Sunday, February 08, 2009

Is this too much information?

Well, we arrived home about 5:00 Friday, after a very busy intense week. Thanks to Jody for helping by putting a post on about my knee operation.

So, now y’all know about my knee and I’m going to tell you about my experience at the hospital, with all the lovely people there.

We chose Avera McKennen because that is where Norm spent his time in November 2005 with his broken neck. They were so good to him (and me) that we hoped we would be able to get that good care for me, this time.

We went to Sioux Falls on Monday night so that we didn’t have to rush on Tuesday morning. About suppertime, we got a knock on the door of the motel room with “telegram” being called to us. Norm opened the door and it was my folks!! They had not said anything but snuck in to town to surprise us!! Candy had assisted by asking where we were staying and asked us to call with the room we were in after we got there. They had come to be there for the surgery and to be there for Norm in the waiting room. That made me very happy because I didn’t want him to be alone while I was in surgery.

So we went out for supper at the cute little restaurant next to the motel, then sat and visited for a while before going to bed (they had gotten a room just down the hall from us).

The next morning, Tuesday, Mom rode with us to the hospital and Dad followed with their car. Then they sat with me until I was ready to go into the operating room. I was so glad that Norm had someone to sit with him while I was in the operating room! I hated the idea of him sitting there alone.

This was one of the rare times that I have seen an operating room, as I am usually doped up by then. But the anesthetists couldn’t find a spot to put my intravenous needle in (as usual) but the anesthesiologist was busy and didn’t put the needle in until I was in the operating room! I ended up being stuck 4 times (is this too much information?) before they got the IV in and the medicine started to kick in – but when that did, it didn’t take too long for me to go “bye-bye” into La-La Land.

Then it was “all she wrote” until I woke up in the recovery room. They got my pain level down to acceptable (to them) and rolled me into the room where Norm and my folks were waiting. They asked, (as always) “On a scale from 1 to 10, how is your pain level?” They were not sure what to answer when I answered “75.”

After that, it was a blur of nurses and “techs” – lab workers and housecleaners – doctor and PA. Many people passed by me in these past 4 days and not one was grumpy or even had a frowny-face. I was blessed with wonderful care and wonderful people.

I cannot give you all the names of the people, but they were indeed most caring. The day nurses and techs were seen more often, as I was awake more of the time, but anytime I needed something at night, there was a friendly face (not someone who looked like they wanted to say “WHAT???”) asking if they could help. When I first moved into the room, a volunteer came in with a carnation – Dr. Watts had given me one (as all doctors to for their surgery patients). I was in a private room, which was great! I love the hospital beds because you can raise or lower them to any position, which makes it more comfortable for most things.

Day 1 was pretty foggy – I was still under the influence of the anesthesia so was unable to do much. The therapists wanted me to get up in the recliner, but I couldn’t sit up without getting dizzy and sickish because of the morphine as well as the anesthesia. They had put a numbing block in my leg so were able to switch to Vicodine, which made me less dizzy. After the first day, there was pain but no dizziness, so I could go to therapy and do some walking with the walker. However, walking was difficult with all the tubes connected. There was the oxygen tube, the IV tube, the finger thing that read the oxygen level and something else, as well, the tube connected to my leg to give me the pain blocking medicine (like Novocain that you get from the doctor). But is that too much information? Every day I got something more taken off until I was yippee-skippy free!

Along with the tubes, I had a machine that bent my knee automatically for 24 hours a day and also had these bags like blood pressure cuffs on my ankles, to help push blood around so that I wouldn’t get blood clots.

Avera McKennen is a very nice hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. The staff there is wonderful – kind, caring and thoughtful. As I said, everyone was so good to me. There was Sue, who was the only one I saw more than one shift; there was Tracey, there was Eric, there was Jon. I am sorry that I can’t remember any other names --- oh! Wait! There was Vicki, too. And then there was Lola. When she came on duty, I thought I recognized her. After asking, I found out that she had been on duty when Norm was there with his broken neck. I happened to catch the two of them in the area at the same time so that they could talk. Lola remembered Norm but he did not remember her, as he doesn’t remember much of anything that happened in the hospital.

I had the therapists, Cheryl and Angela, two times a day. Avera McKennen runs a “Joint Camp” that helps you begin to move after any kind of joint surgery. The room is a large room with a lot of recliners (the hospital kind, not LazyBoy kind). I was encouraged (!!) to walk all the 20 miles from my room to the “Joint Camp” but was allowed, the first 2 days, to get a ride from the recliner from my room. However, by Thursday afternoon, they didn’t even BRING the recliner, and kept saying, “You can make it!” So, I did make it, but it was tough!

The last day of therapy, we (the other member of the “camp” and I) were given gifts. I got a lovely angel statuette. We also had a graduation ceremony, where they played the graduation march and THEY marched to US with our graduation diplomas!!

So then Friday morning came. I had been awaken (as every morning) at 5:00 by the lab tech to draw my blood for the day’s test; then awoken again by Angie, Dr. Watts’ PA; she told me that everything looked good (after my last blood test) and that I could go home after the last therapy session. What a pleasant way to wake up … a pretty, smiling face with good news, not a pretty, smiling face with a needle!

So, now it’s Sunday night and I’m about ready for bed, again. Well, for recliner sleeping again. I tried the bed on Friday night but it was not comfortable enough and I needed Norm’s help to get in and out of bed. I have my laptop on a TV tray next to the chair and have an external keyboard on my lap. I have had visitors – Candy and Wayne brought Pizza over last night and friend Katie came over this afternoon.

I have had lots of calls, lots of emails (thank you) from friends both near and far. Tomorrow I go to therapy and another blood test – to keep an eye out on my coumadin level (but is THAT too much information?). I got flowers from Norm’s boss; a plant from Candy and a lovely pink teddy bear from my folks. Dad figured a cushy bear was cuddlier than roses, which is right.

I had the nurse take a picture of my staples, but I figure that THAT is too much information, so won’t include it unless my millions of fans request it. But I will leave you with a picture of “Princess Rose,” who, along with Peanut, is my constant companion.


Thank you, all, for your prayers, circles of lights, candles lit and other good thoughts. I appreciate all of them. And will say goodnight on a beautiful evening, hoping you didn’t get too much information!


City Mouse said...

Congrats! Congrats! Congrats! You're a trooper, and it's wonderful that you wrote such a nice update. Now you get perfectly better and do everything the docs say? What's left? More phys therapy, or just recommended exercise and such?

Candy Duell said...

Nope, not to much information. You did good! Congrats on the new knee. I am so glad your home and recovering. Take care!

Frances said...

so pleased you are home!


Cathy M said...

Glad everything went well. What a wonderful hospital - greeting you with a flower, and the happy faces. Makes the stay almost pleasant.

Moonbeam said...

I am glad everything went well and you are mending. Also glad you have a good circle of friends around you to help you out. I would be there too if not for the miles between us. Keep up the good work with the recovery.