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Aftermath

After checking in at the Surgery Pavillion (not actually a party place, but still pretty nice), I got to sit around and converse with my mom and with three or four nurses who occasionally visited. I didn’t actually began the trip to the Operating Room until around 2:30 Friday afternoon — the earlier surgeries had gone a bit longer than expected. I never made it to the OR, at least not as I remember it. The “cocktail” the nurse anaesthetist gave me that was supposed to prepare me for “really going under” itself did the trick. I felt great for about a minute, and then I was gone.

The next thing I remember is waking up in a recovery room around 4:30 and feeling quite good — probably the closest approximation to drunk I have ever experienced. I called out to the guy at the other side of the hall, joked and talked loudly with the nurses and surgeon, and generally had a great time as I came down from the drug-induced high. It wasn’t long until I started feeling pain, but as distant as it seems now, I’m pretty sure they gave me another pain med booster shot into my IV about that time. During the two-hour surgery, I sucked down 3 IV bags and the next thing I noticed (but only once it was suggest by a nurse) was that I needed to relieve myself in a pretty bad way. With lots of help, I made my way off of the bed and across the hall to the bathroom, then back onto the bed. I don’t remember too well what happened in the rest of my time in the recovery room — perhaps I fell asleep again?

At any rate, around 6:30 or 7:00, we finally left the hospital. A nurse took me down to the parking garage in a wheel chair and then he helped me into the car, a Subaru Legacy that barely fit me with my leg-that-would-not-bend (due to a brace, not the surgery itself). My mom, who had spent the whole day at the surgery pavilion with me, then took me to my parent’s place here in Bellevue. By the time I got home and situated on the family-couch-turned-bed, I was in a lot of pain again, so I took the first of my oxycodone 10mg extended release tablets. Well, this stuff really is pretty powerful, and although I wasn’t exactly comfortable afterwards, the pain was dull enough to get along.

The first night was uncomfortable; the couch did not a good bed make — it was not supportive enough and its backwards tilt gave me some back pain the next day. I had to get up twice on my own to go to the bathroom, and one of those trips was combined with tuning off my mother’s cell phone, which was complaining about a low battery every five minutes with a loud beep, and turning off the dishwasher, which was complaining about nobody emptying it every ten minutes with a series of loud beeps. Suffice it to say, I didn’t stay on the couch the next two nights.

Saturday was actually my birthday (the surgery was a day-early present), but my mom arranged a surprise “rolling party” for me. Throughout the day, various friends showed up bringing good cheer and cards. It was really quite a bit of fun and did a good job to keep my mind off of the pain. That night we wached Transformers before calling it a night. I slept in my brother’s old room; it was much more comfortable, especially after I discovered that not raising my leg on a pillow actually reduced pain for me. I only had to get up for the bathroom one time that night. I also had a two am fall on the stairs (not: not down the stairs, but on the stairs) as I tried to get my ice bath container refilled. It didn’t hurt, but it did teach me that I need to use the railings to go down stairs, and it did wake up my parents. My mom refilled my ice container, and everyone went back to sleep, eventually.

Sunday I was in a lot less pain than Saturday; I was able to walk around (with crutches) a lot more, and generally be more jovial. The rolling birthday party continued with a few more friends coming by; Spiderman 3 was the movie of the night.  My surgeon Dr. Wahl also called and we discussed a few things including weight-bearing (ok as long as comfortable, because no meniscus work was done), metal in the screws and pins (a titanium molly bolt and a titanium molybdenum pin, as I recall), and when the surgical dressing can come off (no earlier than Tuesday).

Today, I am just now getting ready to take my first of the twice daily oxycodone extended release. I haven’t used any of the “booster pills” since Saturday, and I hope to continue that. It is raining and dreary, so I guess I won’t be going out for a run today…

3 Responses to “Aftermath”

  1. Scott Says:

    I’m glad to hear that the pain is beginning to subside :) Also why did they put bolts and pins in? I was under the impression that they were repairing tendons, does that require bolts and pins? I’m wishing you a continued speedy recovery.

  2. Daniel Marsh Says:

    If you run out of pain pills, give me a call. I don’t have any pills, but am more than happy to come on over and hit you over the head with an oversized cartoon mallet.

  3. Ryan Says:

    Dan: I have way too many pain meds rights now, actually — I’m going to see how I do without any today (although I am taking them with me in case I start regretting that decision!) Thanks, though, I will keep your offer in mind if the need arises :-).

    Scott: The surgery was a ligament reconstruction. This is because ligament repair doesn’t work very well (they did try this initially when dealing with torn ACLs, with terrible results). So the preferred method became replacing the old ACL with a tendon autograft. The preferred graft site used to be the patellar tendon, but recently they have found the hamstring to be a better location to graft tissue from.

    So, the surgeon removed the wreckage that was left of my old ACL. Then he took two of my five right hamstring tendons and placed them in the same location as the old ACL. These tendons are secured in place by the bolts and pins — already, however, my body is healing them and revascularizing them, so the tendons will actually heal into tissue that closely resembles a ligament. The end result is actually somewhat stronger than the original ACL. Hopefully, I will never have to test that claim :-)

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