SwampMan is one week status post left knee replacement this week. His surgery went well, but was longer than previously due to his left knee being more worn and unstable than the right knee. Curiously, in the two and a half months between knee surgeries, the surgical procedure completely changed, as did the postoperative medications. No femoral nerve block this time. No postoperative blood thinner injections, just aspirin. The IV was discontinued more quickly after surgery. The pain control medications were different.
Poor SwampMan was spewing his guts out for about 36 hours after his surgery this time despite (oral) anti-nausea medication. He was also throwing up his (oral) pain medications, and his pain was, er, considerable. The vomiting stopped (but not the nausea or dizziness) when his pain was under better control. Regardless, he couldn’t stand or walk for a couple days after surgery and on his third day, when he was supposed to be discharged, he barely made it across his tiny hospital room in a walker. He would turn diaphoretic (sweaty) and gray in color. His urine was scanty and dark in color, indicating dehydration. His surgeon said he needed to stay another night which made ME happy. He was discharged on a handful of prescriptions for pain the next day.
So, here we are. The boys have been here all week for spring break. The youngest, Dylan, has been a big help to his Papa, staying and taking care of him while Jacob and I run to the grocery store or pharmacy. SwampMan could get dressed by himself and in and out of the shower by himself much earlier this time, for he isn’t dependent upon an unstable knee to support his operative knee, even though the right knee is still in the healing process. He has walked across the room using only his cane for support which has elicited identical “STOP THAT!” reactions from both me and the physical therapist.
SwampMan still has some issues with nausea and dizziness probably caused by his medications. I’m starting him on an OxyContin taper, and he’s able to go a bit longer between oxycodone pills. The nausea and dizziness is not the only reason for the taper. When I asked him if he was asleep because, although he was sitting up in his chair, his eyes were closed, he answered me that he was not asleep. He was deleting files in his head.
“Uh, deleting files in your head?” I asked, genuinely stumped. “What’s that all about?”
“The computer, or maybe it’s the television, is putting thoughts into my head. I have to delete them!” he told me. A little later, he was yelling “STOP! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!” from his chair. I ran in to see what was wrong this time, expecting that the boys were being all rowdy.
“Okay, why are you yelling at me?”
“I’m not yelling at YOU. I’m yelling at the person behind my chair pushing it forward, and I want them to STOP!”
His chair is sitting against a wall so that he can’t get back too far and be unable to bring it forward. That’s how he wanted it positioned.
“Okay!” I answered. “That must be very annoying!” in that noncommittal tone of voice that the host of Coast to Coast uses with his more batshit crazy guests. And I walked away.
Later, SwampMan asked me about the episode to see if it really happened. “Why didn’t you argue with me?” he asked.
“Because it does absolutely no good to argue with crazy people. They can’t be convinced they’re wrong and, in fact, they’re so sure that they’re right that I begin to wonder if I’m the crazy one. Best to just walk away.”