So here I am, back on the couch, foot elevated. And what better thing to do than to update my blog? I had surgery yesterday to take my hardware out. I arrived at 9:45AM, fifteen minutes before my 10AM appointment and checked in and had a seat in one of the comfortable club chairs in the lobby. I had brought a magazine and had my cell phone so figured I would amuse myself with those while I waited. A half an hour went by and nothing. I was freezing so my mom said I could use her coat. I curled up underneath it and read. After an hour, I went back up to reception and asked what was going on. They said they knew I was there, things must be taking longer than usual. I said, ok and sat back down.
I caught up on Facebook since I hadn’t been on it most of the week and read some of my magazine. By the second hour, I was starting to get a little impatient. I knew it was out of my control so just did my best to keep amused. At a little after noon, they took me back to the prep room. They told me to take everything off and put on the gown, socks and sheer cap that looked like a shower cap. I did as I was told and waited. The nurse came back in and said that they weren’t ready for me yet, they were waiting on a bed so I would have to wait here a while longer. She asked if there was anything that I needed. I lied and replied no. What I did need was a warm blanket because I had been freezing for the past three hours and a large glass of water and a nice juicy steak—and while we’re at it, how about a Chopin martini? Knowing none of that was possible, I just continued to wait: thirsty, hungry, naked (mostly) and alone. It was a good time for some meditation.
After about an hour they came and took me to the preop room. I had the same bed as my first surgery, the medication station right in front of me. They brought over two heated blankets and asked if I wanted them. I eagerly replied YES! I’ve been freezing all day. They went through my history and asked a bunch of questions. I assured them I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since 11PM the night before. The nurse checked out all the veins in my right and left hands and decided on one at the side of my wrist on my right hand. She told me I had “angel hair pasta veins”. I said last time they had a difficult time finding a vein for the catheter. Fortunately, her vein scouting paid off and success was had the first time. Catheter in and anti-nausea and antacid consumed, I was ready for the lovely Versed and whatever other drug cocktail they’d like to give me.
Unfortunately, I would have to wait. And wait. For three more hours. My phone battery was getting low and I had read most of my magazine. I was a little obsessed with the ice and water machine and coveted each full glass that walked by in someone’s hand. I played the game of trying to get my heart rate down or up depending on what I would say in my head and how I would breathe. That was fun for a while. The power of suggestion is quite mighty. What fun I had with biofeedback!
I decided to close my eyes and rest, thinking that would make the time go by faster. My head would loll from side to side and I would jerk awake like you do on an airplane. I pretended I was on a flight to somewhere fabulous. Then I would open my eyes and wonder if maybe they forgot about me. Occasionally a nurse would see me looking around and would come over every now and then and ask how I was doing. They apologized for the wait. At least I wasn’t totally forgotten about, I thought. Finally, my surgeon came in and told me that they were almost ready for me. He said that what he thought was going to be a two hour surgery turned into a four hour surgery. I told him no need to apologize, that’s part of the job. I understood. I wouldn’t want him to hurry on my procedure so I’m happy to wait. The nurse came over and administered the Versed. I felt the familiar sensation of relaxation and a slight wonky-ness in my head and body soon after the liquid went into my IV. I knew the fun was about to begin.
At a little after 4PM, I was wheeled into the operating room. They transferred me to the skinny operating table, strapped my arms down and put a safety belt around me. They put the oxygen mask on me and told me to breathe. It was very cold in the room. They said they were going administer the anesthesia and put a breathing device in the back of my throat. The last thing I remember was breathing through the oxygen mask and saying ok.
I woke in the recovery room and felt fine. No crying this time, thank goodness. I was quite cognizant and didn’t feel the disorientation from last time. I looked down at my foot and it was wrapped in an ace bandage and had a hard soled shoe with Velcro straps. It hurt. The nurse came over and asked how I was. I said I was ok and my foot hurt. She gave me some Fentanyl through the IV and said that should help and she would also get me a Percocet pill as I needed to start the pain medication and keep it in my system for it to do the best job. I said, fantastic. I knew from many other experiences this to be true. My biggest worry about this surgery was having the excruciating pain like the last one once the nerve block wore off. I asked if the surgeon was sending home pain medication other than Vicodin as it was not very effective last time. She said he prescribed Percocet this time and I hoped that would be more effective.
The nurse’s name was Glenda and I couldn’t help but think of Glenda, the Good Witch of the North from the Wizard of Oz. (Yes, I know it’s really Glinda but I’m taking poetic license here.) She was an incredibly nice woman. She asked if I’d like some ginger ale and I enthusiastically said yes! I had wanted something to drink for the past 10 hours! She brought me a ginger ale and saltines and said if I could, to go ahead and eat them and drink the ginger ale. I sucked down the ginger ale in no time flat and ate the saltines more slowly. She brought me a second ginger ale and asked if I was feeling ok. I felt fine. Apparently, I am not adversely affected by anesthesia.
The OR nurse came in and showed me my screws that were in my foot. They were much longer than I expected. I asked if I could keep them. I was elated when she said yes! She said that they had to sterilize them but I could take them after that. I’m really happy about that. After a while I got the okay to get dressed and go home. After I got dressed, Glenda told me that unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to take home my screws today because they had to sterilize them with other things and they didn’t have a batch big enough yet. She said she would put a note on the screws, in my chart and one other place to make sure they would save them for me. They will call when it is ready. Like I said, she’s the Good Witch of the North. In fact, everyone in the recovery room was incredibly nice, pleasant and playful. There was one nurse whom, after a handsome guy in scrubs came through (doctor? nurse? I don’t know) she was dancing around saying how she did like some eye candy. I laughed and she said, see, she knows what I’m talking about!! Yes, indeed, I do.
My surgeon came in and said everything went great. I need to make an appointment in 3 weeks to get the sutures out and needed to keep my foot dry for at least the next 10 days. He said I could walk on out of there. I smiled and thanked him for all his help. Glenda wheeled me out of the recovery room and out to my car waiting. I hopped on one foot to get into the car. Despite my surgeon saying I could ‘walk out of there’ it hurt way too much to put weight on my foot. I guess he was taking a bit of poetic license as well. Glenda reminded me to keep my foot elevated to help with the pain and to take the pain medication at the correct times. After the first surgery, this was ingrained in me and I would do just about anything to avoid the heinous pain after the nerve block wore off last time. I didn’t have a nerve block this time. The pain was a lot less as far as I could tell. So far, anyway. Next up—coming home and reuniting with some old friends.