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Saturday, June 16, 2018

When legs simply do not show up 8 - The Fix

I found the pre-operation procedure at hospital to be rather hectic. Once you are allocated a bed, you get surrounded by a whole host of healthcare professionals who ask you questions on your previous medical history, do final physical checks, draw blood, attach drips and also make you sign consent forms! I did not mind the buzz, it sort of got me too busy to think about what was ahead of me, and what felt like no time at all, I was given a magic pill to put me to sleep so I can be wheeled off to theatre.

Just checked in - anxiously waiting for the signal to get ready

The next I knew I was woken up and there was this massive pain on my stomach…. As if I my entire torso was on fire and the area felt so tight that I could not even talk.  Then my doctor checked whether I could hear him and then gave me the summary – the four-hour operation went very well, the vein that was removed from my leg to patch the artery was competent enough and was able to cover the wide area. He was very happy. There was no need to kick the Plan B that would have meant the use of artificial material – that made me very happy too.

But the pain was unbearable, at least for a few while - and then got better. The first night I did not sleep much – I kept on asking for more pain medication and I was getting only marginal relief. Because of this, I had to literally keep still but every time I dozed off, I was startled by the massive pain, because I kept on trying to change my position in my sleep. On Day 2, I was not psychologically ready to try and get out of bed – I was still traumatized from the pain but by mid-day it was under control. The odd thing is around the same time at midday I started to develop some “airlock” in my gastric system that was causing so much discomfort that I could not eat. It got worse overnight and so for the second night in a row I could not sleep because this airlock was causing extreme discomfort.

On the morning of Day 3, still heavily medicated, on liquid diet in high care, my physiotherapist came to help me get out of bed to do a few steps. I have heard a few people talk about how painful this process is but still I was not prepared for what I went through. She assured me the same afternoon we will try again and it will be better – and I thought those were only kind words of encouragement, nothing more. She could sense the horror and mostly the despair in my voice at the first attempt. That same afternoon she came and I was amazed by the great improvement and so literally 24 hours later, with more baby steps and effort, I was able to get on and off the bed on my own and was able to walk to the hospital coffee shop!

First steps after operation

I am walking very slowly with a severe limp – still on pain medication and still connected to machines that monitor me closely, but I think the worst is over, at least for this time around. My focus right now is on healing the right side and making sure that I am physically and mentally prepared for the next procedure. 


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