Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Little Bit About What Surgery Was Like for Me

I am twenty-nine. I made it this far without much in the way of major medical issues. You know those questionnaires your doctor's office sends just before a physical? Well, I can pretty much just draw a big ol' line down the "No" column, indicating that I don't have any real medical concerns. Up until last month, this included that I'd never broken anything besides some toes. Then, I got a nasty wrist fracture that required surgery.

I was pretty naive about what surgery would do to me. When the doctor told me I might need 4-6 weeks off my office job, I didn't really believe him. This is just a broken arm! People don't need to miss any work for broken arms! It only takes a week or two for a healthy 20-something to recover from an operation on something as non-life-threatening as a wrist!  I was so wrong.

If you're going to have surgery, understand that it affects everyone differently. If something your doctor says seems like it's way out of the ball park, take a hint from a three-year-old and make "Why?" your favorite question.

Something I found out was that in addition to needing to keep my arm elevated and iced and strongly medicated for about two weeks, my body was going to be spending a ton of energy on healing. Also, my surgeon explained that surgery is pretty far up there on the scale of major life stressors. He said it could actually be a couple months before I feel completely like myself. Yup. Even for a wrist injury.

Sad thing in my case is that I waited pretty far in to this whole process before I figured out what the right questions were and started asking them. So, ask, ask, ask, ask!

Here are some ideas to get you started:
Will I feel pain when I wake up from surgery?
How long is it normal to need prescription pain killers after this kind of operation?
How can I tell when it's time to stop taking them and should I phase them out or just stop?
When will my energy start to come back?
What kind of physical activity is okay?
How will I feel a month after the surgery?
When will I feel like I'm back to normal?

Your experience may vary one way or the other from what you're told to expect, but at least you'll know when you're different so you can start asking more questions.

Ultimately, as believers, God is our healer. Ask the surgeon questions, but ask God for strength and healing. :)

Your Sister

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