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Knee surgery was Wednesday to fix the one that didn’t take. I had a partial menisectomy, which was fine, with the exception of 24 hours later when they thought I had a PE (aka: blood clot in my lungs). Three hours in the emergency room with EKG, Cat-Scan, Echo-gram, blood, IVs, etc. proved no such blood clot, but I was pretty shook up. I’m still a bit shaky from it.
The knee is so-so, but admittedly better than before in meniscus pain and even some areas of range of motion just four days post-op. This surgery is a six-week setback in recovery. I was set to complete physical therapy by the second week of August, now we’re somewhere in the mid-Fall.
Hard is surgery and knee recovery, but in some ways, the side effects are worse. Sleep is near impossible between pain and the noise from the 24-7 ice machine droning next to my head. Medication makes me tired but not sleepy and sick to my stomach. Somehow I got my sternum bruised or injured during surgery and it hurts like hell. The Spondy I live with normally is on month two of a flare up (imagine constant, non-stop sciatica through the butt and down the legs). There’s the lack of exercise, the inability to be an active mom and, currently, the inability to take a fricking shower without fully wrapping my leg in Press-n-Seal food wrap.
It’s hard to stave off depression. It’s hard to stay Up, happy, interested in the world around me. The kids’ birthdays are next week and I’ve got a deer-in-the-headlights look about me. I’ve got to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other — and soon.
For tonight, pain and exhaustion are overwhelming. Fear of blood clots and chest pain are making it downright scary.
Had an MRI this morning, found out that the meniscus repair did not take.
I am having surgery tomorrow morning to remove the torn meniscus.
I am sad.
Saw the doctor today with some of the results from yesterday’s Easter Day hospital visit. So far, it’s pretty darn good news:
1. My white blood cell count is normal.
2. I have low blood volume (drink, drink, drink water)
3. The strep and staph tests are in the petre dish and so far have NOT shown signs of growth.
4. My fever is hanging out at about 100, much better than a couple days ago.
Next steps are to wait until we get the all-clear on Wednesday for the results: say it with me, “NO STREP, NO STAPH” After that, I’m all clear to go back to recovery as planned.
I am doing everything I’m told: take the meds I’m supposed to take, rest, like down, stretch the hamstrings, do the proper exercises. Tonight, I have a fever. And a (more) swollen knee. We’ve been on the phone all night with the doctors. No one is sure what’s going on, but they are concerned.
I am so scared. I was scared on the hill when I fell. I was scared in the toboggan, I was scared flying home to San Jose in pain meds and children. I was terrified to find out I had blown my ACL and so very upset to learn I was going to lose a big chunk of both meniscui too. I was horrified to find out that I had gotten a bucket handle tear during physical therapy *before* surgery. I was scared when I had an allergic reaction to Celebrex and broke out in hives two days after surgery. I got very scared when I couldn’t move after physical therapy four days after surgery. Tonight, I am completely horrified. They are going to do exploratory work tomorrow on Easter to see what I need or whether or not I need to be admitted in the hospital.
I’m really very scared now. I could use a prayer or two.
I knew that ACL replacement, 80% meniscus removal and a full lateral meniscus repair wasn’t going to be pretty. I had heard horror stories of out of control pain. After a lunge exercise during physical therapy sent my knee into a Bucket Handle Tear, I also knew that surgery sounded like a walk in the park compared to the unbearable pain of last weekend.
I can remember asking La Gringa to take photos. I can remember the nurse who was cool enough to tilt the bed up so I wouldn’t have a double-chin in the pre-op pics. Then I remember screaming, screaming from a really not so good place inside. The surgery was over. The pain overwhelming.
Six days have gone by since the surgery, with blurs of friends and visitors and family. Blurry is the right word. Mostly I’ve been nauseous, dizzy and overwhelmed by how much it hurts to take the short walk to the bathroom (on crutches, non-weight bearing). I remember praying for a bed pan and for the pictures in my son’s bedroom to stop looking at me. At one point I started what I thought was a seriously artistic collection of iPhone pictures of Saltines. (I’m not kidding).
There is an ice machine that runs constantly through my leg and equal running of La Gringa to Rotten Robbie for ice to put in it. There’s a range of motion machine that I am supposed to use four to six hours a day.
Then there are the drugs. So many drugs. Percocet and Ativan. There was also one dose of Celebrex where I broke out in severe hives all over my body after the doctor on-call asked me if I was allergic to salsa. When I told him, “Of course I’m not allergic to salsa,, I’m Mexican,” he took that as an all-clear that I am not allergic to “sulfa” drugs. For the record, I am freakishly allergic to sulfa drugs and still Mexican.
Last night, I took myself off everything except Vicodin. I realized that the pain wasn’t going to feel better. I wasn’t going to feel better. I was going to have to decide to put a stake in the ground and move, however slowly, forward from there so I could look back and prove that I am better.