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Hospital recap

Below is my truncated version of my truncated hospital stay. While I am very optimistic and light-hearted about my upcoming recovery, explaining some of the hospital details in that way simply isn't possible, I'm sorry!

Surgery and recovery (Monday)
Woke up in a lot of pain, tried to throw up a couple of times, needed a breathing treatment, very groggy. Rolled into room, pain under control, very dry mouth. Start with ice chips, then a bit of water. By midnight, I've also had a small bit of orange sherbet.

A long night. Both legs are numb. Wait for almost four hours for my knee cpm machine and then transfer into it. At this point, nurses notice my right foot is cold as ice and they can't find a pulse in the foot. They call my PA, order a doppler scan on my feet and load it up with warm blankets in the meantime. I have less than one hour's sleep at a time.
Above, new hospital policy meant Dr. Mayo had to initial my hip before surgery.

Day 1 (Tuesday)
Pulse is back, though weak, in my foot. Pain under control, 1-2 when at rest; 3-4 when moving. Itchiness has overtaken body and the world. Am woken up every two hours for vitals. Very pale and tired as my hemotocrit has dropped to 26. Receive first transfusion (more on that later). Appetite is back to normal for remainder of week. Change beds and cpm machines, as the first set weren't what I needed. Sit up on side of bed, which wasn't as painful as I thought.

Day 2 (Wednesday)
Itchiness still ruling the universe. Am very happy to know that after we pull the epidural, this will start to wear off. Get permission from Dr. Mayo to go off the epidural; oxycontin starts at 1o a.m.; epidural pulled at noon. I stand and walk at 2 p.m.! Woo hoo! Feeling weak but very proud of myself. No need for the beside commode! Off to ultrasound to make sure there are no clots in my legs. This is a little uncomfortable but mostly bor-ing. Pain becomes stronger (3-4 at rest) by evening. See the physical therapist and the occupational therapist. Receive second blood transfusion before trying (and failing) to get some rest.

Day 3 (Thursday)
Itchiness nearly gone, except what's been caused by tape, tape everywhere. Pain manageable. I know I will get a shower this day, which is something wonderful to look forward to. Receive third and last transfusion. Walk with my own crutches instead of the walker. Try (and fail) to get some rest. Change cpms yet again. Despite their pain-in-the-buttness, I love my cpm. Makes me much less sore and stiff.

Day 4 (Friday)
Get dressed. Notice that my leg is one and a half times bigger than the other one and have a hard time getting it into the sweatpants. Pain manageable. Feeling tired but not as weak as the days before. Go up and down a few sets of stairs. Help Mom pack. I do this best by lying on the bed and closing my eyes. Anxiously await 2 p.m., when I get to split that joint. I can't express just how much I hate hospitals. Travel for the next almost 12 hours, making for a terribly sore Cassie by the time I'm back in my own bed.

Overall
The last thing Dr. Mayo said to me before I left was, "I never should have doubted your ability to get out of here so soon." One of the nurses said I was the first of Dr. Mayo's patients to get out of the hospital before five days. Of all the people impressed by my quick recovery, I was the most surprised. I went in there with a very determined attitude; isn't it crazy how much that can help?

Thank you to my Fort Collins friends for the cool bouquet of cookies! Love the turtles and they taste great! And thanks to Mom, for the new hippo and for her never-ending care and love.

I am so beyond thrilled to be through with the hardest part of two surgeries. My life is a blessing.

Comments

abnacy said…
Hey Cass,
Glad to hear that you're ok even though it wasn't the greatest hospital stay. Good job on coming home after a few days! I think we're making records for shortest stays post PAO :)
Hope your recovery goes well! Thanks for the update :)

-Acy

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It's a long recovery.

When friends, family, co-workers and strangers have comments or questions about the surgery, it's usually something like: "That sounds awful!" or "Was it really painful?" or "Scary."

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A surgery can change your body. Two surgeries can change everything.

Today, on the third anniversary of my LPAO, I inevitably think back to my first operation and the years leading up to that day.

Everything has changed.

I am an outdoors enthusiast and exercise nut. I can stay on my feet all day. My new body has freed my soul, and my heart responds in kind.

The breakdown is exactly the same as it was at two years post-op: zero pain with a couple of exceptions, great range of motion, same tingly patch and itching. The one difference is that my tailbone pain has waned considerably, which gives me much, much relief.

I'm a different person today than I was on April 23, 2008, and I'll be forever thankful.