So a year and a half ago I found out that I needed major surgery and a few months after that I wrote a post about it called 2 New Legs Please
I do recommend that you read that post before continuing on with this one. Okay so you have read it and are all up to date now? Good so lets get into this… you may want to make a cup of tea and get yourself a snack because this is going to be a long post and also there will be a lot of pictures because what else do you do?
So yesterday 2 weeks ago was my surgery date but before I get to that lets go back 5 days before on Wednesday the 15th. After hiding in my room all morning due to my stupid anxiety and the fact that we had visitors and well lets just say I have no interest in seeing them or even talking to them! I ended up falling asleep and normally when my dad wakes me up he is gentle about it but this time he banged on my door and said very loud to get up and come upstairs (I live in the basement) because we have to talk! I had no idea what was going on and didn’t want to leave and told him to tell me what was going on! As my dad was telling me I wasn’t able to listen after he told me it was about my surgery because I went into shock!
I was giving the choice to accept the date for my surgery or I could wait another year or two when it was my turn on the waiting list. The only reason I had the choice was because I was put on a cancellation list and well somehow my surgeon had some more time and I was given the call. I was on the fence on if I wanted to have it in 5 days or wait the few years… I didn’t have much time to make up my mind because I had to call back within the hour to give my answer. I wanted to do it but I just didn’t know if I was ready I was very much in shock! Obviously I ended up getting the surgery or else this post wouldn’t be here!
The following day I have to drive to Toronto for my pre op and let me just say that took 5 hours 5 FLIPPING HOURS! I spent a good 3-3 1/2 hours just sitting around waiting and because there was no free wifi and I didn’t bring a book or anything I was SO BORED! I had to get a few x-rays and honestly I didn’t think that would happen and I didn’t shave my legs so that was awkward! Me being me just made jokes about it to the x-ray technicians. I also had to to see a nurse and go through what seemed like my life and I had to talk about somethings that I didn’t want to and because my dad was in the room with me sadly he had to hear things that he never needed to hear or know about me. The last person I had to talk to was the anesthesiologist and again had to talk about things that I didn’t want my dad to hear but lucky for me my dad is a very understanding man and didn’t ask any questions about what I had to talk about.
The next few days were absolutely crazy running around trying to buy everything I need for the hospital and for when I come home. It seemed like I was driving all over my town trying to buy everything plus I had to drive to another city to get some more things. No matter how many things I was buying it just felt like more things came up on my list. I was also trying to buy some things to keep myself busy for the hospital and honestly I love colouring books and already own two but wanted more because why not.
I love everything about these and let me just say it was so hard to choose only 3! The animal kingdom is probably one of the coolest ones because it is actually post cards that you colour (duh its a colouring book) and then mail it. My plan was to colour one a day and mail them off but I didn’t get to do that and I will explain later.
Besides the awesome colour books that I love I also bought a robe and let me just say its so incredibly soft and cozy and like wearing a fluffy cloud but because it is summer it is just to damn hot to always wear but I always have it with me to cuddle.
So it is the day of my surgery and I didn’t sleep for even an hour because I was absolutely scared and nervous about surgery! It also didn’t help that I was hungry or the 2 hour car ride or the fact I was snapping at my parents thankfully they knew I wasn’t mad or angry at them that it was just my fear of what was about to happen.
Once we arrived to the hospital a good 30 minutes early! We went to the waiting room and well like the name just waited until a nurse came in. Almost an hour later I was registered and then it was time to wait some more! Due to my high anxiety disorder I wasn’t able to sit still and I was freezing cold even tho I really wasn’t. Finally a nurse came to bring me to a bed and I had to change and at that point I felt super voluble because well all I had was a “sexy” hospital gown and nothing else not even my socks! I was giving some Ativan to help my anxiety and then came time for my iv…. well lets just say I have the WORST veins for an iv! The nurse who was super nice but wouldn’t shut up and she also was a spitter so there was that… well she poked my hand and nothing….. she then tried again and nothing…. she couldn’t for the life of her find a vein so she had to get a fellow nurse who was known to be able to find veins that others can’t. While all of this was going on my parents were by my bed knowing that I wouldn’t see them much longer. The new nurse told me that he would try the iv when I get moved to get others things done because he had to use an ultrasound machine to find my veins. This so far took a good hour and a half and then my parents were told it was time for them to take my bag to where my room was and that they wouldn’t see me until everything was done and lets just say you could tell my parents were scared for me I mean come on in their eyes I’m just a baby even tho I am almost 28.
Once I was moved to a different part of the hospital the male nurse went on the hunt for a good vein and lets just say even with the machine he couldn’t do it he tried 2 times and he felt defeated and even said I was the worst patient or better yet my veins are. Finally on the 6th try the anesthesiologist was able to get the iv in and then I was started on something I can’t remember what it was I just remember that it was to make me sleepy so I wouldn’t feel what was about to happen. I then had to have an epidural and tho I do not remember for the life of me getting it I told my parents after that it was the worst thing ever so I guess it hurt a lot but my mind has blocked it from me. I then had to get nerve blocks and that was for sure painful! The first one sure hurt but once it was in place I was fine but I had to get the other one on the back of my leg and after about a good 10 minutes of pain as this has to not only go through the skin and fat layer it also goes through the muscle and that is honestly a painful and very very weird feeling… the nurse that was facing me saw that I was crying and in pain and told the other nurses that they had to stop because I couldn’t handle it. So I never had it for the back of my leg and well it sure affected me later on!
It was now time to go into the operating room and even tho I was on a lot of drugs I was super scared. I don’t remember much from this point except once I was on the table that by the way I don’t remember being moved onto the table. I do however remember my arms being tied down and the surgeon was talking to me and then the next thing I new I saw a nurse and asked if I was alive. I was informed that I fell asleep before they had to put me to sleep, I don’t remember anything else except my parents leaving after my surgery. I was told just the other day that I made a phone call while I was in recovery and honestly I thought that was a dream but nope 100% real and I do not remember any of it! I also don’t know how I called seeing how I didn’t have my phone and my parents said they didn’t give me a phone to call so its just one of life’s great mysteries!
The next day I was finally able to get some food and again I don’t remember a lot from that day. I know my surgeon came in to talk to me but I do not remember anything he said to me. I also don’t remember my parents coming in to see me. I do however remember that I was in A LOT of pain in the morning and I was told it was because the epidural wore off.
The doctor and nurses then spent the next 2-3 days trying to find some type of pain medicine to help because NOTHING was working and I was crying in pain! If you know me well enough you will know that I can handle a lot of pain and not complain about it but because I was in tears and I’m not talking about a few tears I mean you would of thought someone died I was crying so much and my parents knew that I wasn’t doing good at all! Little side story I have fallen down stairs and been hit by a baseball and a lot more other things and never cried but this I could not handle for the life of me!
Sadly one day the pain was so bad that I had an anxiety attack that turned into a HUGE panic attack and that was the first time my parents have ever seen me have one and I will never get the look of their faces out of my mind when they saw what I go through. Over an hour later my panic attack was finally done and over! The worst part of it was that I said some stuff to my parents that I never wanted them to know it was nothing about them but it sure hurt for them to hear it. Before any of that happened one of my best friends surprised me with a visit and when I saw her I just burst into tears because she drove 2 hours out of her way just to spend about an hour with me, plus I haven’t seen her in a year and the amount of pills I was on just all added up! It was so good to see her and I am so very thankful to have her as a friend! Sadly she had to leave for work but I am still very thankful for her spending her time and gas to drive to visit me!
A few days later one of my childhood best friends came to visit and even brought me a tea from Tim Hortons that made me very happy because the tea from the hospital was just awful! I was still in A LOT of pain and it worried my surgeon so he came into my room to tell me that I was being transferred to a different hospital for a test to see if I had to have emergency surgery. Once the paramedics arrived I was freaking out again…. I was scared about having to be moved, I was scared that I would have to have surgery because if I did it would be an incision from around my ankle all the up up to my knee…. plus I was very scared because I didn’t have my parents with me! Thankfully my friend knew I was scared and I didn’t even have to ask her to stay with me she said she wasn’t going to leave me! That helped a lot as she was in the ambulance with me! She was also nice enough to be with me for the test only because I asked for her and because the test was 2 needles into my leg to test the pressure I was able to hold her hand and what I thought was a lot of strength when I squeezed her hand I found out was nothing due to how weak I was. Thankfully I didn’t have to have the surgery! I had to spend the night and was giving a very small privet room. I ended up getting transferred back to my hospital the next day and again I had another panic attack due to the fear. I am very happy and grateful that the paramedic was so focused on helping me through my panic attack.
Honestly I don’t really remember what day most of this happened as I was on so many medications that I really didn’t know what was going on plus I had side affects from one of them but it wasn’t bad enough for the nurses to change it even tho anyone who was able to see me could see it was bad. No I didn’t have a skin rash or anything like that nope I couldn’t hold my head up very well so it would keep falling back plus I couldn’t control my eyes very well so if my eyes were open well most of the time you would just be looking at white because my eyes would roll back. It wasn’t good to look at and if my eyes were open and you could see my actually eyes well I couldn’t see very well so that is why I couldn’t do any colouring sadly. I will say that one of the days I was taking pictures of all the pills I had to take I did miss a few but I counted 42 pills I was taking, just think that was everyday!
At this point I was in the hospital for about 4 or 5 days and I wanted to go home but I didn’t feel safe yet and I wasn’t aloud to either because I had to do a lot of things first. At this point I never got out of my bed well I did but only to be moved around. I was informed that normally at this point people are sent home! Even my roommate I had was gone and I had a new one who by the way was SO ANNOYING! I was doing some physical therapy but it was just moving my toes and my ankle and CAREFULLY bending my knee to 45 degrees. I now had to learn to try and walk with the walker. My first try I was only able to take about 3-5 “steps” I say that very loosely because I am unable to put any weight on my leg until I get the okay and even then I have to be in rehab to learn how to walk again so I was just hopping with the walker because I couldn’t use crutches at that moment due to me having no balance and always shaking!
Even tho this was so hard to do by the next day I was able to hop over to the bathroom and that was a huge thing for me! Up until that point I had a catheter so I could pee and I know you want to know about how I was able to poop well lets just say I wasn’t…. no matter what I tried I just couldn’t and the worst part about that is I didn’t even feel like I had to or in any pain! It got to the point where I had to drink A LOT of prune juice and after 2 days of that still nothing! One of the nurses was even trying some family drink that was passed down through her family and could make anyone go within an hour and lets just say that didn’t even work! It got to the point where if I didn’t have a bowl movement within the next few hours I was going to get an ennama and let me just say I was not about to let that happen. Thankfully about 10 minutes before that was going to happen I was able to go!
At this point it was Friday and the goal was to go home on the weekend but sadly the weekend turned into Monday before I could go home. At this point I was in my room alone and it was nice but at the same time I was even more lonely then before! My parents made the drive up to visit me almost everyday only once or twice they did not come because I told them not to. Remember the drive is 2 hours to the hospital from my house and it would take 3-4 hours for them to get back home because of the time they would leave.
I had another visit from my childhood best friend and this time she brought me some real food! I knew she was because I told her what I wanted but either way I was SO happy to eat “real food”. At this point I was so tired and sick of eating hospital food and let me just say the food she brought me tasted absolutely amazing! If you have ever stayed at the hospital and had to eat what they call food then you know what I am talking about!
By Monday I finally was able to to go home! I passed everything I was told to do and my pain was somewhat under control so when I was told I can leave I had a huge smile! It took a long time before I could leave for many reasons! I didn’t care I was just so excited to go home. I could not believe how hard it was to just get into the car! Not only that but getting out of the car was just as hard! I ended up sleeping almost the full 2 hours back and my dad had to wake me up when we got back.
This is where things got super tricky, I have two steps to get into my house and while that doesn’t sound like anything after going through everything I just did it was like trying to climb a mountain! My dad and I figured out a trick to get me in and now its not hard at all but still hard enough. Not only did I have to just get into the house but because I live in the basement I had some more stairs to do thankfully for me there are only about 6 or 7 of them but again not easy at all. Seeing how I am unable to put ANY weight on my leg my only options for stairs is to go down on my bum and sadly not the way we all used to as kids. It took a good 10 minutes just to go down the stairs! I then made my way to my bed but completely forgot to lower my bed before surgery and its set to the highest point it can be and even tho I’m somewhat tall I still have to climb into my bed when I’m normal! This is still a difficult thing for me to do!
Like I said I was super scared for surgery but I was even more scared about my recovery. Having to go to the bathroom is super hard for me still to this day it takes forever to just get to the toilet and not only that but getting down and up is hard even tho I have handles installed on my toilet. Now I am about to get very honest here and tell you the truth and it is personal information that you may not want to know so just go to the next paragraph if that is the case. Even tho going to the bathroom is hard what is really hard about it is when it is time to wipe! Normally when it is that time I bend both my legs and kinda move forward but because my leg has to be straight and elevated that is not going to happen so I have had to learn some tricks and to make things even worse well my period showed up early, I don’t actually care that it came early I knew I would have it soon what made this hard was that I use the diva cup and the way you have to put it in well again it involves bending a leg and balancing on the other leg…. and because I use the diva cup I don’t have pads or tampons so I had to send my dad out to buy me some pads and just like I thought he bought the wrong kind but I didn’t care because it was better then anything! Plus he also bought me a white chocolate with coconut bar, he was trained well!
Most of this past week I have just spent my time in my bed watching tv, movies and even reading and let me just say I am bored of tv, movies and I can only read so much before my eyes get stressed out and I have to stop. So I am at the point where I am bored and have nothing to do! The only time I have gone out of the house since my surgery was when I went to my first session for my tattoo. Sadly the tattoo shop is on the second level and there was no elevator so that meant it was time to bum it up the stairs. I don’t know how many stairs there were but I know it was more then 20 less then 30 so it took me a long time to do it and thankfully my tattoo artist was there to help if I needed it! He also told me how impressed he was because everyday people who have no issues walking complain about the stairs and the only complaint I had was that I was tired and had to take a little breaks here and there to have some water. If you know me you will know that when I have my mind set on something I don’t give up and I was not about to give up the chance for my tattoo because I have been waiting about 3-4 years to get it and I was not going to cancel! I go back on the 13th (my birthday) to get it all finished and I am so excited just not for the stairs!
The worst part of that day was that I had to go to the bathroom very bad and like I said before it is very hard and I can only use a toilet that has a bar or something to pull myself up. My dad stopped at Tim Hortons so I could use the washroom and first I had to go very far on my crutches just to get inside! One guy held the door open for me even tho I wasn’t all that close to the door but once I got inside I had to sit down for a few minutes just to take a break. One thing that made me mad was that even tho the bathroom said it was handicap there was no automatic door and because I am on crutches there is no way I can keep the door open and hop in so my dad had to keep the door open for me and hold it open so I could get out. As I was hopping back to a seat there was this little girl around 3 with her mom and even tho they could of walked by me faster then it would take for me to get to a chair they waited for me. At this point my dad went to go buy me a tea and get me a muffin to snack on. While he was in line there were many people that had to walk around me because my leg was in the aisle but anyone could easily get by me just have to take an extra step or two to get around. This is where I get so mad and upset. There was this one older man in his 60’s that just stood there and got mad at me because I wouldn’t move and he told me how rude I am and that I need to respect my elders and that people like me have no respect for others. I was so mad at him that all I could say back was that he needs to have respect for the injured and to have a good day. I just have to mention I have respect for everyone and someone has to do something very bad for me to not respect them and well I lost respect for this man because of how he treated me. After that all happened the little girl and her mother were leaving and the mother told her daughter to be careful walking around me, the little girl asked her mom what happened to me, her mother replied that I have a bad bobo and all the little girl could say was she feels bad and hopes I heal fast. No lie that little girl made me tear up!
A few days ago another very good friend of mine came over for a visit with his fiancé and their almost one year old. They are both some of my best friends and their son is my little buddy that I love to death and would do anything for. They also brought me a tea so again I was happy about that! The worst part of the visit was that I can’t hold my buddy because he is so active and doesn’t sit still I can’t take the risk just yet of having him on my lap! It was such a nice visit and made me feel a lot better. They also got to look at my lovely incision that is way longer then I was told it would be.
So you must be wanting to know what was done to have such a huge incision, just so you know it is about 7-9 inches. I had 3 things done to my leg the first is called a high tibial osteotomy and what that is is when they take a wedge of my tibia out and move the bone together and keep to there with plates.
As if that wasn’t bad enough I also had to get a tibia rotation and just like it sounds the doctor cuts my tibia and rotates it and then again more plates! The last part that was done wasn’t planned until the surgeon was in there but my knee cap was also moved down about an inch and moved over a good 1-2 inches. Looking at my leg is very weird as it is something I have never seen on me before and the fact that the other leg is very different you can really see the difference when I put them side by side!
Even tho I have to have my brace on when I am moving around I don’t actually keep it on most of the time, only when I am sleeping or having to move or when I have to get in and out of the shower. Speaking of that is another adventure all on its own! I miss having a normal shower or having a bath but I have to sit on a bath tub seat and its not fun getting in and out not only that but I have to have a moveable shower head because I can’t have the pressure go directly onto the incision. Lets just say when I do get to shower it takes a good 30-50 minutes not because I am just in there contemplating my life or anything like that but because it takes A LOT to do it.
I get to start my rehabilitation this afternoon and I’m excited and scared for it! Most people don’t start until after they go to their post op but because I asked about it I was told it would be good to start now because by the time I get to start putting minimum weight on my leg I will already be a month ahead of anyone else because the muscles will already be stronger and ready to start learning how to walk. Did I mention that I get to learn how to walk all over again! Not excited for that at all! Once I am all healed I get to get my other leg done! It takes 6-7 months for a full recovery but I am determined to heal in 4-5 months! I was told that my other leg will be done either just before Christmas or after. I am going to request to get it in the new year that way I can enjoy Christmas with my family and friends. It already sucks that I have to spend my birthday like this but Christmas is a bigger deal to me and I love Christmas WAY more than my birthday.
I now have 15 days before I go to my post op and that means another long drive to Toronto with what I am sure is going to be a long time to wait to only see the surgeon for I bet 5-10 minutes. All I know is that I will have X-rays done on my leg to see how everything is healing and if it is all good then I will finally be able to start putting weight on my leg and also I will be able to get back into the pool! If you didn’t know before my surgery I was swimming 2-3 kms 5 days a week and I don’t mean just gentle swimming around I mean full on as if I was in a race swimming lengths. Once I do get to go back into the pool sadly it will be a few months before I can get back to where I was so I will be just doing some careful movements in the water and I will also be doing some of my rehab in the water and trust me I can not wait until I can get back into the water!
So now that I have written what feels like a book I am going to leave it here. If you have read all the way through congrats, high five, you did it! I am sorry it is so much to read but just think there are somethings I haven’t said! If you want to know how my recovery is going be sure to subscribe via email to find out when I post because I will be posting about my recovery not only for anyone who is interested but for myself to remember this even tho I really don’t want to. Also any suggestions as to what I can do to try and keep busy that isn’t watching tv would be great! Also please leave a comment of what your favourite book is and if it sounds like something I would be interested in then I will go pick myself up a copy! By that I mean order it online so I don’t have to try and go out. Also for my tattoo lovers out there I need some ideas of what to get on my knee to cover up the scar once I am at that point!