After very little sleep Wednesday night, Ellie drove me from Sedona to Phoenix where I caught a rather uneventful flight home to Orange County. My father-in-law picked me up and I tinkered around at home for an hour or so before going to the surgery. The procedure was to be done in the Orthopedic Surgery Center, which is just off PCH near Fashion Island in Newport- not a bad neighborhood. When my time came, I was called out of the waiting area and instructed to strip to my underwear and put on the oh-so-fashionable hospital gown. I then took my place on a rolling bed so they could take my vitals and stick some IVs in me.
For those who don’t know me, I have an irrational reaction to things touching me in areas where large veins can be found- my wrists, inside my elbows, inner thighs…you get the picture. It causes me to get cold, clammy, and deathly pale. My blood pressure drops too. When applying the rubber band tourniquet to my right arm before inserting the IV, I got clammy and pale and the nurse called another nurse over to “distract me”. Unless the distraction was going remove the feeling of a tight rubberband, mid-arm, stopping blood from flowing to my hand, it wasn’t going to work. However the nurse was quick and the IV was in the back of my hand & tourniquet removed before I did someting embarassing- like pass out.
Next came the blood pressure cuff. After 7 failed attempts to register a blood pressure, it came back extremely low. The nurse joked that despite the low reading, my talking proved I was still alive and apparently after talking with the doctor and anesthesiologist, I was alive enough for surgery. They started rolling me to the operating room a few minutes later and the anesthesiologist took a position behind me as we entered the room. I felt suddenly tired and asked the doctor if I was going to be “going black” soon. He said “No, just something to relax you.” I wondered what that was that about as I could feel my consciousness leaving me. The last thing I remember was moving from the rolling bed to the operating table and knowing that the “tired, fuzzy feeling” I felt meant that I was going to be unconscious in seconds.
I came to about 45 minutes after they rolled me out of the pre-op area. It was nice to be awake, but I felt like I was waking after a long, long nap and wanted another 20 minutes. They let me rest for about that long or longer before a nurse gave me a drink and helped me get dressed. It was a little wierd having someone put on my socks, put on my shirt and help me buckle my pants. But with a new cast and bandage on my hand, I wasn’t going to get myself ready in any reasonable amount of time. Dr. Ip told me that the ligament was torn and they were able to repair it. Good news! They then had me sign some discharge papers and rolled me out the side door in a wheelchair where my father-in-law was waiting at the curb in my truck.
After fasting 18 hours, I was hungry so we stopped for a burger on the way home. My mouth was so dry that I choked on the fries, despite drinking almost 32 oz. of lemonade. I couldn’t generate spit for almost 24 hours- what a wierd, uncomfortable feeling! I always took the saliva part of chewing and swallowing for granted- not anymore. I slept off and on for most of the next 14 hours with just a mild sting and decent throb in my hand before rushing back to the airport for the flight back to Phoenix.
At the time of this posting, it has now been 5 days since the surgery. The pain is completely gone and aside from a few Motrin Saturday and Sunday during our drives to Albuquerque and Denver, the recovery has been drug free. I am anxious to get the cast off and start some serious exercise again. Dining out with family and long hours in the car with snacks has made the pleats in my pants tight. 🙂