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Friday, January 31, 2014

ankle hardware removal surgery: part 2

Continued from part 1

Waking Up: As if no time had passed, I was waking up in the wake-up room. My throat didn't feel sore at all like last time and I remember asking the nurse if they used the throat tube to help me breathe again. I have no idea how she responded. I also remember telling her that, if she has anything to say about it, I'd really prefer Hydrocodone to Oxycodone - it made me way less sick last time. I don't remember her response to that either. She asked me what my pain level was, I said 4-5. She pumped some drugs into my veins and then it was like a 2-3.

Recovery: Eventually the nurse wheeled me into my recovery room. My dad said he met up with us for the ride, which I don't remember. He asked me how I was feeling and I said: "I feel well," and smiled. And I did! The procedure itself was like 10-15 mins. I was under anesthesia way less time than the first one, and I could definitely feel the difference. I was groggy, but not INCAPACITATED like I was before. I was really cold so they gave me lots of blankets. I also had a feeling in my tummy that either felt really hungry or like I was gonna puke. J bought me a gluten-free muffin from the cafe so I ate that. Then a new nurse found me some gluten-free bread and toasted it. I immediately felt better. My lips were really chapped but, unlike last time, I brought a recovery kit which included chapstick, a huge waterbottle, and arnica (a homeopathic remedy).

The Wound: I didn't get regular stitches as they had planned (which I would have had to keep in for 2 weeks) - they gave me some self-absorbing/dissolving stitches. Then they wrapped it up with some gauze and an ace bandage. 

There you can see some writing on my leg so they knew which one to cut into - better safe than PISS ME THE FUCK OFF. My toes were cold so we made a toe-hat out of my sock, because it wouldn't fit over the bandage.

Peeing: Eventually I had to pee. It was the same kind of crampy feeling as last time - I think that happens when your bladder tries to wake up from the anesthesia. They brought the potty to me like last time, except the one last time was basically a stool. This one was a chair...nay a throne...it had to be documented for you guys :)

Like last time, I couldn't get it all out - and I would continue to pee in incremental stages the rest of the day. 

Home: I went home around 1p - just a few short hours after the surgery. They wheeled me out, I used crutches to get back into the house, plopped into bed to elevate and ice. My mom met us at home because I knew she'd cry if she saw me in a hospital. She then made me some sliced cucumbers with salt (a favorite after last surgery). 

Walking: Right now I'm walking with 2 crutches, but already bearing a little weight. My ankle is sore, but not terrible...like a headache in your foot - kinda tight, kinda sharp, just achy. I'll probably make some walking videos like last time so you can see the progress. 

Drugs: I'm taking Norco, which is a combo of Hydrocodone & Acetaminophen (Tylenol). I don't feel too terrible - the dosage is 1-2 every 4 hours and I've beens ticking with 1.  I took it a few times throughout the night, along with rice cakes to avoid nausea. 

Sleep: I slept with my leg elevated last night, but everything is so much less sore than last time, and now I'm a professional broken ankle position sleeper, so it came a lot easier this time around. Like I mentioned in part 1, I didn't sleep much last night - it felt like the night before school starting. Thankfully I found Jared Leto's instagram page which kept me more than entertained. 

Changing the Dressing: This morning I changed the dressing...here's how it all looked under there...

Not too swollen or bruised. A little bit of dried blood on the gauze but nothing oozy or smelly. I put new gauze on, wrapped it up again, and put my sock toe-hat on.

So that's that!!! I have a massage tomorrow and a follow up with Superhero Gellman on Wednesday morning. I'll certainly keep you updated. 

ankle hardware removal surgery: part 1

I don't even know how to start this post...

I'm really really happy. Last night I was up for like 4 hours, between 1-5am, just feeling happy that I'm finally at the beginning of the end of this thing. SO! HERE WE GO (This is kind of long, so I've broken it into part 1 & 2...even though both parts are long too. I figure if you care, you really care, if you don't, you'll move along):

The Night Before: My sweet papabear came up from Eugene (a town 2 hours away) the night before and we hung out, had veggie burgers, talked. As I do every night I took my vitamins. 5 minutes later I realized HOLY SHIT THE NURSE TOLD ME NOT TO TAKE MY VITAMINS THE NIGHT BEFORE SURGERY. Should I throw them up? Dad said no. We googled "which vitamins to avoid before surgery" - lo and behold, omega 3's were on there, and I took fish oil. "May cause excessive bleeding". Awesome. I called the hospital and spoke to receptionist who supposedly asked the night nurse about it and they gave me a bullshit answer that vitamins are fine as long as I didn't take ginkgo. I called my surgeon's on-call number and spoke to his assistant. She put my mind at ease. But I was still nervous. It made me have to poop, so I did - which is good considering after the first surgery I didn't poop for like a week. 

Game Day: My check in time was 7:45a, with a surgery time of about 9:45a (I was awake at like 6a). I pooped again in the morning - I think my body was preparing for the worst (bodies are SO SMART). My dad and J took me to the hospital, I checked in, put my gown on and got and in bed. Shortly after the nurse came and took my weight, vitals, and health history (shout out to J for being my photog). 

I told each nurse (there were 2) about vitamin incident - they both seemed to think it was fine. I also told some other random guy who brought me some paperwork to sign. 

God: Eventually the Chaplain came in - even though I told the nurse who called me a few days beforehand that it wasn't necessary - and I told them when I checked in. He asked me what kind of name "Mihal Freinquel" was, and when I told him it was Hebrew he became noticeably uncomfortable. 
"Oh...well...I've been to Israel...I know some people there," he tried to assure me...or something.
"Oh really?" I said. "Cool." 
"I wish somebody had told me you were Jewish, I have prayer cards especially for my Jewish patients." 
"Well, I'm actually non-practicing, so no worries," I said, trying to set the obviously squirmy man of God at ease. 
"Well you know," he went on, "most people in Israel are actually not religious...it's really just the Hassidic people who are." 

I feigned interest in the bullshit that just came out of his mouth. He eventually thanked me for letting him come talk to me, wished me well, and practically ran out of the room - far away from the awkward Jewish girl with no soul. 

The IV and Dr. Gellman: Right when the nurse began to put the IV in, myleastfavoritepartIhateneedlesohmygod, Dr. Gellman - my superhero surgeon - walked in. As promised, I checked with him one more time to make sure he didn't wanna take the plate in the back out. He said "I'm sure you're sure that you don't want me to." That shut me up. Ugh, I love him. Then he started going over how to change the dressings on the wound, how to take care of it, etc. It was sweet because he was clearly trying to distract me from the needle going into my arm, however, all I could think about was the needle so I heard nothing he said. Whatever. Thankfully my pops caught it. 

Anesthesia/The Operation: Gellman left and the anesthesiologist - who was probably 12 years old - came in. I told him about the vitamins. He said no big whoop. Then they rolled me to the OR. Dad and J kissed me on the forehead and I didn't cry this time. Last time I was unconscious by the time I got to the OR. This time I was a little loopy, but fully aware. I switched beds myself and breathed into that face mask you see on TV. Before I was put under, I asked the staff in there if they watched Grey's Anatomy. One guy said he'd seen 2 episodes. The gal said she prefers House. And the other guy said he likes Scrubs because it's the most realistic. They all said I'd have no recollection of that conversation when I woke up from surgery. FALSE. 

on to part 2...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

one week left...

Guys...this time next week my ankle will be virtually hardwareless. I say VIRTUALLY because 1 screw and 1 plate are still staying in (unless right before surgery Dr. Gellman suddenly changes his mind, which I plan to try and influence). Yes, I would like to have it all out, but my doc says that the plate in the back is a stabilizer, and since it's right up against the bone I shouldn't ever feel it. It sucks to have to keep it in, but I'm inclined to believe him because he's awesome.

Here's what my ankle looks like now:

Yeah my legs are a little hairy - it's winter and I have a boyfriend who will sex me regardless - what can I say. 

Anyway, if you'll recall, my ankle/scar didn't always look this awesome. It's been a really long road. And just when I'm starting to get strong in yoga again and not have to ice as obsessively...another set-back is on the (very close) horizon. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited. SO EXCITED. But I'm also a little scared and kinda like FUUUUCK THIIIIIS. Surgery scares me - I mean, I'd imagine it scares everybody - and I'll be less mobile again which sucks. Rehab sucks. It all sucks and I want it over with so badly. 

So that's that. I'll update you next week - stay tuned!