Pre-surgery Preparation

I remember the days leading up to my surgery day. I was nervous about having a stranger cut open my body, root around in my foot and put metal screws in my bones. Not something that was ever on the ‘Things I’d Like to Experience’ list. Although, neither was the Lisfranc injury. I was grateful I was diagnosed correctly and the prognosis after surgery was good. (Still am grateful for that!) I focused on what I had control over and that was preparing for the surgery and my aftercare. What did that involve, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

My sister agreed to come down and stay with me for the weekend. Surgery was scheduled for Friday, July 5th. I had no idea how I was going to react to the anesthesia or the surgery as I’d never had surgery before, barring getting my wisdom teeth removed. I remember feeling really wonky after my wisdom teeth came out. I could barely walk to the car and that concerned me. I had to go up two flights of stairs after this surgery to get to my bedroom. I figured if I could only manage one set, I could always hang out on the couch. I told my sister that I wasn’t staying in the basement so if it took me all night to get up the stairs, that was what was going to happen.

The view from the bottom of the stairs. It's a climb!

The view from the bottom of the stairs. It’s a climb!

Before the surgery, my friends set up a “Meal Train” for me. This is a website that someone organizes to invite people to sign up to bring you meals. This is a good idea if you live alone or if you need extra help. I would not be able to cook so this was a great solution. I was a little concerned since I am only one person that I might have too much food but the visits were spaced out far enough that I had variety and not too much food. It was set up to begin after my sister went home. I think having the company was the best part of the meal train. It was really nice to see people and visit.

Another item I would highly recommend is a key lock box. I purchased this to put outside my house for (expected) guests to use. This way, I wouldn’t have to crawl downstairs every time someone came over or left. This was probably the best idea we had. Friends are still using it and it’s incredibly convenient.

Very easy to use. It would also come in handy if I ever lock myself out!

Very easy to use. It would also come in handy if I ever lock myself out!

The morning of the surgery, I went with my sister go to the grocery store. I had her buy kefir, yogurt and jello. Kefir because I knew I would need protein but I didn’t know if I was going to want to eat real food. I figured that would be good if I didn’t want to chew food. I wasn’t sure if the anesthesia would make me nauseous so I figured jello would be a good thing to have around although the sugar and chemical content is high. Two things I normally try to stay away from. The upside is, gelatin is good for building connective tissue. Yes, bone broth would be a better choice but I did not have any at the time.

After the grocery store, I waited. I was scheduled to go in at 2PM. My surgeon had two other Lisfranc surgeries before mine. I figured third time is a charm and I was in a lucky spot. At about 11:30 I received a phone call and they asked if I could come in at noon. I said sure and we got in the car and went to go get my foot chopped open my foot expertly repaired.

My sister stayed with me until they took me back to surgery. It was a grand time, I tell you! I changed into my beautiful gown and one blue, slip-proof sock. I felt just like Cinderella crutching home from the ball! They situated me in the bed, stuck all the electrodes on me and hooked me up to the monitoring device. I was right in front of the computerized pill dispenser and we were amusing ourselves watching the nurses punch in codes for drugs. The chaplain came by and took care of my Advance Directive, we signed it and had a witness sign it so they knew what to do in case things went very wrong. Earlier in the day, I consulted the Magic 8 Ball app on my phone and asked it if I was going to die in surgery. It said, “You may rely on it.” I have since taken to asking it first if it’s going to tell me the truth before I ask it a question. I think maybe this will help its accuracy.

Oh, fickle Magic 8 Ball...how can I trust you again?

Oh, fickle Magic 8 Ball…how can I trust you again?

So, my sister and I are chatting and watching people being wheeled into surgery when all of the sudden, we hear this moaning and then Owwwwwww! The recovery room is on the other side of the open floor plan and I guess that someone was waking from their anesthesia. The moans got louder and the Owwwws continued. I looked over at my sister and said, “Well this is not really putting me at ease.” We chuckled and I looked at my heart rate on the monitor and consciously tried to reduce it by breathing and relaxing. I would succeed and then I would hear another Owwww! and it would go back up. It became pretty ridiculous and we started laughing and snickering every time we heard the poor soul moan. There was nothing we could do about it so the laughter helped break the tension. I tried not to think about what kind of pain I would be in when I woke up.

The nurse came over and told me it was time to put the catheter in my hand. She wiped it clean and stuck me in my left hand with a local to numb it to prepare for the catheter. It was rather painful as she inserted the needle. Unfortunately, my veins were not cooperating and she had to take the catheter out and try in my right hand. I figured I better concentrate on making my veins nice and big for her so she could put the catheter in my right hand. The left hand was already bruising. After the same scenario with the left hand—cleansing, the local, slapping of my hand, pain and me hoping it was going to work, there was success! She told me that she was going to give me something now to help relax me as next up the anesthesiologists would visit me for my nerve block.

This was also a new experience. I asked them if it was going to hurt. They said, “It shouldn’t.” I hoped it would be better than the catheter experience. They told me about the procedure and how they would be using ultrasound to see the nerves. They pricked me in three different nerves in my leg and it was not too uncomfortable. The drugs were kicking in and I was getting a little bit chattier. Things are a little fuzzy at this point. The nurse came and gave me some more magic injections and told me they would be coming for me soon. I remember being wheeled back and the OR being incredibly cold. They transferred me to the table and began strapping me down. I remember feeling cold and anxious and hoping that it would all be over soon. That’s the last thing I remember before the surgery…

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6 thoughts on “Pre-surgery Preparation

  1. Oh Jenny, what an experience. I have been thinking of you and others going through this. It makes me walk, run, jump etc… a little more carefully. The blog is a great idea, very interesting. I wish we were closer, I would love to be of help to you. You are so lucky to have the support you do!!!

    • Thanks, Charmaine. It really means a great deal that you are reading the blog. I very much appreciate it. Please DO run, jump, walk, and generally have fun with your mobility and cherish it everyday! It is such a wonderful thing to have that so many take for granted. I love to read your comments and know that I have your support!

  2. Pingback: Post Surgery Happenings | Supine Musings…Tales from the Couch

  3. I’ll be honest.. with my surgery scheduled for 24hrs from now… this made me anxious. Never had major surgery, only donate blood, but don’t really like the needles… i’m holding my jaw clenched to read it. But it is helpful to have an idea of process ahead of time.

  4. I’m sorry my post has made you anxious. I came out great and you will too, Matt! This injury is very individual to the person so you will probably have a slightly different experience. Are you also having an ORIF? Just remember to take your pain medication as prescribed as most likely you will need it. Also, keep your foot elevated above your heart if you can. That will help with swelling and pain. Swelling=pain. Do let me know how things go.

  5. not a worry–your post didn’t make me anxious, I got anxious from reading it. Big difference. I’ll be wearing my ancient and slowly disintegration ‘truth transcends fear’ Tibetan Buddhism shirt tomorrow, can’t say I live that ethos but I like to let it inspire me.

    I am having ORIF. non-weight bearing my joint has normal alignment so that gives generally ‘better’ outcome but again as you know there are no promises with this injury. Using a tight-rope device. 2mm drilled hole from medial cuneiform to 2nd meta, then a rivet installed on either end, and special suture wire going through them both and tied tightly. Will not come out, stays in foot—Screw is tried and true and used for more severe [grade II sprain for me, doc said could do 6weeks cast but recommended surgery due to athletic pursuits], this wire is supposed to allow faster recovery due to smaller holes and no second surgery, but only has been in use maybe 10 years? so just not enough hard data to say it is superior (1 study I found said maybe it is not, other said no diff) or anything. Doc says this is what he is treating athletes with for the last few years if injury allows. In time (6months/1-2years?) it may or does slacken in tightness so it is not like a bionic ligament once I am weight bearing, though that sounds nice—I do not foresee myself smashing treefall for firewood at camp by jumping on it with this foot in the future….hehe

    Anyways thanks again, for the last two months (suspected this injury shortly after I couldn’t walk normal and ‘midfoot sprain’ into google gave me plenty of Lisfranc talk) I’ve been sleuthing the web like a mad man planning the worlds best backpacking or climbing trip but instead the focus has been on Lisfranc–forums, medical journals, blogs, rinse, repeat…hope you don’t mind I’ve come to latch to your blog, your words and stream of mind just resonate well with me!

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