Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mindful Recovery #2

In order to “protect” my brain to the extent possible, I had negotiated with my surgical-anesthetic team for a spinal rather than a general anesthetic, with as little additional non-pain medication as possible. I had no problem being relatively “awake” during the procedure (e.g., during the first surgery I had received Propofol, sometimes referred to as the "milk of amnesia"). While I don’t recall everything that was said (probably a good thing!) I chattered away to the team during much of the surgery and knew when the head of my femur was sawed off and when the hammer tapped in the titanium prosthesis and so on. Being able to be engaged at some level during the surgery was very empowering. During the first three weeks post-op, it’s as if my perceptual recognition of environmental space became restricted as my brain and body concentrated on getting the rehab routine in place, monitoring the fluxuation of Coumadin (blood thinner), raising my hemoglobin (that had dropped to 7.6), tracking the decrease in swelling, appreciating the resolution of bruising discoloration, and staying ahead of the pain. Now, at the beginning of the fourth post-op week, my conscious mind seems ready to expand my environmental perimeters. Meaning that the borders of my consciousness, which had been very circumscribed to a zone of about 6-8 feet around my body, have suddenly doubled or tripled or even quadrupled in size -- because all resources are no longer required to concentrate on the initial healing process. We’ll see what happens next…

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