Unfortunately, due to the depth of the crevice in my kneecap, the doctor recommended I have "a short and relatively straightforward surgery." So, on Friday morning the doctor and his trusty (I certainly hope they are anyway) team secured my patella with little pegs and wires. The inside of my knee now looks like a peace sign. The outside of my knee looks like a monster.
I decided I didn't want to be asleep for the procedure and so they placed a nerve block in my right leg, gave me a bit of liquid valium "to relax my brain" and allowed me to watch the lights and action surrounding me. I was mostly fine for a few hours after surgery until the nerve block wore off. When it did wear off, I experienced one of the more tortuous nights (a close second to labor) in my life. There was the physical pain - sharp, consistent stabs shooting up my leg and lower back, nausea from pain meds, an asshole of a tension headache, and a budding cold sore on my lip. Then there was the psychological pain - extreme paranoia about overdosing from pain meds, fear of infection, fear of having my leg cut off, fear, fear, fear.
Some people really like drugs. I'm not one of those people. (Though sometimes I wish I were.) I have a fairly low tolerance for most things. When taste-testing various drugs in my early twenties, I was never the girl who asked for more. In fact, I was the girl who made myself throw up so I didn't have to experience the intense nausea, fatigue and paranoia prompted by drugs. I suppose I should thank my physiological disposition for not making me an addict.
Surgery is a beast. It wreaks havoc on your body and brain. And the the aftermath can be a wobbly smack in the face. I'm grateful to have some basic understanding of meditation, breathing and yoga - these tools have been helpful in subduing pain without medication and quieting my mind when I'm feeling overwhelmed. But there are people who don't have those tools at all. Doctors rarely talk to patients about the crazy physical and emotional energies that arise during and after surgery. Instead, they make it sound like it's as simple as getting your teeth cleaned or getting your ears pierced. Methinks there needs to be a bit more counseling from doctors and staff before people are thrusted head-first into surgery.