Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ankle Arthroscopy (Day One)

THE ankle surgery is a done deal and I was really impressed with the level of competence, efficiency, and affability of the staff and Doctors.
So my plan is to do a “running journal” here on the blog of my experiences with ankle arthroscopy and the process of recovery. I’m also going to try and convey the details via a “photo essay” as well.

There may be an actual video of the procedure, but I don’t know that I will be able to get my hands on it. That being said, I’m going to use a mix of photos that I took with some “file photos” from the web to paint a picture of the experience.

The next step in the process is a follow up visit with the Doc Monday to change the bandages and such.

{Throughout the post I have used the term “nurse” and “Doctor” to describe my caregivers, though I am sure this is not an accurate description of their individual titles. I came away with a healthy respect for them regardless of their positions in the hospital.)

-On a side note; When I describe the female nurse as “a tall blonde” that’s because she fit the profile, So to the guys; get your minds out of the gutter, you filthy beast!!!

Here is how the story begins…

Day 1:

My wife and I weren’t in the waiting room of the Ambulatory care Center for a hot minute before a tall blonde nurse called my name and took me back to my “room” and instructed me to put on my obligatory hospital gown and the accompanying hair net. (More on the hair net later)

She put the IV in my left hand telling me that I had “great veins” along the way, and I was ready to roll.

I was told that I could keep one sock on the foot that was not to be operated on; and I thought to myself how ridiculous that would look so I opted to go with bare feet, “because a man in a gown with a hair net and one sock was considerably more goofy than a man barefoot with the same right?…

I went over my surgery with the Doc who can be described as a super laid back fellow, so much so that it can be disconcerting when you first meet him, but rest assured he’s a good guy.

After a brief consultation I opted to have some additional work done on my big toe, “That’s right… my big toe”.

Shortly thereafter I was introduced to the anesthesiologist, a guy with a full beard, piercing eyes and a wicked cool disposition.

He and the blonde nurse did several things to me that included a “femoral block” and another “block” for which I can’t remember the name. These would help mitigate the pain later on.
(More on the blocks on day 2)

Then the real fun began…

I heard them utter the words of giving me the “cocktail”, and from that point on I was “good to go”.

They took great care of me and asked me no less than 15 times to repeat which foot I was having the surgery on. I recall the anesthesiologist explaining to his peers that I was a “happy drunk”.

Things began to get fuzzy from here but there were some really odd occurrences that I find absolutely hilarious.

At some point I began asking the staff if they had yet to see the Movie “The Spirit” because for whatever reason in my altered state I associated my surgery with the “human headed foot” that Samuel L. Jackson’s character the “Octopus” created in the movie.

During that scene “Octopus” stared in bewilderment at his creation as it hopped around while he muttered to himself “that is just damn weird”.

Now imagine a guy on a gurney doped up and trying to explain the correlation of his surgery and the movie to several Doctors…I can assure you that my composure continued to devolve from there.

Shortly thereafter I was being wheeled down the corridors to the operating room, and I remember asking the nurse how I would go about getting a cooler hat than the one I was wearing, (Hair net) as hers was multicolored and cloth. She indicated that I would have to stay there with them if I wanted a better hat… fair enough.

I recall speaking briefly with another nurse, female, blonde as well, wearing dark rimmed glasses and sporting a nose ring. I thought to myself, “punk rock nurse, cool as hell”, but I don’t think I conveyed my admiration verbally…then again.

We made our way into the “OR” which seemed like an excessively bright cavernous and unusually cold room and from a distance I noticed a burly solid looking guy sporting a woodland digital camouflage hair net.

I couldn’t help myself…and I blurted out “That’s what I’m talking about! that’s the hat I want” Marine digital camo”!!! (Don’t ask why I know this)

He responded with; “That’s right 8 years in the Marine Corps”.

“Cool as hell”, I thought again.

I was moved to a much smaller table where my arms were spread out to my sides and I remember seeing an older gentleman with an “Alabama” hairnet to my right. I don’t believe we spoke.

As I laid there staring up at the ceiling I was given several instructions for which I have no recollection, but then a set of eyes peered over from behind my head, absolutely stunning eyes reassuring and kind, the best kind of eyes to gaze into if you’re going to be in that position.

I don’t know who she was, but I gathered that she may have been the same brunette nurse or Doctor that I had also spoken with earlier about what I do not know.

Her voice was quite soothing as well, but our contact was brief and the last thing I recall was her placing the oxygen mask over my face and then I was out.

I believe the surgery ran around an hour and a half total though I can’t say for sure.

I “came to” later in a recovery room and the same folks were there attending to me. (Looking back there seemed to be a bunch of people involved in the procedure).

Ash was waiting for me as well and as I drifted in and out of consciousness I jovially ranted on about how the staff hit my foot repeatedly with a rubber mallet during the operation…(This of course didn’t happen)

As things went on in recovery I requested that the staff give me a “unicorn horn” poking out of my head for whatever reason, because I suppose unicorns are cool?..

Then Ash, who was there throughout the operation, informed me that as I got dressed back into street clothes I proceeded to make a sock puppet with my right hand and continued to explain to the “punk rock nurse” that “Steve” wasn’t there every time I was asked a question. (A sock puppet, go figure)…

I do recall someone asking my wife if I was always like this, and that her reply was “No, and that I was usually quite serious”.

Another short pleasant brunette nurse wheeled me out to my car as Ash pulled around and helped me into the vehicle and we were off to get the prescription filled for the pain meds.

I am now equipped with a bad ass black Robo-boot that will stabilize my ankle for at least 3 weeks.
I wonder if you can get them in clipless?