Friday, May 11, 2012

In a Week

Exactly a week ago, Kevin was snugly tucked away at a surgery center to spend the night recovering from his ACL repair operation.  At that point we were still very naive concerning what would transpire during his journey toward recovery.  It has been a very bumpy road.

This has probably been the most difficult week of my life: watching Kevin suffer, and trying to keep up with his care while juggling everything else.  I still have not had a solid night of sleep in over a week.  But there have been blessings in the midst of this too.  I will get to that later.

It didn't help that minutes before Kevin was supposed to be discharged on Saturday morning, he blacked out on a stairwell while doing physical therapy.  I was sitting in his room reading a book and waiting for him to finish doing a lap on crutches with his physical therapist.  Suddenly the therapist, a nice guy named Kyle, rushed into the room looking frazzled and holding Kevin's crutches. I found Kevin in another room on a bed, as white as a sheet.

Over the next few days there were issues with immense pain and also bleeding that refused to stop.  The doctor ordered Kevin to stop all physical therapy and stay off his constant-motion machine until the bleeding was under control.  Kevin was very frustrated by this setback.

On Sunday night, Kevin started having a severe reaction to the vicodin he was taking.  He was nauseated and dizzy and had a tingling sensation all over his body.  He started panicking and hyperventilating.  I called his surgeon at 1 a.m. to get advice and see about changing his pain meds.  He ordered us to go to the ER.  Since Kevin could not move his knee without severe pain at this point (lowering his leg to the floor from the bed was excrutiating), I called an ambulance to come get him.  A neighbor stayed with our kids, who were sleeping, until Kevin's mom could come.

It seemed like 30 firemen suddenly descended upon our house.  Things must have been really slow at the Zionsville Fire Department that night and they were looking for some more excitement or something. But, seriously, they were all wonderful.  It was determined that putting Kevin in the stair-chair was out of the question because his leg needed to be stabilized.  So they secured him tightly to a stretcher and carried him down our L-shaped stairway and through the front door.  I followed the ambulance to the hospital.

They changed Kevin's meds for subsequent use but, while he was in the ER, gave him something eight times stronger than morphine (I forget the name) for some temporary relief so he could sleep.  It took the edge off the pain but even that did not completely take the pain away.  That is how badly he was in pain.  (During the ACL reconstruction, they took a ligament from his leg, including two bone plugs, to become his "new" ACL.  Then they drilled two more holes in his leg bones to fasten the new ligament.)

We finally left the ER at around 5 a.m.  Kevin moaned in pain with every bump in the road.  He asked me to take him home before picking up his new medicine at the 24-hour CVS.  I didn't answer him because I knew there was no way I would ever make it back out if I didn't get his pain meds right then.  I have never been that tired before in my whole life.

Midway through Tuesday morning, Kevin mentioned that he thought he had turned a corner in his pain management and that he was going to be okay.  Will there be life after ACL surgery? Apparently there might be!

Later that day, I could see in his eyes that things were better.  He has steadily gotten better every day since that Hell Night at the ER.

In the midst of all this, we have been blessed.  I am reminded that I shouldn't take my normal, pain-free life for granted.  Nor should I take for granted the fact that I normally get more than four consecutive hours of sleep each night.  I had to make a Target run on Monday and I felt like a zombie, walking around with no makeup and bags under my eyes, randomly sticking stuff in my cart, hoping it was the right stuff, but I couldn't be completely sure.  Of course, in that condition of sheer exhaustion, feeling like an ugly, haggard loser, I happened to notice all the cute, put-together women who were out shopping in their heels and perfect makeup.  Talk about depressing!  At that point I thought I might not ever be normal ever again.

But the biggest way we have been blessed is through the people who have reached out to us to help us and show their moral support.  Major kudos go to Kevin's mom, who has helped us in so many little and big ways, but especially in helping take care of the kids when I needed to give everything to taking care of Kevin.

We have also been amazed by our physical therapist Mark.  He was an acquaintance before this whole ordeal and he has become a friend.  When Kevin was at his lowest point, he came to our HOUSE each night after work to check on him and offer encouragement and help.  We could not believe he did this for us.  Mark was extremely kind to us.  We will not forget that.  Ever.

The surgeon, Dr. Klootwyk, was also amazing.  He came to the ER at 3:30 in the morning on Monday because "I couldn't sleep anyway and thought I would check on you."  He truly seemed to care, in addition to being an excellent physician. 

Kevin is now able to use crutches to get outside for a bit and he navigated the stairs twice today.  He is relatively pain free.  We are very blessed.  We made it through this awful week.  No doubt there are more trying times ahead.  But, for now, this hurdle has been surmounted.  God's grace is sufficient.  We are grateful.  We are blessed.

I'm off to bed.
Posted by Picasa


Queen of Carrots said...

Oh my goodness. Praying the rest of recovery goes more smoothly. Immobility is so frustrating!

Heather L. said...

I am so sorry! It sounds like it has been an AWFUL recovery. Good thing you guys didn't know that going into this. I hope that recovery for everyone speeds up and that soon you will forget how hard it has been.