Building the Bionic Woman

Surgery is over (Sarah, scroll past..we’re still talking about that).

It’s a long post, I apologize.

Oh, wait.  I just realized I’ve not yet posted about my injury…so for those who read my blog and don’t know where this comes from, suffice it to say I broke my ankle at a recent race.  I’ll blog that barrel full of monkeys soon.

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Pre-surgery splint, earlier this week.  And a caramel cone frappuccino.  Don’t judge, I’m an invalid.

So back to today…

My parents arrived to take me to the hospital around 6:45am today. I got to the hospital very early this morning to make certain NO errors could be made preventing the procedure from happening, because, well…this is ME and strange crap always happens. Luckily, this time I escaped the madness and everything was correct. Check-in went smoothly, despite the craziness of the pre-registration phone calls yesterday.

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I was a little concerned about a mistake as the hospital pre-admittance process was flawed.  Thankfully, the Dr. marked my leg to ensure we did the “right” one and it’s hospital protocol.

By 8:00am, I had my medical bracelet and was sitting in the waiting room ready to be taken in. Score one for things going smoothly.

Soon thereafter, my name was called and I was wheeled back to be checked in, given a gown made by Stella McCartney (you expected less? I’m high fashion), and reminded that the opening went in the back-like I could possibly forget. Clothes changed, IV in place (the nurse was excellent and I barely felt it), a million more medical questions, and finally a warm blanket to ward off the sub-zero temps in the surgery area and I was beginning to get nervous.  This was a huge procedure and could change my lifestyle completely and permanently if it didn’t go well.

It wouldn’t be a huge leap (or step, but I wanted to avoid being “punny”) to say I was really, really scared.

I chatted with my nurses for a bit and learned two of them were runners – one doing a triathlon tomorrow and another who is a member of Folsom Trail Runners, intimately familiar with finding snakes on the Lake Natoma Loop. We talked about half marathons, marathons, trail runs, and how my accident happened.  They both commented that my injury was one of the worst ankle breaks they’d seen, and I must have some sort of need to do things in a big way if I broke it that badly.

Why yes.  Yes, I do.

When I told them about the accident happening in Zion one immediately knew it was a Ragnar, so we had some more conversation about that. She recently ran the SF Golden Gate relay and wants to do a Ragnar.  After our conversation today, I think she will.

Doing my Ambassador duties even in the hospital.  Gotta love it.

One of the nurses walking by overheard the conversation and stuck her head in, asking if I were a runner and who my doctor was.  Turns out, she also is a runner.  I told her his name and she said “Wow, he’s THE MAN! Between he and the anesthesiologist working your surgery, you have the dream team.  You’ll be running again in no time.”

PshewI needed that reassurance in more ways than she could’ve possibly known.

My doctor was running late so I had a bit of a wait. Before long, the anesthesiologist came by, explained his role in the process, and gave me four pills to help  with nausea, pain, swelling, and (something else I can’t remember) during the post-surgery hours. Shortly thereafter, the doctor was there.  He did a short briefing, and it was on.  I was wheeled into the operating room, moved over to the table, and strapped down like I’d somehow decide I didn’t want to do this and bolt.

No worries there.  I was in it for the long haul.

The last thing I remember was feeling the cold rush of saline entering my IV and sting of the sedative, accompanied by the anesthesiologist telling me I’d get a little drowsy.

I’d like to continue with how I enjoyed the drowsiness and light-headed nature of the medicine, but in truth I was out before my eyelids even felt heavy.

Two hours later I was aware of people talking around me.  My eyes would not yet open, but I knew I was coming around.

Nah, not time, I decided.  Back to sleep.

Thirty minutes after that I found I could keep my eyes open for short periods of time, eat some ice chips, and answer simple questions.  My mom came back to the recovery area for a while, and I came around to full consciousness.  The first thing I realized was that the constant, throbbing, grating pain in my ankle was gone.

I attributed that to the pain medications I was on but it was seriously the first relief I’d had in a week, so I wasn’t complaining.  The rest of the story in recovery was uneventful, other than them letting me go home instead of admitting me because things had gone well.

Oh, and my mom offering pictures of my hardware given to her while I was in recovery.

Nasty.

Wanna see?

Yes you do.  A recent, highly reliable and peer reviewed scientific poll conducted on Facebook (so authoritative, right?) by yours truly indicates most of you like stuff like that so if you are in the minority, scroll past the following:

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My new bionic parts.  Not OEM but necessary.

So here I am, recuperating at my parents’ house for the afternoon, trying to keep my sleepy eyes open.  I have a lighter splint on my leg now because swelling is still an issue, but I’ll go in early this week for a hard cast.  I told my Doctor I wanted to go back to work Monday and got they eyebrow-raised and unquestioningly authoritative “No.”

I feel great, pain-wise.  I’ve been up out of the reclining chair two times and can say without reservation I’m already much better.  The grating and shifting of my bones has ceased.  The ankle is once again stable and my foot connected to my skeleton.  My upper tibial fracture wasn’t pinned or plate as expected because it apparently lined up well when they moved my foot back in line with my leg.
Yay for that.

So that’s that.  My surgery was, by all accounts, successful.  I’m sporting six screws, a pin, and a sizeable plate in there and do believe that qualifies me as the bionic woman.  I’m under orders to bear no weight on it for at least the next month but have been cleared to get a knee scooter once the hard cast is in place.

More importantly, according to an amazing team of orthopedic surgeons, nurses, and other medical professionals who did what appears to be an amazing job putting me back together, I’ll be able to run again.

Soon.

Not as soon as I’d like, but sooner than expected.

I’ll take it.

Thank you to all my friends who have helped in many ways including food, rides, and other assorted acts of kindness.  Thanks to those who messaged with words of encouragement and requests for updates today.  I appreciate you being there, even if it’s virtually.

For now, I can feel myself nodding off so it’s time to go back to sleep.

 

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