Preparing for Surgery

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My surgery (ligament repair -- Brostrom) is a week away, and I'm freaking out. I don't dream - ever! And pretty much every night since about a week before even scheduling it, I've dreamt about it. One night, it was a nightmare that woke me up!

I don't know why I'm so scared. I've had a ligament repair before, though different technique I think, not that that's the point...I think it's because I was so young, naive and carefree (16).

Another thing is, I'm going to have to stay at my parent's house for the beginning of my recovery (first 1-2 weeks, until I get my fiberglass cast is what I'm thinking), and while I get along with my parents for the most parts, and my siblings for the most part, the last time I spent an extended period of time with them, it was hell. How do I handle that?

The other thing is, I forgot to ask about getting an On-Q pain management thing. I don't know if they're planning on it, but I would love one!! I had one after my first surgery, and I really think it helped! How do I go about asking for one?

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  • Posted

    Hi: I had a great deal of anxiety prior to my ankle tendon surgery. My situation was the opposite, I pretty much had to figure out how to recover on my own. family members are not the caregiving type and when I mentioned I needed surgery ... well, let's just say they made it clear they did not want to be "burdened." But, in case of an emergency, I could call! Talk about anxiety!

    It wasn't the surgery that brought anxiety, it was the feeling of loss of control. Emotionally, I needed to find tools to help me cope with being home bound for at least three weeks and not being able to be mobile. Also, there was anxiety because I had know idea what to expect.

    Regarding your stay with parents remember you don't have to do anything but heal. If need be, have a little talk with family before surgery expressing concerns. When I am recovering, I don't want people hovering around me.... thus I would express that I hope family won't be offended if I just need to be left alone. Whatever dynamics give you anxiety, talk about them. What also helped me cope is reminding myself that in the big scheme of things, six weeks non- weight bearing and not driving was just a "blip" of time.

    I had a nerve block in my leg prior to surgery and then was instructed to take pain meds every four hours. I used the alarm on my phone for middle of the night pain med dose. I hate how those meds make me feel, so was off of it within four days. But, I have no idea what a ligament pain is like. You mentioned you had a similar surgery but you were younger. Well, you are older now and your growth as a human being will probably make this easier to handle. It will be different experience this go round because you are different. My physical therapist asked a surgeon about who recovers better from tendon surgery.... the young or older person. The surgeon said the older person. Because they are tougher. 😀

    I am a person that can't sit still and I ended up grateful for time to rest. I needed it.

    Just to note... having a potty chair near your bed makes life so much easier for the first couple of days when you are drugged and trying to learn how to move around with a cast. Shower chair is a must. Go for Knee scooter vs. crutches. I think that's it. You are going to find that this will turn out much better than you anticipated. My biggest complaint is I am tired... but I have had surgery before and know this will pass. Hope this helps. Keep us posted.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough reply.

      If I could do it on my own, I would...but I know, based on experience that I won't be able to. Hell, the anesthesia alone won't even completely wear off until about day 3! (And that I know from recent experience with my wisdom teeth).

      When I found out I had to have surgery, I first told my dad because he's the one who picked me up from the doctor...he was pretty much like yeah, that sucks, I'm sorry. My mom was like, well, if you need it you need it. Neither one of them expressly invited me to stay with them, but my mom said I was going to need a lot of help, and I agreed which is where the unwritten and unsaid agreement came. And then of course we talked about it more, and now have a fairly solid plan -- as best as it will get lol.

      For me, the fear is actually the surgery itself. Mostly the fear that they won't be able to fix it with just my own tissue and they'll have to use cadaver tendon and I'll have a bunch of hardware because I've had this surgery before and there's just not enough viable tissue there. And more hardware is a scary thought! I currently have 2 screws in my ankle from the first surgery (they'll be removed during this one), and I know that they limited my mobility, and the last thing I need is even less mobolity than the less I'm already going to have because of the surgery...if that makes sense. 

      I'm getting a scooter, though I'll have crutches too, and we'll see which I end up using more. I'm quite used to crutches and they honestly don't bother me, but everyone rants and raves about how much easier the scooter is...plus I figure if I've got a scooter, I can get back to work sooner!

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    • Posted

      I am actually glad you have family around you.  In retrospect I appreciate how vulnerable I was being alone.  I just didn't have choice.  After surgery I was brought home, helped to bed and then that was it. I was on my own.  In some ways it ticks me off.... but in other ways I know sometimes people can give you 500 percent ... but their 500 percent isn't much cause they are not good at coping with the situation.  It is what it is. 

      My surgeon had a cadaver tendon ready to go but once they got in there he didn't have to use it.  Maybe they won't have to use it on you. Have you talked with your surgeon about your concerns?  I know the recovery is long but I believe you will end up with more mobility. They have come so far in medicine.  Try and think positive. I know it is scary. Prayers helped me . 

      I wish I had all the right words to bring you peace.  I will be thinking of you. 

      Oh, ask your surgeon if you can pick up your pain medicine the day before surgery. A lot of docs are doing this now. It is a royal pain to have to stop by a pharmacy on the way home after surgery. 

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    • Posted

      I'm sure I'll end up relieved, if not happy about the family...and maybe I'll just be too drugged up to care lol. But probably not. I hate narcotics and only take them when 100% necessary, or when kinda necessary and I'm going directly to sleep. Me+narcotics+being awake=hell in a hand basket.

      Generaly you've got less mobility with more hardware...but, everything is more secure with the tendon and hardware.

      My pain meds are already ready at the pharmacy, I just need to have my insurance get pushed through and then I'll be able to pick them up. Hopefully the insurance will be pushed through tomorrow as I've got another medication to pick up and that out of pocked is about $1200!

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  • Posted

    So I now have my post-op appointment scheduled: Thurs the 26th. So that means 9 days in the surgical cast, and then fiberglass! They were saying I might have to wait a bit longer because of my surgeon's schedule, but they found a way to get me in within the 7-10 day time frame!

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    • Posted

      Sounds like you are all set. Try and enjoy the time best you can with reading, watching good movies, napping the time away with good dreams. All the best to you and keep us posted.
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    • Posted

      I think you always feel that way. ... always having a nagging feeling something else needs to be done. But, I think you do your best and then let people help you. And, if you are concerned about asking for help or favors... don't be. I realized that sometimes when you let go and allow people to give... that is a gift. People have a need (at least in a lot of families and friends) to help out. It makes them feel good.

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    • Posted

      It's not a feeling I usually have...and I think that's part of why I can't sleep for the life of me.

      And asking for help? I already boss (ask) my siblings for stuff...so they'll be like my little minions when I can't do anything haha!

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