Saturday, October 25, 2008
Under the Knife
To spare the sensibilities of some of my queasier readers, I'll refrain from an overly graphic description of the procedure, which I didn't get to watch anyway, alas. Instead of a local or a spinal block, they did a general. (Probably not a worry, since many of my readers are fans of zombie movies and gore-hounds, but still ...)
Those backless nightgowns have gone high-tech, too. I was issued one, double-layered paper. Had a hole in one side, looked like the opening for a vacuum cleaner's bag. Once in bed, with my little food-server's cap on, a hose was attached to the gown, and warm air was pumped in, so I was all nice and toasty.
In my curtained cubicle, I listened to the patients on either side as they talked to assorted doctors and nurses and was most happy that the only thing medically amiss with me was the knee. These poor women to my left and right had a litany of problems that had to be taken into account for their surgeries.
My orthopod is a sports guy, and does a lot of knees -- he had done two before I got there and the women to either sides were more of the same. I gave the doc copies of Battle Surgeon and Jedi Healer to read. Apparently he likes country music, that's what they played in the OR, though I didn't get to hear it. My anesthesiologist came in, pumped a couple of syringes of green and orange stuff into my IV, and by the time I got to the OR, I was in a real good mood: Fentanyl Cocktail -- ask for it by name. Had time for a quick look at the ceiling, a couple of jokes with the surgical nurses, and --
-- then I woke up back in my cubicle. Because I hadn't eaten anything since Wednesday night, and had been NPO even for liquids for twelve hours, I didn't even have any nausea. Amazing.
A small parade of medical folks came in and out, telling me how everything went swimmingly well. A moderate tear in the meniscus, whatever that means, snipped, and after some recovery time, I should be good to go back to where I was before. In theory.
In the morning, out by noon, easy, no muss, no fuss.
My wife brought the car round, we came home, I crutched it into the house and hooked up the ice machine. This toy, an upgrade on the Ace and ice pack, is a motorized and electronic box one fills with ice and water, connected to a Velcro wrap that circulates the cold liquid and squeezes the enwrapped limb rather like a blood pressure cuff. Cycle runs half an hour, and the sports folk are all over it. Called Game Ready, and it really seems to work. I got a brochure for it when I scheduled the surgery, but probably wouldn't have gone for it, except that my doctor thought it was the cat's pajamas and wrote me a prescription for it. They sent somebody to my house with the unit and showed me how to use it. It's rental, I have it for a couple of weeks, and insurance covers most of it, so what the heck. I'm impressed with it so far. Really helps with the pain and swelling.
After the injection into the knee during surgery wore off, it was a tad uncomfortable, but they also gave me a script for some of those Rush-Limbaugh-addicting-pills in case I needed them. So far, ibuprofen seems to be enough, but it's nice to have the option. I'm already able to totter around the house without the crutches, a cane, just in case.
So, another day or so, I change the bandage, wash the sticky goop off my leg, and within a few weeks, should be back to what passes for normal. No leg work at silat, but I should be good to drive there by next class and sit around to watch.