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Beep, Beep, Beep It’s Surgery Day Don’t Hit That Snooze
I wake up. Did I ever fall asleep at all? My attempt to go to bed at 2 am after what I’m calling my nesting spree was not very successful. Regardless, It’s surgery day and I need to get ready for Pre-Op! There are so many thoughts running through my head. This chapter of chronic knee pain that started 12 years ago was finally going to come to an end.
A chapter I am so happy is about to end, but was I trading one type of pain for another? The questions continued to swirl through my head as I drifted off to sleep again. Was the surgery going to work? Was my family ready to deal with me being out of commission for who knows how long? I had to push these thoughts aside as my second alarm went off.
Okay…. I really had to get up this time. It was time for my last shower with antibacterial soap and tacky, antibacterial wipe down, oh the fun of this Pre-Op must do. As nervous and excited as I was, the pure exhaustion for the previous 2 weeks had finally set in. You can read all about my 2 weeks leading up to surgery, HERE. It’s okay I thought to myself, I’ll have a lot of time to sit around after surgery because the way I feel right now, I need it.
Surgery Day Prep
I could smell my husband cooking eggs. Guess I’ll eat through smell this morning. Fasting sucks, doesn’t it? Especially when I can’t drink either. Luckily, I had a 10 am case time with a 7:30 am reporting time. I wouldn’t be starving and dying of thirst all day.
I finished getting ready. I grabbed my overnight bag, walker, and electronics bag. Hey, always be overly prepared. They told me partial knee replacement patients usually only stay one night, but I had things to do. Like starting this blog, for instance.
Off to the hospital, we went. I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly. I was really becoming worry-filled at this moment. I somewhat understood the process of surgery since I have had one in the past, but never at this hospital and I definitely never had this extensive of surgery before.
My husband and I checked in and sat down in the waiting room, figuring it would be a little while. Within minutes a nurse called my name and showed us to my pre OR room. They had those dreadful tacky antibacterial wipes again; please let this be the final time I said to myself. I know it is for the best, but they feel so icky!
I then had to give a urine sample. Then I slipped into a very fashionable, big paper texture gown. Then the nurse started to ask me all the essential questions like, did I eat or drink, what pills have I taken, etc. Then she came at me with a purple marker and wrote the word “Yes” on my right knee. I joked with her and said, “make sure you underline and bold that!”
Another nurse came in to have me shove antibacterial swabs up my nose (and I thought the wipes were the worst part…nope), my dad walked in with her. I couldn’t believe it. What a surprise in such a chaotic rushed moment. A great sense of calm rushed over me, as I realized at that moment seeing my dad, how nervous I really was.
Sadly, I didn’t get to see my dad or my husband for long as these nurses were moving fast. My IV mid-line was quickly placed next, and then we were off to the Pre-Op holding area. My husband and dad were able to ride with me to the elevator. Hugs, I love you’s, kisses, and see you after were said, and my worry-filled nerves kicked back into high gear.
The Loneliest Time in Pre-Op
Going into the area of the unknown. I had no idea what to expect in the Pre-Op holding area besides meeting the doctor. I guess I could have asked, but there are so many thoughts and questions. It’s hard to remember them all. Shoot they could have told me and I forgot!
A nurse who was a familiar face greeted me as I rolled up. What a relief. I liked having a friend be my nurse at that moment. It calmed my worry-filled nerves a little. I didn’t see her for long as they kept her busy down there, but even a few moments with a familiar face helped.
She gave me my hair net, hooked me to my fluids to help hydrate me during surgery. During this time, she asked if I wanted to get the nerve block and a spinal block to help with pain during and after surgery. Also, by doing these, they wouldn’t have to use the same type of medication to knock me out, letting me wake up faster after surgery. My response? Well, heck yeah! Pain relief and I don’t have to feel like a zombie? She didn’t have to say another word. I’m all in.
Waiting for the anesthesiologist to perform the nerve block and spinal block was the most extended wait I had all day. The loneliness and anxiety kicked in even more during this time. I wish I had my husband’s hand to hold. I usually love being a people watcher, but watching Pre-Op OR personal run around wasn’t doing anything for me. The minutes felt like hours. I honestly don’t even know how long I was back there. Surgery delayed? Nope. So it probably wasn’t nearly as long as it felt.
The Procedures before the Surgery
Finally, my knee surgeon came and talked to me one last time in Pre-Op. Answered last-minute questions. Told me he would speak to my husband after the case and shook my hand and said, “Let’s do this”.
After that, it was time to get these two mini procedures done. First, the nerve block. The anesthesiologist just gave me a shot of medication in a couple of spots down the right leg below the knee. Not too much pain, like a little bee sting. The next procedure for the spinal block was a lot like having an epidural. I had to sit on the edge of the bed, holding a pillow, and lean forward with rolled shoulders.
This procedure hurt a little bit more. Like someone is pinching you hard, then the nurse lays you back and swings your legs up very quickly. Why might you ask? Well, because they were already starting to feel heavy, tingly, and going numb. It was a crazy sensation to all of a sudden, not be able to move anything from my waist down.
After all, this though the waiting was over. The transporter wheeled me to the OR room as I waved to that friendly face nurse. At this point is where the surgery team was going to take over. They impressively slid my half limp body onto the OR table. Someone, whom I couldn’t see asked one more time which leg they were operating on today. I answered and boom, I was out like a light.
Continue reading the next part of the story by clicking, My Surgery Stay
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