Even though I've had many surgeries before this one, my anxiety level was embarrassingly high this morning and even the night before.
The nurse said waves of heat were coming from my body. BP was 154 over 125. I was assured "we have meds for that." It is a hospital after all. Deep breathing, distraction, talking with my wife - nothing calmed me. What's with this? Wife Colleen chalked it up to old age; I thought it was related to having too many experiences. Been down this road before and all went well. What are the chances I keep escaping complications.
Then there was the filling out of the Living Will. Did I just awaken a subconscious fear of mortality? I'm 62. People my age read the obit section; there but for the grace of God, etc.
But the medical staff was reassuring, confident and very thorough. Knee area shaved, tubes put in and information collected all mixed in with cheerful small talk.
The gurney journey to the OR was bright, cold and busy with everyone readying their respective stations. Lots if talk, instrument alignment and one warm blanket. Did I mention it was cold?
Then when all was ready I sat up on the table, legs dangling off the side. I leaned forward with my forehead resting on the chest of a staffer and stared at the floor.
Behind me, hands were searching out the right spot using the telemetry of the hip bones and then a finger selected the right spot and stopped.
"You'll feel something cold on your back for a minute." it was the numbing medicine prior to the epidural. If something happened after that I don't remember. No counting back from 100. No spinning OpArt. Just "zonk." It was 6:50 a.m.
At 8:20 I woke up in the OR feeling absolutely relaxed and in no pain ... And numb from the waist down. How long this is going to last no one could be sure. But it eventually will be the last comfort I get and most of the day I enjoyed it.
It was a short visit in recovery. I was pretty clear and lucid so they sent me up to my room on the second floor, a short walk to physical therapy the next day.
At about 1245pm, I got my first taste of exercise - moving from the bed to chair. "That's it? I'm raring to go and I merely hop one step?"
They want to ensure I don't get dizzy, faint and crash to the floor. At my 240 lbs., who can blame them?
Meals so far have consisted of coffee (decaf), broth, Jello and juice. Later I can graduate to a solid piece of toast. Oh joy.
All in all, this is a much better experience than eight years ago when i had my first replacement. A lot has changed since then.
Now therapy will be the true test.
That's tomorrow. Later