Friday, December 26, 2008

76 hour check in


My ass and the couch were like the roommate you don't really like the last 76 hours.  You tolerate each other because you have no place better to be, but you'd really rather be someplace else.  The good news is that I'm up and mobile now, and limping down the road to recovery. 

My surgery was scheduled for a 2pm check-in on Tuesday, but at about 11:30 I got a call from the day-surgery group saying they had a few cancellations due to the weather and wanted to know if I could come in early.  I told them we'd be there in 45minutes.

At 12:15 I give my name, DOB, and what procedure I was having done to the lady at the front desk.  This information will be repeated probably a dozen times over the next hour and a half.  The lady who takes all my medical information, the nurse who preps my knee, the nurse who does my IV, the nurse who wheels me into the pre-op room, my Orthoped, the OR nurse, the anesthesiologist.... I'm sure there are a few that I forgot.

I try to relax during the prep-process.  Traci and I chat about what we'll do for dinner later tonight and wonder when my folks will be arriving.  Finally they are ready for me in the OR.  Traci walks with the gurney until we reach the waiting area.  I give her a cheery "see you in a bit" and she smiles.  We both have horrible poker faces.

The OR waiting area is cold.  Much colder than the rest of the hospital.  There is one other gentleman in the room with me, but he looks very much uncomfortable and sleepy.   I pass the time by staring at the dots in the ceiling panel, then I remember I did the same exact thing the last time I was waiting for a knee surgery.  My Orthoped comes and, does the final review of my chart and takes his pen and writes "YES" on my left knee.  It itches.

After about 10 minutes, and a few visits from the other members of  the surgical team, I'm wheeled into the OR.  This room is even colder then the previous room.  Fortunately they have a few warm blankets for me to be wrapped in when I move myself over to the table.  The team moves efficiently getting me situated in place and they begin to strap my arms down and ......................

I wake up in the recovery room and the first though was "WTF died in my mouth."  Anesthesia gasses have a horrid taste to them and heeding the advice of the anesthesiologist, I take some big breaths of air and cough out the remaining crud in my system.  A women named Lisa, who supposedly had a fairly detailed conversation with about 10 minutes earlier, is there next to me. 

The deep breaths of air are doing their thing to clear the fog from my head and body, and in no time I'm back in my room with Traci.  My nurse asks me if I could stomach some juice and food, and comes back with some cranberry juice and a bite size muffin.  This is the first food I've had in 18 hours and it vanishes in seconds.  She comes back with a small menu and I order some hash browns, and a bagel with cream cheese. 

While we wait I get the quick run down from Traci about the surgery.  They weren't able to repair the meniscus due to the extent of the damage.  "Tears within tears" was the phrase used.  My guess is that this was due to the initial injury in 06 with the Barton Park injury on top of it.  My food arrives and I dive in.

My orthoped arrives as I'm pushing the empty tray from in front of me.  Happy, but still hungry.  He shows me the before and after photos:


In the top photo, the white mass with the "F"  on it is my femur (thighbone).  You should be able to see the entire bottom of the bone in a knee that doesn't have an injury like this.  It is obstructed by my meniscus, which had torn up, flipped over on itself and became caught behind the femur.  The two lines are pointing to two additional tears within the main tear.  Hence, no repair.  The second photo shows my ACL, which was surgically replaced in January of '03.  The weird looking blob on the left was a tissue mass (it is not a tumah!) that grew that wasn't causing an issues, but didn't need to be there, so it too was removed.

The end result was this:


This is basically the same photo as the first, just shot a bit more to the inside of the knee to see where the meniscus was removed and how the tear went under the femur.

So with that news I was given a small list of PT exercises to do, and some instructions on what to take when, and how much.  I see him again on Monday for my follow up.

This surgery was relatively minor compared to my two ACL reconstructions.  I've been hobbling around without a crutch since the first day and I'm already allowed to take the compression legging off.  I'm just happy its finally over and hope to be doing some light spinning by the first of the year. :)

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