Being on the ‘other side’ of the bedside is humbling. I have always known I was going to be ‘that’ patient. In fact I wrote about it 5 years ago: Who makes the worse patient?
Being a bedside nurse and now a Nurse Practitioner affords me a lot of behind-the-scene knowledge.
Coupled with the fact that I’ve worked in the ICU the majority of my career and I spent 2 years working in the PACU and moonlighting in the OR just magnifies the anxiety I had for my knee surgery. Even before we decided on surgery (although I knew it was inevitable).. I still chatted about it:
When surgery was decided as the treatment plan for my right knee injury, I knew the flooding of emotions I would have. I knew I would be hyper-critical.
I felt so strongly about it.. I recorded a podcast about it:
11 reasons why Nurses make the worst patients | The Change of Shift Podcast Ep 24
I knew I would be calm, cool and collective on the outside… but certified cray-cray on the inside.
I’d be that annoying patient, but I’d also do everything in my power to keep my mouth shut and behave.
Thankfully I did just that. I behaved. I shared my anxiety, but I behaved. I continued to point out my obvious thought process during the entire process when the nurses were caring for me.
I remember jokingly saying, “Don’t miss my IV… no pressure … really” [to which she snickered… and then nailed it on the first try]
The entire surgical experience was about as picture perfect as it could have been. Anesthesia was great, pain was well controlled .. and I don’t remember anything about the entire procedure (thank you Propofol and Versed).
By the way. Just before they wheeled me down from the waiting area to the OR suite.. the anesthesia team is calming my nerves by telling me stories, socializing with me and sharing insights on the procedure. Basically making small talk to get my mind off of the actual surgery.
They then tell me.. we’re gonna give you a small dose of Versed before we leave to help with your transition from this room to the OR.
In my mind… I’m thinking oh.. ok Versed… I’ve given that a ga-zillion times as a nurse, and ordered it a couple thousand times as a provider… no big deal…
WAIT A MINUTE. I’m on the receiving end of this dose…
They start to tell another story about another surgery… blah blah blah… pain.. blah blah blah… and as we’re unlocking the wheels on my cart….
[I actually said that outloud]
WHOLLY VERSED BATMAN.
Let me tell you… talk about trippy!
My wife… and the anesthesia team.. got a kick out of my squirlyness.
Even after all that … I still didn’t learn how to be a good patient. I got home. Still under the comfort blanket of multiple doses of Dilaudid, a single dose of a long-acting narcotic by mouth and of course the local anesthetic the surgeon had injected into the knee joint itself at the end of the surgical procedure.
I got home. Felt super human. Felt excited. I felt so good about post-op pain management that I hosted a periscope about it:
And what did I do hours later?
Yep, got behind on my pain management. The pain to my knee was almost unbearable. It took most of the night to get it back under control.
POD #2 and I think I finally got things under control. I’m slowly getting more efficient with my crutches. Guessing I probably should, seeing as I’m going to be on them for probably 6 weeks.
Since my surgeon was able to repair my meniscus, the rehab time is extended. I need to stay off my knee, so the tissue can heal properly.
It’s definitely a double edged sword. I’m elated he was able to salvage my meniscus tissue… buuuuuuutt.. whew…. 6 weeks.
Be sure to find me on snapchat. I’m sharing my journey day by day as well as dropping knowledge bombs left and right.
It’s going to be fun!