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.

Angels everywhere.

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.


  1. Be thankful you have daughters. My son would never do this.

    The Tour de Cure is June 5th. Will you be ready?

  2. It is not uncommmon to experience more triggers/flashbacks during therapy while you are voluntarily submerging yourself in the details of the trauma.

    Keep pushing. Keep reaching out. You will get through it. There is a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. I am sorry the procedure was so horrendous for you. I pray your emotional and physical recuperation will be accomplished quickly and gently.

  4. One thing I hate about post traumatic stress is how insidious it is. You can be fine ~ just going about your day ~ and wham! Out of nowhere you are transported back to the very worst times of your life. I'm sorry that happened while you were being sedated. That must have intensified the fear exponentially.

    Please give yourself credit for being a strong survivor. You are amazing! Core of iron!

    I am happy that your recuperation is going so well. And relieved that your friends and family are keeping you occupied. There are angels everywhere ~ if we only open our hearts to see them.


  5. Never would have expected that reaction either--your mind and body are connected in mysterious ways though. It would be important to never let them do a spinal block or epidural on you again though.

    Glad you are healing with your loved ones around you.

  6. I'm so sorry about the flashback--and glad that there were loving people to hold your hand.

    Prayers for your knee--and all the rest of you--to heal quickly and fully.


  7. The flashbacks were worse for me while I was in therapy trying to deal with them. They got worse before they got better, but they're nearly gone now. If I get too tired or overstressed or sometimes too much alcohol can bring them back, but it's very, very rare. Not like the daily onslaught when I was in therapy.

    So I hope it is for you, that you have turned a corner and they will start to lessen in effect, feeling and impact.

    healing thoughts for you and your knee.