We went through two really difficult periods of pain today, where Lea had to be given an additional booster shot of morphine in addition to the regular doses she can administer herself. This is the dreaded “first day” after surgery, in which the pain is usually worse than at any other time. The spinal block has worn off, and the incised area is swollen and bruised.
While she usually tolerates a lot of pain, today she was not able to get it under control during those two periods. During the first period, in the bedside recliner, I think the ice machine may have been unplugged while she was in the chair and stayed that way until we discovered that the device was not working an hour after she was returned to bed.
The second time it got out of control was this afternoon when physical therapy put the CPM machine on her right leg and began cycling the knee joint through a limited range of motion. The motion of bending her knee didn’t seem to bother her too much, while trying to straighten out her knee hurt her terribly. The reason, of course, is that to straighten her leg she has to stretch muscles and tendons that have shrunk because of the collapse of her knee.
At ten minutes to four this afternoon I turned off the CPM, as she had completed the required two hours of flexing. The nurse changed the bandage on her leg, removing the hip to ankle Ace bandage and the dressing over the incision. I also changed the dressing on her abdomen and we did a show and tell for the nurses. Then, she lay back and slept really well for about an hour and 45 minutes. It was nice to see her resting comfortably after all she has been through today.
Our friend Lou came to be with her this afternoon. Lou had undergone a partial knee replacement last year, and knew this would be a tough day for Lea, so she came to hold her hand and give her encouragement. I was concerned at one point that Lou was going to lose a thumb. Lea was squeezing Lou’s hand so hard it was turning color. I said something about it, but Lou said not to worry, that’s what she wanted to do to help Lea.
Our friends Pat & Joe also came for an afternoon visit, and Pat brought a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers from her garden. They took their place on the window ledge along with the plant from the folks at Harbour Shores church. Mom popped in a little after five o’clock on her way to run some errands. Lea was deep asleep, so mom stayed only briefly, and then was off in a flurry.
I wasn’t able to get Lea interested in ordering anything for dinner tonight. She was just in too much pain to care about eating. So, I called Food Service and ordered her a tossed salad, BLT, macaroni & cheese, and an oatmeal raisin cookie with decaf coffee for dessert. She really enjoyed the meal when she awoke later, although she had a difficult time staying awake. She would lift her iced tea glass to her lips and fall asleep before taking a drink!
After eating most of everything she was able then to go back to sleep until 7:45 when she was given an extra dose of painkiller in preparation of going back on the CPM for another two hours. She was much better prepared to handle this two hour session, and in fact, slept all the way through it, as I stayed on top of making sure she got her IV pain medication every ten minutes.
Our goals for tomorrow include getting her off the Foley, which means she will have to walk to the bathroom (I don’t even want to hear any discussion about doing bedpan duty again!), and getting her off the IV pain medications and taking solid pills again. We also will keep her flexing her knee with the CPM, all in hopes of getting to take her home on Monday.
As always, we give thanks to God for the wonderful caregivers we are meeting, and for the opportunity to share our testimony about His miraculous healing for Lea. Thank You, Lord, for the pain free evening, and for the deep restful sleep she has enjoyed. We pray for her comfort and rapid recovery, and for the opportunity to share the story of Your wonderful love. As always, Thy will be done. Amen.
Snapshots of Lea’s first session with the CPM, our friends Joe & Pat, and our lovely flowers.