Monday, February 18, 2008

Back in the saddle again

Much to the chagrin of the nurses...who I like to think secretly enjoyed my boughts of head to toe itches, nausea and even steeping low enough to call me Sandy....I am finally home sweet home.

What I have been able to do so far:
1. Use my crutches to move around the house (mostly from the bed to the bathroom to the couch and repeat
2. Get in bed by myself by using my arms to drag my body behind it
3. Get out of bed by myself by 'hooking' my leg with my good toes and slowly moving it to the edge of the bed
4. Use my crutches to pick up random things I drop on the ground. I do have a 'grabber' but I tend to leave it in any other room than the one I'm in.
5. Small exercises to start getting my quad back working again.
6. Wheel myself around the neighborhood in a wheelchair to help cheer my parents on when they are running and prepping for the Boston Marathon (mom even gave me a stick to ensure I could chase away any stray dogs...that had us laughing for a good 5 minutes)
7. Alternate standing and sitting in the shower

These may all seem like small feats to some of you...but believe me, I'm just happy to get out of bed each day and not feel that nausea. I've been spending a lot of time on the phone this weekend thanking friends and family for their thoughts, prayers, gifts of flowers and laughter, phone calls and emails. For those of you I haven't had the chance to talk to yet, please know how much you are appreciated and that I hope to talk to you soon. Everyone has also been asking about my time in the hospital, including my hip dysplatic 'sisters', so I thought I would give my day by day recap of the last week.

Day -1: The Last Supper
Mom drove into Atlanta the night before and we spent that morning finishing our last minute packing and trying to figure out how two people could possibly be taking five huge bags for a one week trip...especially since one of us would be wearing a hospital gown the entire time. The flight was a good one to Boston and once we got settled in the hotel (after a slight detour completely due to the lack of street signs in the city and not the orienteer genius in the passenger seat) we drove back to pick up Josh. Mom was right about one thing, I was on complete edge and definitely pushing my luck with the two of them with snide remarks and horrible humor to attempt to disguise my fear. In the end it wasn't hard to convince mom to let me take a sleeping aide to end the attack.

Day 0: D-Day
Having to be at the hospital by 9 left very little time that morning for anything...even Starbucks (now for anyone who knows my mom they are probably starting to really understand the sacrifices she is making latte in the morning?). After checking in and another set of x-rays I was directed to a room where they told me to get ready. Obviously they meant physically because my mind was a wreck emotionally and that part of 'getting ready' wasn't going to happen until the drugs starting flowing. After a significant amount of time the anesthesiologist came in and we discussed the fact a epidural would be insane (I must add my mom coached me to make eye contact and 'act sweet' so he would take care of me...If that wasn't enough her last words to him were 'don't make any mistakes or you'll have to deal with me'...or something along those lines ;). Dr. Murphy stopped by and autographed my right hip, further explaining it was a game time decision to include the femoral osteotomy. It was the first time mom or Josh had met Dr. Murphy so as he left we of course had another good chuckle that it was a good thing I wasn't looking for a friend or someone to smile at my jokes...which I of course expect from everyone. They wheeled me down to OR shortly after and I left Mom and Josh with tears in my eyes and huge hugs of encouragement. The next thing I really remember was asking the orderly if he would sing me a song while he pushed me to my room. I started up with 'no woman, no cry' but I don't think I ever really got him to open up to me...I'm sure he's pretty used to ridiculousness.

Day 1: If your itchy and you know scream out loud
This day is a bit of blur with exception to watching beautiful flowers being brought into my room...which I only saw in between scratching fits which left my body covered in welts and Josh and Mom's arms tired from my requests to SCRATCH HARDER!!! The icing on the cake this day was the nasty nurse who decided to take liberties with my name and call me Sandy repeatedly. I tried glaring at her but it came out looking more like I was constipated and I ended up with a Sandy it is.

Day 2: Slow learner
The second day was much like the first with Josh and Mom really wishing that their scratching duty was over. Apparently it took me a long time to figure out the more I pushed my pain pump the more itchy I would think my common sense would have kicked in...but I'll blame it on the pain. I do remember getting out of bed to walk three steps in the walker. At this point I was still very conscious of the fact the hospital gown did not close in the back and kept asking my mom to ensure I wasn't flashing the entire hospital. Believe me, this modesty went away VERY quickly.

Day 3 and 4: What goes in...must come out
After switching meds, so did my issues. After boughts of nausea I finally succumbed and wasn't able to keep anything down...not that I was eating much at all anyway. The PT's came in and encouraged me out of bed to make a stroll down the hallway in the walker. Mom had set up a CD Player to blast 'Eye of the Tiger' which was very motivating...and also completely in my head.

Day 5: Trouble comes in three's
So I'm somewhat over the nausea and a new friend has come to stay in the form of a Candida infection in my throat combined with some strep. At this point any hope at me eating anything had gone down the tubes and I was feeling even weaker than ever. I did manage to get out of the room to walk on crutches to the end of the hall. I wanted to enjoy my time out of the room so I decided to stretch the walk out a full 20 minutes...which of course had nothing to do with the fact I am pathetic on crutches and incredibly weak...
The best part of this day was a visit from one of my great friends Ryan, who drove down from New Hampshire. Not many people can make me laugh like Ryan, so it was a great distraction and his care package of my favorite DVD, CD and t-shirt was definitely enough to keep me going for the duration...

Day 6: Ice Cream Run and Pep Talk
Mom finally encouraged me to eat some food and even forces some prune juice down my throat. Screwed up taste buds and an inability to really distinguish food did not stifle the horrible, disgusting, putrid taste of prune juice. Vivid enough? So mom asked me what I really wanted and my answer was simple...a Dairy Queen Blizzard. So off she went, the amazing trooper and support system she had been, and came back with the largest ice cream I had ever seen. I should probably also mention there is only one DQ in Boston and mom paid over $20 for my request because of the fun parking situation in this city. So here I was, sitting in front of a dream of a meal and after one bite...I looked at my mom and with tears in my eyes I had to tell her that I wasn't going to be able to take another throat had got the best of me. Trying not to look upset that her efforts were in vain, mom put it in the freezer for me and we settled for some ice chips. We also had a visit today from the hospital psychiatrist. Apparently one of the lovely nurses had mentioned that I ‘jumped’ everytime they brought a needle in my direction. Forgive me for not enjoying the four IV’s and 14 or so blood draws and injections that I endured during my stay there…I suppose I must be a little crazy for not enjoying that. Anyway, the visit turned out to be really great as he was focused more on how I need to accept the fact I need to lean on people for so long after the surgery…and that it’s not a burden. He also helped me with some yoga breathing tips for pain and dealing with the loss of the fact I will not run again. Not sure breathing will get me to accept that…

Day 7: The Great Escape
I woke up this morning feeling quite nauseous which stifled my excitement at leaving...but mom quickly reminded me to put a smile on my face or I wasn't getting out anytime soon. Boy was I beaming after that. Nurse Mary stopped by one final time (imagine the old lady from King Pin...) and told me I was good to go. So with about 10-15 prescriptions in hand, my first trip in a wheelchair led me out of the hospital and into the rental car on the way to the airport. Upon checking into delta I realized my phone was still in the rental car. Good thing I was in a wheelchair because the police officer behind the counter flirting with the ticket lady felt sorry for the 'little handicapped girl' enough to call Enterprise personally and ask them to deliver it to the airport. He was either trying pretty hard to play the sympathy card or he was stuck in the 60's because he must have called me handicapped about 4 times and finally convinced them to bring it to me. My mom and I waited until we were through security to have a good chuckle about that. The flight home was quite simple and with me standing a couple times to stretch (and attract hordes of attention due to my tree trunk leg) we made it with little incident. Ramsey and Josh were at the airport to help load me into the SUV but it turns out my arms were a tad stronger than anticipated and I was able to pull myself up into the vehicle. Upon arriving home Bernie had cooked us an amazing dinner and the entire house was full of 13 dozen roses and flowers…it was the most amazing sight and it solidified the fact I was happy to be home sweet home.

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