Sunday, November 28, 2004

I need to wash my hair


Forgive the spelling mistakes in this post, I’m currently in bed with my leg up and using my archaic laptop, with a spellcheck that doesn’t even recognize the word website.

I had arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday, November 24th. The hard part for me was not being able to eat anything after midnight the day before, and only drinking water up until 10 AM the morning of, but I went to bed early and slept late so it wouldn’t be so difficult.

I admit I was a bit nervous before going in for anesthesia but aside from the surgery room being as cold as an icebox, it wasn’t bad. He gave me the anesthesia in my IV and all I remember is being positioned on the surgery table before going to sleep.

The funny thing is that the young girl who had surgery before me was Jim Plunkett‘s daughter. I had no idea until my husband told me that Jim used to be quarterback for the Raiders. That’s pretty cool, although not unexpected since Dr. King is currently surgeon for the Raiders. Jim’s daughter is in college (I thought at first she was high school) and plays volleyball. She had surgery on both her left shoulder (left-handed hitter? Maybe middle blocker, maybe right side) and right knee, although the knee was apparently just arthritis or something like that.

I woke up groggy and super nauseated, so I told the nurse and she gave me something in my IV. It made me sleepy but I only dozed for another hour or so. I was right across from the clock and remember waking up every ten minutes.

My leg felt big and bulky with all the dressings. They had also wrapped the cold pack for my cryotherapy (ice water machine) right over my initial bandages, so it was packed tight in there. I didn’t feel much pain, just slight twinges that made me treat it gingerly, but I was so doped up on anesthesia and novacaine that I could have been run over by a truck and not noticed.

I was still a bit nauseated so she gave me a little more of that stuff (I’m such a druggie) but it made my mouth super dry, just like when I wear those motion-sickness patches that settle my stomach. Maybe it was the same medication. So I was slurping down water and soda like a fish.

My husband came in to see me and looked relieved and happy. I was very glad I had worn my warmup pants that button all the way up the sides. I was able to wear one leg and button the waistband over the other leg. I got wheeled out to the car and endured a bumpy and slightly painful ride home. My husband set up my CPM machine, which moves my leg at a measured rate to a specific angle, and the cryotherapy.

Maybe because I’d been asleep during the surgery and for most of the time posts-op, but I couldn’t fall asleep that night. I had a million thoughts in my head, as if I were manic. I might have dozed in intervals, but I don’t remember it. So I brainstormed and actually got a bit of writing done that night, right up until around 8 AM when the dog woke my husband up. I had written all that stuff in the notebook I keep by the bed, so I typed it into my laptop computer that morning.

Things were going well. My husband made turkey dinner that day for Thanksgiving and it turned out rather well. He made my mom’s special Asian stuffing recipe, green bean casserole, and homemade gravy over rice, and it was delicious.

Then Thursday night the novacaine wore off and I felt a deep aching pain in my joint, maybe from the screws they used to anchor the tendon and replace my ACL. Dr. King had called in two prescriptions for me before the surgery, Ibuprofen (which I was taking every 8 hours for inflammation) and another drug for pain. I had told Dr. King’s assistant that I had a bad reaction to codeine and any derivative like Vicodin.

A few days before the surgery, I had taken a Vicodin prescribed by the intensive care doctor and had a horrendous reaction—intense nausea, dizziness, headaches, just like when I had taken codeine as a child. I threw up as much of the medicine as I could and my husband discovered the next day that it was structurally similar to codeine. Ever since, my stomach had been a bit sensitive and I was nervous about taking the new pain medication because it mentioned it may cause dizziness. However, the Ibuprofen also said it caused dizziness but I hadn’t been affected in that way.

So I took half a pill and waited about 45 minutes, but it only took the edge off the pain, which was getting pretty intense. So I took another half a pill (prescribed dosage was 1-2 pills). A few hours later I suffered the most terrible dizziness I’ve ever had. I’ve always had inner ear problems, which is probably why I get motion sickness so easily, and the dizziness was so bad that I lost hearing in both ears, felt nauseated and headachy. I could barely make it to the bathroom and back--my husband had to support me--and ended up retching in the trash can for part of the time.

It took about 12 hours before the dizziness went away, even though the drug’s effectiveness was only for about 6 hours, according to the bottle. The pain was bad, but the dizziness and nausea was worse. My husband paged Dr. King, who said the only other alternative was extra-strength Tylenol.

But I think that my stomach had been so violated by both the Vicodin and that other drug that now it wouldn’t even stomach Tylenol without protest. I still suffered terrible nausea for all day Friday and Saturday, with only a few moments of relief in between doses. We finally figured out it might be the Tylenol and my weakened, sensitive stomach making me so ill, so I stopped taking it last night and today seems better. I am still on the Ibuprofen for the inflammation, but sometimes it’s a struggle to make myself eat something so I can take my dose. My stomach has been terribly acidic.

I also had horrible constipation on Saturday, maybe caused by that darn drug. But today has been better.

The pain is not too bad, all things considered. The bone-deep ache has gone away, replaced by a sharper pain possibly from the stitches and insertion cuts. I can’t tell because my knee is still bandaged up. I have been trying to increase my range of motion on the CPM machine and keep my stomach filled. The nausea is a bit lessened, but not completely gone. I’ve also been suffering bad headaches, possibly because I haven’t been to the chiropractor in weeks and needed an adjustment even before the surgery--I should have gone, even though it would have been a hassle to my husband, because I am suffering for it now. My neck is so tight that it crunches when I move it.

I have a special request for my faithful prayer warriors Heather, Pammer and Squirl: please pray for the nausea and headaches to go away completely.

The funny thing is that I had heard that when you have intense weight loss and the body starts burning your fat stores, a lot of hormones stored in your fat are released into the bloodstream. I hadn’t thought much about it until Friday and Saturday when I suddenly started bawling and making my poor husband nervous and concerned. When I finally stopped crying, I thought about things and explained my theory that there were lots of hormones raging in my system since I hadn’t been eating much. He seemed to relax a bit.

I’ve changed clothes but haven’t showered since the day before my surgery, so I am overdue for a bath. My husband will help me take a sponge bath today and wash my hair, which is rather greasy. Blech. We’ll wrap my bandage in a garbage bag. I have an appointment with Dr. King tomorrow, and I think he will remove the dressing then.

I have been intensely thankful for my husband during this entire time. Without his constant care, I don’t know what I would have done. God has been good to me. I haven’t enjoyed this pain and suffering, but it has helped me rely more on Him and learn to be thankful. My husband and I prayed together last night when we were deciding what to do about the medications that were making me so sick. It was a nice time, because we haven’t prayed together in a while. We should start that up again, we’ve let it fall by the wayside.

Well, that’s the whole gory tale. This has been a hellish past few days. Hopefully it will start getting better. But hey, I got some writing done on Thursday, so that’s good.


  1. (((((((Camy))))))))
    You got it hun. Will continue to pray.
    Love you

  2. My dear friend,
    I am sooooo sorry you had to go through so much. I have been praying and will continue to do so. I have gained a new respect for your hubby as well.
    (((((((((hugs))))))))))) and cyber chocolate (your tummy can handle cyber chocolate) and my love and prayers are heading your way.