I don't know why I've turned out to be the poster child of the physical therapists since my knee surgery. Perhaps it's something about the anatomy I was born with. Maybe that's why, as the therapist in my home told me yesterday, "You don't need therapy; you're doing better than most people do after six weeks of therapy."
Good news, right? But isn't there always that little fly in the ointment that makes you take the good news with an expectation of another shoe dropping?
So, Wednesday my doctor and her aid removed the drain tube from my knee so I could take my miraculous, rock-star body home; they put a nice, thick pad of gauze over the drain-hole and securely taped it on, telling me I would be released as soon as I had one final session with the therapy guy. While I was waiting for therapy, I exchanged my hospital gown for sweats; sitting in the wheel chair on my way to rehab, I realized there was a huge wet spot on the left leg of my sweats. I was bleeding.
So, the therapist had me do a few exercises and I returned to my room, where I informed the nurses of my leak. They put an extra-thick dressing on the wound, taped it up, and bade me goodbye. I came home and celebrated my one-in-a-thousand status, enjoying my coffee and worrying about whether Cliff was taking proper care of the spoiled birds outside my window.
Yesterday afternoon, the home health nurse came and filled out all the forms necessary. Then she decided to dress my wounds. She took the long bandage off the actual stitches and said they looked fine; then she took the dressing off the drain-hole, seemed to think everything was dandy, and put a new, thinner bit of gauze atop it, and left.
She hadn't been gone ten minutes when I felt a wet spot on my left leg and realized that, once again, blood was oozing out of the wound she had just covered. Great.
I left that dressing on, but slapped another over the top of it to soak up the blood. By this point Cliff had gone to work, but my granddaughter was here to watch over me; so I was not unattended.
The home health physical therapist showed up and asked me to bend my leg back under me as far as possible, and blood more or less shot out from under the gauze. He got a look of panic on his face and stopped the therapy. He called the orthopedist's office and left a message; he told me he didn't want to scare me, but that I needed to go to the hospital if the bleeding didn't stop because the new dressing he had put on was being rapidly soaked full of blood.
Because I could tell he was scared, I got scared. I called Cliff at work and he came home. He looked at the bandage, said there was nothing seeping out and that I'd be fine, and we started trying to decided what move to make next.
As a little aside here, I will tell you that when my daughter and my sister-in-law called to see how I was doing, I had some fun with them.
"So, how are you doing now?"
In an extremely weak voice, I'd answer, "Oh, I'm just sitting here making out my will while I bleed to death."
So, the plan of action for today: First I'll call home health and see if they can check my blood to see if I have too much blood-thinner in my system; I'm still taking Coumadin to prevent clots. I wasn't due for a blood check until Monday, but I don't want to end up in an emergency room over the weekend. I'll also call the orthopedist and see what she has to say about this turn of events. If I feel I need to, I'll call my family doctor. I do NOT want to end up with problems on the weekend, forced into an emergency room where we'd have a $500 deductible to pay unless I'm admitted. And I don't want to be admitted anyhow!
I am not showing any of the signs of an overdose of Warfarin: My gums don't bleed when I brush my teeth, there's no bruising, there's no sign of blood in bowels or urine.
I really wanted to wait until everything was absolutely normal to discuss this on my blog, but since it's taking so long, I decided to tell my readers "the rest of the story" and you can all wait with me to find out what is going on.
Oh, and my knee is swollen, so the pain level is pretty high; but that just gives me a perfect excuse to take those good drugs they prescribed and party like the rock star I am.
I'll be back when I know more.