Friday, August 29, 2014

Post Surgery Report (large bucket handle tear of the medial meniscus)

Post Surgery Report
It's about 11 hours shy of being 2 weeks since that memorable experience of feeling like my left knee was going to explode! And it's about 20 hours since having the Meniscus tear repaired during surgery, rather than removed (something the Dr was not thinking would be the case, or at-least the percentages were telling him it wouldn't be).

Pre-Surgery work out: I haven't been able to do much these past 13 days aerobically, so I've done a few weight training work outs. This morning I did pullups, pull downs, neck/shoulder, biceps and forearms. What I could manage while keeping most of the weight on my right leg. As for the why, when I was told not to eat or drink anything starting at midnight the night before? The weight training is good for your bones, blood, ... I don't think I know all the benefits and maybe some of them are a placebo, but for me - they work. I felt like it was important for me to do to help the inside of my knee to be the best for healing it could be. I don't know when I'll get to work out next (I'm guessing the first 3 weeks will be no weight on my leg at all), then rehab will start...

Checking In: The time at the surgery center was excellent. My wife and I got there on time 10:00 AM, with maybe a dozen people in the large but nice waiting room. Before I was able to sit down with my clipboard, I was called up to the desk and sat in the chairs while the assistant helped me with the paper work - as the Dr was one his way and wanted to do the procedure as soon as I was ready. This process took maybe 10 minutes; and before I could get up they were calling my name from the door to go back in.

Behind the doors: Once in, the area looked similar to a hospital emergency, but with out all the noise, activity and people standing around. All the bays were curtained and once my wife was sat down, I was taken to the restroom and given instructions to 'change' into appropriate clothing: hair net, gown, underwear, grippy socks and a covering over my right knee that was used for pumping blood through my leg during the surgery.

Back in my bay, the nurse who checked me in was very nice and competent - as were all the people I came in contact with at this surgery center. Everybody I meet asked my my name and birth date, more questions from a second nurse, then she started shaving my knee which included about 3 inches of my thigh and the majority of my shin. While this was going on the first nurse put in the IV port with not to much pain - but it was the most I felt in the whole procedure, followed closely by the pain of pulling the hair out of my arm when it was removed before leaving.

I spoke with the Anesthesiologist: listening to him describe the process and then was able to ask him some questions, as well as letting him know I didn't want to take any narcotics for pain. The general Anesthesia was a narcotic which was fine. I was also given some type of gas during the surgery by a tube in my mouth (which only bothered me slightly last night).

[My reason for not wanting the narcotics is that when I was in my late teens, I broke the humerus in my left arm and was given a strong narcotic for pain and remember the feeling it gave me and the hallucinations ... not something I want to do again. It was almost like I had no control over my own thoughts and the hallucinations were dark and even frightening.]

One of my Pastors, and my friend, was there with my wife after I came out from changing and before they wheeled me off, he lead a prayer for all involved. I was then wheeled out and went into the surgery room. It was a larger room with lots of equipment on wheels so everything could be easily moved around. The anesthesiologist was the one talking to me in there: told me he was going to put a tube in my mouth and why, but I can't remember the details ...


Post Surgery: I woke up in a bay with a curtain around me (what turned out to be the North half of the initial area). I was told he repaired the Meniscus instead of the Menisectiamy (SP). My left leg was wrapped from high thigh to mid foot in ace bandage like material. Over that was a very stout knee brace that was locked in a slightly bent position. Just under my knee coming out from the ace bandage was a large blue tube that was hooked to a portable ice box. That is the modern replacement for an icepack. It works great as it circulates ice water from the cooler through some type of pad around my knee. It kind of reminds me of a bait tank aerator. The nurse removed my IV port and a few hairs from my arm. My wife helped me get dressed and then I was wheeled out to our vehicle by wheel chair.

My Leg: As for the incision and gauze and area immediately around the knee ... I don't know what's there or what it looks like. I suspect I'll see it today when I go in for a Post-Op meeting with the Surgeon this afternoon. I will also get to see pictures and maybe video of inside my knee.

The pain and discomfort has been not to bad, but my wife and Dr suggested I have the pain meds available just in case, which I do. At this point I would say in aches more than hurts.

I will update with photos if I get some today.

Bottom Line: All in all - I'm very thankful: for my family, for skilled professionals, for repair over removal, ... so much to be thankful for, especially to my God who is with me and promises to always be!

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