Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Surgery! aka. Our Fancy European Vacation!

Where we last left off, J had discovered his finger was going to need surgery after all.

So anyway, I took J on Friday* for his surgery. We met his doctor and a few nurses, and a hospital guy with forms**, and the anesthesiologist. Everyone was very aware that they had a special goal to not eliminate J's hookworms.

The day before the surgery I talked to Jessica on the phone for a little while about how she and Mitch are thinking of maybe going to Europe. As we discussed Italy, I wanted to go too. Jess suggested I come with them, and I said uh, I don't think we're really going anywhere because now we're going to be paying medical bills instead.

SO, at the hospital we kept joking about it being our fancy European vacation. When J was put in his first hospital bed, we evaluated our resort's amenities:
Me: "What a great view out the window!"***
J: "Yeah, and look, it even has a flat-screen TV!"

The head-nurse came to introduce herself and she said they'd try to take good care of him. She brought him his "party hat"**** and promised J she would have some warm towels for him back in surgery.*****

And then eventually J was taken back to surgery, and they told me to go wait in the waiting room, and I went to eat french toast instead. And then I went to the waiting room. I felt really nervous for no reason in particular. Actually, here's the reason: I've never had surgery (or waited for anyone to have surgery) and having someone cut J up makes me nervous.

After a little while the surgeon came and found me in the waiting room. He showed me pictures of the x-rays from surgery and explained what he did. ("The pins look bigger in the x-ray than they actually are.") He gave me a list of the medications/anesthetics that they gave J. Neat. Also, if you look at the top-right x-ray, see how messed up the bone is? That's from the day of the surgery. Hm. No wonder setting it wasn't an acceptable solution.

After a bit longer, I got to go back to the recovery area, where J was happy but pretty medicated. He was eating soda crackers ("They don't have MSG! I even had them check!") and drinking juice. He was super happy because he had expected the surgery to hurt and it didn't hurt at all. (Good job, guys.)

The nurse gave me J's prescription for pain meds and I went and filled it and came back.
J: "Oh, you're back! Did you go somewhere?"
Me: "Yeah, remember? The nurse told us all about your pain medication and I went to go pick it up for you."
J: "Huh. She did? I guess that may sound a little familiar. So do I already have my prescription?"

And then when it was time to go home, J complained about how short our vacation was. He thought maybe he would be able to go back to work that afternoon, and then later we realized how funny that idea was. He slept all afternoon and pretty much all weekend, too. Poor guy.

J's mom brought over her ice machine so he could ice his hand effectively.

That sums up the surgery.

After a couple days, J thought he may have lost his hookworms, because all of his pre-worm symptoms were back. He talked to Garin about it and, with the list of stuff they gave him in the hospital, Garin was pretty confident that the worms were still there. After 7-10 days or so, J's hookworm effects came back. So he didn't lose them after all.

The week after surgery, J went back to the doctor for a check-up, and for his first physical therapy appointment. At that appointment, his physical therapist made a fancy special plastic splint which I keep teasing J about, mostly because it looks like something an action figure would wear, and I think it looks like it should be able to shoot lasers.

Physical therapy seems pretty ridiculous because--come on, it's a pinkie finger! How do you even exercise a pinkie finger?? But it's actually pretty amazing--when J first took his finger out of the special plastic splint thing, he could barely move at all. So it turns out to be important to do his special exercises. So he's doing them.

Next week J's doctor will remove the pins.

* Way back on February 11th.
** Which is kind of a joke, because actually everybody has forms they want you to fill out, so why have a form guy at all?
*** (A landscape photo hanging on the wall.)
**** A surgical hat thing. But the nurse actually called it a party hat. So then J and I talked about what a great resort it was because it has parties, and I became a little jealous that I didn't get to go. Until I realized, what kind of party doesn't let you bring a guest, anyway? So then we complained about our resort's lousy parties that are no fun at all.
***** "Ohhh, J, you're going for your spa treatment on our fancy European vacation!"

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