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Monday, April 18, 2011

One Week Today

Clearly, this blog has shifted focus. I have had surgery. But in other
ways I am still seeking and using solutions to arthritis challenges that
I can do myself.

I am currently at a transitional care center. The Information Tech
people at the center have decided that presents some sort of
security threat to their operation so it is blocked here. I cannot get
to it to post updates. Facebook is also blocked. Therefore I am now
updating by email. I will begin with the day of surgery.

April 11: day of surgery. I arrived at 5:30 am with my friend Maryann,
who is stoking the home fires for me while I am away. We met Helen, also
there for knee surgery, with her daughter Jamie. We got to chatting and
hoped to keep in touch after surgery.

I was brought to a pre-op area, where blood was taken and an IV tube
inserted. It wasn't too long before I was saying goodby to Maryann and
heading off to the operating room. Interestingly, I had a spinal block
for the area from my waist down, numbing it completely, and a sedative
("twilight sleep", they said) above. So I was capable of being awake, to
some extent, during surgery. I had hardly slept at all the night before
so I conked out. I woke up as the finishing touches were being made to
my leg. I could feel and hear the brace being attached to my leg with
velcro, although at the time I did not know what it was.

I woke as if from a good sleep. I felt rested. I was wheeled to some
sort of recovery area for about an hour, then taken to my room, where I
found Helen, to my delight.

That afternoon the physical therapy person brought me a walker and
helped me stand up. I felt pain but I was able to manage it. I did some
side steps, using the walker, that day, no more. The physical therapist
also helped me with several exercises to do in bed, involving a pulley
and sometimes a plastic bag. I was feeling good and capable. By that
night I was managing to get to the bathroom (a few short steps from my
bed) on my own, with a walker. It was not a pleasant experience,
however. The bathroom was not equipped or sized for people with
disabilities. The toilet was low and the space very tiny. I had quite a
challenge getting up from the seat. However, I felt like I was doing
well and so did the staff. Helen was having a much harder time because
the medications they gave her were not effective. It was not until the
evening that they finally gave her percocet, which is what I was on, and
that worked. I went to bed feeling like wonderwoman. I could do this.

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