The last time I was in the hospital overnight was when I gave birth to Cassie 25 years ago. In my room, I fed her, cleaned her up and took care of her. Wednesday night after surgery, Cassie stayed in my room and fed me, cleaned me up, and took care of me.
I think I have this surrendering thing down.
While there were a few rough spots in the hospital, mostly I was cared for by people who did their jobs as though I was a relative. Anesthesiologist Dr. “Mario” Montoya (“Just think of the video game,” he said) really tried to get my legs numb with a spinal block, but when they wouldn’t go to sleep fast enough he took my hand and looked me in the eyes, and explained he had to use general anesthesia. Even though my doctor was yelling, “Get her to sleep!” he made sure I understood what was happening. He even checked up on me three times in recovery.
Amanda the Amazing Nurse listened to me when I said I knew I had a higher fever than the 99 degrees the machine said I had. I knew because my eyes were watering (not from tears) and I had that overall “ugh” feeling, the one that tells me my temp is over 101. She retook it with a different thermometer and low and behold, it was 101.5! She gave me two Tylenol, two oxycodone, an Atavan and tucked me in for the night. I woke up the next morning cool and feeling good. When she came into my room to help me to the bathroom, I serenaded her with my rendition of “Dr. Feelgood.” I was afraid she’d drop my nerve block and hemo boxes from laughing so hard.
Coni the PCT held my hand as I bawled through the most intense pain of my life, worse than two rounds of 13 hours of natural labor. She distracted me with questions which led to a conversation about weight loss and how she recently lost 20 pounds, became a vegetarian, and is in the best shape of her life. And she’s close to my age!
Now I’m home and under the care of daughter Carlene and husband Larry. Carlene made me a fabulous veggie sauté and bean burger last night, which I could only eat ¼ of (the old appetite isn’t as back as I thought) and helped me take a shower with my legs sticking over the sides. An hour after she went to sleep, I needed another ice pack so I called her and she made no fuss about bringing me one.
Larry’s hyper vigilant about keeping the dogs away from me and didn’t mind a phone call at 3:30 when I needed another ice pack and some more drugs. Cassie, Carlene and Larry want me get better, just as I would if they were where I am. Old Lynn wouldn’t have felt worthy of that kind of love. I do now.
Remember how I was worried I’d wake up with an artificial knee instead of just a debridement and the bone growths removed? I found out why I woke up with my original parts. On rounds the day after surgery, my doctor told me my knee is shot. There is nothing else anyone can do to save it. However, he didn’t put a new knee in during surgery because he said, and I quote, “You had my full attention when I opened up your knee and saw what you were working with. You’re in such good shape that I thought if you can be as strong as you are given the condition of the knee as it was, you’ll do just fine for another five years or more with it cleaned out.”
But, he cautioned, the next surgery will be total knee replacement. I’m OK with that. He hoped to buy me a few years because I’m still pretty young for TKR and he has, so far as I can tell, done that.
BFF Chris (CrispyRice from the Weight Watchers 100+ discussion board – my lifeline as I was losing weight) – came to visit me in the hospital.
I came home to a dozen gerbera daisies from BFF Heather in Chicago. Shelley sent me this awesome magnet:
And the supportive posts and emails from my friends – both online and in “real” life – have helped make this recovery more than I ever expected. Thank you so very much for your kind thoughts, prayers, and concern.
Now it’s time to strap up and head to the bathroom. Never thought I’d be so happy to do that alone again.
(By the way, I took photos of the incision, but I thought I’d spare you. Looks like I’ll have matching knees again! LOL)