24 Hours Post-Op

The initial 24 hours following my rotator cuff surgery were event-filled all right, but mostly for the hidden gifts they brought me.  The first gift came when, on returning home just two hours after the surgeon had packed up his saws and chisels, I saw that my friend Sarah had alighted like a benevolent fairy on this house and left an entire meal, along with an array of wildflowers that looked like they were straight from the opening scene of The Sound of Music. She had even set the table with two goblets, a nice wine for David and some sparkling water for me.

I ate it all, if a tad tentatively, then spent that first night quaking with dread over the  real pain that was sure to ensue, while an electric ice machine with a Mr. Snuffleupagus-like snout nuzzled around inside my giant brace.

post surgery sling brace

I’m pretty sure that by morning David couldn’t get off to work fast enough, but THAT WAS OK, THAT WAS FINE because we both knew I had a heavenly host of caregivers – well, two caregivers – arriving at 9:00.

Aisha was the actual caregiver and Gayle was her supervisor. Gayle had come twice before, first to interview me the week before the operation and again several days later to lend me two chairs, one for the shower and one with rails to set over the toilet, this one being designed so that, having sat down, a person could hopefully, with a mighty one-armed effort, stand up again without pitching over into the wall and onto to the floor.

Aisha was from Uganda as she told me, and a more sensitive companion I could not have asked for. I vaguely remember her helping me down the stairs and settling me into the amusement park ride of a reclining lift chair we were told to procure. I recall the two of us speaking at first about Idi Amin and Lake Victoria and later about how meaningful she finds it, in her other job at the nursing home, to sit in the presence of the dying. Weeks after her visit I came upon the notes she had made about her time with me. She called me ‘a wonderful lady’  – this in spite of my exceedingly sparse knowledge of her home country – and added that I was “alert and oriented. “Ask her what she wants you to do for her and she will let you know. She has been a little shaky walking but is generally very strong. The shift is ending now at 3:30, and Terry is resting in her chair. She has had plenty to drink but has eaten very little.”

Eating very little doubtless because within an hour of her departure I threw up and lost not only the breakfast in bed that my mate had made for me but all of Sarah’s lovely food from the night before. “David! Dodson! A bowl!” I yipped to my husband and honorary son seconds before it was too late,  but didn’t they hurry into the living room, the dears, reassuring me that this was no big deal and quickly wiping away all the ‘evidence’.

This was just the first 24 hours of my 50-days-and-counting post-op period and if it will help any other candidates for this surgery I can tell about other days as well. I can’t write in my diary yet – too painful to hold a pen – so this serves as a record for me as well.

In the meantime here are Dodson and David way back in the old days when ONE of them, at age 18, was still just a little shy about open displays of affection. 🙂

Dodson and Dave '90

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20 thoughts on “24 Hours Post-Op

  1. Operations and recovery – not for sissies, that’s for sure. You bring the reality of what you’ve been through forward with honesty, as always. It’s a manual of sorts and I thank you. I’m so grateful for what you write and share. You allow us to see and imagine the possibilities – and the positivities. If that’s a word.

    1. well I appreciate THIS so much . My audience might draw the line on me if I begin talking about the pelvic floor surgery that could be in my future haha. Love to you classmate!

  2. I have the throwing up here now too. After every meal he eats. I can’t believe how long you are still working on your recovery. Hugs to you M

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    1. Terry, you needed all that support. Just think ,someday one of your cats will find a new home & will replace your arm and hand in the brace, and you can use the block to keep the van from rolling backwards. Good to see your blog again.

    2. Oh no Marti it’s fine. The doc said it would be December before I could iron so I’m prepared for a long recovery . ‘Your’ David and I were comparing notes on the phone the other night and agreed that there was much peace and beauty to be found just looking out at Nature. I pray his nausea ends soon ! xxoo

  3. So sorry to read all this. I am trying hard to avoid back surgery. YIKES! Going to work harder on my strengthening exercises tomorrow……… Feel better soon Terry.

    1. thanks Susie. Yup, strengthening exercises cured my neck pain from a bad fall in 2002. I also have a shockingly crooked spine , mostly visible in vertical stripes or two piece outfits. The advice of the Head of Spinal Surgery at Mass. General a few years ago? “Build up the surrounding muscles.” I did that and it made all the difference. Bet it will for you too dearie !

      1. Friend and I tried a TaiChi class this morning. Ah.. not for us. Too slow. We are high energy people. Looking for Pilates. We came out of this mornings class feeling like washed up ballerinas. Trying every class we can find. We will find a good fit. PT helped my back pain four years ago but this time made it worse. I have a spine full of arthritis a crooked spine as well, and my Mom’s degenerative disc disease. Waiting on back transplant but……… Do not think I have enough years left for that. LOL Would love to try stem cell but Medicare does not pay for that sort of thing. Aging is fun and sure NOT what I thought it would be. Hoping you heal super fast….. Love ready your post…. Take Care

  4. What’s that last line from Tennyson’s Ulysses about his latter years?

    “One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

    That’s you (us)!

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