Sunday, February 01, 2009


I'd like to thank everyone for their concern and well wishes during my latest surgery last week. This one was a lot harder on me, partly because I wasn't fully recovered from the one the week before. I can't tell you how many times the Dr.'s apologized to me for having to put me through the procedure yet again.
I went into the hospital Tuesday early afternoon. I was hooked up with an IV, had blood work drawn, EKG, and at 5:30 the representative for the Guidant Latitude device I have implanted came to run some tests. It was proven that the new lead wasn't fractured or defective, but that it was overly sensitive and placed too close to my diaphragm where it picked up erroneous signals and the defibrillator fired, giving my heart a shock. I was scheduled to go to the EP Lab at 6:00 am to have this lead replaced. We got a bad ice storm that night and it was noon before I actually made it down to the Lab. I was soooo thirsty and so hungry but of course I had to keep fasting.
I was given the 'Twilight' anesthesia in my IV and rolled into the EP Lab which is a small operating room for Electro Physiology. The week before when I was rolled into there - all I remembered was seeing the room and everything after that was a blank until I was awakened in the recovery room. This trip was quite a bit different. I was fully awake when rolled in and scooted over onto the operating table where 'they' proceeded to strap down my feet and hands so that I wouldn't try to assist the surgeon. The anesthesiologist asked me if I was feeling the affects of the medication yet and I replied 'no'. It turns out that the IV in my right hand wasn't 'good' and had to have another inserted into my left hand and more Twilight given to me. In a matter of a few minutes I was out. But not for long. I awoke at one point and could feel the pressure from the lead being forced into my ventricle. I even spoke out loud and said "I can feel that". My eyes were closed. I can only imagine the surprised look on the Dr.s faces, but then again I'm sure this happens more than we realize. Someone said " what do you feel? Pain or pressure"? I said "pressure" and then I was out again. I'm sure more Twilight was given to me, but then I awoke once more when the surgery was finished and this time I was wide awake while being unstrapped and moved to the recovery room.
Worse than the incision was the pain I was having in my left shoulder from being manipulated during surgery. I was given Vicodin for pain every 4-6 hours. Sometime during the night I developed severe pain in my right knee and right side of the knee halfway down my calf. It was totally unrelated to the surgery. That pain was even worse than the shoulder pain and I was given alternate doses of Vicodin and Morphine. These did not lessen the pain. They might as well have given me sugar water. A heated gel pad helped on both shoulder and knee.
I did not fall, I did not bump my knee. We couldn't figure out why I was in so much pain.
That morning I could barely move my leg and I could not put my weight on it at all.
Then it dawned on me. I don't believe the nurses were giving me my twice a day dose of Etodolac ( 400 mg ) which is a NSAID for my osteoarthritis. You are told to bring all of your medicine to the hospital so it can be recorded, which I did do. When the nurses would bring my medications they would say what they were giving me and the dose. I didn't recall them giving me the Etodolac, so I mentioned it the nurse on duty that morning. To make a long story short, I took my own dose of the medicine and within 2 hours I was able to stand on the leg and limp and within 3 hours I could actually walk and the pain had subsided quite a bit. They were not going to release me for another day if I could not walk. I did get to go home and by the next day my knee/leg was totally pain free. My sister-in-law works as a registered dietitian at a local hospital and she tells me that many doctors will only order the meds you take routinely if they are directly related to what you are being treated for in the hospital. Whether this is true or not I don't know but she believes it.
Anyway, I've been home for 3 1/2 days now and I'm feeling so much better. My shoulder has stopped hurting, my knee is fine, my incision is ugly but healing although I did have about a half dozen episodes of feeling dizzy yesterday. If that continues today I'm going to have to call my doctor again to see if this is normal after having the pacemaker reset.

1 comment:

  1. Wow what an ordeal! So glad you are back at home and recovering. Hopefully it's all uphill from here!