Thursday, December 18, 2008

my knee surgery

I do believe this is the longest it's been without me making a blog post.

I had a right knee arthroscopy with bilateral release on Dec. 5th in order to eliminate/alleviate the pain. My diagnosis is patellofemoral arthritis of both knees. After a total of 12 weeks of physical therapy, the improvement was minimal. So surgery it was. One knee first, to see if there is a vast improvement, and then the other knee later.

I had nothing to eat or drink past midnight the night before with the surgery time at 1:30 the next day. It was quite a long time without so much as a sip of water. Talk about halitosis! I was prepped at 11:30 by a wonderful, but very sensitive nurse. She wanted to give me a numbing injection before the IV. Here I was thinking, wouldn't that be as painful as the IV itself? Nah, I thought. After all, I've had 2 c-sections, I'm a pro.

The IV needle went in, but then blood spurted everyone. The poor nurse was beside herself. "I will clean it up! I will clean it up! I don't want your husband to think you're a guinea pig." I smiled at the woman and told her not to worry about it, my husband has seen worse. Finally my husband was called in, we chatted for a few minutes, and then I was wheeled into the OR. I was looking at the blurry ceiling lights (I had to remove my contacts, and I had no glasses) and the next thing I knew I woke up in recovery room. I remember a lot of noise, probably from the conversation between the doctors and nurses. As I was coming to, I was greeted by a nurse. Since I didn't have my glasses on, I could barely make out her shape. She talked to me and asked if I was a Filipino. I managed to say yes. I think it was highly likely I was snoring every other word I uttered due to the anaesthesia. After a little while, I started to feel pain. I rated it a 8, so the nurse gave me medication. I dozed off, and when I woke up the pain was still the same. So she gave me more mecation. After the 3rd dose of the pain medication, the pain was at 7. After the 4th and last one, the pain was at 3. But then, the room started spinning and I was nauseaous, so the nurse decided I couldn't leave the recovery room yet. The dizziness never went away, but I finally told her that I have vertigo so the dizziness could be due to that.

Finally, I was wheeled to Stage 2. But the ride was too bumpy for me so I vomitted what little I had in my stomach. My husband was finally called back in and the nurse gave him directions for caring for my knee. I do believe the nurse tried to include me on the conversation, but I was snoozing every other sentence.

The amazing thing to me was that I was able to bear weight on my right knee to go to the bathroom. I barely felt pain, but that was no surprise since I was delirious with pain meds and anaesthesia. On the ride home, I was in such a hazy fog, I asked my husband if we could stop by and grab french fries from McDonalds. After heaving at the drive through, he did manage to order in quiet peace. But when I finally got my french fries, it tasted like cardboard! There was my husband mentally saying, "I knew you wouldn't be able to eat that with the anaesthesia still in your system!" After going through 4 surgeries himself, he said he wanted me to learn for myself - plus, he knew I wouldn't listen to him anyway.

The rest of the drive home was full of apparently nonsensical conversation, according to my husband. I felt mentally fine at the time, so I was talking his ears off like normal. My husband told me later that he was quite amused. I remember him telling me that I should just sleep it off and not worry about a thing, and that I was too uptight. I responded with, "No, I'm not! I'm not uptight! I can let it go, just watch me!" and then I was off snoring, apparently with my mouth wide open and my head lolling back, completely missing the head rest.

At home, I went straight to bed. With my husband's help and having to tell me which leg should go first all the way to the top, we managed to the navigate the tall stairs. I was in bed with ice on my knees and hydrocodone on my bedside table. When I settled down in bed, I asked my husband to bring me soup and crackers. Again, I managed to throw up what little I got in. Off to sleep I went.

By the end of the next day, I figured out that the hydrocodone was doing my head in and was probably the one that was making me nauseous. Every time I closed my eyes, I was instantly dreaming about weird things (aliens, amont other things). So I decided to just switch to ibuprofen (4-200mg). I did fine with that and I even often forgot to take it. By Sunday, I was able to go downstairs by myself. Though the first step I took, I slipped. Talk about pain. Pain shot up to my thighs. My husband came up and helped me, but all I could do was rest on the steps and cry. After that , we decided I needed a cain. Thankfully, my father-in-law had one with him.

For the next 2-3 days, I only came downstairs once and came back upstairs for the day. I was able to shower after a few days and just put bandaids on my 2 incisions. It's been almost 2 weeks now, but I still have to have the ace bandage on. Without it my knee cap was moving way too much. I still ice my knees at least once a day to keep the swelling down. Tomorrow I will be going to my doctor for post op and to get the stitches out. I do believe phsyiscal therapy woul be discussed then.

I'm still slightly limping, but am so much better now. Considering that what I've read online from other people who have gone through this surgery, I cound myself pretty lucky. People apparently have little to no control of their quad (thigh muscle) after this surery and therefore could barely lift their legs up.

After limping around in the house, the girls have now imitated how I walk. What silly little things! Very cute though.

My in-laws came the night before my surgery to take care of us. My mother-in-law stayed and cared for us for a week - thank heavens! I think my husband would have committed himself to a mental institution by the end of the first few days if it had been just him caring for the kids and me.

Thank you, Mom & Dad!


Dawn Johnson Warren said...

Pain meds and anestigia leave me horribly sick to my stomach. Glad to hear that you are healing quickly and have lots of good help. Sending prayers for a happy and healthy Christmas and new year!

Dianna said...

Hope your recovery is quick!