Self Advocacy For The Win

I am home, with my shiny new knee inside a whole lot of swelling and bruising and pain. Surgery was 4:00 Wednesday, and I was discharged 11:45 Thursday. 

Fun fact: I thought the spinal was going to be the most unpleasant pre-op piece. It wasn't, it was the nerve blocks. Good gracious those sucked. But both allowed me to be totally numb below the waist, and to only have sedation to make me sleepy during the procedure, which I clarified MAKE ME ASLEEP PLEASE... I DO NOT WISH TO HEAR ANY POWER TOOLS. My wish was granted. 

And so, I woke up completely lucid with no pain at all. And it lasted forever. JUST KIDDING! It was amazing to actually be able to read after surgery and to gradually become loopy from pain meds as my nerves woke up. Which they did. With a vengeance. The nerve blocks lasted the longest, and when I left I still had "Rubber Foot" as I coined it. 

Imagine my surprise when as my nerves start lamenting what I've done to my body ON PURPOSE, I have to ask for more pain meds. I get put on 10 mg oxy every 3-4 hours, because it starts wearing off at 3 and then I become a purple, contracting, writhing mess. I go to PT and get my green light to go home. Still rubber foot. Progress when I can get my toes to uncurl and touch the floor. 

So when they tell me at discharge that I will be sent home with enough to take 5-10 mg every 8 hours, my jaw drops. They say I can't take my current dose (which is finally controlling the pain) at home because I'm not monitored.


This is what that looks like when I can't take more and my nerve block is gone gone gone:

Bryce wanted to call 911. I thought I was going to either pass out or rupture my incision. Luckily, I got ahold of a human, the on-call surgeon, and he said go ahead and take 2 pills/4 hours (10 mg). Between that doctor and the home healthcare coordinator and the pharmacy, I am good now. 

They always say "stay ahead of the pain" but that's hard to do when not given the proper tools. Ice and Tylenol will only do so much. I get the importance of preventing addiction, but that was BANANAS. And, incidentally, I am down to 30 mg/day from 60 mg, which not even a week in is pretty darn awesome, I think. I just want to manage the balance of pain and PT and movement and icing and stiffness.

I am glad I could advocate for myself so I can have the most effective recovery possible, without feeling like in 2023 the solution is "bite down on this stick."

My friend the walker with volunteer-made bag for essentials 

A happier picture of me post-first-shower. Clearly feeling alright here.


  1. Oh gosh, that sounds rough. You are a trooper! I guess the good new is that the hardest part is behind you now and it should get gradually better from here on out. I really hope the painkillers will help with the pain and that the next few days will go well

  2. Oh, our approach to pain in this country infuriates me! Yes, some people are med-seeking, but most of us... Just don't want to be in pain! I'm glad you got what you needed and were able to decrease the pain.

    It's interesting to read about your experience from the patient perspective at home. I am used to seeing patients in the hospital post-surgery and I try to warn them that it's going to be painful and frustrating at home. It sounds like I'm on the right track with that advice. I also remind them that it's temporary, and I thank them for taking care of themselves and getting the surgery done. If there are any more ways I can encourage and reassure patients, please let me know.

    Hoping you're healing and feeling better each day!! Give a big thanks to Bryce for me for helping you out with recovery!

  3. Ohmigoodness, that sounds like torture. I'm so glad you were able to get relief from the on-call surgeon who heard you and heeded your pleas for pain relief. How is each day going for you? I'm hoping each day brings progress in ability and regress in pain.