I dodged and weaved over the roof tops, leaping from building to building. I had a head set on and Dawn was giving me instructions on where the bad guys were located and how to avoid them.
Bullets crashed into the stonework next to my head and I felt the bite of the stone splinters on my face.
I got to the edge of the roof and it was too far to leap to the next roof. There was a white Toyota pickup driving down the alley below me with something in its bed covered with a green tarp. I leapt. I landed in the pickup bed and pain exploded in my knee.
Suddenly, I was in bed at home with tears of pain running down my face.
Admittedly, I had watched the Bourne Identity just before going to bed and had watched an episode of House Hunters international in Santiago, Chile that afternoon. But this is how I dream.
The pain was real.
The reports of my death are slightly exaggerated. I know that I have dropped out of sight lately. I have to say that the knee replacement surgery hit me much harder than I expected.
Everyone that I talked to who had the surgery said that they wished they had it ten years sooner or that it was the best thing they’d ever done. Based on that, I expected to be in the hospital for a couple of days, then come home, put my knee up and get back to the keyboard.
This is much harder than I had anticipated. The surgery went smoothly. Dawn took me to the hospital Friday morning and they had me in the operating room by noon. The anesthesiologist gave me a shot of Novocain to numb my back, then did a spinal tap. I don’t remember the spinal tap. I remember the Novocain, then the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room. I don't even remember laying down on the table. All as it should be.
The staff at Palomar Hospital was great. Three times a day, a group of interns came in and introduced themselves, saying that if I needed anything, to just give them a call, then I never saw them again. They were so cute though. It reminded me of when my daughter, Libby, did an internship at our local hospital when she was in high school.
The nurses were great and the pain management was exceptional. The two times the pain got ahead of me, they immediately gave me a shot of Dilaudid and I was flying. Then came the physical terrorists.
The physical terrorists all had grandparents who worked for Dr. Mengele at Auschwitz. They tugged, twisted and tortured me until I had tears in my eyes, then the nice nurses give me stuff for the pain and it was all right again.
I have to say I was disappointed with the food. Hospitals are making such a big deal of their food these days; I was surprised to find such mediocre food on the menu. I remember some truly great meals with Connie in her hospital visits in Seattle and in the Mexican hospitals we used in La Paz. Not so at Palomar. Just exactly what you would expect for hospital food.
Dawn did go out to a BBQ joint down the street and bring me a pulled pork sandwich one day though. She ate my hospital meal. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
Then came time to go home. I was anxious and excited to get out of the hospital and back home where everything is just like I like it. Well, almost everything.
Did I mention the pain?
This surgery has hurt much more than I expected and the recovery has been much slower.
I can’t seem to keep ahead of the pain. When I am appropriately drugged up, I can do my exercises and hobble around the house with the help of my walker. However, they gave me Oxycodone when I left the hospital, and it just doesn’t do the job. The bottle they gave me was supposed to last two weeks, until my follow up appointment next Friday. It didn’t.
I have been greatly over dosing myself, because I couldn’t stand the pain. And I’m normally no weenie. I usually have a high tolerance for pain, but this has really kicked by butt.
On Friday it was obvious that I would run out of pain pills long before my next appointment, so I called in a refill. They said it would be ready Monday.
I called back on Monday and they didn’t have it. They told me that it usually takes 24 to 48 hours to refill a prescription. I said, “That’s why I called on Friday.”
I spent the whole day on the phone with Kaiser Permanente trying to get a refill yesterday. And I was out of pain medication. I was literally in tears.
During my last call, I cried into the phone “Let me cut your leg open, saw your knee out, then not give you any pain killers and we’ll see how you feel when I tell you I can’t help you.” I admit I got a little nasty. (I’ll also admit to using my acting training in situations like this.) I had to apologize to the nice lady who was helping me, but I was totally frustrated. I gave them two day’s notice and they couldn’t get their act together to get me a refill.
Finally, at 4:40 in the afternoon, they called to say the prescription was ready, but that they closed at 5:30, so I better hurry and get there.
Dawn immediately took off for the hospital, bless her, and got me the drugs.
Since the Oxycodone had been so ineffective, they prescribed Hydrocodone instead.
It’s worse. The Oxycodone held the pain at bay for three hours. The Hydrocode only lasts for two hours. Once again, I’m having to take the medicine at twice the rate the doctor prescribed. I will try it out for today, but if it doesn’t even out, I’ll have to call again tomorrow and subject myself to the horrors of the medical grinder again.
In the meantime, I can’t say enough good stuff about Dawn. She has saved my life. I can’t imagine going through this by myself. She has been there at three in the morning to empty my urinal or make me a quesadilla, she has made all my meals, washed all my clothes, done all of the drudge work around the house with nary a complaint. When I try to thank her, she says that I don’t need to, it’s implied.
Well, I want the whole world to hear that I’m implying thanks to her.
Since you haven’t heard from me for almost two weeks, you can imagine I’m behind in everything. I finished the first draft of Bikini Baristas before I went into the hospital and haven’t looked at it since.
Somehow, the Outlook account on my computer managed to get corrupted and I couldn’t receive email for more than a week. I finally got it fixed yesterday and am back in business, but very far behind. If you’ve emailed me in the last couple of weeks and I haven’t responded, you might want to resend it.
I’m also behind in my posting of chapters of Bikini Baristas on my web site. I’ll post a chapter today and try to catch up before the end of the week. I apologize, but I really didn’t expect this surgery to knock so much wind out of my sails.
For now, it’s just PT, PT and more PT. From everything I’ve heard and read, the success or failure of knee replacement surgery depends on how hard you work on the physical therapy after the operation. I’m doing my darnedist to meet my obligations and get back on my feet as soon as possible.
I hope that by the time I write my next column, I’ll be well on the way to mending.