OK, folks, I may not be back in the office full time, but I’m back.
And I’m hip — as in surgically repaired hip.
My wife filled you in on the details last week on how things have gone. I will go into a little more, especially for those of you who are facing or may one day face a similar experience.
Was I nervous? Heck yeah! I’d never had major surgery before. Being overweight meant higher potential for complications.
On May 11, I went in for Extreme Makeover, Hip Edition.
Very interesting stuff.
I met a male nurse, Magic Mike, who is from Lindsay, where my wife and I spent 13 years after college. Good guy. He was tasked with getting all my info pre-surgery, but actually followed up by checking in on me at the end of his shift, and he even showed up in my room the next day to say hi and see how I was doing. That’s going way above and beyond.
He certainly wasn’t the only hospital staffer to go above and beyond. There were plenty.
In the operating room, I knew everything was going to be all right when I was wheeled in and Green Day was playing through the sound system. Rock ‘n’ roll surgery trumps country or hip hop (don’t even start with the puns) any day of the week for me!
The anaesthetist had no problem putting in the epidural. She said it would burn as she put in the freezing, but it was more of a discomfort than any pain.
I was out like a light in no time.
The only problem — and it was more of an interesting situation than a problem — was that the light turned back on during the operation.
With an epidural, you don’t need as heavy a dose of anaesthesia, as you can’t feel anything below the waist, so the pain won’t wake you up during surgery. Post-op recovery is much quicker. For me, it was so quick that it began while still on the operating table.
So I came out of a dream, saw a blurry black plastic knob on some kind of metal device in front of me. I couldn’t focus my eyes, so I just went back to sleep.
But I woke up again, saw someone’s thumb in front of my face, realized it was mine, and wiggled my thumb and fingers, marvelling at the sight. At that time, I could feel some pulling and prodding, but that was it. The anaesthetist calmly advised me the surgery was almost over, and then I recall hearing a staple gun in action. Yes, they used staples to close up my incision.
But, again, I didn’t feel any pain. Or discomfort. I was curious more than anything.
They whisked me into the recovery room and when I could wiggle my toes, I was up and in my room.
I spent the next three days in hospital, heading home Thursday.
Only a few people visited me in hospital, one of them being the one and only Janine. Great lady, with whom I can talk music for hours. But she was making a work call, as someone apparently had her come in to give me a manicure and a facial. The cucumbers on my eyes felt great, by the way.
One thing I took home from the hospital, aside from three gift baskets – thanks again, folks – was a case of hives. I eventually learned I am allergic to something, likely oxy. They gave me Percocet as my primary painkiller, but I broke out in hives, and even my eyes became puffy. So, less than a week after surgery, my primary painkillers became Extra Strength Tylenol, and my blood thinner was nothing more than 325 mg of Aspirin.
Yep, over-the-counter meds for me.
The pain has so far not been too bad. When I’m at rest, there is rarely any pain, only periodic discomfort.
Physio has been progressing nicely. The third day after surgery, they tried me on stairs at the hospital before sending me home. Up with the good leg. Down with the bad.
It hurt and it was difficult. I put a lot of weight on my surgically repaired hip and the muscles and bone were telling me they weren’t happy.
But within a week at home, I’ve been up and down the stairs to the outdoors on numerous occasions, going to see Dr. Stone or getting my staples pulled by Nurse Heather, or even just to go sit in the backyard. And barbecue.
Yes, Mary did do the majority of the first barbecue effort on the Big Green Egg, but after that, I took over.
Speaking of my wife, she’s been a saint. I’d have killed me if I were in her shoes. I wasn’t even able to bring a glass of water back into the living room, so I was constantly asking her for stuff.
A week ago, I did the dishes on my own. I can make a sandwich and am able to bring it back into the living room without dropping it or mashing the crap out of it as I cling to my walker.
I’m moving much better as well.
It may seem like baby steps in the big picture, but I’m aware of every little improvement. Former municipal staffer Gerry Wolting, who has had his hip done, advised me if I stuck to the physiotherapy, I’d feel much better in no time. Very sage advice, even if my daughter giggles every time I do those squat thrusts that see me stick my butt out and drop maybe three inches.
That’s a big deal for me, and a big laugh for her. It works on multiple levels.
I must say, my getting around and coping has been made a lot easier with the help of others. I have to thank Tammy, Cindy and Andrea for hooking me up with some vital items.
One of these was a lift chair. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to safely get my big butt out of a chair without bending my hip too far. In actuality, I used the lift only a handful of times, and only when I first got home. I can pop out of the chair with ease now. But I still live in the chair (heck, it has a massage option!). I spend at least half the night sleeping in it as well.