Left is pre-op and right is post op. The gray area is where there is a hole in the bone from the screw.
I hate that almost seven years after an IED blasted through my husband’s body, he still needs surgery to repair the damage.
Last Friday Bryan underwent his 16th surgery since the blast. But this time, we are blessed that the procedure was minor and his recovery, unlike previous times, was fairly short. Doctors removed a screw in his left heel that was inserted during a previous surgery and had begun backing out of his foot. The doctor didn’t want it removed until we could feel the head of the screw on the surface of Bryan’s skin. If it broke the skin, it can cause an infection. Since our baby girl is coming in September we decided it was time to get it taken care of.
Luckily, this surgery was fairly minor compared to his previous ones. He did have to stop taking his anti-inflammatory medication as it makes his blood thin and increases the risk of excessive bleeding in surgery. Without the medicine, he was in a lot of pain the week before surgery and had quite a bit of swelling. We thought the medication wasn’t that effective anymore but once he was off we realized it was working more than we thought.
During the pre-op appointment I warned the doctor that Bryan tends to be aggressive and combative when he comes out of anesthesia. He asked if Bryan has PTSD and we said “yes.” The doctor said that it is normal for vets with PTSD to be combative after anesthesia because it taps in to their psyche and stirs up those suppressed memories. This was the first time I had heard this but it makes sense as to why he is this way when normally he is very calm.
On the day of the procedure we left home by 6 a.m. and he was in surgery by 8:15. The nurses kept me informed and the resident met with me when they finished. He said the screw was lifted up from where it was backing out and it was fairly easy to remove. He said Bryan should have less pain now but it is hard to say since he also suffers from arthritis in the same place. We decided ahead of time to leave the rest of the hardware in because to remove it would mean a much longer recovery time.
The post-op nurse said Bryan was nice when he woke up and that he was worried he hadn’t been nice to her. He is so sweet. When I was able to finally see him, he kissed me and immediately put his hand on my belly. I have real issues going in to post-op rooms with all the equipment and people lying there. There was blood on his blanket and I tried not to focus on the fact that they cut him open. I have a weak stomach and seeing my husband is pain makes it that much worse. It brings up too many memories of our time at Walter Reed.
It has been a long road of 16 surgeries but his recovery is getting shorter, and better and with each surgery he grows stronger and more ready to welcome our wonderful baby this fall.