Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
My second total knee replacement didn’t go quite as smoothly as the first, though “all’s well that ends well.” Things headed south from the get go when the anesthesiologist administering my epidural injection missed her target. Not to worry, she assured me, she would be in the operating room to make things right. Moments later, however, I was told she had “gone home,” having “had a late night” the night before. Another anesthesiologist was already on my case.
The next thing I remember is waking up with no feeling in my lower body. It sure hadn’t been that way after the first surgery. This time, it was a couple of hours before I could even wiggle my toes. Extremely claustrophobic, this was my worst nightmare… being alert but trapped in a body that doesn’t work. By the time the numbness subsided, it was too late for physical therapy to clear me to go home, necessitating that I spend the night in the hospital.
Although I should have known enough to be prepared for anything and everything, I had not brought enough Parkinson’s medicine with me to cover this unexpected stay, so I asked the floor nurse to get me what I needed. She called the pharmacy, but said it could take awhile for them to send it up. “Awhile” meant three hours, by which time I had taken the last pills I had brought from home.
“You can’t just take your own medicine,” the nurse scolded me.
“Well, I did,” I said. “It is supposed to be taken on time, every time, and you should know this.”
The nurse started typing furiously into her tablet. I felt like Elaine in the Seinfeld episode when she feared her doctors were writing bad things about her on her chart.
Fortunately, my husband, Tony, was able to stay with me in my room, and was there when a loud computerized voice pierced the darkness and insistently repeated, “Code red in the tower, code red in the tower.” Unable to wake Tony up by calling his name, I wadded up pieces of paper and threw them at him, until I was succeeding in getting his attention.
“What’s the matter?” he asked, sitting bolt upright on his day bed.
“Can’t you hear that message? There’s a fire in the building, we’re on the 13th floor, and we’re going to die because I can’t walk down all those stairs.”
Tony jumped out of bed and grabbed his smart phone to monitor the Chicago fire department. Staring out the window into the darkness, he excitedly yelled, “Look, they’re staging the fire trucks across the street.”
I wish I could have shared his excitement. Instead I felt like I was part of a scary episode on the Learning Channel. It turned out there was no fire, just steam that set off a sensor in the basement of the hospital.
I thought the morning sun would never come up, but it finally did. A physical therapist tested me bright and early and we were home before lunch time. Thankfully, I have no more knees to give to medicine/science. I am looking forward to enjoying my bionic ones for a long time.