Finally, Phase 2

In the holding room. My arms, bed and table

We said our see-you-laters at about 10:45 a.m. just before I was wheeled into the operating room. The last thing I remember is Dr. Sojka asking me what kind of music I wanted to listen to. (My husband and I both like his sense of humor.) If I remember right, he went with the Zac Brown Band.

I woke up I think after 4 p.m. in a room that reminded me of a scene from the hospital where Cee worked in Atonement. I was near the wall, at the end of a very long row of beds. Each of us had a neighbor across the way. It was loud but not chaotic and the nurse who worked with me was very personable.

Before leaving that room I learned something. That universal 1 to 10 pain scale may be universally misunderstood. I know pain is relative and I will never judge someone based on what they are feeling. I am criticizing only the scale.

I heard three different voices in that room say their pain level was a 9 (!!!) right after chatting about KU, the drought and their grandbaby, respectively. SERIOUSLY!? A 9 but you’re with it enough to small talk? I spent about a week feeling what I would call 9 every time I moved and it was hard just to talk unless I was still.

It reminded me of what they said in our childbirth education classes at the Birth Center. “If you still want to have your picture taken it is too early to be here.”

I am receiving Percocet – a combination of 10 mg of Oxycodone and 650 mg of Tylenol – every four hours. I would rate my pain between a 3 and a 4.5 depending on when during those four hours. That is based on the definition a Resident gave me when I asked before surgery. He said: “A 10 means you could be shot and not notice.” By that standard, this isn’t much.

The best part is, just like Sojka said, the pain is different! It is isolated to exactly where my incision is, and the muscle beneath it. No more burning sensation. No more deep, horrible ache. And I have no back pain at all! None. This is AMAZING! I am THRILLED that the pain is basically superficial. It gives me a true sense that as it heals I will become whole again.

My guys and I hung out in a holding bay, basically a small room with no monitors, for several hours while I waited for a room. It was great to see them. We were jovial – laughing, high-fiving, hugging as best we could around the cords.

Dr. Sojka came in and things got even better. He said everything went well and I did not need a screw at my SI joint. He said he was able to see the problem there, but that it righted itself when he brought my bones together in the front. That is great news. Two incisions would have meant two chances for infection and two drainage bags.

Even better – Grandpa came through his surgery with flying colors, too! I don’t know much about what is ahead for him, but that was incredibly uplifting news.

My guys headed home just before 7 p.m. with a plan to stop at the store and then get some rest in the new place. They’ll be back in the morning before my visitors arrive. They’ve told me to expect :

  • Dr. Sojka or Dr. Strong, his resident who has worked my case
  • a physical therapist
  • an occupational therapist
  • a social worker and
  • a lactation consultant
  • an endocrinologist

It took a long time to get to an actual room and en route I had three x-rays taken. I’ll learn about them tomorrow. Because I can’t really move yet a team of three got a board underneath me and then slid me on to the x-ray table and returned me to the bed when they were finished.

Those x-rays were a major milestone for me. For the first time in seven months I was able to lie flat on my back. I bent my knees at first, but I slowly brought them down as my body adjusted to being on the table rather than the bed. Man, that felt good.

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