Surgery Day – Part 2

Using the knee scooter after foot surgery

Well! I did not mean to leave you hanging since I wrote Part 1 of this story! My sincerest apologies. Just when I thought I was out of the woods, things came crashing down again. Oh, you just have no idea. But you will. It’s been quite a ride.

So while things are good, (and I pray the good is here to stay…) here is Surgery Day – Part 2.

You’ll want to read Foot to Mouth Story 1 – getting prepared for surgery first.

Abbotsford hospital lobby

I didn’t really want to wake up.

Today was surgery day after all, and the start of so many unknowns.

However, being well prepared helped ease my concerns. Food was stocked up for (hopefully?) 2 weeks. I mean, my cupboards have NEVER been this full. I am a one meal at a time kinda gal so this was a big thought out deal for me. All I had to do today was sip a 1 cup drink of apple juice before 9am, have one more fancy shower with that special sponge, then be driven in.

Glancing at the clock, I shook my head. 9:20 am. Are you even kidding me?! I missed the juice curfew which ultimately meant all my food for the day. Dang! So I snuck 1/2 a cup down, reasoning if I was a little late, a little less would be ok… right?! Then again, maybe my clock was 20 minutes wrong…

Going through the motions was a little surreal, as if living in someone else’s world for a short time. I didn’t really feel dread or afraid, but more, uncertainty. So I decided to mindfully focus on each task I was doing, without thinking of anything else. That helped.

Surgery was scheduled for 1:00 PM (that’s a pretty nice time!), however it would be unknown when I when it would be a done deal because it’s really all about where you’re at. So it was decided that my dear neighbour and friend Janette would drive me there and my brother would pick me up and drive me home, being that the hospital was in another town.

I honestly think the hardest part of all this was asking others for help. I have a dreadfully hard time with it. I just always feel like I’m asking too much of people pulling them off course from their own lives.

There was mention at one point that I should have someone stay over night with me just in case. I questioned them hard on it, and together we reasoned it really was mainly over medication intake after the fact. And since I didn’t plan on using anything heavy duty other than over the counter advil and tylenol, all would be well.

Or so I thought…

The hospital

Once at the hospital, Janette offered to sit with me while I waited for about 2 hours. She even brought her knitting! So kind.

I always thought this is where I’d need someone the most. The moment before the big dreaded ordeal! Someone to share a good fraidy cat cry perhaps. However in my heart, I was stunned that I actually felt pretty ok with where things were headed. I didn’t feel anxiety. I don’t even know how to put it. I guess I had just fully accepted everything and let go of the internal fight. So I let Janette know I’d be just fine, and they’d likely keep me super busy with prep anyway.

Walking into the prep area, as presumed, couples were waiting together. I only felt like I was ‘without’ for about 10 seconds though, when all the prep started firing up. I was right. I was kept pretty busy. 

Donning hospital socks and booties right before surgery in Abbotsford hospital.

I was asked to change into the hospital gear, then interviewed several times over on certain topics, one of them being anesthetic. After giving them my family history about them getting quite ill from it, the topic elevated when I informed them I couldn’t open my jaw, due to a tooth pulling 2 days prior.

After some mulling over, she mentioned they could do some kind of ‘freezing block’ (sorry, exact terms escape me) to freeze the foot with a needle. But I’d feel the needle going in.

Always something to look forward to… have I told you how much I detest needles of any kind?

I was assured that they’d first put something in the IV to relax me so I wouldn’t really care. Ok then. It’s not like we had a choice. And I didn’t love the idea of a tube down my neck anyway, so there’s that!

Another thing I wanted to run by the doctor was under the advice of my brother, and that was to add more freezing to the foot so I could get a good night’s sleep. They said no problem! What?! I hadn’t even known such a thing could be done except in a dentist’s chair. Well I’ll be…

So, imagine everyone carrying clipboards, interviewing me for this and that, ensuring the IV was in, yadda yadda yadda. But one thing stood out over all the busy. Everyone was SO kind. So gentle. And that’s when they handed me something I will never, ever forget.

Getting the royal treatment with a heated blanket before surgery in Abbotsford hospital.

A heated blanket was placed on my lap, and instantly, it felt like my mom was sitting beside me with her arms wrapped around me in a big tight squeezy hug. My eyes stung for a moment. My mom was my warmth and comfort and best friend. But it was not sadness I felt… it was gratefulness that she cared for me back then, and now they were caring for me.

It just felt so good and made everything ok.

These photos are from my Instagram Stories. Yep, I even played around on the phone while I waited.

But then things took a downward turn. While one of the nurses interviewed steps to be taken after the operation, one of the boxes he had to check off was that I had an overnighter with me. He said he could NOT approve the surgery unless I did this step.

WHAT?!? UGH!!! This wasn’t suppose to be ‘a thing!’ How dare they make me stoop this low to ask THIS of someone!

Suddenly panic stricken with phone in hand, I messaged several friends, apologized profusely for what what I was about to ask, what would happen if I didn’t line someone up to stay overnight, yadda yadda.

No one responded. No one was around.

“Any luck finding someone to stay overnight?”

“Not yet.”

“Ok, well, we’ll hold you here until you do then. Keep on it.”

Goodness.

I felt sick. I didn’t want to do this and felt like I was begging for mercy by asking.

And then I finally heard a ping. The ping that felt like my life was no longer in limbo. Glancing down, my brother whom was slated to bring me home replied with, “No problem! I’ll pack my bag now!”

A warmth of relief, gratitude, and love filled me from head to toe. 

And guilt of course.

Minutes later, I was shuffling through the hallway into the operating room in my goofy little booties and pj’s with robe, and layed down on a super simple bed with a bright blue blanket. The only colour in the room.

Laying down, I looked up and felt like I was a scene from a movie. Lights all over the land filled the ceiling beaming down on me, and the gang was all starting to crowd around me. So many doctors and assistants! All for one foot?! Wow. Now that’s service. Or one movie star kinda foot.

They strapped me in bed so I wouldn’t fall, and then administered something inside the IV to make me not care about the pending foot needle to come.

And I don’t remember a THING after that. I was completely out. Now that’s some calming medicine.

Next thing I knew, I woke up from surgery in the same bed, side rails up, with my back slightly raised iN  a different room. I had an attendant beside me glancing at his clipboard.

I have no idea how long I had been laying there, however he immediately lifted his head as if he’d been waiting for me to wake up, and asked if I felt nauseous.

I didn’t at that second but then it started easing in. “Here we go” I told myself… the dreaded sick part my family experiences.

Well, he nipped that one in the bud in about 1 second.. As soon as I said yes, he infused some gravol into the IV (anti nausea medicine) and in just a few seconds, I felt better. I was asked to snooze a bit.

Waking up again, same thing. Felt sickish, so they gave me more gravol. This was on repeat until I felt awake and no longer sick.

And, that wonderful man WAS sitting beside me waiting on just me. Wow.

Basically put, this anesthetic was much different from the regular kind that made my family so sick. THANK GOODNESS FOR A SORE JAW! Everything went so unbelievably perfect I barely felt any discomfort at all!

Getting outfitted with a velcro shoe after foot surgery in Abbotsford hospital.

In the recovery room, getting outfitted with a velcro shoe after foot surgery in Abbotsford hospital.

They then wheeled me into the recovery room for another hour where I chilled out while they outfitted me with some weird shoe, until Les my brother picked me up. But not without a tiny bit of bro-sis drama.

Turns out I had a prescription that needed filling. I can’t take codeine, so they offered me *Tramadol. Never heard of it. But they assured me it would not be anything like codeine. Ok then!

*(Now, before you go okaying you can take this stuff too, best to read Part 3 first.) 

But with 30 minutes to get me all the way downstairs the the pharmacy in the lobby, I texted my brother to come quick!

Shortly after, he burst through the doors with a wheelchair, and I played the little ‘ol lady shouting directions on where to go.

We made it downstairs just as the pharmacy doors slid shut. They let us in, quickly filled out the meds, and I picked up an adjustable aluminum cane I felt would be a good idea.

Honestly, I felt so good going home, we stopped at a restaurant in my town for my first meal in a very long time. I stuck with soup, but it sure was good! I even forgot about the jaw.

Once Les brought me home, I fully anticipated dropping like a brick into bed. But that did not happen. He nagged me to prop the foot up and we chatted up a storm the whole evening long. I felt a little groggy, but great! So. Stinkin’. Great. That extra zap of freezing in the foot was doing a champion job. And I’m assuming the anesthetic remnants took care of any jaw pain.

Les also received a lesson on how to use my Dyson Animal on his chair. My cats basically lives on that chair and having no idea I’d have an overnighter, I didn’t clean everything to perfection. So I’m sitting there a little loopy filming Les vacuuming his own chair before he dared sit in that massive cat hair nest.

I sure do hospitality right, folks.

But know what? Even though I felt I didn’t ‘need’ my brother there for night, we had the best best BEST visit ever. It had been too long. It was just so nice to chat up a storm (with Les constantly telling me to slow down, take it easy, put the foot up). I guess the freezing was doing one dynamite job because I kinda forgot to feel surgeryish.

Upon bedtime, I took the prescribed Tramadol, then set my alarm to continue it through the night, because once that freezing wore off on that foot, tomorrow may be a different story. And this girl does not like pain.

Sinking into bed with my foot elevated, I scoffed at the overly concerned nurse and all the extra drama that transpired all because he felt I needed an overnighter! I was 100% perfectly fine!

During the night, I woke up to the alarm twice over, obediently taking the meds. But I do remember feeling a tiny bit queasy during the last take. I just shook it off that there was a lot in my system and it would take a bit for everything to leave.

The next morning, I got up and put the ‘ol knee scooter to good use. I wheeled into the kitchen, and put together a pot of coffee for us. I remember feeling a little fuzzy, but not terrible.

But then out of nowhere, I suddenly wanted to sink to my knees and land on the floor. Something was going very wrong. Very wrong indeed.

All I can say is, I’m really glad my brother was there after all…

.
Read all instalments to date of Foot to Mouth story HERE

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Categories: Blog Series, Foot to Mouth Story, Junk Drawer
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  1. Wow, what an experience. I can’t wait for the next episode. I was just in the hospital in December for 8, yes, 8 days with pleurisy, pneumonia and a newly discovered chronic something? sinus infection. I was treated like a queen. Having someone by you is essential. What a good brother.

    • He sure is! I think the first night his mantra was just to keep reminding me I had surgery period! haha I felt so good, I kinda forgot to lay low.

      8 days! I cannot even imagine. After 2 hours in there, I was ready to get out. So glad they treated you so well and you got better!

  2. Ah, yes…I remember three day starts after my breast cancer surgery, getting washed up and feeling like I was going to faint. I sat down and it passed. The effect of anesthesia lasted the whole week. Nothing bad mind you, but feeling fine until about 1:00 when all energy drained away and I found myself on the sofa snoozing. Glad this is behind you now, Missy! Only good things from now on!

  3. Wellllll…….you definitely have built up the tension level!!!!!! Awaiting the next installment……………………..gentle hugs…………

  4. I have had each of my knees replaced. I had trouble with the anesthesia after the first one (usual for me) and took 9 hours to finally wake, having problems with heartbeat and breathing the whole time (best friend told me as she was there). Scared doctor. Recovery and PT worked great and was up and around fast.
    Second knee replacement they used different anesthesia method and I woke after 2 hours but had a mild heart attack a few hours later! Lots of problems which led to months of recovery and regaining muscle. I survived and treasure each day now! Plan to NEVER go through all that again.
    Get better and do your PT!!!!

    • Oh my goodness. Both your outcomes are so scary! So grateful my own experience was much different.

      My own surgery day was a breeze to the point where I felt guilt that I even felt a need to worry about it! I really do think it had a lot to do with the way they put me out.

  5. I can so relate to not wanting to ask others for help. But the truth be told, others really do WANT to help you. They want the chance to be able to give some loving back to you, so be kind and let them! I’m glad your brother stayed the night. I lost my brother about 25 years ago and we used to spend the week before Christmas together when I would come to town. I loved it – we always had the best time together. You’re one of many many people who have reactions to anesthesia, so don’t feel bad. Just look forward to when your foot and mouth are totally healed and you’re back to your independent self! Still keeping you on my “prayer list”! 🙂

    • Thank-you Sharon! I’m definitely still on the mend with changing symptoms daily. It sure takes awhile for the ‘ol body to catch up to changes!

      I’m glad you had that time with your brother. Something you’ll never forget.

      And you are right about people helping… I’m not a stranger to it, as an entire team helped renovate my house way back… hardest thing ever to let them but also the best experience and stories came from it. It’s real book material.

      I just don’t like the idea of pulling people from other towns into mine. I can do it at this point with cab rides. Another thing I had to learn to navigate in my home town. I’ve never taken one other than while traveling!

  6. It’s hard when you live alone and are very independent and not wanting to bother anyone….and not being able to ask for help. I had bunion surgery…. a cast for 2 weeks, then a boot, but no weight on that foot for a month!!! Crutches and the scooter for a month. 😮 I couldn’t even get out of my own home alone… with no weight on the foot, holding the storm door open and stepping down a step. 😮

    I hope you heal quickly. 🙂

    • Sheesh Reenie, that seems never ending. I’m now going on week three and it feels like forever and I didn’t even have all that much done! When they mess with bone, it certainly takes time.

      Not all my waiting has been horrible though. I am now on season 5 / 11 of Heartland. Good thing I found this lovely series right before this all went down! 😀

    • Hi Reenie, your story caught my attention and I felt your pain. I too went through the same thing. Gosh, it was a time. I had five small boys at the time. One time while on the crutches I lost my balance and fell on that bad foot where my ligaments had been cut and the bone chiseled, and felt sharp pain like never before. I fell to my knees and my oldest at the time who was ten asked if I felt like swearing. He offered to do it for me if I needed help. I told him he wasn’t allowed, and then I used a ‘bad’ word and he patted me on the shoulder and informed me that would have been his choice of word also! That was a long time ago but said oldest son and I still chuckle at the memory!

  7. OMG Donna I feel so bad for saying this considering all that you’ve been through but you totally crease me up. In all the pain & disaster that’s happened to you you’ve mustered through with your great sense of humour still intact. I take my hat off to you girl your amazing. Hope your tons better & cant wait for episode 3 from you- who needs Netflix when we’ve got you lol
    OH btw love how as soon as Les got rid of the cat hair he got “visited” it’s as if they know it’s a job they have to do to keep the fur levels up. We grew up in a home with cats & my mum always said nothing tasted or looked right until you’d got cat fur in it or on it 😂
    keep well love xxx

    • Haha! Also loved the visual of the huge ugly cat tree in the background. Poor guy couldn’t catch a break!

      I’m not one to be down and out. In fact, I don’t even remember the last time I got sick! Things could have been far worse. Just hoping these stories come across to encourage a little perseverance and a GREAT deal on the value of patience! 🙂

  8. Glad you are healing Donna but please don’t leave us in suspense too long. We want you ALL BETTER please. So glad you have such a great brother. So glad too that you have friends who help. Hugs.
    Joy

    • Oh. My. Goodness. YES! Everyone helping me has made me much more hyper aware towards the needs of others. You honestly have to live this in order to understand this. I’ve been living like a hermit for 10+ years and it’s time to change things up!

      And that may be the biggest lesson of all.

  9. Oh, I gringed reading this. There is just me no my husband and some day one of us could be in the same boat. I would even hate asking somebody to give me a ride for a colonoscopy. They won’t even let you take a taxi home. Wow, I need to start making friends. Admire you so much.

    • I’ve been pretty content (still am) living on my own. I actually really enjoy it! However I can certainly now see the massive benefit of having others nearby. You have each other to rely on which is a complete blessing!

      I hear ya on being driven home. Went through all that too with the same test. So bothersome! But it has brought my family closer together again so I’m grateful for that.

  10. Wow, it really pays to have someone stay with you if you’ve just had surgery. My sister just had hip replacement surgery and we’ve all been taking turns staying with her. At least during the first week. Hoping that you are well on your way to recovery now, Donna.

    • Wow, that’s a much bigger deal than what I’ve been going through! How wonderful of all of you to pitch in!

      I’ve already looked up my health insurance benefits to see what they all cover if something was more major. It’s good to know all those details before they transpire…

      Yes, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after 3+ weeks now. Ready to live again! Just as soon as I get through a little more Heartland… 😀

  11. I’m fairly new to this blog & I enjoy your writing style, so honest & open. I’m a nurse & believe me it’s worse knowing, I woke up on the table during sinus surgery, it was a nightmare! Thoughts & prayers going your way, please don’t make us wait too long, we’re all nervously waiting for the next chapter.

  12. Don’t leave us hanging. You have to share the rest of this tale.

    Always love your writings. You have a wonderful way of pulling us into whatever
    you are describing. I think I like that part
    even more than the junking….though that is fun.

    • Aw Joan, you are so kind!

      I honestly prefer story telling over DIY at times! I really should do a little more of it… and maybe I will… maybe something like a ‘real life’ entry once a week?

  13. Thank goodness for Les! We should always pay attention to what the professionals say because you never know. I’m glad your surgery is over and you’re safe at home. Till the next chapter…

  14. Donna, Just ‘happened’ upon your website while looking for junk inspiration. Anyway, my heart goes out to you. But looks like you have a ton of ‘internet family’ who truly care about you. So please don’t feel alone. I too am (now) awaiting your next installment! Sending you love & healing vibes from the east coast of Canada! Wanda
    P.S.
    (gotta check out the rest of your inspiring, creative ideas!)

  15. Oh my Donna! I am dying to know the rest of the story. I really hope you’re okay. Are you? Did you get really sick? On a lighter note I enjoyed the short video of your brother cleaning. LOL! And your feet sure looked classy with your black boot. You know, it will feel a little strange when the boot comes off. Similarily, went through that once, and when all was said and done and I was told it was okay to put weight on the foot and walk, I felt utterly dumbfounded. I felt so weird. And afraid. Let’s say I gained a new appreciation for handicapped people. Ever try to cross a street or a parking lot fast when one can’t? But, alas, I survived and the surgery was well worth it. I look forward to hearing part 3 and hope all is well. Take care and heal!

  16. Well Donna,
    I must say, when you do something, you certainly don’t leave your goals short, that’s quite an experience you have for your yearbook,
    Hurry and feel much better, and don’t forget to hug your brother…
    Best Wishes..
    cheers, Linda

  17. I had to stop reading when I got to Les vacuuming…THAT would happen at my house, so don’t be embarrassed. Also, asking for help is so difficult for so many people.
    If someone asks me for help, the majority of the time, I am glad that they did. We ALL have to think that if someone asks, they need help. I am glad to help and I feel good about myself, helping someone. Asking for help is a very human thing to do and is not a sign of weakness. Just remember how you would feel if Les asked you for help or, how you would feel if he didn’t?
    We all should think about paying it forward, we feel better when we help each other, so in a way, aren’t we giving others the opportunity to feel good about themselves?
    Just a thought…heal well, O.K.?

  18. So what happened next?
    I really like that photo of you standing in front of your cool mirror with your big foot.
    Hope you feel all better soon.

  19. The suspense is killing me Donna and I do hope you’re taking it easy and starting to feel better. Sometimes asking for help is the bravest thing you can do. It takes a lot of courage especially if your so used to doing everything for yourself, it can be really scary. It’s something I struggled a lot with too until I read about a thing called “helpers high”. Yeah it’s a real thing. Apparently every time we help someone, some feel good chemical gets released in our brains. That alone made it a little easier for me to ask for help. I don’t want to deny someone their fix 😉