Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Phenergans Wake: The short version.

There was one point this weekend where the nurse said, "I am going to give you the Finnegan injection first. That should help with the nausea."

"Finnegan?" I said.

"Phenergan," she said. It turns out to be an anti-nausea drug, not a major late modernist epic of surreal proportion. Though the experience was surreal too.

* * *

When I went to see the shoulder specialist on Friday, he determined that there was indeed an infection in my shoulder joint: hence some of the pain. In addition to the regular scary things about infections, particularly those caught in a hospital (in my case, the hospital where I got my arthrogram), the bacteria can degrade the cartiledge of the joint, so he wanted to get it out immediately.

Hence the surgery scheduled for Friday afternoon (i.e. cancelled physical therapy appointment, which, Joe, I believe might be the same as physiotherapy). So I went home and grabbed some things, and the PP picked me up and took me to a different hospital for the surgery. The checking in took a good long while, because it was short notice, but eventually we were checked in and waiting for a good long time in my new room (private!). They had to wait for my breakfast to be digested, and run bloodwork, and then wait for an operating room to open up, and then I had surgery around 6:00 p.m.

It seemed to go fine, and in addition to flushing the infection out of the joint, the surgeon got some "debris" out, which he thought might be related to the original pain. The whole procedure, including the knocking out and coming to, lasted about two and a half hours.

Then I spent the rest of the weekend and most of Monday in the hospital, letting the anesthesia wear off, taking pain medication, letting the wound heal so that they could take the drains out, getting my strength back so I could walk easily to the bathroom or up and down the hall a bit, removing the old IV line and putting in a PICC line (is like an IV but which can stay in the body for many weeks), and beginning physical therapy to get range of motion and strength back in the shoulder.

Now I am home, having come home last night around 7:30 p.m. I can hardly express how relieved I am to be home, but perhaps this example gives some sense: it is so nice not to have anyone come into my room at 11 p.m. (after I've been sleeping a couple of hours), turn on the lights, empty the trash, turn off the lights, and slam the door on their way out. Not to mention all the needle-sticks. And not to mention that for my first meal after 24 hours of fasting (with some IV drip I guess) was a breakfast consisting of a biscuit, sausage links, and grits. (Had no one heard of soup?)

But we are home. I still have a PICC line in, which allows me to get my antibiotics injected everyday, and it allows them to draw blood without sticking me yet again. Last night I had a bath! I am still taking some pretty prime pain meds and yes, the pheneran for nausea. I understand the antibiotics will probably go 2-3 weeks. In the meantime I do physical therapy 3 times a day, and a therapist comes to the house 3 times a week.

Just wanted to fill you in. Obviously I will not be thinking about swimming for a while, but once the PICC line is out, I may begin some water therapy.


estaminet said...

Welcome home! I missed your voice!

NCMarcus said...

Hope you are feeling better and having plenty of relaxing baths and knitting sessions!

Timothy said...

Glad to hear you survived the experience--and that they found it so quickly. So: Phenergan, begin again!

Scott said...

Well at least now Isis you can take comfort your shoulder surgery wasn't elective if your shoulder doesn't get back to full 100% use. But enough of the negative talk. Here's to seeing a quick and complete recovery in your future.

Joe said...

Wow. That's quite an eventful last few days. Get well.

MartyTheFool said...

Healing vibes Isis!

I was worried about where you were.

Loved your humorous analogy to Finnegan's wake.

Healing roads are just like training, you can do this!