Unwilling couch potato

Funny title isn’t it??  Well it is true for right now and it is part of the reason why I have been absent this last week.  Yes one week ago I went into the hospital for surgery on my knee to have my meniscus repaired.  Now whether you know what a meniscus is or not is really irrelevant but what the outcome was is that my knee was really quite damaged and needed a lot of repair. Now I am sure that most people would just take it in stride (yes, pun intended) but me, no I don’t take anything in stride, as a matter of fact it seems like I prefer to take the road less traveled!!  This girl goes in for major knee surgery and can not tolerate any type of pain medication. Now I am not talking about just not liking the way it makes you feel, or needing to eat something before taking the medication, oh no…for me it is much worse.  In my years of life every time I have had a need for some type of pain medication, within 10 minutes of the medication entering my body it is a major catastrophe…my head starts to spin and my stomach starts to churn and with out any hesitation I am spewing every bit of contents from my stomach.  Now I know that sounds disgusting but it is true.  So, how do you have major surgery and get by without any pain medication?  Well I was given what they call a femoral nerve block. The first time I woke up in the recovery room I felt as though someone had driven a spike through my knee, just agonizing pain.  I remember my anesthesiologist saying to the nurse, I think we will do the block and all I was thinking was please do something!!!  My next round of consciousness had me feeling much less pain and when I reached out to touch my leg I could feel my thigh under my hand but my leg was limp and lifeless.  It took me back to when I was in labor with my daughter and the doctor broke my water and I was screaming at my physician that I wanted an epidural and in the background was my mother in a saintly voice stating to me, “but you didn’t want an epidural, you said you didn’t want one.”  All I remember was saying to her, ” well guess what…I want one now!!!” In my mom’s day of giving birth, epidurals did not exist, so it was very foreign to her.  I remember her walking in the room after the nurses had gotten me settled in the bed and I was numb from waist down. My mom touched my feet which had been ice cold all through my pregnancy due to all the inflammation in my legs, and she said, ” your feet are nice and warm.”  I looked at her and I said,”oh really, well I can’t feel them, I can’t feel anything, I am numb!” Well this sensation was quite like that except only on my right leg.

  All intentions were for me to go home that same day and the nurses fed me toast and juice and wanted to get me to the bathroom so they could send me on my merry way home to my bed.  That’s when things got complicated!  Sitting up on the bed was not too bad and I was feeling a bit groggy which I expected but  when I attempted to stand on my good leg, I was like one of those weebles you had when you were a kid and I fell right back on to the bed.  After two more attempts I managed to get my bearings and I was standing upright, crutches in hand and no weight on my operative leg and thinking to myself, “I got this”.  Well I was a bit more unsteady than I ever had been on crutches and felt more like I had never been on crutches before which of course was not the case.  I made it about 10 feet in the direction of the bathroom and I was smiling at a little girl who was waiting to go for her surgery, she was there with her parents.  My husband was in front of me and a nurse behind me, all of a sudden my numb, non-existent leg felt the need to get involved in the walk to the bathroom and I was like one of those toy soldiers that you see just toppling over.  I know that there was fear in my eyes as I had no control in what was happening to my body.  My husband and the other father managed to catch me before I fell and I felt like a rag doll being tossed around.  Well fortunately for me the staff was quick and attentive and caught me in a wheel chair before I actually hit the floor.  But I still found myself looking around to see who had all seen what had happened.


In the end me and my numb leg earned an over night stay in the hospital and two sessions of therapy the next day to make sure I was safe to go home.  The “almost” fall had thrown me and scared me so much that my confidence was shaken and I had a lot of work convincing the physical therapist that I would be safe to go home.  I had a new found respect for all of those patients that I had taken care of as a nurse and questioned their safety in their own home, and now I was in the same boat with them.  I did actually make it home later the day after my surgery and found myself to be ever so cautious about getting around the house.  You take stairs for granted and getting on and off the toilet which normally seems so simple becomes a huge undertaking when you have one leg to stand on and no bar or ledge to grab to help you stand up.

Since I have been home I have had a riser delivered for my toilet and this has made my life much easier but also it is rather amusing to be 45 years old and 5’8″ and be able to sit on the toilet and dangle your feet!!  I haven’t had that since I think I was about 4 years old!!  My daughter is learning patience and what it is like to care for her mom since I have always been the caretaker of everyone.  But for me who has always been the caretaker not only at home but professionally, I struggle the most with having to ask for help and to rely on my family to assist me with the tasks I always did on my own.  I miss being able to cook dinner for my husband and daughter or prepare their lunches.  I know this is all very necessary right now and if I want to heal my body I have to follow the doctor’s orders, but I am used to being active and on the go and being a unwilling couch potato is proving quite difficult for me.


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