New Hip, Old Body: Let’s Do This.

Feels funny starting this now….Twenty-three days after surgery; less than one week after coming home and starting my real road to recovery. But I’ve been a tad busy with insurance issues, scheduling doctor’s follow-ups, physical therapy sessions and home nurse visits. Oh….and I actually did a load of laundry. Took me the whole blasted day, but I got it done. So I procrastinated a bit on the blog entry. I figure I earned it.

Now I’m going to test my somewhat compromised memory to catch you up on Judith’s wild, wonderful and drug fueled ride with New Hip, Old Body.

October 5 – Surgery Day

I got up at 3:30am on the day of surgery to get to the hospital at ass-crack of dawn- 5 am appointment given to me by the doctor’s office. My son was bright eyed and ready to go when he arrived to get me. I suspect he just stayed up the night playing internet based, multi-player games. I think they are called MMOs…but don’t quote me.

In his car we loaded a medium sized canvas bag with what I thought would be needed for the immediate hospital stay before being transferred to Rehab, a LARGE wheeled duffle bag to house my prosthesis while I was in surgery and they were not on my body, a larger bag filled with Capri pants and tees for the PT sessions, gowns and such…all with my name sewn into them. The wheeled bag was filled with padding to protect the prosthesis from damage. Honestly. I looked like I had packed for summer camp.

Could I back up a minute and comment on the necessities in that medium canvas bag? Underwear, ace bandages to wrap my legs in hope of keeping swelling to a minimum during the time I wasn’t walking, toiletries because nobody likes the alternative ones they hospital provides, a battery operated toothbrush, comb and , of course, makeup. Why did I add makeup, you ask? Because when you’re writhing in pain, all women want to still look good for all those young interns, Am I right??? Damn straight!

(REALITY DISCLOSURE: Never touched the stupid makeup the whole time!)

We arrived at the hospital and only waited a short time before they called me back to the intake area. A nice lady gave my son a pager and told him where he would wait while I was being filleted and put back together. A twinge of apprehension came when she told him the surgeon had scheduled the OR for 5 hours. The surgeon had told me the surgery was on about only 1.5 hours. 5 hours? Oh, boy!

Unlike in other pre-op areas I’ve had the “pleasure” of being in, Brad was not allowed back with me. Problem #1, I had the prosthesis on….he had the bag they had to go in but he wasn’t allowed back with me when I took them off. I damn well wasn’t going to play “transformer lady” in the waiting area and take them off before going to the pre-op area for two reasons. There would be no way to get on the gurney without them on and the second reason …Oh, hell no! After a few unsure moments by the nice lady, it was determined by the nurses in the pre-op that when I was on a gurney, the bag would come to me in pre-op and I would pack them in it. A nurse would take custody and roll it out to the waiting area and presented to my son for leg-babysitting. Problem solved. (I so love to make problems)

The pre-op process after that was normal with redundant yet necessary questions by anyone within arm’s length of me. I was issued a lovely paper shower cap (does anyone’s hair really ever get in the way to warrant that stupid cap?) and the hospital couture gown- snapped and tied tightly (Do they honestly think I haven’t figured out by now that the gown is the first thing taken off the unconscious patient when on the OR table?   This is not my first rodeo!)

I was prepped and poked and stuck. Answered more questions- like they were trying to catch me in a bait and switch on my answers the first time. Actually, sometimes to do throw in a different answer… just to keep them on their toes. Just my little bit of fun before they carve me up. Then the surgeon came in, exchanged some small talk.

”How you feeling?” (Shitty, scared)

“Ready to do this?”, (Yup. Gimme drugs before I change my mind!).

He signed my left hip …honestly, he could have played tick tack, toe…I couldn’t really see but the nurse witnessed whatever he wrote on me with the permanent marker, noted it on my chart and then my favorite person showed up. The Man with THE JOY JUICE!…. I mean…. the anesthesiologist came in to give me “something to relax me”.

WooHoo. Showtime!

The gurney began to move and I was whizzed down the short hall to the OR theater. Everyone in an OR is always so pleasant. Smiling. Asking if I’m cold. Telling me not to worry, they will take care of me. It’s almost like meeting strangers at a cocktail party…..only I’m the ONLY one drunk.

I was moved to the table. Usually, I’ve had to count backwards from 100, never getting further than 96 or so, as the heavy stuff is pushed through the IV. The drug pusher was sneaky this time. No counting, no nothing. I think I was out before my butt hit the table. After that, I really don’t like to think of what happened. I read information on the procedure and quite frankly, it still creeps me out. I’m sure it was a challenge for them since I had less than the amount of legs they were used to working with.

The surgery lasted 3 and a half hours.

I don’t remember being in recovery, I don’t remember being taken to my room. For the entire first three days, I was drugged out of my frigging mind, so much so that I can’t put together more than a few unrelated vignettes of what was going on during that time.

I remember getting a lovely bouquet of flowers and a cute stuffed teddy bear from my friends in my writing group. I remember attempting to text my sister and my son at different times. The results were so mixed up …and thought to be hilarious by my dear son…that he shared them with friends on facebook. I WILL get him back. Someday. Somehow!

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, I was taken by ambulance to the rehab facility. I do remember that ride. I hate riding in those things. Being drugged and backwards, you lose any frame of reference. BUT the EMT was a cutie so I didn’t mind too much!

Well. That catches you up to the Surgery-Rehab transition part. actually, pretty uneventful…or so I’ve been told.  Except for those damn texts!

I will add more soon. Good news is. I’m doing well and have NO pain. So far, so good. But there were some bumps along the way.  You’ll see.

Categories: bilateral BK amputees, Hip replacement, life

1 reply

  1. Hey JK
    Oh how good it is to see a post from you arrive in my inbox!

    Double-plus-good to read your words and thereby know that you are feeling up to writing.

    Fascinating to be able to follow you on this grand adventure.

    Sending a huge hug and a ALL the healing-well vibes I can muster.

    Go easy, Sister ~p

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