Friday, July 23, 2021

At Least the Blood Looks Healthy

I got the last of my staples and sutures taken out yesterday. That was immediately after having a pressure test on both legs and a sonogram of my right leg--the one with the staples and sutures still in place. All this was done two years and two days after the last staples and sutures were removed from my left leg.

I have to hand it to the Amandas in the vascular department at Robert Packer Hospital. They did a fine job. And, yes, there were three Amandas doing the yeoman's work. Two of them did the testing while the third, Dr. B's physician assistant, removed the staples and sutures. (She said Dr. B is better with patients who are unconscious.) 

My only problem was the blood thinners. Being on three(!) meant that the small holes from those staples and sutures would weep blood. Nearly all of them stopped with a mild amount of pressure but one up near the groin wouldn't quit for some time. Finally the PA Amanda and I were able to stem the flow and get some steri-strips in place so the leg could be wrapped in gauze and ace bandages. 

I got home and sat down to work on a puzzle for a couple of hours, went to the bathroom and then prepared for bed. That's when I discovered quite a large amount of blood in my jeans. Terry and I struggled to get the little hole that was causing the problem to stop. It took nearly thirty minutes with a styptic pencil and lots of pressure to get that little bleeder to stop long enough to apply a bandage followed by a pressure wrap. This morning there was evidence that it had continued to bleed into the bandage but not much. Hopefully that will be the last of that!

Now my only concern is a pocket of fluid causing some pain behind by right knee. Dr. B says it's not unusual but all I can think about is the similar fluid accumulation that occurred at one end of the incision he made two years ago on my left leg. That turned out to be an infection that put me in the hospital for a week before sending me home with a wound vac for a month. Keeping my fingers crossed that my right leg is better behaved.

Have I mentioned how much this feels like deja vu?

Monday, July 12, 2021

Going Out of My Head!

Very early on June 23rd one of Terry's friends drove us to Robert Packer Hospital where I went under the knife to have a couple of aneurysms in my right leg by-passed. Things went smoothly and I spent the next six days in the hospital. I was able to get up and go to the bathroom on my own with the help of a walker almost as soon as I woke up from anesthesia. Perhaps that is why the women from physical therapy and later occupational therapy felt I was advanced enough--especially after moving to a cane on day three--to not warrant their attention or the attention of a rehab facility. 

They and the nurses must have reported to the insurance company that I was an overachiever. The Carleton over in Wellsboro had a bed for me on Friday but when the insurance company balked at making a decision, I stayed in the hospital over the weekend. Word finally came on Monday that insurance wouldn't cover a stay in a rehab facility and that I would go home on Tuesday instead.

Tuesday was the day Terry was scheduled to get an epidural for her very sore hip. She would need a driver as would I. Her cousin Joe--my fishing buddy--stepped in. 

Going home meant I would have some visiting healthcare providers. Someone would come to check on the incisions and make sure they were healing properly. Someone would come to do physical therapy with me. And someone would come to do occupational therapy, i.e. make sure I could dress myself, clean myself, and in general care for myself. The health care provider has been coming round twice a week although he's cutting back to once a week for the next two weeks. The PT person came once, watched me walk around a bit and said she couldn't think of anything she could help me with. (A few more exercises would have helped. But I've been down this road before and can figure out what I need to do.) The occupational therapist called and, when she told me what she would do, I politely said I can already do all those things and she never came out to the house.

I went back to see the vascular team two weeks after the surgery to have them examine the incisions and to have half the staples removed. Taking out every other staple meant removing about 25 of them. Approximately that many remain along with an equal number of sutures. I go back on the 22nd of July to have them taken out.

Until then, I've promised not to drive until I can comfortably press down on the brake pedal. I've promised not to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. And I've hired someone to cut the grass. (If it ever stops raining long enough!) And I've promised not to pick up a chainsaw until at least labor day.