Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Last week I finally had surgery to repair a torn meniscus and other damage in my knee. Surgery was scheduled for 2:30 and I couldn’t eat or drink after midnight the night before. I was seriously hungry and dehydrated when I arrived at 12:30 for pre op. (I am used to my 3 meals plus constant grazing) Martha and I chatted while I waited my turn. She was joking that we should do this more often as we haven’t had that much uninterrupted time to chat in a long time.
Finally the anaesthesiologist came in and asked Martha to leave while he gave me a little sedative and an epidural. Martha said within 1 minute she heard me say I didn’t feel well. I am not sure what happened. Maybe the epidural making my legs unmovable. Something caused the trigger and I went into a full-fledged physical flashback. But I was sedated and couldn’t move. I was in full panic, terror mode in my head but was being held down by the weight of the drugs. Martha tells me they called her back in immediately. Because I was in such obvious distress, they kept giving me more and more sedation. She knew what was happening and she held me and talked to me, but I have no memory of that. They must have finally given me enough drugs to totally knock me out.
I woke up in the recovery room, incredibly nauseous, very disoriented and disassociated, soaked in sweat and dry heaving. But I had a nurse who was nothing short of an angel. She had obviously been briefed, was so gentle and kind and sat with me, holding my hand, while I was still freaking out. She kept saying “I am here, I will not leave you.”
So, so discouraging. All this therapy to get these flashbacks to stop and this was by far the worse one I can remember ever experiencing. Finally the drugs wore off, Martha helped me dress and I went home. Emotionally and physically exhausted.
The next few days were spent sitting, leg raised, ice on the knee that was then twice it’s normal size. I needed help stepping over the tub to shower which my daughter generously volunteered for. And she was kind enough not to make her usual snide comments about my naked body. Still, I felt I was getting a preview of my future - when I stop being the caregiver and my kids have to start caring for me. Very weird. But I was grateful for her help.
Lately I have been quite depressed and I had been concerned about the sitting around with nothing to do. But friends and co workers came to visit, always with chocolate in hand. It’s hard to be too depressed when you realize you have so much to be grateful for. Nurses, family, real life friends, on line friends who are always there, holding me up and keeping me moving forward.
It is not quite a week since the surgery. I can walk with only a small limp. Stairs are still a challenge but every day it’s getting better. Friday the stitches come out and I can start physical therapy. I hope to be riding my bike out in the country before the smell of lilacs is gone.