Arx Hereticus

Welcome to the ramblings of a merry heretic, an ex-pat (Tex-pat?) American living in Maryland after having spent six years in Germany. Arx Hereticus is part travelogue, part cooking, part budo, part socio-political commentary and mostly just me BSing.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Monday, July 23 -- 5th post-op day

Slept decently, but not deeply, nor well. No real pain, more discomfort and restlessness at being stuck in 'the position' ... I'd kill to be able to sleep on my side, curled up comfortably and snuggled in deep.

Ah well, a few weeks more.

Awoke and started my day about 5:30 am, listening to the hospital begin bustling about me. I got up, made water, washed up, brushed teeth and slicked down the thistle patch that I call my hair (HW absolutely refused to let me shave it for this ordeal), and of course, while I was mostly naked at the wash sink, the surgeon stuck his head in the door.

He said to take myself a restful morning, he'd be back later.

Restful morning. Well, tweren't far from that, but wasn't exactly a day on the beach either. Lab tech came in about the time I finished my morning ablutions, took three vials of blood, followed by a peek-in from the physical therapist with a promise of her return shortly, breakfast (with which they gave me again only a single cup of coffee ... sigh) and various nurses, assistants and cleaning ladies.

When the PT showed, we chatted about my weekend, how many times I'd walked and to where, how I was feeling about and after walking, etc. We did stairs today. She was surprised that I'd already researched the info and had practiced at home before the OP, and she only had me go up and down two flights and satisfied with my demo, sent me back to my room to await further ministrations later.

She's also using me as an example to other patients, Look at him walk, he's had his surgery only a shorter time than you. Watch, pick up your knee like that ...

I read a bit whilst waiting, Bill Bryson's I'm a Stranger Here Myself, about his return to the US after having lived in England for 20 years. Trenchant, in that HW and I will likely have to move back to America in the next year sometimes.

He's an excellent writer with a gift of prose that should be studied by any serious writer or student of the English language.

Fr. Winter showed up a bit later and put me through a series of exercises, designed to strengthen the legs and hips. She always seems surprised HOW strong I am already. I told I'd done budo, in German "Japanesische kampfkunst" for more than 30 years.

She first tutted a bit about me not being able to do that any more, and I said, And why not?

A lengthy discussion followed about what I do and whether I could continue taking falls, moving in the fairly specialized manner of my system of martial studies. I told her I'd already talked to the surgeon about it, before the OP, and that I had told him I expected to be able to continue, albeit perhaps more slowly and carefully ...

I've bustled about the room a bit, washed out a pair of shorts and t-shirt in case I don't get my resupply soon enough, they're hung out on a folding drying rack conveniently provided on my balcony. Yes, my hospital room has a small balcony with a view of the courtyard and cafe terrace below. Very spiffy, but I wish I could sit out there. There's a chair, but it's utterly insufficient for my current condition, I fear.

So, here I sit, on the edge of my bed, typing away at my laptop sitting on a slightly slanted bedside table. If my words are a bit off-kilter, that's why. It has nothing to do with the drugs. Really.

Actually, I'm not getting good drugs at all, these days. A NSAID *HW: Diclofenac, administered with Nexium to protect the stomach* (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug the same family as aspirin, narpoxyn sodium, metamizal, etc), an antacid (both of those twice daily), and a strong antibiotic (three times a day). At night, a slightly stronger NSAID and a mild sleeping pill. That's about it. I can get an extra dose of NSAID a couple times a day if I want it, but so far, the past couple-three days, haven't needed it.

My biggest concern right now, is increasing walking duration, stability and getting the wound to dry up an quit seeping.

Quite a bit of seepage yesterday, the nurses changed dressings 3-4 times, and finally sort of packed it in with a double layer of absorbent gauze covered by the main dressing. It held through the night, though there's seepage at the edges this morning. Nothing to worry about, it's normal. The wound must drain to cleanse itself, and as long as the seepage is not infected, it's healthy.

That bit, drying up the wound, is simply a matter of time.

I, however, want it finished TODAY, right NOW. Dammit. The hospital's not horrible, but I'm looking forward to the rehab cebter and in a couple weeks, Real Life.

Langsam, langsam. Du muss' geduld haben, says Fr. Winter. And HW. And the Schwestern and Pflegeren.

Slowly, slowly. You must have patience.

Langsam, my ass. I'm ready to move on.

Most of the rest of the day passed uneventfully, and I took couple of walks around the floor and ventured down to the gift shop. That was a wasted trip. Candy bars, underwear, postcards and assorted other junk. Debated going to the cafe for an eiscafe, but I'd have to figure out how to lug a cushion and a book, so said, fuck it, I'll hang out in the room.

Fortunately, one of the nurses must have read my mind, for she appeared at the door with a fresh cup of coffee shortly after I returned.

Doc came in about 4 pm, examined my incision, changed the dressing and told me the only thing keeping me from moving to rehab right now is the drainage. As long as the incision is seepy, there's a chance of infection.

All else, he says, looks great. Oh, and I can fly again, any time after August, so it looks like the trip to Greece in September (a little gift to me for my recuperation), is a go! Woohoo!

Aside from fighting off boredom and trying not to nap overmuch, I'm doing pretty good and can't WAIT to move on to the rehab phase!

Afternoon and evening passed quietly. I took a couple of strolls around the hallway, read, watched TV, played on the computer, etc. Nothing of note, really, except calls from my HW and a dear friend who is a rabid Adam Ant fan and a fiesty little red-head.

(I plan to link some of these references when I get 'net access again, but for now, y'all know who you are.)

For some delightful reason, I got my pain and sleep meds early, which was good, as I was dog-tired by about 7:30 pm, and treat of treats! -- I got a footbath.

I can't reach my feet very well right now, and these damn compression hose make my legs itch and my toes sweat. The nurse who did it told me she'd recently been in the hospital herself for a blood poisoning problem and had had to wear the hose for a while, so was quite sympathetic.

By the time she was done (as HW will attest, if you want to put me to sleep, rub my feet), the drugs were taking hold and I was utterly relaxed and happy. I read a bit (Just finished Bryson's Stranger here myself and started Mainspring a clock-punk novel by Jay Lake) and was soon fast asleep. HW called, but I was pretty incoherent, so we kept it short. The tucking-in by phone is a long-standing tradition when we're apart.

Slept like a log until about 2 am, woke for a while and read some more, than fell back asleep and didn't stir again till about 7. A late morning for me lately.



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