March 14, 2013: Surgery Day

post-surgery smile (relief??)
I've never had surgery before. This unbroken record hasn't even been a thought until now. After being asked this question over and over during the pre-screening process, I am feeling like the exception. And to be honest, I'm feeling pretty darn lucky. "No surgery?" is the typical response to my answer of "no" followed by my reaffirmation of "none". Based on feedback from the clinicians, this is more rare than not for a forty-five year-old active woman. No C-sections, appendices removal , broken bones or bad gallbladders for me. I am lucky.

Being a novice, there was some minimal apprehension last night. No anxiety, but a desire to just get it over with. The last life event that mirrored these feelings was on April 13, 2000; the night before the scheduled birth of Grant. As a purchase of crutches and removal of nail polish bogged my to-do list last night; thirteen years ago it was coordination of older boys back packs and my choice preferred clothing for the ride home. I suspect that this yearning for organizational control is my innate response to apprehension.

This go around, I did not come home with a bundle of joy. Instead I was greeted with an FTD box filled with gorgeous lilies. Thanks to Garrett for this awesome surprise. A box of joy. At age forty-five, this is much better than the take-home model.

In summary I will tell you that my surgery experience was superb (BIG plug for Nebraska Ortho Hospital). The doctor, hospital staff, and many nurses were top notch. There is no doubt they fully understand the importance of the consumer experience and it's direct affect on patient engagement. My cousin, Stefano, is staying with me and is a God-sent. A second set of ears at the hospital and hands at home; I now know to be a necessity in a successful inpatient to home transition.

Why the smile on my face in the picture above, you ask? Coffee!! It really is the small things in life that bring us happiness. Past the moment I woke up from anesthesia and realized that I did indeed wake up, the happiest part of my experience was when I was offered this cup of coffee in post-op. Keep in mind that I had been fasting for the ten hours prior. And although I truly do love my coffee, the normalcy to this guilty pleasure gave me a feeling of being on the mends and ready to walk out of the hospital doors. It was a good feeling.

Now I am icing, medicating, and recuperating in the comfort of my home. The way I see it, it will only get better from here. Each day is one day closer to my typical "normal". I will never take for granted the ability to exercise or to move, for that matter. What a gift I had and didn't even know it. No doubt I will appreciate every step on my future runs through Zorinsky and the freedom of riding miles on my bike with a functioning knee. Skiing the Heavy Metal run again? You bet. But I promise to ease into it.


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