Last Monday, June 21, I went to see the surgeon for a follow-up to check on his work on my knee. When the nurse removed the dressing that had been covering my knee since the operation, I asked her if I had stitches or staples. She said neither. The incision was glued back together.
I think I was with the nurse longer than the surgeon, who said I was doing fine. As far as the knee goes, that’s true. Since Monday, I’ve been discharged from at home physical therapy and will start outpatient PT this coming Monday. Unfortunately, after I got home from the surgeon’s a rash broke out on both my legs. The extreme itching and burning kept me awake most of that night, Neither over-the-counter antihistamines, nor hydrocortisone cream helped. Fortunately, my visiting nurse was scheduled to come on Tuesday afternoon. She took pictures of the blotches that had broken out all over the lower half of the leg that was operated on, and sent them to all my doctors (surgeon, GP, and dermatologist) with requests for help. The dermatologist did call me later that afternoon. He prescribed a steroid cream and a small dose of lidocaine, which CVS could not deliver until Wednesday noon. Another night of itching.
Since Wednesday, I’ve been applying the cream, which has reduced the ugly blotches but not the itching and burning so much. Having run out of lidocaine, last night I used some of the ice packs that I have for swelling on the knee to try to numb my lower legs. The ice helped me sleep.
This whole experience has been a good opportunity to practice being aware. I haven’t been consistent. During my first week after surgery with the gout attacks, I mostly did a lot of swearing and blaspheming. Being raised Catholic does expand one’s repertoire. Last week I did resume short sits with breathing meditation and have kept that up this week. When the itching is not just a minor irritation during meditation, it’s still hard to focus on what’s going on with the nerves firing and not lament the feelings of discomfort. I’m working on it. This is what I’ve supposedly been training for.