Monday, July 12, 2010

New Knees, Part I

I'm on the other side of knee replacement. I had surgery on June 7, so I'm beginning my 6th week of recovery. It's been--and continues to be--a long and often torturous road. I thought I would write about it before I forget about all of the highs (!) and lows.

Before I had surgery, I lost my beloved Spenser. I didn't think he would be with me for very long after his birthday, but I wasn't ready to lose him. He fought hard, but finally he was just too tired to keep going. I still miss him.

On to the surgery. I don't remember much about the day of the surgery. We (my sister and I) got to the hospital around 5:45 am. I was the first case of the day for my surgeon, so things moved pretty quickly. I had my blood typed and cross-matched, was hustled upstairs to outpatient surgery (even though I most definitely was not leaving the hospital that day), and then the nurses got to work. I was surprised at how fast things moved. In previous surgeries, none of them as major as this one, the old adage of hurry up and wait had held true. Not this time. Before I knew it, I was being wheeled down the hall to the elevator, on my way to the surgery holding area.

In the holding area, things continued to move fast. At one time there were four or five people--OR nurses, anesthesiologist, etc.--all doing something to me or telling me something. My head was reeling! After an IV was started, they wheeled me into the operating room. The anesthesiologist and one of the OR nurses did an epidural. I remember that the doctor asked if I felt anything, and I told him that my toes were tingling. He laughed, and said, "That's good!" They laid me down, and we all talked for about 2 seconds. Then I was out.

I have no memory of the recovery room at all. The next time I was conscious, I was in the hall, being taken to ICU (typical for a bilateral knee replacement). I saw, or more accurately heard, my sister and the friends who had waited with her during the surgery. I'm not sure I opened my eyes, but I do remember hearing all of their voices. The next time I woke up, I was in ICU. At one time there, I was cold, so I pulled the sheet up over my head. I thought, "Maybe not a good move since you're in ICU." I didn't want to doze off again and then find myself in the morgue. LOL.

I spent one night in ICU, and the following morning I was moved to a regular room. Before I made the move to my room, though, the physical therapists showed up. Not quite 24 hours after surgery, they stood me up and had me take a couple of steps. No rest for the wicked!

More to come later!

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