Surgery Day and Ten Days Later
On September 27, 2017, I had a very common procedure done. I had a meniscus repair. All signs were pointing to me not having the surgery. It was pushed back because my pre-admission testing showed elevated white blood cells, indicating that I had an infection. Indeed, I did have a UTI. The doctor prescribed me some antibiotics, I repeated the tests and was scheduled for surgery.
Nothing about the surgery was normal. I wish I could say everything had gone smoothly, but I can’t.
A 25-minute procedure ended up taking two hours, and I was released less than an hour after waking up. No questions were asked about nausea, dizziness, or pain upon release. I somehow managed to get into our SUV and home I went.
Of course being under anesthesia, I slept most of that first day. By the second day, with help, I was able to get up and move around a bit using the walker. My leg was wrapped in bandages, an ace bandage, and a thigh to ankle metal brace/immobilizer. It also felt like my leg weighed at least 150lbs! It hurt, and I was having a hard time breathing.
This continued on for 10 days! The increasing pain, the shortness of breath, the “charlie horse” behind my calf that just wouldn’t go away.
On the morning of October 6th, I was to go to the surgeon’s office for them to take a look at my knee. Instead, an ambulance was called.
My chest felt tight, very different than when you’re experiencing an asthma attack. My leg, I couldn’t even drag it. Within minutes the ambulance arrived and they whisked me away to the hospital.
The culmination of pain, immobilization, and shortness of breath, led me to the emergency department ten days after a common procedure. That Friday was the day I faced my mortality.
The Day I Faced My Mortality
With every surgery, you run risks, no matter how common they may be or how simple. I know this as many others do too. There are people who never experience any setbacks at all, and then there are people like me, where a domino effect happens after surgery.
I think the hospital and surgeon did a lot of things wrong, but that’s a story for another day.
Right now I’m going to tell you about that Friday, and how I almost died, or should be dead, or well…you’ll see.
Here’s the gist of what happened. Please make sure you’re signed into Facebook, as this is an embed.
I had a blood clot in my lung. I was given a heparin drip and admitted. An ultrasound was done on my leg where another clot was found. I was later told that a total of four clots were in my lung.
You guys, I could have died. I spent ten days, ten, in horrible pain and just dealing with it because I thought it was normal. Literally, I was staring death in the face and didn’t even know it. I had two IV’s put in, bruises everywhere, blood draws every 3 and 6 hours. It was a weekend of pure hell.
The doctors weren’t sure if the Heparin was enough to dissolve them or if I would need surgery. At this point, having another surgery was my worst fear.
Somehow — maybe miraculously — two Heparin drip bags was enough to bring my levels back down to therapeutic and I was released with a new team of doctors and a bunch of new medicines.
Here is what I learned out of this whole ordeal.
- Ask questions. A lot of questions. Ask the hard questions
- Should I be taking aspirin?
- What exercises should I be doing to avoid blood clots?
- Why am I being released so fast?
- Will I be talking to a doctor before release?
- Why are the instructions different than the original ones?
- Follow your gut.
- If your gut is telling you that something isn’t right, follow it. Call your doctor, call an ambulance, get seen!
I also learned it’s okay to ask for help and let others help you. This was scary, and I was given a second chance at life. I don’t even want to imagine if it had gone in the other direction.
Have you ever experienced a surgery set back or reaction? Tell me in the section below.