Monday, October 26, 2015

Bearing scars, but doing well

One week after surgery!

I'm mostly walking without crutches. It's totally incredible. Comparing this to my two other arthroscopic procedures, in neither of them I was walking this quickly. Yes, it hurts all the time still. I'm only one week after major surgery, after all. But I am feeling strong, and feeling that I am healing every day. *That* is not to be taken for granted! There is still strong pain- surgical pain. The incisions still have the stitches, my muscles and thigh joint are very raw still. But I feel strong, and I can walk on both legs. Today I mastered going up stairs with alternating feet each step (like you do all the time), instead of bringing both feet to one step, then the next, etc. Amazing. Most painful are the incision spots and muscles.

Also the joint is popping out of place a lot. I was warned that that would be the case because there is no labrum (cartilage cup) holding it in the socket. The end result is expected to be that the joint pops out of the socket regularly, but I won't have pain. I can put it back when it pops, it's just kinda oogie to think about. In practice it's not a big deal. That is, if it doesn't hurt. That is what remains to be seen.
I am going back to my surgeon on Thursday (in Tel Aviv) to take out stitches and talk about physical therapy. I am going to push for hydrotherapy- physical therapy in a therapeutic heated pool. It works for me well, I had it after the other arthroscopic procedures.

I sometimes feel that it may have been wiser to skip this procedure and just go for the hip replacement. That is what is suggested for a calcified joint (osteoarthritis), and that is what I had, a completely calcified joint with no cartilage at all. That way I could have avoided yet another surgery. I am not sure why my surgeons thought this was the best thing to do for me, but I guess that after they went into the joint with their instruments, doing a job to save the joint made sense. They are confident that it will get me out of pain. I hope they are right. I just wonder if they were prepared then and there to do a hip replacement (which they weren't- it is a totally different surgery), if they still would have opted for this repair procedure anyway.

I had one very bad experience there with one of the nurses. You'd think that in a private hospital that wouldn't happen, but wow, I am still paying the price for her callousness.

For 18 hours after surgery, I was extremely nauseous, vomiting, and had a migraine- a very bad reaction to having been given straight morphine. That being the case, Robert was in the halls a lot looking for nurses to administer anti-nausea medication. There weren't many nurses around, and he had to ask often because they didn't do it the first time. I was in an awful state. There was one nurse who was particularly cold to us.

She had me pegged as a whining patient with my husband whining for me. (If she only knew me....)
At some point in the afternoon the physical therapist came in to see if he could help me to get up and moving. I was vomiting, I said no, I just can't.

A few hours later he came back with that nurse. It was time to get me out of bed. But I was still nauseous and had a splitting migraine. I told her I just can't. I have a migraine, and I'm vomiting. She said "I haven't seen you vomit all day". BECAUSE YOU HAVENT BEEN AROUND!!!!! It was Robert who kept giving me clean towels to barf into and wipe my face with. Did she really think that it would be fun for me to make up a story of how awful I feel?
I then said that I have the catheter, and I just can't manage it all. I couldn't manage using the bathroom all the time, I felt I still needed the catheter (half day after surgery here...).

She then said "so we'll take it out". And in two seconds she whipped it out. I screamed. She said "what? That is how to take out a catheter". I have news for you- that is NOT how we take out a catheter. I've had a catheter at least 10 times in my life, and never did this happen.

Somehow I managed to get myself up and onto the crutches (the pictures from the previous post), migraine and all. Only then, when she saw that I gotten up and was walking did she have new found respect for me. I told her I have a terrible migraine, and only then did she give me a shot for that. The shot worked, the nausea and headache abated, and I turned a corner at that point. 
Right after that my dear friend Miriam came in to visit me, and we had a lovely visit.

That whole catheter experience left me with a whole other problem, not related to the thigh surgery. Yes, I am going to write this up for the hospital on their "quality questionnaire". It just makes me so upset that these things go on- regularly- in the hospitals, no matter how hoity-toidy and private. I am so sick of it. I have had so many surgeries, there should be something written in the chart that says: 
"this patient is sincere. If she says she isn't feeling well, she *really* isn't. She's been through hell and back, cut her some slack. Believe her. Eight years ago some nurses in Soroka hospital didn't believe that she could possibly be in so much pain, and nobody gave her antibiotics. Those nurses, 8 years ago, said "she's just spoiled, she doesn't need the pain medicine"
(that really happened, btw)
The next day she almost died. 
Smile at her, it helps her heal faster."
That stuff doesn't go into charts, though. The patients just have to bear the scars.


  1. You're a life lesson for medical professionals and an inspiration to the rest of us.

  2. Oh, my sweet friend. You are amazingly resilient and brave and I am strengthened by knowing you. Love from Hong Kong!!

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  4. Just read this the other day -- a woman who didn't get treatment for hours because her pain was dismissed:

    1. Thanks for this article, Lee. It rang so true for me, many different parts of it. In fact, the only time that I can really remember being respected for verbalizing my "suffering" was during childbirth. Not that in my present life, including experience as a doula, I would use the word "suffering" for childbirth pains, but for shorthand sake here it works. I am going to reprint this in my blog. I don't do that much. ! זכיתה

  5. Great post, Honey. And the end is intense. You're right: the charts should emphasize the patient's history with more than a brief list, and it should mention the patient's track record of reporting pain and discomfort that proved to reflect a serious underlying condition. Even better: How about if nurses were trained to always show sincere compassion in a timely manner to all patients without presumptuousness and without insisting that all patients have the same needs and reactions. Is that asking too much?


  6. Hope you feel better soon, Sarah!

  7. Hope the pain passes quickly!!!!!