Saturday, April 17, 2010

On the mend....

Just like any sports game...my Friday had its highs..its lows...its base hits...its outs and its grand slams as I headed in for my knee surgery. Just like at the beginning of any major race...I had butterflies fluttering in my stomach...

To GET to my surgery was a bit of a challenge. Dr. Ott performs surgeries on Fridays in Brandon...about 75 minutes from my house. My surgery was at 700am so I decided to go over the night before. My parents were out of town, my brothers busy with work, my husband flying and not getting off work until the late afternoon and Rick was teaching boot camp. The only way I could figure out to get over there in time was to rent a car, spend the night in a hotel near the surgery center, drop the car at the rental car place then take a cab to the surgery center. My plan was a bit complicated but it all went without a hitch and I arrived at the Surgery Center at 550am.

They handed me a piece of paper to tell them who would be taking me home and they were all a bit shocked when I wrote "Dr. Susan Ott". "The DOCTOR is taking you home" the nurse asked. "Yes..until my business partner or husband can make their way here and pick me up." With a bit of a stunned look on her face, she made some notes, I signed some consent papers then it was off to the pre op area...

I got changed into a gown and put my hair back in a surgical "shower cap" and laid back on the gurney. That when I realized I was truly doing this alone. Was I crazy?? No one to hold my hand...no one to calm my fears. And then my phone buzzed and I knew I wasn't alone. My husband started sending text messages...and then so did my friend, Rick ... and before I knew it...it was time to turn off the phone, talk to the anesthesiologist and Dr. Ott and get wheeled into the operating room.

If you have ever been awake staring at the ceiling of an operating room, it can be a bit unnerving. For me, it brought back serious memories. As they wheeled me in, I remembered that moment on Dec. 1, 1998 when my life changed forever. On that day, I endured 6 hours of a full open gastric bypass and those memories came flooding back. I felt my body stiffen as they put my arms out to the side. The anesthesiologist placed the mask near my face and, for a moment I almost jumped off the table. He looked at me and said "Where is your favorite place to vacation??" I was just about to answer and then....

The next thing I remember...Im in recovery. The nurse is waking me up telling me it was over and I had done well. Groggy and in a bit of pain, I reach for my knee (like somehow it would be missing). It had a huge bandage on it...and bending it was not an option. The nurse brought me a Diet Coke which has to be the second best Diet Coke I have ever tasted (I think the first was at the end of my first half ironman). I asked the nurse for my phone...and made the first phone call I knew I needed to make.

While this was going on, my parents were in the Bahamas sitting by the phone...and worrying...like most parents do when their child is under the knife. I dialed the number, the phone rang and my father picked it up on the first ring. I went to speak..and realized...they just removed a tube from my throat and I was unable to make a sound. I could hear the fear in my Dad's voice as I tried to make a sound. Finally..the words "Im ok..." came out of my mouth and my mother got on the other phone.

Missey...honey..what is it...talk to me. I was trying but nothing was happening. I was so worried about them being worried about me that I didn't think I wouldn't be able to talk right away. After a few more sips of Diet Coke, I was able to talk to them and let them know all was well.

I must have been feeling pretty good on the drugs they had given me because I proceeded to text several of my friends and ask them if they wanted to go for a run. I then got on facebook and misspelled my status update but got my message across that I was alive and well. As I became more and more awake, the messages got a little clearer...

Dr. Ott came in and showed me my pictures. The cartilage chip that she removed was 12mm x 4mm. She also cleaned up a small tear in my meniscus. The chip had been floating around causing some considerable pain and I can tell you now, I already feel better.

Dr. Ott returned to the rest of her case load for the day as I slept in the recovery room. About two hours later, she was ready to go home. Just as I was getting in her car, Steve texted me that he had arrived in Orlando and was on his way to pick me up. Pretty good timing.

Dr. Ott was amazing. She helped me to the couch in her living room and made me comfortable. She brought me another Diet Coke and even offered to make me some food. I was almost embarassed that someone would be so gracious to someone who was taking up their time and their home.

About two hours later, Steve arrived and helped me to the car. I was trying very hard to hide it but it was clear, I was in A LOT of pain. The meds that I had received at the surgery center had worn off and we had not yet filled my prescription of pain meds for home. We had to make a choice ....do we stop and get the meds filled or do we just head home. I decided to stop, get some Motrin and head on home.

The ride was a long one. It was very difficult to get comfortable and I even cried by the time we got to the outskirts of Orlando. Upon our arrival at the house, I had some pain medication that I had left over from a previous surgery. I took one of the pills and finally relaxed...and slept...

It's now a little more than 24 hours from my surgery and I can already put weight on my leg and walk without the crutches. I already feel better and I know it will only get better from here. It will be several weeks before I start running again but I feel so very positive about the future. The knee is fixed...now we need to focus again on the weight loss....

My thanks to the amazing staff in Dr. Ott's office, Dr. Ott herself and the incredibly talented and professional staff of the Brandon Ambulatory Surgery Center. Each and every one of these people are a blessing to me...

3 comments:

ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

Glad to hear things went well. Sounds like Dr. Ott is a pretty incredible person.
One more piece of the IM puzzle taken care of.....

The Running Girl said...

Sounds like things went really well and that Sue took care of you. Hoping you have a speedy recovery.

Tri Mommy said...

I was thinking you must have had some good drugs... because I know I wouldn't have been on FB afterwards! I'm glad all is getting better and went well!