to wake yourself up) - this would happen randomly. I read this may have something to do with the nerves that were damaged/shifted during surgery, but I am not certain.
Wednesday night, the bottom part of my leg went completely numb. I couldn't feel anything. I was able to move my toes but everything else was numb. I am sure it was a bit of me being so over this whole ordeal and worrying excessively, but I was so worried this might mean something bad. So I called the nurse on Thursday and she said it may be because my ace bandages were too tight OR because I wasn't elevating my high enough.
I slept with four pillows under my leg, instead of three. It helped a little - but the real relief came on Friday at my post op appointment when the splint/cast was removed - it felt so good to let my leg breathe for those few minutes for xrays!! The doctor also removed some stitches (I didn't realize how painful this would be), and had me begin to move my ankle front/back and in circles- that was pretty weird since I have not moved my ankle since the fall in Belize.
Now, I have a short cast (under my knee and down to my toes) for the next three weeks. Everything seems to be healing properly, and hopefully I'll get a boot in 3 weeks and start physical therapy. I am able to put minimal pressure on my foot - only to maybe touch my foot to the ground while I brush my teeth or something, no more than that. I haven't taken any pain medicine the past two days, and I think I am done with them. There is still some pain, but nothing compared to what it was.
This is such a long process and not fun at all, but I am trying to make the most of it, and so appreciative of my friends and family who have offered to help us out a bit right now - we need it! I have learned a few things and purchased some items I would highly recommend if anyone else goes through this - I will share those on my next post.