The last thing I remember before going into surgery was saying bye to John as I was being wheeled away. I woke up to my teeth chattering. I couldn’t open my eyes but I could hear people fussing over me, saying I needed more blankets, over and over again. Eventually the chattering died down and I heard John asking if I was okay. My foot was cold so I tried to point at it and say sock but it came out s-s-s-ss-s-s s-s-sssss-ss s-s-ss-ss -OCK.
I had a lot of fluid built up in my knee so it was difficult to tell from my MRI how extensive the surgery would have to be. It wasn’t as minor an injury as we were hoping so that orthopedic surgeon ended up doing the standard ACL repair using a donor graft. I won’t know exactly what happened until my follow-up appointment because I was still out when the surgeon talked to John. John did say that when the surgeon went in he found my ACL torn and draped over my PCL.
The surgery center tried to rush me out almost immediately after I woke up but I couldn’t move my leg without tremendous pain. This confused nurses. They said I shouldn’t be feeling that kind of pain yet. At one point there were a lot of people heaving and hoeing, trying to pull me off of my cot into a chair without bending my legs. During the chaos someone gave me a shot of morphine saying that it would help with the pain. It didn’t. At all. It just made me nauseous and confused. At some point someone mentioned that the nerve block they gave me before starting the surgery must not have worked or must have been injected in the wrong spot. John heard one of my attendants talking to the anesthesiologist in the hall and he said there wasn’t anything he could do about it. “I just stick ‘em where they tell me to.”
After a few very painful attempts at getting me into a chair I told everyone to STOP because I needed time. My head was spinning and I didn’t feel like I was ready to go home. So they let me stay a while longer and tried to get me to drink a little water and eat some pudding. I could not. I threw up every sip of water I took. It became apparent that there was no way I was going to be able to get around without a wheelchair so I had John call disability services on campus to see if they had wheelchairs that they could lend out. They said they’d check into it and call back. They didn’t call back so we asked around elsewhere. One of my coworkers told John on the phone about a rental place but we weren’t sure about the cost of rental (Deposit plus $35/week). We still don’t know how long it will take before I can walk again. We thought it would be cheaper to just buy one. The huge brace on my leg stays on until at least Thursday!
Eventually my head cleared enough for me to agree to try to get home. It was not easy. We had to take the carseat out of the backseat and slide me into the Jeep with my legs up on the seat. John’s parents were at the house when we got home and they helped unload me and get me up the steps into the house. My throat was still sore from my breathing tube, my head was spinning, and my leg was on fire so I was pretty miserable. I spent most of Friday in bed. All night any time I tried to take a sip of water I threw it right back up. At one point I made it to the door of the bedroom by myself and was going to come out but the second I opened the door the stench of cooking sausage hit me and another wave of nausea struck. I shut the door and went back to bed, back to being a bump on a log. We were worried Isabel would want to nurse the second she saw me so we pretty much kept her away from me until I thought sufficient time had passed before it was safe to nurse. So I spent a lot of time alone, pumping and dumping breast milk. John’s parents helped do chores, run errands, and take care of the baby while I was immobilized.
The next morning I tried to get up again and be social but when I opened the door it was sausage again for breakfast so I shut the door again. I spent the next hour or so in bed brewing about how much effort it took to get out of bed and get to the door only to have to turn around and go back to bed before I threw up again. The brace on my leg is too heavy for me to safely move in crutches. I get winded after only a few steps. At one point John and his dad went out looking for wheelchairs. They took Isabel with them. John’s mom stayed behind as caretaker. The wheelchair search was unsuccessful, so I spent the afternoon looking up wheelchair suppliers in the area. I made a bunch of phone calls but everyone either was closed or didn’t carry what we needed. We decided to just order a wheelchair online and call around on Monday to see what our rental options are in the meantime. John had a minor panic attack after his parents left on Sunday wondering how we were going to make things work with me not being able to do anything. I started to look into some at-home health stuff but everyone was still closed for the weekend. We talked about how crappy it is to not really have people in the area that can come help us. Everyone we know has kids or health issues or work or school. So we just don’t like asking other people for help. But if we don’t have people, Isabel doesn’t have people. Maybe one day when we’re rollin’ in the G’s (thanks, Giana, for that phrase) we’ll hire a nanny to help out or something.
This morning John went out and rented a wheelchair. Shortly after he got home we got a call from disability services on campus saying that they had a wheelchair for me. I wish they had called back on Friday. Because after paying for a wheelchair online and then paying a $250 deposit on a rental we had already accepted that we weren’t going to catch a break on the wheelchair. :-/ Disability Services also couldn’t tell us if the wheelchair had an elevated leg rest (essential) and that we’d have to come look at it to be sure. That wasn’t going to happen – not without help, anyway, and we didn’t have any.
Things have been easier since I got the wheelchair and I feel a lot better about going back to work. I had to cancel going in on Sunday because I had zero mobility. I hope the wheelchair we ordered is as good as our rental. I’m more comfortable sitting in it than anywhere else. I might try sleeping in it. I haven’t slept since my surgery. I just can’t get comfortable in bed. It hurts too much. I’m taking an anti-inflammatory every four hours to help with pain but I’ve noticed that it starts to wear off at around 2.5 hours.
I feel less useless now that I can move around on my own and pick up the baby, but there are still plenty of things I can’t do and John is still feeling overwhelmed. So despite feeling a little better I still feel like a terrible burden. I’m also hungry but haven’t been able to stomach much. John’s parents left us with some cooked food in the freezer and refrigerator, so that has been a great help today. Isabel’s school was closed so John worked from home to take care of both Isabel and me. It’s been a frustrating day. When I can play with Isabel on the floor and take her for walks again, I’ll know it will be worth it. I guess we just have to be patient.