DAY 1: The admitting department called me in early, as another patient was released early. I went to the hospital, checked in, similarly to a hotel check in, and was whisked away to anesthesia. I was poked, prodded, drawn on, and repeatedly asked why I was there. They didn't know? Made me giggle a little on the inside. I wasn't nervous at all. After 6 years of chronic arthritis pain, worsening every year, I was ready to be on the other side. After an epidural, a knee nerve block, and drowsy IV medicine, I went to La-La Land and woke up 4 hours later in recovery. I had pain in my pubic bone and the nurse said it was urine building up. I asked for a catheter and a liter of urine was removed. The numbness from the epidural didn't wear off, so I was given a private room to stay in overnight.
DAY 2: The doctor making morning rounds said I am good to go home after my first physical therapy (PT). Walking with a walker made me tired after a few steps. Then we went up and down 4 stairs with a cane. I was so proud that I could do it. Second time down, however, I felt weird, nausea, saw stars, and my entire body released a bucket of sweat, dripping on the floor. The PT called for a nurse and I was wheeled back to bed. Blood pressure being too low, they waited until the afternoon to try PT again. Successful the second time around, I was sent home!
DAY 3: A visiting PT came to my home. I had been crying, whimpering, and sleepless yet another day. I was not pooping either. The pain was too intense. The PT called in another strength of pain medication, and maybe that would help. It did, and yet still no sleep that evening. I'm tired, stomach hurts, and in pain so much in the leg and hips. Even my skin hurt all over to the touch. Hubby says I have to eat more than a couple of spoons of apple sauce to buffer drugs and add fiber. I had 3 kinds of laxatives in my protocol!
DAY 4: Slightly high from the medication, and generally miserable, no sleep, no pooping, and thirsty as hell. The calls and texts of love come pouring in. It made my day. I am binge watching Fantasy Island and the Witches of East End on my iPhone. I take a daytime dozing nap, half awake and half asleep. My husband helps me to visualize my pain free future.
DAY 5: Another PT home visit, and positive vibes from my family. I finally slept for the night, waking up to take medication, and back to dream land. The range of motion in my right leg gets stronger day by day, still no poop, and after the PT leaves, I vomit for the first time, filling up half a garbage bag. Finally, the pressure in my tummy goes away!
DAY 6: Waking up to shooting pains running through the right hip flexor and calf, the entire leg is purple, swelling is worse in calves. I feel like if you poked my calf, it would burst like a balloon. My leg is hot and red all over. Fever off and on all week, and today I can barely walk. Nurse visits me at home, and we buy yet another type of laxative. Two hours later, elimination! I feel as if I won the lottery.
DAY 7: Another night of good (comparatively) sleep. I am having back pains from the lack of regular exercise, and trying not to project my misery. My cousin Annie calls me, and she takes me through a guided meditation for pain and healing. She had a total knee replacement surgery 6 months ago, so I am feeling like she really understands what is going on. I feel so loved with her words.
If any of you are having a knee replacement surgery in the future, know I am here to share my journey and hopefully help you in your mind and body with preparation. I can only tell you what I experienced, and every body reacts and responds differently. How healthy, fit, and mentally prepared one is affects the healing and recovery period. Add my journey to your toolkit so you can be more knowledgeable of others' passages. Ask me anything.