It was an early day... up at 5:30a. Not because of nerves or anxiety, rather a restriction on eating or drinking anything within 8 hours of surgery. And with my surgery set for 2:00p, my cut-off time was 6:00a. So I went downstairs to have my light breakfast of yogurt and fruit, and a bunch of OJ and milk. I then went back to bed, set the alarm for 5:55a so I could get one last drink of water.
I was definitely glad they could get me a surgery appointment so quickly, but I was concerned about the surgery time for a couple of reasons. One is I'm usually active during the morning and afternoon, and I'd have to really monitor that so I don't get hungry or thirsty. Another is that my surgery appointment was the last one of the day, so if any earlier appointments went long, mine would start even later. The last concern I had, though, was (temporarily) addressed by a mid-morning phone call from the doctor's office, when I was told the doctor was running ahead of schedule and I was asked t0 show up 30 minutes earlier than previously asked.
So, come 12:15p, Peg drives me down to the medical center. After a brief visit with the cashier, we make our way up to the outpatient surgical unit and do some more pre-admission paperwork. Eventually, around 1:10p, I'm escorted back to a pre-op area, and asked to don only slightly more than the ever-so-fashionable surgical gown and cap (see picture). After my vitals were taken (being my first surgery, I was surprised to see that my heart rate was 56 bpm), an IV put in my hand, and incision area properly shorn, Peg was invited back to sit with me until I'm taken in for surgery. Even with Peg there, that felt like a very long hour... to pass time we chatted, laughed, discussed my requirement about not leaving the medical center until I was 2 cup sizes bigger, and wondering how the staff would take it if I jokingly put on my admission sheet that anesthesia makes me "handsy." Nonetheless, having a huge clock in front of me made me quite aware of how time was, or seemingly wasn't, ticking away.
Two o'clock came. And went. At 2:15p, we learned the doctor's (or perhaps, my) luck had changed from earlier in the day, and that it would be at least another 30 minutes before I would be taken in. Not too much longer later, a nurse came by and gave us some preliminary post-op and discharge info. After her came a chat with the anesthesiologist. A really nice guy (reminded me of Bob Newhart), he went over the drugs and tubes and sensors going in or on me. He then injected some anti-anxiety medicine into my IV and within minutes things were floating. As I was rolled into the OR around 3:10p I remember having a discussion with a nurse about The Beatles, the group Train (a song of theirs was playing in the OR) and about the number of people in the OR.... after that, my next retrievable memory came in the post-op room.
I woke up in post-op around 5:10p. The time surprised me for two reasons. The first is that, despite being told by several people that you wake up feeling it's the roughly the same you went under, I felt it was maybe, maybe 3:30, at the latest. The other is that I was told the surgery was expected to take just an hour. After I became a little more lucid, the doctor came by to check in on me and go over what happened.
Once he was able to see the area of the fracture, he noticed that the break was worse than initially thought and revealed by the x-rays. It was 4 pieces as he expected, but something about the alignment of those pieces made him realize it would take a little bit more work to plate and screw the pieces. He showed me an x-ray they took midway through the surgery, and on it I could see the plate and 7 screws. However, he said we wasn't happy with this set-up and modified it by replacing the two end screws with longer screws, and installing an 8th screw near the middle of the plate. After seeing what we saw, he said there was no doubt in his mind that surgery was absolutely the right route to take. Overall, he said the surgery went very well, and that I handled the anesthesia with no problem.
I then spent about another 50 minutes or so in post-op, noshing on some crackers and drinking some liquids (they couldn't honor my request for a pint of Guinness). Another nurse came by to take vitals again, and was surprised about how well I was "coming to." She brought Peggy back to sit with me, as well as give us some info. on what to expect over the next several hours, and postoperative care instructions. It was then a short wheelchair ride down to the lobby and out to the car, where my trusty driver was waiting to take me home.
The rest of the night was pretty much normal, save for the "shoulder immobilizer" device on my left arm. One surprise was how sleepy I wasn't. During the post-op chat with the nurse, she said I can expect to be drowsy or want to take naps due to both the pain killers I was taking and the remnants of anesthesia being in my body. Well, I must be an outlier in that data set, for I was up until 1:00am.
Despite a pretty short night's sleep – I was awake at 5:15a because of repercussions from a lot of fluid intake the night before and a beagle that snores horribly, and less due to pain – I feel pretty good today. In fact, I feel a lot better than I expected to (given "expectations" info. provided to me by medical staff), and better than I felt a couple of days ago. What I feel so far is not really pain; rather it's more akin to the type of soreness one feels in their neck/shoulder area after sleeping on that area awkwardly. I get the sense, though, there is still some residual anesthesia in my body for my upper left pectoral area still feels a little numb, so tomorrow may be a different story. But for now, definitely no complaints or regrets.
A big "Thank you" goes to our friends/neighbors Terry, Machal, Abbie and Emma for watching Chloe yesterday afternoon, taking her to/from soccer practice, and giving her some dinner while Peggy and I were at the medical center. Peggy and I are deeply grateful and appreciative.
And of course, there's Peggy. My love and thanks go out to you for being my caretaker and chauffeur, and for not minding when the painkillers make me handsy once in a while.