Day 1: Resting as Hard as I Can

Or should it be Day 0? In any case, surgery is now a fait accompli and I am ensconced on the couch with a mound of pillows elevating my foot. When I first woke up, I could feel a little discomfort in my heel but since I got home the rear of my foot is blessedly numb. I know this will wear off sometime in next day or two but I’m enjoying it for now.

The most difficult part of today was not being able to drink coffee (or anything else) and have breakfast when we got up at 4:15 a.m. for my 7:00 a.m. surgery. As those close to me well know, I need to drink coffee and eat something immediately upon waking up. I feel lightheaded and dizzy without food, become intensely irritable without coffee, and have difficulty articulating sentences without either. Inhaling coffee fumes while I made Husband his coffee and breakfast was as good as it got for me this morning.

We reported to the outpatient surgery center a little after 5:30 a.m. The whole admission process was remarkably efficient and all the medical personnel astonishingly pleasant. It was a little like being at a Ritz Carlton but with bad decor and no chocolates on the pillow. I think these days everyone is getting graded in “patient satisfaction ” surveys. This probably places too much emphasis on the bedside manner aspect of medical care but I also know that for many people the way they feel they were treated in the process tends to color their feelings about the outcome more than the actual result itself. Basically, when you are nicer to people, they are more likely to characterize a suboptimal outcome as better. And they are less likely to complain and sue you.

The emphasis on eliminating medical mistakes through everyone who is involved in your treatment in any way is interesting too. Every one of the eight different people who came by before I went into surgery asked me my name, birthday, what procedure I was having done, and ON WHICH SIDE. When the doctor came by, he pulled out a marker and wrote “yes” on my operative leg and “no” on the other one. It’s the kind of incredibly basic detail that, once you get secure in your skill, must be easy to become complacent about. I don’t know whether it’s required protocol or just his personal method but I appreciate the care in getting this most fundamental thing right and the implicit acknowledgment that you are never too good to make mistakes.

I didn’t have too much time to ponder these thoughts, as, at 6:55 a.m. I took my last steps on two feet for weeks down to the OR. I heard a nurse record something at 6:56 a.m. then I woke up in the recovery bay well over two hours later with a large cast on my foot. I vaguely remember the doctor coming by and saying something that sounded like, “This was going on for a while,” and showing me a small container of what was removed during surgery. It’s such a vague recollection I am going to have to check at my follow up whether that actually happened. He did however tell Husband that the surgery went well but that he did find some damage to my tendon. After I’m all healed up the anchor he put in will result in a stronger tendon than before.

After a hazy spell in the recovery bay, the recovery nurses fetched Husband and helped me dress. Not actually the easiest endeavor. One of the challenges of today was that it was one of the coldest mornings we have had this winter. Definitely a long pants day. Instructions for surgery advised wearing “loose, comfortable clothing.” When you are only 5’3 tall with disproportionately short legs, loose clothing is not something that you choose to dress yourself in if you give much consideration to your appearance (I haven’t given up on this yet). My long pants choices consist entirely of jeans, business pants, and athletic tights. None of these go on easily (or at all) over a cast. In the end, I opted for some cropped yoga tights as they were the stretchiest thing I could find. It took a little effort but we got them back on. Until it warms up enough for shorts and skirts, these will be a wardrobe staple.

I was pretty zonked out from the anesthesia all the way home and felt slightly nauseous. Husband asked if we should stop for coffee, but, to my great surprise, I didn’t feel like it. I had a small meal of soup and toast when we got home then fell asleep for several hours. I’m already sick of the couch and having to ask Husband to do things for me, but I know these first few days are crucial to keeping the swelling down, so for now I’m just resting as hard as I can.

6 thoughts on “Day 1: Resting as Hard as I Can

  1. I still find the thing where they write “no” on the non-surgery leg incredibly funny. But obviously incredibly necessary too. Glad I wasn’t around when you didn’t get to have breakfast.


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