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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Best Laid Plans ...

This is Steven Petrick posting.

One of the things about any operation is planning and preparation. Going to get Jean was complicated in part by the fact that both SVC and I had disabled left legs. So I did some planning.

I do not normally use sleep aids. For Operation Fetch I purchased a package of “Nydol” and took two of the tablets each night of the operation before going to bed in hopes of getting more sleep. This was in addition to a number of other medications (something for “restless legs” as a great deal of the delay in healing seemed to be tied to my left leg “jumping” in the middle of the night in a desperate attempt to bend “sideways,” sometimes with renewed pain levels that even if had managed to fall asleep I would be awakened).  In addition I took a few pain meds (never more than the prescribed doses).

I have to say that over all I was not overly impressed with any of the medications. I could not say that the pain medications really did anything to dampen the pain as far as I could tell, but then by that time I might not have been able to recognize a reduction in the level of pain. (I am still taking Ibuprophen however.)  I do not know if the “restless leg” medication ever had an effect, but I have noted of late that my leg “jumps” a lot less than it was, although the knee is utterly unreliable, although I have dropped the restless leg med as ineffective. SVC is of the opinion that I should just stay off the leg, but I have found that if I want to sleep at all I have to “take my leg for a walk” before going to bed. That is to say I walk around the circumference of the apartment complex before I turn in and my leg seems to settle down for most of the night. Without the walk, the leg seems to keep kicking and make it difficult, if not down right impossible, to sleep. (During the recent “wolf” excursion I wound up walking the length of the hotel’s internal hallway in the middle of the night to settle my leg.) I have also found that while my left leg and foot seem to actually get “worse” if I apply a heating pad, soaking in hot water seems to acceptable (as if the leg is no longer really a part of me but has a “life of its own”).

The main point, however,  is the “Nydol.”

The “Nydol” was to help make sure I was as rested as possible by aiding my sleep. I took the recommended dose of two tablets every night of the operation, and the result was, near as I am able to judge, no effect whatsoever. During the whole of the operation I averaged at most two hours of sleep each night. For a week before we started the drive back I was sleep deprived to an unacceptable degree, even though each night I went to bed tired and desperately in need of sleep and, yes, I took the two tablets of “Nydol.”

Having the “Nydol” was part of my “planning and preparation,” and I suppose it is possible that without it I would not even have gotten the two hours a night I did get. (Seems unlikely, as I would finally pass out somewhere near dawn, hours after I had taken the tablets.)

I knew getting in the truck that I would have to hand it over to SVC in short order. It never really came to that however. Do not get me wrong. I was monitoring my own condition constantly while driving the truck, looking for a loss of concentration or any other sign that I was no longer in condition to keep driving. However, other than an occasional “yawning jag” and a period in the second day where I began feeling ill, I remained alert. That period when I was feeling ill (it was shortly after lunch on our way to Oklahoma City) I had decided I was going to have to turn the truck over to SVC at the next gas stop. After visiting the restroom at the gas station the problem resolved itself and I was able to carry on and never even mentioned to SVC at the time that I would have to turn the truck over to him.

I had planned, knowing I would have to drive the truck at least part of the time, to make sure I got enough sleep so that I would begin each day driving it (after the first) rested and ready. Thus my adoption of a “Nydol” regimen for the trip. I doubt I will ever try to use “Nydol” again as it had no noticeable effect. As it is, I am grateful that my body responded to the need to drive the truck, but I never want to start a long trip as exhausted as I was when this one began. As it was, I could not even drive the car all the way to the hotel on the wolf trip a few days later as I was still that exhausted.