So I was pretty talkative with everyone on the way to the OR, and the anaesthesiologists and I had a good time.
I woke up about 2 hours later in the recovery room. It was just myself and two nurses there at 2 a.m. My jaw kept jiggling, but I felt good.
I woke up again at 5 a.m. My buddy Andrew was sitting in my hospital room, reading at the foot of my bed. It was a big relief to see him there. He's a really great guy, and has always been there when I needed him. He's really good with doctors too, and asks a lot of questions, usually the ones I forget to ask.
The nurses seemed very attentive to my condition, and brought painkillers when necessary and anti-nausea medication when the painkillers became too much. I was able to eat some of breakfast, which was good.
There was a huge bandage on my left side, which went all the way from my knee up to my hip. I couldn't really move any muscles in that leg.
The hospital I was at is the best in the area, but it's also a teaching hospital. At times I was a little put off by the first-year nurses in training with their shaky hands and poor bedside manner. I imagine it takes time for someone to be immediately at ease with patients of all kinds. I would have preferred she wasn't so harsh when removing my catheter! Eek!
At any rate, I had a lot of guests, who kept me company as I slipped in and out of consciousness. We played chess, talked, ate, and read. 60 channels of cable, and I wasn't able to stay awake for one single half-hour show!
On the second day, I started working with the Physical Therapist, who was about my age and also named Aaron. He was really helpful, and taught me many useful ways to move around when one leg can't move itself, like lifting the left leg with the right leg or foot. He showed me how to stand up, how to sit down, and more.
I guess I was having a real problem with dizziness. Every time I'd get up to try to crutch around, I would get really really dizzy. I normally have really low blood pressure and a high heart rate (100/80, and about 90 bpm resting), but my blood pressure was around 150/90, and my heart rate was up to 150 bpm when I was standing up. This really worried the nurses and the PT, but they were a bit confused since my Oxygen saturation was always at 99, which is good.
My morale at the hospital had been greatly compromised by my roommate. He was some poor guy in his late 40's who had his prostate removed (then a stroke, then an allergic reactions, etc.) and was in a lot of pain. I won't get into it, but the hospital had also REALLY done a number on him, and didn't seem to want to admit it. His doctors were from the VA part of the hospital and were very rude and callous with him. In addition to that, every time they would move him, take him for tests, or help him go to the bathroom, someone would forget to take his catheter bag, or step on it, or worse, and he'd start screaming and having bladder spasms. He was always screaming and moaning, so I got earplugs, which helped a lot.
They ended up keeping me in the hospital for a total of 3 1/2 days, 4 nights, since they wouldn't let me go until I could stand up without getting dizzy. Once I could, and had shown that I could take a shower and go to the bathroom by myself, they let me go.
Leaving the hospital was great. I knew staying at my apartment wouldn't work. My friends had been feeding my bird and cat for almost a week. About 5 of my good friends all live in the same house. Several of them offered their bedrooms to me. I ended up choosing the bedroom with the higher bed and an en-suite bathroom.
It was a lot like being a kid again. My friends were so hospitable, and prepared food for me, helped me set up my toilet-seat riser and my shower transfer bench (which didn't fit the way it's supposed to, but worked by just putting the whole thing in the shower and sitting down into it), brought me water, and tucked me in every night. The royal treatment for a 25-year old!
I tried to stop taking the narcotic pain meds, but I realized there was a reason they gave them to me, and rather than sit around and suffer, I should just take them. I did stop taking the Flexaril during the day because it made me groggy and gave me dry-mouth.
I had a lot of visitors, and watched a lot of the first season of The West Wing (a show I'd never really seen before), and a cowboy movie called Open Range. Good stuff.
Coming up next time: Aaron moves back into his apartment, his girlfriend flies in from NYC, and he gets his staples out!
Thanks for all the support, folks! It's good that this community exists. Some people think "oh it's just a broken leg," but it's really made simple parts of life very challenging, and thrown off a lot of my summer plans. BUT, it's only going to be one small ripple in the big ocean of my life. :)