5 Days Out: The Pre-Op Phase

It’s hard to believe that I’m a mere 5-days away from going under the knife. As I mentioned in my last post, I am still apprehensive and nervous, yet also eagerly awaiting it. This has been a 17-month mystery that should finally get solved next week.

As anyone who has been through surgery knows, it takes a lot of preparation. I’ve talked with a number of nurses and physician’s assistants, received detailed instructions, filled out some forms, and asked a lot of questions. Most of the details have been mundane, like where to park and enter the hospital. Others have been more interesting, like trying to figure out what pants to wear to surgery, since they will have to be big enough to accommodate wound dressing on the way out. We’ve settled on loosely fitting sweat shorts.

I’ve received a lot of invaluable advice from friends. The best has come from a co-worker, Beth, who also happens to be a cancer survivor. She’s navigated the medical system more than anyone I know, and has been forthcoming with her advice. My condition pales in comparison to what she’s been through, but the advice has helped immensely. In our medical system, the type of care you get depends on how prepared you are as a patient. She has helped me ask the right questions, and to get mentally prepared for what’s to come.

Oddly enough, over the last week, the hip has felt better than it has in months. It still cracks and pops on rare occasion, but the constant burning has not been there. It has calmed down enough to make me question surgery. Then, when I think about what would happen if I tried riding, running or even walking extensively, I would be back to square one, back to the painful immobility that has plagued me these last 5-months.

During the last five days, I have to stop taking my anti-inflammatory medicine. That begins today and I can already tell that the injury is still there, and it might become more painful in the upcoming days leading up to surgery. Medicine can mask a lot of things.

In my last post, I said I was going to have a steak dinner the evening before surgery. Many people, including the nurses, warned me to change plans. Instead I am going on a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. Apparently this will help my body with recovery. I can eat a little more the night before since there will be a 12-hour period with no eating whatsoever, but it has to be healthy and digestible. We’ve settled on one of our favorite local Mediterranean spots.

Recovery is a mystery because it depends on what they repair. We know there will be a long period of no weight bearing, possibly around six weeks, hopefully not longer. There should be a good bit of physical therapy, but that has yet to be scheduled. I’ll be traveling to Los Angeles the third week of recovery, which will be an ordeal, but it’s for something I cannot miss. Too bad I cannot bring my bike.

This will probably be my last post on this side of surgery. When I come out of surgery, I’ll be in a lot of pain and heavily medicated, plus I may not know anything until the follow-up appointment.

Thanks for all the encouraging and supportive comments and emails. They have meant a lot.

22 responses to “5 Days Out: The Pre-Op Phase

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