So, after having been hit by a car about ten feet or so from my own driveway, spending five days at the hospital, and having surgery to install a metal rod in my leg from knee to ankle, I was finally sent home from the hospital.
For the next six months, I lived… in the living room. Let me tell you something. If I ever have to sleep on a hide-a-bed again, I’m going to say, “Thanks all the same, but I think I’d rather sleep on the floor.” Much as I love my parents and my dad’s parents, who provided the hide-a-bed to us, that thing was lumpier than a gravel driveway.
After the first week, I got to take the bandages off and get a good look at my leg, which I hadn’t seen since the accident, as it had been covered in bandages. I had a four-to-five-inch incision across the length of my knee that had been closed with staples rather than stitches. I also had three inch-long incisions to the side of my knee and three more just above my ankle bone, also closed with staples. The leg itself looked like one big purple and yellow bruise, which may or may not have been because they used so much iodine on my leg. I’m not entirely sure. It was also very thick and puffy, like a hotdog that’s been cooked too long.
When I hobbled with my crutches, there was a special procedure I was supposed to use. While holding my leg out in front of me, I “stepped” first with the crutches. Then I would hop on my good leg and repeat the process. There were perks, though. The local Albertsons let me use a motorized cart when I went there with my mother. All we had to do was hobble up to Customer Service and they would unlock one for me. They only had two, so they didn’t want just anyone using them.
During this time, my mother and I drove down to Bellevue, which is a suburb of Seattle, to visit the Mormon Temple there. I was given a wheelchair and allowed to use the wheelchair accessible changing room and to sit at the front of the session.
Two or three months later, mom brought me to the osteopath’s office for x-rays to see how my leg was healing. Apparently, it was doing very well, because the osteopath removed all the staples with a special staple remover and told me I could put some weight on my foot now. Rather than using two crutches, I was supposed to use only one, to encourage me to put weight on my injured leg. This was awkward at first, but by then the bruising had disappeared and my leg looked a whole lot less like a piece of processed meat someone had just tacked onto my hip as an afterthought.
I visited the osteopath about twice more. The first time, he seemed pleased, and told me I was only to use the crutch for balance instead of using it for support. The second time, though, he noticed that the screws connecting my ankle to the metal bar in my leg had become bent. One of them had actually broken off. So they sent me back to the hospital to get them removed.
This was outpatient surgery and at a different hospital. So, there was no overnight stay and nobody brushing the tops of my toes to see if I could feel them or waking me up in the middle of the night to take my vitals. The operating room was warm and the operating team actually sang me to sleep after I was given the medicine to keep me asleep while they dug out the screws. I awoke in a bed in a room I’d never seen before with my mother standing by the foot of it and, unlike the previous surgery, knew exactly where I was. I asked the nurse if I could keep the screws as a souvenir. She said they had accidentally dropped them down the drain. I’m not sure how much of that I believed, but there wasn’t really very much I could do about it.
I was able to go upstairs to my own bed, now, which was a plus. However, a few weeks later, after the bandages came off again and the stitches came out, I got the bill.
Tell me about your longest recovery from a surgery. Did you get to use a motorized cart? Did you sleep on someone’s hide-a-bed? Did you have to have a second surgery following the first one? Talk to me! I want to read your story.