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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Elbow - Part II

When last we parted, my wife and I had had our bedside reunion, late at night. Awww...

And the next day Bryan Cranston cut into my elbow.

Well, more Malcolm in the Middle Bryan Cranston.

In between, I was introduced to The Block.

That's what it felt like.

Let's continue!

My surgery was scheduled for about 11 AM. I didn't know this until I was wheeled away to surgery while my wife was getting breakfast. I was rolled into the pre-op room and was poked and ekg'd and otherwise prepped. The anesthesiologist came by and said he was going to give me a block. A block is where the nerves in a part of your body are deadened. I got an ultrasound on my shoulder and got to see the little nerve ganglions on the monitor as a needle dove towards them. 

In a few minutes, it felt like I had slept on my arm for about four days. I kept expecting the wake up tingle, but that never came. It was a dead weight from the shoulder down. 

My wife had finally been told how to get to me, and arrive just as my doctor did.  He looked an awful lot like Bryan Cranston, especially from season 4 of Malcolm in the Middle. For some reason, I found this very reassuring. 

Relax. I got this.

He explained the procedure. A metal band was going to be wrapped around the ulna to keep the pieces in place. All the loose shards would be taken out. If the radial head was too badly damaged, it would be replaced with an artificial one that resembled a spool. They had a whole kit - like a ratchet set - of the different sized joints. He went off to prep and said he would see me soon and my wife went off to the waiting room.

After about an hour, I was wheeled back to my bedroom.

Apparently, the ratchet set was missing a few sockets. Rather than open me up and discover the piece he needed was the one that was missing, he postponed operating until the missing pieces could be couriered in from Boston. (Yay planning ahead!) 

So, back to my room for an afternoon of percoset and Law & Order: SVU. (And an irritated wife, since no one had told her( two hours of worrying for nothing) the operation had been delayed .)

After a day of morphine and fentanyl, I was put on the less intense and less addictive percoset. Two pills every 4-6 hours was enough to take the edge off, but not enough to put me on a floating cloud of liquid gold. It was enough to make me stop pooping.

"Feed me!"
"No! I have nothing to give you!"

Apparently, constipation is a common side effect of pain killers. Despite a breakfast of raisin bran and coffee, five minutes of grunting and sweating  would produce only a small ploop.

While percoset did not knock me out, it would make me drowsy. Which made the 4 hour block of L&O:SVU perfect viewing. I could nod off during one scene, wake up during a different show, and dive right back into it.

I will dramatize:

"You're just gonna let that freak walk out?"
"We can't hold him on a hunch, Stabler!"
"The suspect removed all of his pubic hair with electrolysis."
"We found three different semen types in his rectum."
"She was your daughter! She trusted you!"
"I love my daughter, detective. In my own way."
Zzzzzzz... Hun? Time for surgery?

Does it say something about me and the American Media Complex that I consume gritty crime dramas like comfort food. Maybe that CHUN-CHUN sound is relaxing. I could try and think of something, but I'm too busy watching the 48 hr 2 day SVU marathon on the USA & cloo networks. (UPDATE: It would appear that even I have reached my limit at around hour 16, and approximately 10,000 angry glowers from Chris Meloni.)

Back to surgery, where I was prepped. (Again.) This time, I was wheeled into surgery promptly. After joking with the anesthesiologist about using Jack Daniels or Screech (Newfies represent!) instead of drugs, I promptly fell asleep...

...and woke up in recovery. I tried to get up because I had to pee, but the mean nurse wouldn't let me and told me to lie down. She gave me a pee bottle, but it is HARD to pee uphill and not make a mess. I tried to release the bed guard so I could at least stand up, but the mean nurse was not having any of it. Finally, I peed and presented the trophy to the nurse. Enjoy it!

Bryan Cranston came by to tell me about the surgery. It had gone very well, and he had replaced my radial head since the original bones were too damaged. I am now a cyborg. Kill all humans...

My lovely wife was waiting for me in the room, giggling. When Bryan Cranston talked to her, he told her that I had tried to run away when I woke up.( I do not remember this but they say it's true) I explained that I was trying to pee. I had some more percoset and went to sleep. Where I dreamed of the cast of Malcolm in the middle being interrogated by Ice-T and Mariska Hargitay.

You think we're joking? This is no joking matter.

We conclude tomorrow, with the things we've learned.

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