Convalescence

It had been arranged when surgery was planned that I would spend whatever convalescent time necessary at my co-parent’s house (divorce counseling taught that this was more polite than calling her my “ex”).

She picked me up at the hospital and escorted me to my new temporary living quarters, which for the first night was on the  ground level of her split-level house. The room was our son’s “getaway”, where he hung out, watched TV, played video games with his friends, and noodled on his guitars. And now, keep an eye on his old man. She had a comfy little setup for me on the sofa. After getting me settled, she ran out and did some shopping for me: prescriptions for an antibiotic and a pain killer, toothbrush and toothpaste, other assorted toilet articles, baby wash, and the all-important plastic urinal. This was something I took special care with: it was one thing to dump my urine in my hospital bed, quite another to dump it on Jill’s couch.

After the first night, I felt like I could make it up the short flight of stairs to her TV room, which had a super-comfy couch, a huge ottoman that I utilized as a bedside table, and, most importantly, a convenient power outlet I could use to keep my iStuff charged.

For the next four days, I felt, and actually was, pretty helpless. Although I didn’t really have any pain, I was still weak enough to require help in getting off the sofa and moving around, which I did a few times a day to build up my strength. I couldn’t sit up (doctor’s orders), so my usual position was flat on my back, staring at a wall. The view I got used to is the picture illustrating “Place Holder”.

When Sunday rolled around, Hallelujah! I found that I was able to get off the sofa without any help. It was quite exciting. I talked Jill into driving me to my place (a second-story condo unit), so I could gather my mail, check email, and get some clean clothes. While sitting at my computer, I discovered why prone was the preferred position: after 15 minutes or so, I started feeling light-headed, and little pain gremlins started jogging from my incision to my shoulders and back. Most of my email was spam anyway, so I gave it up and lay in my own bed until I felt like making the trip back downstairs and out to Jill’s vehicle.

During the next week, I felt stronger every day, to the point where my daily routine began including a martini happy hour and sitting up long enough to have dinner. I quit taking my pain medication unless I was having a tough time falling asleep, because it did help with that.

The more I walked around, though, the more I noticed that my leg still hurt, sometimes (but not often, I’ll admit) as much as it did prior to the surgery. As I’ve mentioned, I was told that it may take a while before I felt any relief, but I was kind of hoping I’d be one of those who noticed the difference right away.

I was getting anxious about my two week followup visit with the surgeon. I was tired of staring at a wall most of my day; I wanted to get back to work. I wanted a proper shower; the baby rinse might have been keeping me fresh-smelling and bacteria-free, but I still felt slimy. While it was nice laying around doing nothing (at first), I was getting bored and ready to return to my normal life, in my own home.

When the Big Day came, the PA took me back to a room in the Pain Center, asked the usual questions, and gave me a nice present: she removed my dressing and stitches. She said everything looked good. I asked if I could shower, she said I could. Yay!

Soon the surgeon came in and asked a few questions, then gave his report: I could return to work 3-4 hours a day; I could drive very short distances (the vibrations wouldn’t do my repair job any favors); my lifting had to be confined to 5-10 pounds, and he wrote me a scrip for physical therapy. A note on my release form said, “Patient can work toward resuming normal activities within 6-8 weeks”.

All music to my ears.

I returned to Jill’s and packed  up my small store of belongings (including Cameron, because I wasn’t quite ready to be completely on my own yet), and drove my car to my own home.

The first thing I did was take a long, long shower. That seemed to do me as much good as laying on my back for two weeks.

NEXT: Recovery

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