Tag Archive | Surgery

2017 in review

Carla

Front: Carol, Judy, me, Donna. Back: Carla, Peter

2017 brought losses — friends Peter and Carla, and I’m afraid Georgina too. Two others no longer remember me. I’ll miss them also. However, I met Grace and Howard this year, and look forward to getting to know them better. Linda, too, came into my life and she’s a treasure. I’ve met Marion in our new Tai Chi class and since Val’s in it too, I’ll get to see more of them both.

Didn’t go anywhere in 2016. Couldn’t even walk! Wasted dollars on travel health insurance I never used. 2017, too, began dismally. Something had to be done. Bless Judy, she came with me to see Dr. Gredanis and filled out forms for me to get a new hip. Friends and neighbors like Amy and David, Wayne and Mairona, Linda, Vinson, Judy, Marlene, and others kept cabinets and fridge stocked and got me wherever I needed to go.

2017 also brought some accomplishments. Our book club’s list of ‘Books Read’ is now over 200! We’re pleased with ourselves. I organized a new Tai Chi class with help from Jean, our kind new instructor. She’s absolutely the right person to lead us. Some of the old gang had nagged about missing the class, Jean happened along and viola. We have a class! I then realized my own balance needs a lot of work, so it’s all good.

My new hip happened on March 17, with Susan at my side. Rafi came afterwards. They didn’t want me home alone between hospital discharge and Rafi’s visit, so dear Trudy came to stay. Samantha dropped in on a Sunday morning for the real biggie. I wanted to see if I could manage a real bath. (I love baths.) I made it! Talk about joy….

Hamming it up

Having fun in Nevada

I traveled in 2017. July found me in Nevada, visiting daughter Susan and her Michael. Why not make it a birthday celebration? The San Francisco contingent joined us and spent the week, and dear Joe, all the way from L.A. made it a birthday I’ll never forget. He ordered bagels, smoked salmon, and cream cheese for our breakfast, plus a huge birthday balloon, all delivered from Reno up to us in the mountains! He hand painted a lovely coffee mug, which waited for me in a package with coffee and cookies for added pleasure. What a guy!

Joe had called regularly while I was in hospital and was the one who realized my nausea was due to the morphine. (I’d assumed I was having a vestibular reaction to the stress of surgery.) He was right! Joe’s often right.

BetterRebaJoeMe6

Joe, me, Rebecca

The next trip was to my kids in San Francisco, where I

Redwrap

Joe’s Susan and me in their gift, a RED wrap

was spoiled rotten again. I got to see my Chandra climb the scaffolding most days while the outside of their home was being painted. (Rafi, like me, is uncomfortable with heights.) Then, I took the train to L.A., and stayed with my kind-of (but no less beloved) kids Rebecca and Brian, who spoiled me rotten yet again, and so if you notice how spoiled I am, you know why. Joe’s Susan invited us to a lovely family dinner, where Joe and I ‘entertained’ with a short skit he wrote. We exchanged gifts and hugs — it just doesn’t get better.

LadyonbikeThese are not all the 2017 happenings. I quickly returned to Keno’s exercise classes and worked really hard at trying to regain my leg muscle strength, Wayne lent me (then told me I could keep) a ‘stepper’ which I’ve been using to help me get stronger, and after two years being unable to use it, I’m finally back on my Exercycle.
It was a very good year…..

 

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Bionic Woman

Muriel Hip surgery in hospital, 2017

One day after surgery, jazzy robe

Hey everyone. I’m a bionic woman! I’ve got a brand new hip. Those warnings at the airport will be ringing and clanging away, bringing on the guards en-mass next time I try to get through security.

I’m also a delicate flower. After knee-replacement surgery six years ago, I had a terrible allergic reaction to whatever they administered during the operation. It lead to my declaring to all who would listen that it would be over my dead body I’d submit to another such procedure. But the pain became so unendurable, the hip had to be replaced. But I told my surgeon in no uncertain terms I didn’t want anything but a spinal. Absolutely nothing!

So it happened I was totally awake during the procedure. I was unable to see what they were up to, but the sounds in the O/R were definitely intriguing. The first thing I heard was my surgeon giving a warning to his colleagues: “Watch what you say. She’s awake.’

What would they have said? Would they have gossiped about colleagues? Wondered who was sleeping with whom? Discussed politics? Commented about my imperfect body? I kind of wished he hadn’t said that. I love gossip. It might have been fun.

Old Lady with walker

Is this what I looked like  with the two-wheeled walker?

They tucked me in solidly on my side so I wouldn’t turn over or move during the

Mom in Hospital

Hospital gown, a fashion statement indeed

operation. Things sounded more like a furniture workshop than an O/R. I heard the whirring of a saw, the banging of hammers, and then more all over again. Maybe that’s what surgeons do on the side in the O/R — build dressers or desks, and fit drawers snugly into them while they fit a new hip snugly into your body.

Being awake during surgery wasn’t a problem, but since I was wide awake, I admit ‘recovery’ was uncomfortable. I trembled so uncontrollably, I was sure I’d break some teeth. (I didn’t.) The anesthesiologist, constantly by my side, said it was due to low blood pressure and that I could not control it — it was out of my control. That didn’t keep me from trying though. Still, recovery passed quickly enough and there were absolutely no bad side effects afterwards.

For me, it was well worth doing without all the drugs I seem allergic to. However, I worried about having to go home 3-4 days after surgery — which is what they said. My leg muscles were so weak after months of waiting, I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to make it on my own so soon.

Then, the most wonderful thing happened. I was sent to a ‘Transitional Care Unit’ at UBC Hospital (where my surgery took place). I had no idea it even existed. I want you to know about it too and shall write about it next time for sure.

Meanwhile, stay well.

What patients need to know….

mom-thinking-2

photo by daughter Susan

Attention Medical pros: What patients need to know….

I should be getting a new hip this month. I’m better prepared than I was six years ago when I had a knee replaced. My lack of knowledge then led to a disaster of an experience. After that debacle, I declared it would be over my dead body I’d ever go through something like that again.

The medical profession sees gray hair and presumes you’ve had numerous hospitalizations and surgeries, and taken dozens of medications and you know all there is to know about hospital procedures and what your rights are and what is usually done. I hadn’t — and didn’t know a thing.

When did you last visit your doctor?

Vital information was not passed on

I had the audacity to presume that questions I answered recorded by a young doctor in my surgeon’s office would be passed on to the necessary recipients of such vital information — like my allergy to sulphites. It wasn’t. My surgeon promised he would not allow me to be sent home, where I’d be on my own, because of my vestibular disorder. The nurse in charge said ‘He has no say in the matter.’ I was discharged. I came down with a severe, long siege of dizziness and nausea the very next day. It was horrible.

Never having been hospitalized in Canada for more than one night, I didn’t even know I had a menu choice for meals, terrible as they are reputed to be. No one told me. I was served rice every day for five days.

Old lady in hospital

Rice every day? Not a happy camper.

I like to learn all I can, and had gladly attended information sessions regarding living with arthritis at the hospital. We were advised to use Tylenol for pain, so I did, but had no idea special Tylenol for arthritis, (stronger dose) existed until a friend told me about it some years later. Why didn’t they tell us while they were at it?

funny nurse

Your surgeon has no say in the matter

I’m not a shopper. I have little patience in stores. I just head to what I want and buy it. Not for me the wandering up and down aisles to see whats on the shelves. I’ve got things that interest me more to do with my time.

I’m writing about this now with the hope some medical professionals will read it and realize that not every gray-haired old woman has had major surgery before, or knows about hospital procedures and medications.

I hope I’m better prepared this time. Wish me luck.

Cataract Surgery Revisited

  July, 2012 Cataract Surgery Revisited The other day I visited my eye doctor. The reason had nothing to do with cataracts and I promise to write about why I went another time. However, being required to spend some time in the waiting room, I noticed a stand-up plastic-coated copy of an article I wrote about my cataract surgery 15 years ago. I couldn’t believe my doctor was still using it, and decided to reread it. I had not done so since I wrote it. It was interesting…. I didn’t recall that I’d been frightened by the darkness experienced after my first eye was done, and that later my doctor told me it was due to a drug used after surgery to pull everything into an anatomical position, which constricts the pupil. What made me go to my eye specialist in the first place at the time? Well, I’d just returned from a trip to Europe, where I realized just how bad my vision was. At home, I am familiar with neighborhood streets and know where things are in my local market, but I discovered I was unable to read street signs in unfamiliar cities, or those in strange underground systems. Overhead signs in grocery markets were a total mystery. Next time you’re at your market, instead of walking right to where you know things are, look up and check to see if you can read the signage. When you drive home, see if you can read the street signs even if you already know where you are. If you have difficulty, it may be time for a visual check-up. And when should you opt for cataract surgery? My doctor said when it interferes with your vision and your life. He explained that the indications are very personal. As for the actual surgery, I remember that I was fully awake during the procedure. I didn’t feel any pain, although I didn’t like having my eye braced open for so long and found the bright light shining directly at it rather uncomfortable. But then, after my own lens was removed, I was so distracted by the fantastic colors I saw I forgot about anything else. There was a liquid rainbow separated into strange, beautifully ragged, pulsating, unusual shapes of such intense brightness, I forgot to be anxious — and soon it was all over. When I later described this experience to my daughter as being like “an acid trip”, Susan was amused. “And how do you know what an acid trip is like, Mom?” She asked. I didn’t really. I just had never experienced anything like it and imagined that’s what it would be like.