To say I was on edge the night before my hip labrum surgery is an understatement. Two things were certain: nothing else had any effect on this injury so running was not looking possible any more without surgery and I was so tired of explaining it to people. Despite that, I was nervous that something would get screwed up during surgery and I wouldn’t be able to run again anyway.
As always, my mom tried helping to calm me down with words of encouragement like only a mom can deliver. She topped it off with, “pray to your God that you have a full recovery.” I found her choice of words to be odd. Your God? I thought we had the same God; after all, she brought me up Catholic and knew exactly where I stood in terms of religion. I couldn’t resist adding “I will, it’s exactly why I got involved in Scientology in the first place.”
Sleep was tough to come by that night and the alarm went off all too early. We had to be there for 5:45 and then the surgeon was to begin slicing by 7:30. The toughest part of that was no food after midnight and I couldn’t even drink water after 5:30 that morning. The midnight and water restrictions had me thinking they had an unhealthy fear of gremlins more than any type of anesthesia-related concerns.
In a way I couldn’t wait to just get knocked out, because then it’d essentially all be over. I was a little skittish once I got into the prep area but luckily the anesthesiologist came along rather quickly and got started. I seem to be getting worse with needles as I age but was able to get through the IV insertion without much difficulty. Fortunately for me he was able to do it on the first shot and then promised to be by later with some ‘happy juice’ to take the edge off before things got going.
In the mean time, the nurse who was attending to me was nice enough, but her bed side manner could’ve used some tweaking. The small talk started innocently enough with the injury, how it may have happened, how much I run, etc. She revealed that (surprise!) she runs occasionally. This limited knowledge led her to lay this bomb on me: “oh well, I’m sure there are other things that you’ll be able to do besides running.”
Stunned at this morbid assessment, I shot back with “”absolutely not, that’s the whole reason why I’m here”. The tests revealed that the damage was minor and the (expert) surgeon assured me that as long as no arthritis was discovered I would make a complete recovery. But this lady decides to ‘comfort’ me by telling me to forget about doing what I used to do. WTF? Awesome.
I just have a general disdain for any comments along those lines. It’s right up there with people who say things like “you’re going to get injured” when you tell them you run a lot. That’s happened to me a couple of times and I’d rank them up there with some of the rudest things ever said to me. Why is it that people that know nothing about running feel the need to talk about it so much? This woman in particular felt the need to talk shop with me, which is fine, but she admittedly knew nothing but still was compelled to tell me that LSD runs are a thing of the past and it’s all fartleks now. Really? I couldn’t wait for the anesthesiologist to come back in and give me the ‘happy juice’ he promised me.
There was one other nurse (I think she was a nurse, but could’ve been some type of doctor) that I had to deal with. She was rather bitchy for some reason. She struck me as one of those really intelligent types who just didn’t know how to deal with people, in any way. I could see her being a total buzz kill out on the social scene. The surgeon (or rather people at his office) were supposed to have given me crutch training. For whatever reason, this never took place. I was all set to do it there, until they put the IV in my hand. Who thinks grabbing a hold of something with heavy pressure is a good idea with that thing in a vein? It seemed like a terrible idea to me, and when I objected she wasn’t very nice. She could’ve explained right off the bat that it was just a harmless, flexible piece of plastic. Instead, she had to showcase her lack of people skills first.
The anesthesiologist returned, happy juice was administered, kissed my wife goodbye, and it was off to surgery!
While I was under, Dr. Kocher worked his magic. The x-rays, MRI’s and MRA showed a bone burr and a labrum tear that was so small it could’ve been a false positive. From they way he described it to me after the fact, it sounded like things looked a bit worse when they got in there. The bone burr was large and it was shaved off. There was a piece of the labrum that was torn and it was beyond repair, so it was trimmed. As a take home souvenir I was given a glossy photo spread of arthroscopic pictures of the surgery, although they could definitely pass for images being sent back by the Hubble telescope of some far-off worlds.
I awoke to a groggy, morphine-induced haze. The turn-around time was pretty quick and I was home by 11:00 am. My one gripe about the post-surgical process is that they told me I needed to get surgical stockings. I don’t see why I couldn’t have been told about that weeks ago. So instead of having them ready when I got home, we had to track some down. It was either $45 for surgical stockings from CVS that I was never going to use again after the 2-3 weeks were up, or splurge on some compression tights that I could put to use once I got running again. My wife brought me home a pair of 2XU compression tights from Marathon Sports about 25 hours after I first arrived home from surgery. She had to do it on her lunch break, but all that could’ve been avoided with better communication!
I’m now on the long road to recovery. Well, it seems long now but hopefully it’ll fly by. Here are some quirks along this road that are making things interesting: combining the haze of meds in the middle of the night with the sensation of water being pumped into the icepack and it feels like you wet the bed badly. It’s one of those packs that is connected to a water cooler and you pump cold water into the pack whenever you feel the need. Then take into consideration the warning of the bitch nurse pre-surgery that you might not feel anything when you urinate just after surgery and it makes for quite the experience. Apparently there’s this whole side effect of your bladder falling asleep due to the anesthesia. It doesn’t wake back up immediately. Day two was a little…funny.
Crutching around the apartment is also loads of fun. By the time you get the hang of it you’ve reached your destination. It takes much longer to get going and then stopping then it does to actually move around. I’ve waited this long, a little longer won’t hurt. My last shot at a race was October 16th, 2011. My next shot won’t be until more than a year later. I’ll get there, one step at a time. Even if it’s just one crutchety step at time at the moment.