Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 9, 2013

Second Surgery on Elbow
Monday, September 9, 2013 

Up at 5:00 a.m. to be at the hospital by 6:30.  Surgery wasn't until about 10:00.  We were taken into Pre-Op right about 6:30.  The nurse who came to get us was the worst hospital employee I have encountered in my multiple experiences this summer.  First thing, she barely spoke English, and seemed to understand even less.  She was heavily perfumed which is bad for my allergies, then touched my hand so that I took on that scent.  I told her that was a problem, so she put on gloves, which helped.  There was just one inept action after another.  Thankfully, maybe she went off duty at 7:00 because, she was soon replaced.  From that point on, I had excellent care from some delightful hospital personnel.

The anesthesiologist earned a very high spot on my list.  His name is Richard and he was a delight early in the morning.  He was quick witted and friendly.  We went over a long list of questions and I explained the problem I have with a ridge in the top of my mouth that often gets scraped when they put a tube down my throat in surgery.  Richard did a great job of taking care to miss it.  He returned two or three times after surgery to check on me.  He and Ron joked a good bit, usually at my expense.
Richard visiting after surgery.
I had a couple of male nurses and two or three female nurses who were all very good.  Early in the morning Craig and Rhonda Smith came in for a visit and were able to stay a bit.  Craig led in prayer before they left.  They told Rhonda I should go to surgery around 8:30.  It was closer to 10:00 when I got my turn, but we were in a small room with a door (not just curtains) and that allowed us to just relax and read - we each had our Kindles with us. 
We had talked to a couple of the nurses about the sound processor for the Cochlear Implant.  As you know by now from reading my blog, when I take off the external pieces, I become deaf.  They decided Ron would keep it in the traveling case when they took me to surgery, and then they would get it from me when I went to recovery.  That worked very well.  I needed it in recovery to hear them and to encourage my brain to wake up coming out of the anesthetic. 
One of the male nurses did a lot of the pre-op work up and he was enjoyable and thorough.  The team back in that area worked well together and came quickly if I buzzed for them.  Dr. Olson had come in while Craig and Rhonda were there to sign his initials on the elbow where he would be doing the surgery.  Hospitals are now doing this so there is little risk of the wrong area getting the surgery.  He again went over exactly what he would be doing and asked if there were any questions.  The surgery was to remove the plate and screws in the outer bone that is now healed (after surgery he said that bone looked great), and to replace the top of the radius bone with an artificial piece where the pins had broken and that part had not healed.  This should give me full range of motion.  After surgery he said that the implanted piece is giving me full rotation, and that full extension would come with time and physical therapy. 
Surgery went well.  As Richard promised, I slept through it all.  The surgery took about 2 hours.  When they wheeled me in to the operating room there were several staff members all were busy going about their preparations for my surgery.  The nurse who had taken me to surgery told them all that I could not hear them, so each tried to make sure I knew what was going on.  Richard gave me a big smile and thumbs up.
The next conscious moments were in recovery.  It did seem hard to fight my way out of the fog, but before long I was in another of those small rooms with a door.  Ron was with me in this room.   A nurse got me up fairly soon to walk to the bathroom.  It seemed like just a few minutes and a male nurse named Tony, who was a very friendly man with a great smile, came in and asked if I was ready to go home!  My understanding and all the discussions had been that I would be kept overnight.  I was shocked and sleepy.  Dr. Olson had been in once to discuss how the surgery had gone.  Tony got him to come back in to discuss if I wanted to go home or stay where I would have to morphine pump to control the pain meds.  I asked if I could wait a couple of hours to make the decision.  That helped, and in two hours, I was ready to leave.  During this time, a sweet nurse named Corina, along with Tony, took good care of me.  Corina got me up to walk 2 or 3 times, and by 4:00 I was ready to go.
Here are Tony and Corina getting ready to load me into the wheel chair to go home.
I had not known at 2:00 if I would be ready to leave at 4:00 but 2 hours made a lot of difference.  I was able to have some visitors during that time.  My brother Gordon, and his wife Linda, were in town from Corpus for their 50th class reunion and stopped by for a visit.  They had to come in one at a time and Linda prayed with me before she left.  My friend Pat Lawler also came to visit.  For being at the hospital a short time, I had a lot of visitors and enjoyed every one of them.
As per Tony's instructions, we stopped at the drug store to leave the prescription for pain medication.  Ron brought me home and got me settled in and then returned to the drug store for the medicine.  I was ready for it.  He warmed me a bowl of broccoli  soup to have with the medication. 
We are all used to the hospital bracelets, but I had Ron photograph mine before he removed them for me.  The white one is the normal one,  the two red ones list all my medication allergies.  The yellow one was new for me.  It says FALL RISK.  I asked Ron why.  I thought it meant I needed a nurse to walk me to the bathroom.  He said it was because that was why I was there - I fell!  I like my answer better.

The photo brings up another thing, Dr. Olson had said I would not have a cast, so I was surprised to wake and find this and a sling.  He said it was just padding and ace bandage and that I can remove it in 48 hours.  We are to call the office today (Tuesday) to talk about physical therapy.
The evening was spent napping and reading.  I tried a couple of times to do this blog, but was just too sleepy and had trouble keeping the arm comfortable.  I took the next dose of pain pills at 11:00 - an hour later than I was allowed, meaning the pain was not too bad.  It was about 11:30 when I went to sleep.

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