Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper
billroper

Trip Report: Saturday

And so I woke up in the hospital on the second day of my stay.

With everything, I hadn't slept exceedingly well, which wasn't overly surprising. It would have been better if I hadn't started out at an acute sleep deficit, but that's just a function of a 7:30 AM surgery, I guess. But I was miserable and sleep-deprived enough that I called daisy_knotwise in the morning and told her that I wasn't sure if it was worth having her and the baby come over to visit, as I wasn't sure that I was fit company for anyone. We agreed that we'd talk more about that later.

Breakfast came, another installment of the clear liquids extravaganza from the day before, but minus the Jolly Rancher bar. Shortly thereafter, the internist arrived and was quite unhappy about the condition of my blood sugar. Well, I wasn't exactly thrilled by it either, as my Type II diabetes is normally under excellent control. But I'd had no meds at all the day before and darned little sleep, so it was hardly a surprise that my blood sugar was not being a happy camper. He looked at my tray. "Why are you drinking this juice? It's almost pure sugar."

"Because that's what they're sending me to eat," I replied. It wasn't like I'd been given a choice in the matter. He sent word down to the kitchen to put me on a better choice of diet, which I was fully in favor of. A little while later, I got a bowl of oatmeal and some milk, which was a substantial improvement, despite the fact that I really don't care for oatmeal.

Around that time, I called Gretchen and allowed as to how I'd really like to see her and Katie, so she made plans to drop by later that day. A bit later, the surgeon arrived, changed my dressings, and replaced my knee immobilizer with a hinged knee brace. This was something of an improvement, but the problem that I had sleeping with the knee immobilizer was that it made it very difficult to sleep in any position other than flat on my back. After about 2/3 of the night, that just stops being comfortable and I need to roll onto one side or another, which turns out to be difficult in either the immobilizer or the brace.

The surgeon had also wrapped my leg and foot really tightly in order to try to keep the swelling down. Unfortunately, this meant that the bottom of my foot and toes were annoyingky numb. I later called Dr. Bob who allowed as to how things would probably improve now that the pressure was off the nerves. He was also amused by the sulfites, the iodine, and such and told me that I should feel warned by the fact they'd decided they needed to give me a shot of insulin to get things back under control with the blood sugar.

Meanwhile, I fell into conversation with Wayne and the various members of his family. Wayne and his wife were learning to play bridge, a game I learned at an early age, but haven't played in years, so I was able to throw in commentary. Wayne decided that I sounded like Wilson from Home Improvement, which -- given that he couldn't see me from his side of the curtains -- was a pretty apt analogy! Wayne's children and grandchildren and their husbands and wives formed a pretty constant presence in the room during visiting hours. It was nice to see how much family he had coming to see him.

Wayne's son is a neurologist from out of state. As it happened, one of the younger members of the family was having his confirmation that Sunday, so more folks were around than usual. I never did quite figure out whether Wayne's doctor son had planned to be in town before his father had his stroke or not, but it was a good thing that he was around.

Wayne was recovering nicely. The therapist came by and determined that he was basically fine, so it was simply a matter of making sure that his blood thinners were at a useful therapeutic level for him before turning him loose. Wayne's son really wanted to look at the films. And the neurologist on the case was not making it easy for him to do so. Now there are apparently a lot more difficulties in this following the recent round of health privacy laws, but it was certainly seeming more difficult than it needed to be.

So they decided they would find a new neurologist. There was a fellow who Wayne had seen a few years before who was qualified at our hospital and who was willing to take Wayne on, but he couldn't actually officially take over the case until 7 AM the next morning. That seemed ok and arrangements were made for Wayne's son to see at least some of the films in the interim.

Somewhere during this process, I had a visit with a physical therapist who introduced me to the gentle art of walking with two crutches and not putting weight on my recently repaired knee. This was more tiring that it should have been, which also should not have been a surprise. But I ambled about fifty feet or so up and down the hall before heading back to my room, where they suggested that I sit up in a chair for a while.

After about half-an-hour in the chair that they'd found for me, I asked for a larger chair. Too many things were being forced into too many wrong directions for a time when I couldn't really do anything useful with my left leg other than have it propped up. The nurses kindly found me a large leather chair and I sat back in relative comfort.

Gretchen was surprised to see me in the chair when she arrived with Katie. We sat and talked and eventually I asked her to pass Katie over to me. And I sat with my daughter on my lap and just kind of melted. "If we can have you, then I can certainly get through this," I told her.

Gretchen and Katie stayed with me through dinner and until visiting hours ended at 8 PM. Then they left and I went back to reading and occasional conversation with Wayne. About 11 PM, I finally turned out my reading light (although not the small light by my bed) and went to sleep.
Tags: knee, musings
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