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July 12th, 2004

Painkillers Are My Friends

She lives!

I'd first like to thank the makers of Percocet for my appearance today. Credit can also be given to them if none of this makes any sense.

I hobbled out of bed this afternoon for a change of scenery and to reward myself for all of the hard work I've put into my recovery so far. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? I'm suffering from computer-withdrawls like some kind of fiend. I need help.

I suppose you're wanting to know how it went sans all the gory details. Oh, what, you want the gory details? You sick fucks - I knew you wouldn't disappoint me.

I believe I checked into the hospital last Thursday (or was it Wednesday?). Dates and days mean little to nothing to me right now and I've had a bit of morphine since then, so you'll have to forgive the memory lapses. I was at the same time terribly nervous and oddly calm. They knocked me out just before 9 am and I woke up in recovery 40 minutes later all bandaged up and with a morphine pump connected to my I.V. I must've still been in a good bit of pain, though, because they then had me sign something that allowed them to give me a nerve block - which numbed my entire leg for the next 12 or so hours. Peachy.

I was in recovery for over two hours because they have a hard time getting my blood pressure back down after surgery. Nerves. I don't remember much between then and getting my room - other than I had to pee like a mofo and no matter how many times they stuck that bedpan under my bum, I couldn't convince my mind that it was okay to pee sitting in bed. When I finally got my room, I had the nurse help me off the bed and I hobbled to the bathroom with her aid. That's right, hours after surgery I was putting weight on it. Of course, I the nerve block was going strong then.

The entire hospital stay is kind of a blur - did I mention I had a morphine pump? As in, a little button I could push whenever the mood hit me that injected me with a moderate dose of morphine. There's nothing quite like it. They told me the key to pain management was stopping the pain before it starts - that I shouldn't wait until I was in pain as then it would be too late and the meds wouldn't work. I liked this philosphy - and I'm unsure how I didn't wear that little button out.

Before going to a room they set me up in the CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine. I only had to be in it 6 hours/day but I may have taken it the equivalent of one hour my entire time in the hospital (three days/two nights). I still, at home, continue to use it 8-12 hours/day rather than just the prescribed 6.

That's right, I'm going at this with gusto. It helps that the pain isn't as horrible as I thought it would be. Yet anyway.

My first surgery left me with a itty-bitty scar where the scope had gone in and a slightly longer one that was approx. 1 1/2" long. I never considered the newer cut would be any different. So imagine my surprise when they took off the bandages my last day in the hospital. The tube they'd had inserted into a hole in my knee for drainage had come out and she wanted to make sure it'd just slipped out and not left any "extra pieces" in my leg. You can only get so shocked when you're hopped up on morphine, so I only really open my eyes really wide when the bandages and were pulled away to reveal an 8" cut from the bottom to top of my knee held together by 19 staples. Yes, 19, I counted them. There are 20, if you count the one on the smaller 'scope incision (couldn't they have just used a stitch for that - seems like overkill to me). So I have 20 staples in my leg, an 8" cut, a smaller, maybe 1" cut and a hole - just a hole that is still draining (ugh).

Oddly, when I'm in the CPM machine, it doesn't really hurt. I'm terribly swollen and though I can feel the staples pulling as the machine moves me (yes, it's as gross feeling as it sounds), it isn't painful. When I stand to go to the bathroom, however, it's a different story. It feels like...well it feels like I have an 8" gash in my leg held together by metal staples.

But I'm doing well. He was able, during surgery, to get my almost fully extended - he says I likely won't gain back all of my flexion (bending) but enough to live normally. However, he was unable to get back full extension (straigtening) and my leg is still stuck with about 10 degrees left to go at being fully straight. Today or tomorrow another machine, a Dynasplint, will be delivered that will help with that. It's much more painful than the CPM machine and I'm not looking forward to it, but I do what I gotta. In the CPM machine I'm already bending to 90 degrees!! (I started at 60 in the hospital). Doc says no one gets to 110, so that's my goal. 🙂

That's my half-ass attempt at an update. I hope it made sense - I'm a little doped up. I'm really not in terrible pain most of the time, but the uncomfortableness of laying in bed and in one position constantly is starting to get to me. The incisions are healing and they itch. So I'm fairly irritable and uncomfortable - much moreso than I'm in pain. I'm not complaining, though!

My progress is great - and I just wanted to thank everyone for their support and well-wishes. I know it's helped. And a big *hug* and thanks to Rose for taking the time to keep everyone updated.

I'll write again when I can.

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