Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Crippled Again

I slept terribly on Thursday night. I was anxious and worried about oversleeping as ever. I woke up at least 4 times between when I finally got to sleep around 11 and when my alarm went off at 4:30. I got up, took a shower, grabbed my pre-loaded backpack, skipping breakfast of course, and drove to the hospital. The place was pretty empty at 5am, and I must have been the only one expected at that hour since the receptionist asked if I was Michael. I went over some paperwork, then was taken to pre-op, which was also empty except for the two nurses. After I was in the gown one of the nurses really liked my tattoo (on the surgical leg) and called over the other nurse to check it out. I refused lidocaine for the IV, and the nurse seemed somewhat impressed I didn't flinch when she stuck it in my hand. It was more uncomfortable than when I give blood, especially since she went probing around for a bit before she got it right. I laid there for a while, reading stuff on my phone and the newspaper. More people started coming in after 6, and it got harder to read with all the chatter. Shortly before surgery the anesthesiologist came in. The nurse from my doctor's office I had talked to initially about having the hardware removed said it would be done under local anesthetic, but she was clearly misinformed. So I was a bit confused when the anesthesiologist was talking about general anesthetic like when I had the first surgery. She checked with my doctor, who came in and basically said there's no way I would want to be awake, which was fine with me. Just before they wheeled me to the OR the anesthesiologist gave me something in my IV that I felt immediately. The last thing I remember was going from the gurney to the operating table, and then waking up in the recovery room about 8:20 with a giant bandage on my leg. I was a bit groggy, but that could be explained by the lack of sleep as much as anything else. I asked about getting my hardware, since I'd forgotten to ask beforehand, but they said it was long gone. A nurse helped my into a wheelchair and over to the bathroom, where I changed into my own clothes. When I was done I hopped back into the bed, which had been moved for whatever reason. I was there for almost two hours, reading, coordinating my ride home, and even making a follow-up appointment with my doctor. The nurse offered to get me a drink and was nice enough to get a Dr Pepper from a vending machine. I said I had some pain and she gave me some hydrocodone or something like it that looped me out a bit for most of the rest of the day. The location my bed was moved to was directly across from a special containment room. Earlier in pre-op I had heard one of the most dreaded acronyms in hospitals today- MRSA (drug-resistant staph)- as in someone was coming in with MRSA. While I was laying there in recovery, that person came in and was taken to the room across from me. One of the nurses going in and out expressed less than complete confidence about the anti-proliferation measures in place, which is really reassuring to someone with a major open wound. Around 10 my ride showed up, my doctor came by, and they released me. My doctor said he could see why I wanted the hardware out, because of where it was located and also he said some scar tissue had formed. My coworker's husband drove me home in my car, and we chatted until she picked him up. I spent most of the day watching TV or on my computer. About 7:30 Jimmy and Rene picked me up and we had dinner at Friday's, then dropped me off at home and I went to sleep.
I woke up a couple times in the night because my ankle was uncomfortable. It didn't really hurt, at least not in general, but the incisions with all their staples get pretty uncomfortable when pressure is applied. I didn't really feel sleepy when I woke up at 3, so I started reading, then moved to the computer and then down to the couch, but still wasn't really sleepy, so at 7 I took a bath, played on the computer some more, and finally took a nap on the couch from 9 to 10. About 11 I drove to get lunch at Home Slice. Working the clutch wasn't too bad. Not particularly pleasant, but doable. I got there before they opened at 11:30, so I sat down for a few minutes, then got a seat at the bar and gorged myself on pizza while reading the paper. I drove over to the Harley shop, where I picked up a new medium-weight jacket for 25% off and stuck around for their Valentine's fashion show using actual couples (several of them being friends of mine) as models. I was pretty well exhausted at the end (as well as being tired of explaining what happened to everyone I know) and drove home and vegetated for the rest of the day.
I slept better Saturday night. I still woke up a number of times, but I managed to sleep from 10 until 6. I dozed off a bit watching a DVD listening to the commentary around 10. Since it was nice sunny warm day I decided to go to Shady Grove for lunch. I knew it would be busy, but I wasn't entirely ready to wait an hour for an outside table. I just sat reading the paper while I waited, and by the time I was done with lunch I had read the A section from cover to cover. After lunch I went home and resumed recuperating on the couch.
Monday was pretty gray and cold, and I didn't even go as far as the end of my driveway all day. I watched the last few things left on my DVR and DVDs and played on the computer all day. Jimmy invited me over for dinner, but I wasn't dressed warmly enough to leave the house and I didn't feel like changing, so I just stayed home and had my usual for dinner.
The drive in to work this morning really sucked. I left the house at the usual time, but the traffic was heavier than usual since it was raining. Even shifting into neutral whenever possible, it was pretty unpleasant. As expected I got quite a few more "What happened?" questions from coworkers, at least from the ones I saw on my few journeys out of my office.

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