Monday, April 02, 2012

14-Day Post-Op Checkup

Sunshine and I met with Dr. BP, who looked at the incision site and asked questions about my recovery from the hernia surgery two weeks ago. He seemed satisfied with the progress:

  • Incision: He pointed to the center of the incision and remarked that it could leak a little as the adhesive wears off. If so, I should keep it covered, he said. I assume that means with a sterile bandage, and I would use a non-stick material with a little Neosporin.
  • Running: I should be able to run after three to four weeks, which I assume is one to two weeks from now. Begin with a walk/run, using a low fraction of running, and gradually increase the running fraction. In the meantime, the elliptical or a bike is fine. Continue with the runner’s stretches. I told him that the hip-flexor stretch already feels better than it did before the surgery.
  • Common Sense: He said use common sense in ramping up, as if common sense was in great supply for an addicted runner. I mentioned that I could use pain (lack thereof) as a guide, but that the original injury had been incurred without pain. I didn’t get a good answer to that. At bottom, I guess I will have to try to be guided by common sense AND pain. I may set out a conservative day-by-day plan and try to stick to that. The next marathon is in June.
  • Numbness: The skin nearest the incision is numb to the touch, totally without feeling. He said that this is normal and may persist for months or even a year or two, but it will eventually return to normal.
  • Paresthesia: I learned a new word from Dr BP. Paresthesia is a skin sensation, such as burning, prickling, itching, or tingling. In my case the cause was the surgery, and the skin surrounding the numb area is unusually sensitive to touch, as if it had been burned. The feeling is not pleasant, but it hasn’t been a big problem. He said that it may go away sooner than the numbness.
  • General Anesthesia: In the pre-op consultation, Dr BP had said that we would use "sedation" rather than general anesthesia. In the actual operation I was completely out for the whole time, even though I had discussed my hypersensitivity to anesthetics with the anesthesiologist at some length. Dr BP said that was "perfect," that he doesn’t like a patient to feel uncomfortable during the surgery. Further, said he, Fentanyl can cause amnesia, so I could have been awake and wouldn’t know that now. I don’t believe that was the case. Bottom line: I did everything I could to warn the anesthesiologist about my sensitivity, and they gave me a small dose (50 mcg), but that was enough to knock me out. I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t warned them.
He does want to see me again in six weeks (again, I think that’s six weeks from the surgery date).

At this point I can walk rapidly without pain. I mulched the last of the leaves yesterday, using a self-propelled walk-behind mower. I’m feeling pretty good. It’s a masterpiece.

NYC Marathon:

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