The First 48 …

I was the last one on the operating table on Friday. I’m still not sure whether they were backed up from the snow, or that other, more serious surgeries were prioritized ahead of mine. Either way, it was not too much of a concern. The pre-operating room was comfortable and the staff was courteous.

My surgery officially started at 4:06pm. It was around 6:30 when I regained consciousness and tried to figure out where I was. After stopping by the drug store and a sandwich shop, we finally made it home at around 8:30pm.

The only thing that initially bothered me was a dry, sore throat. It was so bad that I practically had to swallow bites of food, pill style. That lasted into the morning, and started to feel somewhat better by the afternoon.

Many people warned me about nausea. I did have one episode, which was after I had been home about an hour, and was probably from the anesthetics they gave me during surgery. Ever since, I have not felt any nausea whatsoever.

This ice machine has been my ball and chain.

This ice machine has been my ball and chain.

Many people have told me that the day after surgery is unquestionably the worst for pain. My pain management was simple – Percocet and ice. We would fill the machine in the picture above with ice, and it would flow to my hip brace through a tube. The ice is going almost non-stop, but I have to detach myself anytime I get up. It feels amazing, especially when the machine has been filled with fresh ice.

This was my first experience with Percocet. It’s quite the drug. I’ve been told by many people to keep on top of my pain meds, and don’t wait for it to start hurting before taking them. I’ve followed that advice to the letter. I even wake myself up in the middle of the night so that a dose is not missed. As a result, I’ve been almost completely pain free. That was a shocker. I expected it to be at least as painful as when I had the injury. Nope. Not even close, and that is a blessing.

Of course Percocet is a powerful narcotic. I seem to react to it differently. Sometimes I will feel ‘high’ and act giddy. There was one time that I happened to watch a Jon Stewart video shortly after taking the drug, and found it to be one of the funniest things ever. I was cackling with laughter.

Most often when I take the Percocet, I get drowsy. It doesn’t necessarily put me into a deep sleep. Instead it nods me off for short catnaps. I have the strangest dreams during these naps. Most of the time I’m watching movies during my downtime. If the Percocet nap interrupts my movie, I’ll dream the rest of the movie, which of course is nonsense. After about four hours, I’ll regain lucidity and I can function better, like I am right now as I write this post.

The downside to all this is the side effects and limitations. The Percocet makes me extremely itchy, and I cannot take a full shower. Yesterday I had to improvise a semi-shower, semi-sponge bath without getting my wound wet. It wasn’t enough to get me completely clean, but it was a nice relief. Most of the itchiness is around the bandages, so it is likely not only caused by the drug.

The good news is that the bandages and brace will be coming off tonight. I’ll be able to shower regularly as long as I have a waterproof bandage over the scar, and I will only use the ice machine for two hours each day. That will be a relief.

As the week goes by, I’ll probably start tapering down on the Percocet until I am pain free without it. Hopefully that will be next week.

Walking on crutches has been a challenge, but I’ve adjusted and can now get around pretty well. The tough part is carrying anything since my hands are occupied using the crutches. Sometimes I have to get creative and place things in my clothing. I’ve since learned how to use my armpit to navigate one of the crutches. It leaves one hand free, but I go so much slower. That’s fine with me. I’m not in a hurry to get anywhere. This morning I was able to make a cup of coffee and carry it over to the coffee table. It may not sound like much, but it makes a big difference to me.

Last but definitely not least has been my wife. She has been a trooper, getting me things and taking care of me. I have my stubborn side and sometimes will do my own thing rather than impose on others. She simply won’t hear it. If I get up, she’ll ask me why. Sometimes she’ll command me to stay seated, and that’s a good thing. She’s right that I need to be resting as much as possible.

So after the first 48 hours, things have gone splendidly. I’m sure there will be obstacles at times, like physical therapy, which is going to hurt, but that’ll be my ticket back to independence.


6 responses to “The First 48 …

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