8th August 2012

Hip Replaced – First Night in Hospital – NOT a Slumber Party

posted in Reflections on Life |

Follow Up to the Hip Replacement Surgery – Evening of July 31 to Morning of Aug 1, 2012 (Day in Hospital)

‘ Life at the Ward’

Arriving at the ward the evening of July 31 (Surgery Day) was a totally new experience to me. I was fortunate to be settled into a semi-private room to join another fellow who also had his hip replaced (his right – my left). His operation was earlier than mine, giving him opportunity to settle in and have a head-start on the recovery process.

My first observation was a recognition of being cared for by an excellent, highly professional nursing staff – can’t say enough about the quality of care being provided.

Of course, everything starts with the all important intravenous hook-ups, including a computer-aided dispenser of pain-killing morphine that can be triggered by the patient to manage coping with different pain levels (Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA)).  Blood testing and vitals monitoring is still carried out at a more frequent rate during the early hours of settling in after the surgery.

One aspect of the monitoring includes ultrasound measurements of urine volume in the bladder. Several measurements were taken during the night hours and it was after midnight when I was confronted with the unpleasant truth – unless I could urinate myself (either in bed into the plastic urinal container with volume measurement markers or make it into the bathroom to do the same), the unappealing alternative would be a catheter insertion to drain my bladder. Although a bit shaky on my legs, I desperately maneuvered myself into the bathroom a couple of times with the unfamiliar two-wheeled walker to try and comply with doing the all-important ‘pee job’. Unfortunately, my specifically-called upon organ was too ‘dulled’ by the spinal anesthesia and the various pain-killing meds to give any kind of response – ‘it’ had shrivelled into the proverbial Seinfeld-referenced cold water specimen that just would not cooperate. I couldn’t avoid the inevitable – it was time for the catheter insertion. Although an extremely unpleasant sensation, I give great credit to my professional nurse who dealt with this challenge compassionately, matter-of-factly, and most expertly. She did an outstanding job and we successfully drained the bladder. Since the catheter stayed inserted for the remainder of the night (until 6:30 am), no further trips to the bathroom were a positive. However, with an inserted catheter that keeps draining the bladder, I had this unpleasant and constant sensation of ‘wetting the bed’ all night long – along with pain management, a definite hindrance to ‘pleasant dreams’.

Thus endeth the first night – saying Good Bye to the terrific Night Shift.
7:00 am brought renewed monitoring activities, blood tests, vitals, etc.
A new day (Aug 1) and a turnover in nursing staff.

Continued with Aug 1 Account of One Day to Get on Track.

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