Thursday, February 2, 2017

One Year Ago

It's crazy to think about one year ago today.

I've done a horrible job of documenting the #projectkneegetbetter. There are unpublished posts sitting in the queue, but I want to write all of them before posting. Mostly, I want to remember the ways I saw Jesus show up in really real ways.

So one year ago. It was surgery day.

I don't remember feeling nervous. My sweetest brother took the day off of work. Yes, you read that correctly. Took. The. Day. Off. Work. Why? To take his sister to have surgery. He wins an award.

Sadly, surgery requires no jewelry. None. Friends, this means no earrings. This is a tragedy for me.

I did keep my nose piercing in and they let me! Wahoo! For the win. That was a good moment. 

I remember sitting with Luke and signing the paperwork for the insanely crazy amount of money for surgery. SOOOOO thankful for insurance and knowing almost all of it would be covered. (Because let's be honest, by this point, I'd pretty much hit the deductible). 

Sweet brother came back after I was put in a waiting room. He prayed for me and it was the best. I was all teary face. Photo evidence below. 

This man-brother of mine has always been one of my favorite people. And here we were all grown up and he is sitting in a surgery center praying for his big sister. My heart melted again. And I was grateful. 

The nurse who prepped me and gave me all sorts of instructions was so kind. She kept saying, "You are really calm." I think I told her I was happy to say crazy stuff or have a nervous moment if it made her more comfortable! 

As I sat and waited, I could see lots of patients coming in and sitting in rooms. I kept thinking "all of these people are preparing for surgery too and who knows their situations." And I was thankful for my tribe. Those praying. Those texting. Those walking the journey. 

The surgeon came in and said hello. She let me know the cadaver was there and looked good and was ready to go! (I have named her Caddie, the Cadaver). 

Sweet nurse came back with the anesthesiologist and the fun of an IV began. Y'all. Sometimes I don't think I have veins. Which I do know is impossible. But wow. It is not my favorite thing. It makes me "least favorite things" list. Poke. Poke. Poke. Nope. 

The IV ended up in my hand. It's the only place most people can find an inkling of a vein. Ouch! 

I snagged one last photo before being wheeled back. This was clearly pre-meds Abby. Ha! 

I remember the operating room being so cold and shaking. The thigh catheter was inserted (WEIRD feeling). And then the counting backwards from 100. I made it to about 91. And then darkness. 

Abby does not do well come out of anesthesia. I remember waking up in a hallway and struggling to open my leaded eyes. A nurse said, "She's still asleep." I opened my eyes. Sort of. 

First question: "How are you feeling?" 

Response: "I have to go to the bathroom." 

That's not awkward at all with a hospital gown on, tubes, a knee that doesn't bend or move or have feeling it. They wheel me as close as they can and shuffle me over to the toilet. The next details are too much, but they make me laugh so hard now! It was so frustrating at the time, but I'm pretty sure I was one of their "stories" for the day. 

Into a recovery room. I cannot keep my eyes open. At one point, I remember Luke coming in or being there. We spoke for a minute. They wanted me to eat (no food since the night before and its afternoon now). Jello it is. One bite. Vomit bag. This is my body's normal reaction coming out of anesthesia - no like! 

At some point, Julia from work was there. I just remember not being able to open my eyes. I would force them open and we would chat for a minute. I remember saying, "I'm sorry I can't keep my eyes open or say more." They were kind. 

Another vomit episode in a bag. Oh yay! 

Pain meds were given via pills. I was able to drink some water and kept the jello down. A physical therapist came in to show my how to do certain exercises -

Pause - someone please explain why this is a good idea right then? Clearly I am not functioning like a normal human being, so let's tell you how to get better. All I remember is her standing in front of me and showing me something about walking. And not to shower for a week. Yippee - sarcasm. 

I had to pass some test to be released. I can't even remember what it was now. I felt so badly because I figured out my nurse couldn't leave until I was released. Finally I was able to do whatever it was (walk down the hall with crutches or drink a bunch of water or sing karaoke - I have no idea!) and it was around 4pm we had arrived at 8am. 

I remember being wheeled out to my car - sweet Luke had pulled it around and leaned my seat all the way back. I gingerly crept into the car without bending operated-on-leg. And I closed my eyes and Luke drove me to my temporary home (This is a whole other area of Jesus moments I still cannot get over!). Side note: it is really hard to keep your leg elevated because you don't want it jarred during the drive. I was thankful the drive was only about 15 minutes. 

I wanted nothing to eat. Forced myself to drink Sprite and choke down a few saltines (hurray for mini-saltines!). That night, Abster (Luke's wife/the other Abby Spencer/sis-in-love) came over and both of them stayed the night with me which was so incredibly kind. They filled up my ice machine. Helped me get crutches and so much more. My host family was so kind and checked in with us. 

And my feet were freezing and I couldn't reach them without crazy pain. So sweet brother - putting socks on my feet! 

Also, I'm pretty sure I put earrings back in stat! 

I had countless texts from my people. I remember texting back, so who even knows what I said! Ha! 

And thus surgery day was over. But the journey was just getting started. 

So one year later...
* My knee is not back to where it was pre-injury. I've struggled in the past few weeks with being discouraged. And I'm reminded of what God has done. 

* I can walk. 
* I'm not using crutches. 
* There is no need to wear a leg brace or support (though I do wear something often when I go on longer walks). 
* My knee can bend. Way more than post-surgery on that day one year ago. 
* I can up and down stairs. Not quite normally yet, but I can do it. 
* The pain is minimal. 
* I can drive. With no pain (almost no pain). 
* I can get sit on the floor and get up. 
* I've experienced the beauty of Jesus family in new ways this past year. And for that, I'm most grateful. 

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