On the overnight into the morning of day 1 post op I woke up quite a bit- either on my own or by the constant nurse checks. Anytime I woke up I would rely upon my friend the morphine pump and give myself a dose every six minutes as directed. Doing so was allowing me to “stay ahead of my pain” as directed so there wasn’t any great discomfort.
Around 5AM I started to get incredibly nauseous. I think that I was quite literally green and all around miserable. Again this wasn’t feeling poorly due to pain but rather due to feeling incredible ill. Around 7Am or so my Day nurse named Dan came in. I liked him because he was a take charge kind of guy who had been dealing with these recoveries for quite a while. He asked how much I had been using the morphine pump and immediately knew that was the issue. The pump was working great for the pain but was literally making me sick. I was taken off of the pump and put on oral pain killers primarily Oxycodone. I then spent the next few hours detoxing before I felt better.
They got me cleaned up for the day and introduced me to a couple of tools to help with my recovery. The first is a breathing device that was meant to exercise my lungs and prevent breathing issues.
As you can see from the picture it’s a small plastic device with a mouth piece. You are supposed to put it in your mouth and breath in with enough force to lift a ball inside of the device to the top of a measured grid. To me it seemed stupid and I used it once before relegating it to the window sill for the rest of my stay.
Te device of great value was the CPM, (Continuous Passive Motion Machine). The leg with the knee repair is placed into this machine in bed and strapped in with Velcro straps. You are then given a controller and put in charge after a quick lesson.
Bottom line is this machine will take your leg from a straightened position while lying in bed and bend it upwards as far as you are able to go based upon your pain tolerance. It will also hyper extend your knee about three degrees as well to make sure that you are fully able to strengthen it. The machine does all of the work and all that you have to do is tolerate the pain when it reaches its extremes. Undoubtedly it wasn’t in my top 10 favorite things to do but it is vital to get the knee moving ASAP.
As with any hospital stay there is the inevitable hospital food. I have heard that a lot of hospital food is quite good but I must say that at Ass General- not so much. In fact the food was is my only complaint about my experience here. Thankfully due to the nausea I wasn’t very hungry anyway but this purported Turkey Pot Pie only exacerbated my queasiness.
Of course visitors are a big and important part of the overall experience and both Deb and my Sister were surprised to find me in good spirits and relatively pain free.
I had my first interaction with my physical therapist who was very nice indeed. I was asked to arise from the bed and walk with the aid of a walker. All of that really amazes me because it has been less than twenty-four hours after the surgery. While I didn’t exactly sprint down the hallway with the walker I found that it wasn’t that bad and the pain was minimal at best. I was cautioned that this was probably due to the nerve block still having some impact to help alleviate the pain. I didn’t care because it felt pretty good given what had happened and that’s frankly all that matters to me right now.
It was a long and eventful day that started with me feeling very sick and ends with me feeling pretty darned good about the overall experience so far.