I’m finally back home from surgery and I’m doing pretty good. Overall, the operation went really well. I ended up staying in the hospital from Friday and got out Tuesday midday. Disclaimer: if you have a weak stomach, then don’t scroll to the bottom to see post op photos.
The operation was definitely a lot more involved than the surgery I had for compartment syndrome and lasted quite a bit longer. Luckily, the surgeon said that the vein they used for the bypass looked great, so hopefully that’ll hold up well over time.
The first night after surgery was pretty rough. My leg kept cramping up. I was on some pain meds including a pump I could use to administer pain medication when I needed it. The only problem was that I was so tired that I would fall asleep and then wake up in excruciating pain because I hadn’t been pressing the button. Then it’s hard to get caught up with pain management. Plus, I guess I had a reaction to the Dilaudid because I could not stop itching – mostly my face, but also my arms and neck. It was pretty strange.
I also found out that I have a DVT (blood clot) in my right popliteal vein. My doctor said he’d be surprised if I didn’t have a DVT. Apparently, they needed to do a lot of manipulation of my vein during surgery. So, that just means I’m taking blood thinners and wearing compression socks. The theory is that as long as I’m on blood thinners, the clot won’t get any worse, and over time will be broken down. Unfortunately, that means the surgery for my left leg will be delayed a bit because I can’t have surgery while still on blood thinners. Hopefully, a repeat ultrasound in a few months will show the clot is gone.
I got up out of bed the day after surgery. It’s pretty painful, but manageable. Bending and straightening it out hurts since the wound is right on a joint. I’ve just been elevating my leg a lot, icing, and working on my range of motion. Netflix and Hulu are helpful too.
Around the second day post op I started feeling nauseated. I was hoping I could tolerate the pain meds better after getting sick from the Percocet after my last surgery. I guess my body really can’t take narcotics, though. I ended up just switching to Tylenol, which has made things manageable. I’d rather be in some pain and not be nauseous than be pain-free and puking. That’s just me, though.
I was discharged on Tuesday and we made it back home on Wednesday. I started physical therapy today and am so glad to be on the road to recovery. I’d take ANY day of post op pain/nausea over the emotional pain the past 10 months have been. I have hated waiting for appointments, waiting for referrals, waiting for test results, and feeling like I was getting nowhere. I can take the painful compartment testing, but I can’t stand feeling lost. I’m just so glad to be headed in the right direction.
I received excellent medical care while at the University of Maryland. The doctors, nurses, PT’s, etc. were all fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about the care I got. I would highly suggest going to the University of Maryland for the treatment of popliteal artery entrapment syndrome.
The pictures below show the scars from surgery. They look pretty bruised up because of the blood thinners, but that’s normal.
The blood thinners made me bruise pretty badly from the IV’s.