Surgical Complications: When Medical Procedures Go Awry: Pt. 3
Unbelievable Conspicuous Consumption
Finally on the Way Home
Our journey home was approximately 200 miles from Reno, NV to Bishop, CA. The day after my release from Renown, we packed the car and began heading South. HOME! My husband and I were terribly excited-it was wonderful to be reunited.
We were quite grateful to get out of Reno proper, for it is confusing and terribly congested-and the drivers, occasionally rude. Fingers flew and faces scowled; perhaps they knew we were slow-moving tourists. The traffic was unbelievably heavy and folks weren't terribly patient getting from here to there.
After frantically maneuvering our way out of Reno, we were finally on our way toward Bishop. It was heaven, absolute heaven. Around 10 miles out of Reno, the drive became familiar to me, since we had driven this route many times before-for other, more benign reasons.
Edema: A Common Side Effect
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190 Miles to Go
Once settled in to the rhythm of the road, we were once again fairly relaxed, chatting about how happy we were to finally be headed home. We spoke of how our dogs would greet us and the reception we might or might not get from our felines.
Laughing, we lost ourselves in conversation and nearly missed a rest area in Lee Vining, CA (The Eastern entry way into Yosemite National Park). As soon as I began moving to exit the vehicle, my entire leg had become inflamed Getting out of the car was horrific, but with help, I managed. I looked down at my leg and was stunned. Surgery patients often suffer from mild edema (The swelling of a body part), but this did not seem mild; my entire leg and right foot were not only swollen, they were beet red and scaly. Both appendages were hard to the touch, extremely red, and insanely painful as well. It was all I could do to keep my husband from dialing 9-1-1 on his cell. It seemed reasonable to me that all I had to do to minimize my discomfort was to stop every hour or so and get out of the car. He agreed. The hospital staff had known about the long drive that was ahead for me, yet they neglected to tell either of us
Home at Last
The aforementioned edema vanished over the next two weeks, and my leg looked like mine once again. What a relief-to look at it now, you would never know the surgery had happened at all.
Once we arrived home, my first task was to become accustomed to our home, which is crowded with creatures and narrow hallways. The animals had to become accustomed to me; what choice did they have? I imagine the sight of my walker was a tad disturbing to them, yet they were quick to adjust by getting out of my awkward way. This piece of glorious aluminum is constructed in order to assist in walking, thus the name-obviously. I was absolutely dependent on it for the first two weeks after my surgery. My hubby 'tricked it out' with 2 sizes of cup holders and a pouch attached to the front of the thing. The cup holders are self-explanatory, and in the pouch I put various medications, books, cell-phone, and pens/pencils. What a man! What a contraption!
I graduated to a cane my son and daughter-in-law gave me soon after I no longer needed the walker. The cane lasted around a week. I have recovered iquite quickly. My first surgery on the other hip took longer to heal than this one did.
I've been walking with no assistance whatsoever since then, only a small scar remains, and after years of limping, I no longer struggle to walk. After the harrowing heart attack scare, I feel blessed simply to be alive.