Amputation · My Blog · Self-Care

Amputee Day 3

So it is officially my third day after surgery. I just wanted to share how things were going. One thing that I find most interesting is that I’m so incredibly hopeful I don’t feel defeated anymore. Another exciting and interesting thing is that my nerve pain prior to surgery was sitting at about a 6/7 out of 10 on the average day. Since the surgery my nerve pain is down around a 1 if any at all! Not that this won’t change, but to only feel pain due to swelling where the incision is like any other normal person has been a breath of fresh air. I cannot express the weight off my shoulders, sigh of relief and tears of joy I have experienced by finally feeling something like everybody else. Having a few days without the terrible pain of my nerves messing with me all the time.

I have had a couple phantom limb sensations. Sometimes for a minute or two, it feels like my foot is starting to fall asleep which is funny because it is no longer attached. I’ve also had a couple moments where I went to toss a blanket or pillow towards the end of the bed and then panicked and quickly moved my leg out of the way because I was afraid the pillow was going to land on my left foot and then hurt my leg. Only to realize the pillow could not land on my left foot because it is no longer there. These little moments have definitely made me chuckle.

Overall, the first few post-op days have not been as painful or terrible as I anticipated. Leading up to the surgery I expected to feel like I was dying from pain for at least a good two weeks or so. Now, I am not saying that this has been a walk in the park. However, I have been off all narcotics since 24 hours after surgery. I’ve been able to sleep in two to five hours stretches, with the average being 2 to 3 hours at a time. I feel like most of my discomfort has to do with swelling or pressure on my incision. My left leg and hip has had some sore muscles because I am wearing an immobilizer to prevent me from bending my knee. This means that all the movement, lifting and relocating of my leg is done through my quad and hip.

Emotionally I’m doing pretty good. Better than I expected. Maybe it will catch up with me in a bit, but I feel like I’ve processed it pretty well. since this operation is something I’ve been thinking about for 2 and 1/2 years and was unable to use my left leg for 3 and 1/2 months prior to the surgery this transition emotionally and mentally has gone smoothly thus far. The part of me keeps wondering though if maybe I didn’t process it is fully as I think I did. Sort of a weird anticipation of the other shoe going to drop. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Starting the day after surgery I was using a walker to get to and from the bathroom, the couch, and the recliner in my hospital room with supervision from a nurse. I did a short walk in the hallway as well. I was also able to start doing some leg lifts and range of motion activities. I seem to get pretty wiped out and had to take a few sporadic naps throughout the day between having PT, OT and my vitals taken.

On day two it seemed to take a little bit longer to make me feel fatigued. I was able to walk three laps around the floor my hospital room is on. This was super exciting I love the little bit of freedom I was able to gain and the confidence of using the walker. I was also able to go up and down a set of stairs with PT. It’s pretty exciting to know that I was not only physically up to it but also able to succeed.

Last night I had a little bit harder of a time falling asleep. I think this has to do with me using muscles in my left leg in a way that I don’t typically do. They were definitely muscle sore and there was some more throbbing in my residual limb. This has to do with gravity pulling more blood into my stump with me being up and walking and moving around more. Last night I iced and slept with it elevated and that seemed to help.

I’ve been so lucky to have the support of my friends, family and coworkers. I have received a few bouquets of gorgeous flowers, a couple cards and an abundant amount of texts, private messages, and comments on Facebook encouraging me. It’s pretty incredible to know that I have a village supporting me and rooting me on. I have felt very loved and the couple of times where the pain was most intense it was nice to read all the kind words and thoughts people were sending to me.

The image above is the ampu-shield I was fitted for yesterday. It should fit a little bit nicer once the ace bandage, foam and gauze are removed later this morning. This will be how I will protect my stump while it is healing over the next few weeks.

Essentially right now I am just waiting patiently for the surgeon to come in remove my dressing and check out my stitches. Assuming everything looks good I will be evicted later this afternoon. I’m really excited to be going home and to be in my own bed and to have this IV line no longer in the crook of my arm. I’m still a little bit tired but overall doing really well positive energy, calm thoughts, feeling steady on my right foot and overall just happy. There is still pain and I’m still on a regimented dose of Tylenol, but I feel like I’m handling it well. I am definitely nervous for the surgeon to take the dressing off. Not because of how it will look but because it’s going to be very sensitive and if any of the dressing gets caught on the stitches I’m anticipating it will be less than pleasant.

In anticipation of going home today I woke up I got dressed, brush my teeth, made my bed and straightened up some of the items around my room so they were packed and ready to go. Now I just have to sit back and wait. To kill some time I rolled down to the family porch room at the end of the hall to sit on the couch and look out the window while I work on crocheting a scarf for Taylor. This made for an exciting morning because I ended up setting off an alarm at the end of the hallway. In a an instant there was all sorts of commotion. I was able to keep life exciting and the nursing staff on their toes. We had a good chuckle about the situation.

I feel good that things will continue to progress positively in a long schedule. I’m looking forward to being home and learning my new routine.