The dark hole of post-op

I am eight days post-op from the big one. It was the long-awaited knee surgery that has a 20% chance of not actually working. I am completely non-weight-bearing on my right leg, so I hop around the house with a walker or crutches. Let me tell you, that’s easier said than done.

The latest view from Bridge street. My iceman and continuous passive motion machine that I have to spend 8 hours a day in to keep my joint loose.
The latest view from Bridge street. My iceman and continuous passive motion machine that I have to spend 8 hours a day in to keep my joint loose.

Everyone told me it would be painful, and long, and tiresome. Everyone told me the therapy would be difficult. I’m a nurse with post-op experience, so I know all the things to look out for. I’m doing my calf pumps, wearing the TED hose, taking my laxatives, and keeping ahead of the pain. I totally got this.

Except that I don’t. In all the time I’ve spent asking, “how is your pain?” and “are you having any nausea?” to post-op patients, I should have also been asking “how are you doing?” Not in the, “how was your breakfast?” kind of way, but in the “do you see the light and the end of the tunnel?” kind of way.

Because the truth is, I’m awful. I’ve been crying for nearly no reason, dreading when my mom will go home and I’ll be alone while Ben is at work, and in general I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through the next 5 weeks. It takes me five minutes to get up and go to the bathroom, and by the time I get there I feel like taking a nap. My tailbone hurts from sitting on it all the time, but I can’t do anything about it because that’s really all I can do. I don’t like the way narcotics make me feel but it hurts too much without them.

I sleep by myself in the guest room, since it's on the main floor. Chloe helps me with my stretches at 5 A.M.
I sleep by myself in the guest room, since it’s on the main floor. Chloe helps me with my stretches at 5 A.M.

I truly feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place and I wish someone would just let me sleep through the next month. I’ve had so many offers from my really amazing friends and family, but I feel like I’m too preoccupied with trying to get comfortable on the couch to have an actual conversation.

I know that this is temporary. I hope that a year from now this is a memory. Today, though, I’m just having a hard time picking myself up by my bootstraps and facing the day.

Tomorrow will be better. The next day probably will be, too. Pretty soon I’ll be back on both of my feet and doing the things I love. For now, though, I’ll just lay around some more.

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