Thursday, July 19, 2012

Knee Surgery Success!

Okay, I was a little disappointed that my surgeon, Dr. Koo would not lend me his cute little camera, used for arthroscopic surgery.  I understand; he has standards, a professional reputation, blahblahblah...  And honestly, I'm joking about using the chainsaw to make the incision.   I figure the Dremel tool would be ideal for that!
My wife Lee Anne dropped me at the hospital at 10:30 for surgery on the torn cartilage of my right knee.  The day seemed to progress without a hitch as the nurses/doctors prepped me for surgery.  I think half the questions are intended to make you aware that although arthroscopic surgery is routine these days, things can still go south.  I was asked several times if I was on medication, had any allergies or if I had died during my last general anaesthesia.  Truth is, the last time I had a GA was for knee surgery on my left knee (my other bad knee).

By 12:30, I was in the operating room with more tubes sticking out of me than in an episode of MASH.  The doctor asked me if it was the right knee (it was) and for once I didn't feel like using some glib reply.  I quickly overcame my hesitation (in answering with a glib reply) and said "You can try the left knee, but there isn't any cartilage left".  In the early '70's, the standard procedure was to yank out the whole cartilage.

The next thing I remembered was waking up at about 2:00 PM, post-op.  I was surprisingly alert, so the nurse phoned my wife to provide me with a ride home.  Lee Anne was dropping my daughter Celeste at work, so I chatted with the hospital people until almost 3:00, when Lee Anne phoned that she was at the hospital.  They took me in a wheelchair to the front door.  I walked from the wheelchair to the car.  It dawned on me later that, although the hospital policy (insurance?) was to shuttle you to the door in style, perhaps trying to walk for the first time on a road is not such a bright idea!

Although I walked from the car to the couch, I was very careful, especially since I was feeling no pain.  Lee Anne picked of some Tylenol 3 that I had been proscribed, of which I have a profound aversion.  If you ever see the movie Jacob's Ladder, then you know how T3's affect me.  I decided to take no pain killers until the knee was hurting considerably.  Guess what?  I took 200mg (1 tab) of Ibuprofen the next morning, to ward off any inflamation, but so far (54 hours after surgery) there has been almost no pain.  The odd twinge if I try a back flip, or something stupid (what could possibly be more stupid than a back flip after knee surgery?  You don't know me very well, do you...).

Dr. Koo indicated that the surgery went well.  I'm hoping that during the post-op meeting next week, his comment will translate into "you can start running anytime".  I know... not going to happen, but one can always hope.  I signed on for physiotherapy starting Monday, July 23 in Alliston, with the intent of a speedy recovery.

Surgery Synopsis:  Not too bad.  Although it is a major inconvenience to your lifestyle, it is manageable, and hopefully well worth it.  I keep thinking I'll put on the running shoes and go for a quick 10K, then realize that walking is not all that smooth and easy.  Eventually, the shoes will go on!

It has been a hectic July, with the race, then surgery.  Our plans for a vacation (those all-too-brief sabbaticals from work) are still up in the air, as our usual passions such as mountain hiking, are not in the cards for the next 5 weeks.  One option is for me to take a pottery glazing course, while Lee Anne runs and bikes in Haliburton.

Well, this is quite enough about a topic no runners ever wants to entertain.  As a word of reflection, having surgery to trim knee cartilage is not too bad.  Of course I'm saying this only 2 days after surgery.  If my recovery does not adhere strictly to my plan, I might be of a different opinion.  For the sake of my family and friends, let's hope not!

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