It’s done. For my avid followers who don’t already know: the shawarma in my leg is gone.
The day of the surgery started extremely sluggishly because I was instructed not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. Bleary-eyed and decaffeinated, I showed up at the hospital at 8am where I was directed towards radiology for a pre-op MRI. After some hullabaloo involving the lack of a signed order from the doctor even though the procedure was in the schedule, we pinpointed precisely where the shawarma was (meaning I used my index finger to point to where the ouchie was and they marked the spot with a sharpie) and I waited for over an hour for my turn at the machine. I sat in my robe and watched the second half of one Law and Order: SVU and the first half of another before they finally called me in. Injury: sloppy needle removal from my inner right bowpit.
Even though I had completed my per-registration weeks ago, I discovered that I had to go through yet another round of registration and confirmations that I was who I said I was, that my insurance was up to date, and that I wasn’t trying to scam them into cutting into me for free. They put a tag around my wrist and showed me to my curtained section of pre-op. I put on another robe, placed my glasses in a biohazard bag, and tried to rest. My doctor popped in to say hello and to introduce me to a resident who complained that he was used to digital charts and not all this paper nonsense. Ah, teaching hospitals. My anesthesiologist popped in to say hello and stick me a few times. She recited to me the various possible horrific outcomes including blindness because I’d be belly-down during surgery in the friendliest of manners. Injury: needle in the back of my left hand was a huge fail and left me with a bruise that lasted two weeks; needle in my inner left bowpit was taped up awkwardly and tightly and hurt so they decided to wait until I was under to stick me a fourth time.
When my room was available, they juiced me with a sedative intended to calm me down and get me ready for the big anesthesia moment: the whole ‘count down from 100’ bit. They told me that I would be wheeled over to the operating room where I would lie down on my stomach so they could get to the back of my leg easily. As you may know, I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, etc. so I was such a lightweight that the sedative itself was enough to knock me completely out. That meant that they had to flip me over and arrange me on the table themselves because I was a deadweight for the next several hours. Two hours after surgery, I gradually woke up in recovery. Injury: my left calf was a mess of raw flesh, thread, indelible ink, angry bruises, and holes; my left heel was mysteriously bruised and bloody because, as I found out later, they performed some more EMGs on me; my right calf was not functioning at all because I had been prone for hours; my right wrist sported a new needle.
I might have coasted on my meds for a good while but the recovery room was not conducive to such. The woman next to me was blind and had her cell phone volume turned all the way up while she scrolled through her address book to look up the number for the cab service to pick her up. Even after she completed that task, she kept talking way too loudly to the staff, to herself, even to her cell phone (“good boy, that was great, you called just who I wanted you to call, good boy”). The guy across from me was snoring so hard that I swear the curtains shook. I wanted to get out of there FAST but they wouldn’t release me until I had shown that I could go to the bathroom all by myself like a big girl. Alas, my legs didn’t work (see above). Between a wheelchair, some crutches, and the assistance of a nurse, I made my way to the bathroom and got my ticket outta there. At 6pm, they shot me with a goodbye batch of hydrocodone and delivered me into the hands of my pale and queasy husband (not a fan of hospitals, he). Injury: ripping out some arm hairs while taking the bandages off; my lips were chapped and sported a blister from the intubation; also, I was thisclose to spewing all over the place because the combination of drugs and stop-and-go DC rush-hour traffic was wreaking havoc on my innards.
Thanks to my parents, LB, and TP, I spent the week recovering, catching up on the last two seasons of Downton Abbey, and eating matzoh ball soup and crackers and graduating to keema and rice. I was ensconced in and on a fortress of pillows. I stopped taking the hydrocodone after a day and a half because I passed out on the bathroom floor one night and not in a good way. I bathed after two days but it was one of those very unsatisfying bucket baths which I’ve hated since I was a kid visiting Pakistan for the first time. I can now go up and down the stairs without losing my balance or breathe. Stitches are out and muscles are working again. Things are good and getting better all the time. That’s the latest! Now, I just have to keep an eye on my eye.