Monday, January 24, 2011

Thursday through Monday

These four days have been nominally uneventful...except to say that each day saw some more healing, more flexibility, and more endurance. Thursday I began a regiment of PT and laps around the house. Biggest problem was getting into bed, a little quick pain as I raised my repaired limb up into the bed. I ran a low grade fever which the nurse explained as my body trying to “Kill” the steel intruder by raising a small fever. In subsequent days my temperature has returned to normal.

Friday: My PT began showing results....more flexibility in my exercises and getting into and out of bed was less painful. Lisa, our older daughter , came down from Delaware to help Lib with the household chores. I noticed some swelling of my right leg and was assured it was within normal limits. Continued walking around within the house, possibly 50 -60 yards total.

Saturday and Sunday: Noticing 2-3 % improvement each day on ability to flex legs. Phone calls, answering emails, and FB queries as to my progress and well being. Thanks to all who inquired. .

Today, Monday the 24, our pastor dropped by to check on me and had a pastoral prayer. I really appreciated that. Later my home nurse came by to test my blood and take my vitals. She removed the dressing and gave me the option not to have one as there had been no real drainage for several days. Decided not to have another applied and just let the air do its thing.

I went over to Cathy’s, with Lib and Lisa this afternoon to oversee Devin when he came in from school. Was concerned about the steps leading to their front door...but following protocol I ascended with little pain or feeling of imbalance. After Cathy came in from work we returned home. It was easier this time descending her steps.

Lisa fixed supper and later the Miles (Cathy’s family) came over for a last visit with Lisa before she returns to Delaware tomorrow. It’s been a good day!

Lord, thank you for all my family, doctor, and friends who have been faithful in prayer to bring about this new opportunity for service. Let me learn again to trust You when I’m called to be one of “good faith”

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wednesday 3rd day

At six o’clock I phoned in a breakfast order for French Toast with butter and maple syrup. About 6:45 the waiter brought it in. I was exhausted from the l-o-o-o-n-g night of insomnia and had fallen asleep, head dangling over my right chest. He gently awoke me and announced breakfast. I was momentarily confused, thought I had already eaten breakfast, but he insisted I hadn’t and when I uncovered it, it confirmed what I had ordered. I greedily chomped it all down.

There was a parade of “vitals” and ingestion of pain pills. My PT took me for another walk down the hall, and also confirmed that I could get up and down from the toilet. Rosita, Dr. Jessup’s assistant came in and told me that there were two more small hurdles to accomplish and if they were I would be going home today. Now that was a BIG surprise to Lib who was basking on the assumption that I would be spending another night at St. Francis. Rosita explained that 90 % of Dr. Jessup’s patients went home in two days after surgery day.

Another doctor entered the room and checked my vitals and my general progress. If I had contested leaving the hospital it would have been his word against mine. But I indicated all the right criteria for discharge that evening pending the completion of two more requirements.

Lib made a round of phone calls to Cathy so they could arrange for my transport back to our home. Lunch was chicken tenders, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans.

Around 3:00 I was wheeled down to the “gym” and given instructions on how to ascend and descend steps, using both the hand rail and a cane. With aids nearby to steady me so I wouldn’t fall I gingerly ascended 4 steps, each about 5 inches tall, and back down again. I also walked a 100 or so feet back to the room, where I sat in a chair.

The final test required some chemical prompting. I was given a suppository and waited for a half hour. No indication of any sort of action. Next I was given a choice of hot coffee or a cup of hot prune juice. Opted for the prune juice. In about a half hour I experienced success!

Nurses were so advised. At 5:00 the cafeteria called about the supper order and I was happy to tell them I would soon be leaving.

It took another hour for the nurse on my case to gather up the requisite paper work and get my signature on all the release papers.

By 6:00 Cathy and Lib had all the transportation together as well as the clothes and stuff necessary to a protracted hospital stay. I was put in a wheel chair and we made a parade down to valet parking where Lib had them leave our car.

As per instructions, I lowered my posterior onto the passenger front seat, and with some assistance my two legs were swung into the car and we were on our way home.

Our house has two steps, each about 3-4 inches tall. We arrived, my walker and cane were placed within easy reach and my legs were gently swung around. I grasped the handles of the walker and walking in the prescribed way I came to the steps. Using the cane the left foot stepped up to the first step. Grasping the railing, the operated leg was lifted up. Then the operation was repeated for the second step. Once again and I was on the stoop! I was home!

What a great feeling. Jeff and Cathy bought us a nice grilled chicken supper which we wolfed down at about 8:30. We visited awhile and then I was ready for bed. The toughest part was getting into bed. Lib helped me swing my legs up. There was a momentary sharp pain because of stiffness in the operated leg. She pulled up the covers, got herself ready for sleep and we slept a happy but fitful night.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tuesday Day 2

Day 2.

Tuesday was much better, was hungry and the St. Francis hospital has an impressive menu. Cream of wheat sounded good abd that's what I ordered and some hot tea.

Therapist came by, got me out of bed and walked me down the left side of the hallway. When we got back she reminded me of safety precautions getting in and out of bed and up and down from chairs. Went over the list of physical exercises I was to do. Many of them similar to the back ones associated with a laminectopy.

Cathy, our daughter, came in on her way to work for a visit. St. Francis doesn’t have visiting hours... that makes it so convenient for family to visit. And family and church support make the whole experience bearable. Around 10 am Lib came in and spent the morning and part of the afternoon with me.

In the afternoon several people including my surgeon evaluated my progress and said I was on course. They took me off the I V drip for pain and started a pill regimen. Must say that they do an excellent job of managing post operative pain. Never experienced any above a 2 rating on a scale of 1 - 10.

The nursing staff were competent, cheerful, and able to answer the questions I had. Sometime that day a “patient advocate” came to see if I was happy with my hospital stay. She quizzed me on several aspects and went away with a positive report.

In the afternoon the therapist returned and walked me a little further down the hall and again reviewed with me the precautions I should take while exiting the bed, the kind of chairs I should avoid when at home and the kind of support that would be provided by in home care.

Supper was a fish entry, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. A fruit cup I ordered was my dessert.

Tuesday night was long. A friend who had a wrist operation called me to inquire how I was doing. Other folks called ...and then the night set in. I COULD NOT SLEEP. Tossed and turned from side to side. The only relief was the visit by nurses to check my vitals. The minutes dragged by and I was miserable.

When 6:00 am finally came around, I phoned in my breakfast order. When it came in my head was on my chest and I was fast asleep!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Operation Day

Thank goodness our hospitial is only 10 minutes away, We were supposed to be there by 7:00 so got up at 5:15 and took my final shower and scrubbed the hip with a special salve for 3 minutes that sterilized the general area. No breakfast they want you clean .

Arrived on time and checked in. A whole list of pre op questions that were reiterated and confirmed several times over. Around 8:00 they brought Lib, my wife, and Cathy our daughter back for final hugs and kisses. Think our pastor, Dave, was also there for a brief prayer.

After they left my surgeon came and marked the leg he was going to install the prosthesis. Next thing I knew I was in the recovery room.
Part of the anesthesia was a “hip block”. Therefore I couldn’t communicate with my lower limbs. Couldn’t wiggle toes or move my legs at all. Now I know how people feel who have injured their backs severely.

Because of the heavy sedation, I was in no pain. So for several hours
I was there “recovering”. A little later I could squeeze my thighs together in one of the first PT exercises. As the block wore off I began to be able to just slightly wiggle my toes. Around that time they wheeeled me into my room and I was introduced to the staff that would oversee my recovery.

Somewhere in the afternoon I was encouraged to take a few steps using a walker. Hardest part was getting my uncooperative right leg off the bed and on to the floor. I walked to the window and back to the bed. Felt good about that.

Lib and Cathy were in and out to check on me and to prepare things at the house for my return. In the late afternoon Barbara our church secretary/administrator came to visit. We had both received Kindle’s for Christmas and were discussing their various features, when the first wave of nausea hit quite suddenly with no warning and I was quite sick. Nurse brought me some anti nausea medicine and soon I was all right.

I had my first meal...some soup. Didn’t really feel like eating more.

Later in the eve ning, Jeff, Devin, and Cathy came for a visit. Enjoyed talking to them and then put on my second nausea show. Felt sorry for Devin, he gets sympathy nausea .

After they left I had a very long......uncomfortable night, something to be expected. Nurses checking on vitals, drinking the requisite fluid, breathing into a machine that makes the lungs take dep breaths to ward off pneumonia.
I should say that the pain was managed well....first nights are bearable....just not a lot of fun.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Prologue to hip replacement

After nearly a year of increasing pain while walking I followed the advice of my wife, daughters, and family physician to see a specialist and discover what options were plausible. X-rays were taken that showed severe arthritis. The doctor said there was no hope of improvement. My options were to continue and or to have a hip replacement.

Tomorrow, January 17, I will have an artificial ball and socket joint installed in my right hip. Much of the area now infested by the pain causing arthritis will be replaced by a prosthesis which will reduce the pain considerably and allow me a much larger range of free motion. I am a 73 year old male and in general good health with no known allergies so I have a good prognosis.

My intention is to keep a journal of of this adventure. Should be back to this blog by the end of the week unless we’ve run into complications. Follow along if you're interested in my experience. Blessings!