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More details on my surgery

March 28th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

I arrived at Columbia Presbyterian at 7AM on March 14th. After being admitted I was told to wait to be brought to x-ray. Eventually someone came, led me to x-ray, films were taken, and I was brought to the pre-op area. A couple nurses and doctors came in and thoroughly went through my medical history, making sure no surprises were waiting for them in the OR.

I was then moved to another holding area closer to the OR. I met the anesthesiology team who asked me lots of questions about how I react to anesthesia, and how my family reacts to it. Afterwards, my surgeon and his team came in, he put his initials on my bad leg (NY state law), and walked us through the surgery one last time.

At 8:45AM my parents were asked to leave. A doctor inserted an IV, and I was told I’d be waiting until the they were ready for me. About 45 minutes later, I was finally wheeled into the huge OR. It was the most impressive OR I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few. I was given oxygen, and they began positioning me on the table. Apparently, my height caused some logistical issues, but eventually they worked things out. I was told that they were ready to go and that was the last thing I remember.

The first hour of being unconscious was spent padding, positioning, and preparing the leg for surgery. Next, the lower leg was opened up, muscles were disconnected, and using a saw, an 8″ section of fibula was removed. It was thinned down and prepared to be inserted into the hip.

The hip was opened up, muscled detached, and the dead bone and arthritis was cleared from the hip. A small hole was drilled in the center of the hip, then, using larger and larger drill bits, the hole was made larger and larger, until the fibula fit perfectly into the hole. The blood vessels were connected, and the muscles re-attached. A drain tube was left in the hip, which would be periodically emptied during the next few days. I was sewn up, given 3 units of blood, and was finished after 11.5 hours in the OR.

I was wheeled into the recovery room, where I was reunited with my parents. I was in terrible pain, especially at the lower leg. My arms were also killing me. They kept saying that I wouldn’t remember anything, but obviously I do. After an hour or so, the pain was finally manageable. At 1:30AM, a room to opened up upstairs and I was taken up.

The next 4 days were hell. I had 3 IVs in my arms, was given another unit of blood, and didn’t sleep at all until the 4th night. A few friends came to visit, which was awesome. I wasn’t allowed out of bed all 7 days, except when the physical therapist was there.

My stay at Columbia Presbyterian was kind of strange. The surgical team was awesome, they would come in multiple times a day to change my dressings, and to see how I was feeling and answer any questions I had. I asked one of them about my surgery and he took the time to go through every step of it with me. The nurses were either terrific, or absolutely terrible. I once waited an hour after asking for my pain meds for the nurse to bring them to me. The nurse assistants were fantastic and incredibly nice. We had quite a few conversations getting to know each other. The social worker was a disgrace, and actually yelled at my mom at one point (which she later apologized for doing).

Things are slowly getting better each day. The leg still hurts, but I’m dealing with it and not letting it make me miserable. It’ll hopefully be a good weekend. I expect to return to Boston on Thursday of next week.

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