LGN 115: Recovery

I am very drowsy.

First, I’d like to start off on a negative note. I don’t like Cigna. As I was laying on the gurney, IV dripping Xanax and antacid into my veins, the doctor stopped by briefly and said I owed him big time because they had just gotten off the phone from battling with Cigna over whether or not to cover the surgery. Boo, Cigna.

Second, thanks for the save and ride home, Lorena. 

Moving on, I’ve been remiss with my health in general over the years, which is probably something I can’t afford to do as my bioware warranty ran out in my mid 20’s. So I haven’t noticed how different medical insurers vary.

I had two operations as a child and a teenager. One was for a tonsillectomy, all ice cream recovery and get well cards, and the other to address a testicular torsion, which is even more unpleasant, traumatizing and awkward than it sounds. Long gone are the days of overnight stays and inpatient recovery for most surgeries and procedures. Things have changed so much.

ANXIETY


Surgery is major. I admit that leading up to it I was anxious and having existential conversations with myself. Like, I’m about to have my consciousness switched off through a judicious use of chemical concoctions. I could never wake up. I didn’t tell my family I was having surgery. It happened kind of fast — the MRI follow-up appt. turnaround to surgery. But it would be rude for them to get a call that I died during surgery when they didn’t know I was having one.

There are so many things I’d want to say to many people. Too many. But I can’t. I mean, I could but I won’t. When it comes to friends and acquaintances, you know, on some level we all believe that we should live freely and tell people what they mean to you and what you see in them. YOLO and all that. There are reasons why we don’t, though, because there’s a time and place.  In reality, in my experience, it weirds people out more often than not and actually triggers natural defenses/boundaries. Counterproductive. Sometimes the appropriate time and place is never and nowhere.

On the other hand I’m already a known weirdo so I’ve got that going for me.

I was going to write a “if I don’t wake up” blog but I didn’t. I was going to schedule it to post a day or two after the scheduled surgery just in case, but knowing myself I’d forget and it would post and freak people out. Then the govt. would declare me legally dead and I’d be left with nothing and I’d have to concoct a new life as a non-citizen and set up shop in the Bahamas wearing a straw fedora and smoking Cuban cigars, busking for cruise ship tourists and being an anonymous, shady, candid street photographer.

Of course, I’d prefer to expire on an operating table over the statistically ever-increasing odds that that I’ll be found desiccated and noisome in a one bedroom apartment without even the company of a companion animal. Ideally, I’d like to go out saving other people’s lives. Barring a peaceful and contented ghost-relinquishing at the end of a long, prosperous, fulfilling life, that’s second on the list of acceptable deaths.  On the Kick the Bucket list.

In pre-op, my blood pressure was 145/58. The nurse(?) said it was because I was anxious about being there even though I hadn’t said anything to that effect. She was right, though. (During and after the procedure, my BP was much better and even in a healthy range, which is good news, considering my family history. Thanks, Underground Athlete.)

As the anesthologist and others came and went, asking questions and double and triple checking my identity, any allergies and confirming the location and nature of the procedure I started to nod off. Someone would come through the partially closed curtain and I’d perk up a bit for questions and get an update on where I was in the queue and the time. One time it’s the physician’s assistant, then the anesthesiologist again, then another person, then the doctor, then another person and then someone who had been in before and she said, “You’re all done, Mr. Young.”

I was like, “What?”

She said, “Everything went well and the doctor will be by soon to check on you.”

“Really?”

“Yep.”

I don’t know how anyone resists the urge to pretend a person that unconscious is a life-size puppet and put them in comical poses while taking selfies. I mean, come on.

RECUPERATING

So I’m home recovering. I work from home so I’m trying to be productive today, but it’s hard since any drug that has a potential side-effect of drowsiness makes me very drowsy.

The clicking is still there, which is disappointing, but the doc said that he fixed a big disc of cartilage flapping around in there, which explains a lot. You hear that Cigna?

His original worry was that it was just arthritis and there’d be nothing to fix. Even with the MRI report with the grab bag of observations. Apparent arthritis, edema, Baker’s cyst, which is a build up of synovial fluid behind the knee joint. That explains that sensation of pressure in and behind the knee. It can be caused by arthritis or, wouldn’t you know, cartilage damage. 

The good news is that I can put weight on the leg immediately and was encouraged to walk normally. No crutches or cane, pain levels permitting. I have to do physical therapy, which apparently helps avoid or minimize scar tissue.

I can probably drive, too, which I’m thankful for. The other day I tried driving using my left foot just to see what it was like and … Nope. That don’t work. I was worried about being incapacitated and apartment-bound for weeks and weeks.

They told me that I really should have someone staying with me the first day and night since I had general anesthesia. I’m not sure why. I guess just in case you have a bad reaction after the fact or pass out or experience debilitating pain or develop a blood clot and stroke out. I don’t have anyone for that, though. I mean, my family would do it but they’re so busy up there taking care of each other around Dundalk/Baltimore (it’s a delicate balance) and I felt pretty good and confident that I was okay. Just very tired.

ON MY FEET

Okay it’s starting to hurt now but that’s how the nervous system works. I’ll pop some painkillers tomorrow and see if it helps. Shoot. I forgot to make PT appointments.

Now it’s a matter of time, PT, and not getting and dislodging blood clots.

You can do eeeeet! Bouncing back.

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