The real question is whether I'm ready for surgery tomorrow. Have I done all I need to? Am I mentally prepared?
Yes... and no. And/or no... and yes.
Obviously I've been here before, quite recently. I know what's coming, how to prepare. I also am aware of how much just can't be prepared for, and that's even when everything goes exactly as it should, no complications.
There's a bunch of stuff I won't be able to do for weeks afterward. Other that I can but won't want to. Of those, some things are done, some not. For example, I tried to save myself an extra trip to the pharmacy for a refill, but the insurance company says not yet. No problem with them if I refill while I'm actually in surgery, but....
I've tried to grocery shop ahead, but some will spoil while I'm not here and some things I'll suddenly decide I need during recovery. I've prepared with laundry - presuming I follow through with the load in the washer right now - and stuff is set out for getting packed in the morning. They've changed my surgery time three times now, but it's finalized so I know I'll have time for that without needing to set an alarm.
The pills I have to add to my routine have been added, and the ones I need to delete are stopped for now. WOW! Who would have believed how much of a difference in my pain levels and knee usage it made to have ibuprofin? Or how many times in this last week I could have taken note of that fact? And tomorrow, besides being NPO after midnight, I have to also delete my blood pressure meds from the daily dose so my BP doesn't drop too much under the anesthetic.
The house has gotten more of a cleaning that it got before the last surgery, including vacuuming. Which doesn't get done without including cussing, in turn. Sheets have been changed because the surgery department believes it matters the night before. Somehow they must think that my dryer sterilizes them, that they never touch anything on their way to being folded and unfolded as they travel from laundry to bed, that no dust wafts across the air currents, no dogs jump on the bed, and my before-bed special soap shower and clean PJ change also bring no germs into the environment, or at least that it's very different from doing it, say, yesterday.
Oh yes, I give myself another special-soap shower tomorrow morning before dressing in street clothes that somehow magically protect me from all microbes on my way in the (YIKES!) car to the surgery department.
I've worked to watch all the backlogged TV shows on the DVR, catch up on bills, phone calls and emails as well as blog postings, petting the dogs to make up in advance for what they will miss, check out yard tasks (note I didn't claim to actually have done any), organize paperwork, etc. If I remember, I'll actually charge my cell phone and kindle tonight. I don't recall even feeling up to inquiring where I might charge them on my last visit. It was way more important to know how to use the nurse call for my assisted trip to the bathroom. Uh, trips. I never did figure out how to watch TV in the room. Nor care.
The physical equipment is still set from last time. Steve will switch our laptops to the opposite chairs for about three weeks until I'm no longer needing the services of the lift chair. Toiletries have been stockpiled, along with changes for dressings and other items I didn't know I needed the first time. PT appointments have been all scheduled, and the battle to convince Medicare that they are my primary insurer has been won. (Long story. Remind me.) I even ordered a toilet frame sent to Paul's house to assist with our time there. Being able to reach back and push off will still be much appreciated, and it's completely removable to fold and store for some other time.
Plans to close up the house for the trip north are being more solidified, starting with rejecting all the extra hassle involved if we decided I needed to fly back. First I'd need a new drivers license, requiring documents I don't have like an old marriage license to explain a name change. Then there are the papers assuring TSA that I'm not smuggling IEDs onto the plane inside both my knees. And so what if we decide it'll take an extra day or two to actually drive up when even those motel nights would still wind up costing less than the airfare? It may seem like I'm way ahead of myself with all that, but I have a good respect for how little mental effort I'll want to expend for several weeks and then will be too late.
There's still stuff I haven't done and won't. I was thinking about baking cookies. Scratch that. No floor mopping either. I don't care what the dogs have done there! There's still over a half tank of gas in the car, and an oil change will wait another month or two. What's it gonna be? An extra 100 miles? Pooper scoop? Let Steve! Seriously Steve, don't forget to scoop.
I do believe, though, that the most important question being asked within the umbrella of am-I-ready is whether I'm emotionally prepared for another round of surgery. The definitive answer is yes. And no. It's a mix of wishing to avoid the new pain levels I know await, particularly after having no ibuprofin to allow me enough comfort to roll over in bed right now to remind me just a bit what it'll be like. Plus knowing that the bone/joint pain will be gone very quickly when I start walking. It's wondering how much different it will be working with two replaced knees rather than one, and knowing how easy the recovery has been thus far with just one. It's finding out how it hurts to get in and out of the car after it didn't feel like that for nearly 2 months. It's knowing how great the hospital staff was the first time through the process.
And there's a last weird one in the mix. It's about the anesthetic creating a bit of retrograde amnesia so that I have no recollection of the chemical smells from the OR. Back when, 4 surgeries and nearly 30 years ago, what they used did not have that effect. Every time I entered a hospital for years after that - and there were a lot through work - I smelled those same chemicals and some visceral part of me recalled all the pain of that most recent surgery. When memory vanishes before leaving pre-op, starting up again with the transfer into my own bed in my room, that doesn't happen. So I don't have to brace myself for it.
So am I ready?