One of the primary purposes of this blog is to act as a sort of personal diary for me to chronicle my experiences — health and otherwise — so I thought it appropriate that I take a few minutes to reflect on my recent knee surgery.
Surgery was Tuesday, March 27, at 7:30 am. Even though it was a bit more complicated than anticipated, everything went well and I was on my way home by 10:30. Surgery essentially consisted of reducing the Hoffa pad that is situated behind the knee cap and repair of two tears in the meniscus, along with cleanup of a small amount of arthritis.
Predictably, after surgery, Tuesday was largely spent sleeping off the anesthesia. The day of surgery, I am pretty religious about taking my pain meds on schedule — in this case every four hours. I really didn’t have any pain on Tuesday, just some minor discomfort, and this was due to the anesthetic the surgeon puts into the joint at the end of the procedure.
Wednesday morning went fine, but by about noon, the anesthetic in my knee wore off and it was a horrible day. I took all the pain medication I could take and it didn’t even slow it down. I was literally reduced to tears and I can’t remember the last time I cried about anything, much less surgical pain. Neither my hip nor my shoulder replacement was this amazingly painful. I couldn’t get my knee comfortable, I couldn’t stand to rest it on the bed, I couldn’t stand the weight of the light blanket I’d been sleeping under. Nothing worked. Finally, I took some oxycontin which at least allowed me to get some sleep.
Things had calmed down by Thursday morning when I had to get up, get dressed and meet with the surgeon. Nothing remarkable with the appointment, although it was my first time to be pushed around in a wheelchair for any length of time. I had been using my crutches and cane at home to assist with walking, but I had a doctor’s appointment and a lab appointment and I wasn’t up to trekking through the halls on crutches, so my husband commandeered a wheelchair and off we went. I rested most of the afternoon after we got back from the appointments.
Friday was generally a good day. My husband got up and went to work after being off with me for most of three days. I got myself out of bed, managed my shower and dressing by myself, and basically started feeling human again. Everything took (and still takes) and extraordinary amount of energy. It’s like take a shower, lie down and rest. Put on some makeup, lie down and rest. Blow dry my hair, lie down and rest. Etc. etc. etc.
At 3:00 Friday, I had my first appointment for my root canal, which I had delayed until after surgery. That went as well as root canals go, I guess. It takes a lot for me to get numb. Six injections and 45 minutes into the appointment, we were finally able to get started. Needless to say, I went home and rested after that as well.
Now it’s Saturday. Last night was the first time I’d slept under the covers in bed since the surgery. Previously, I’d been sleeping on top of the bed with my knee propped up on a wedge pillow with a light blanket for cover. It’s weird, but to me that was such a major step in feeling “well” again. I slept really well and have spent most of the morning on the major task of getting up and getting dressed. My husband and I are going out for lunch and perhaps a movie, depending on how I feel.
I have to practice being up all day, because Monday I go back to work. It’s a real balancing act between building up your strength and trying not to overdo.
Overall, with the exception of Wednesday, I’ve had very little pain. I graduated to Tylenol on Thursday and have only had a few tables of those. My knee, as expected, is swollen and stiff, but it’s not black and blue. It has two small incisions that are steri-stripped, and that’s about it. My knee was wrapped in an ace bandage for the first few days, but I’m trying today without it.
All in all, a successful surgery and a good start on recovery. The goal of the surgery is, of course, to resolve the pain I was having. It’s a bit early to tell the outcome on that, but I can tell a difference in the knee and I know, at this point, that it’s much better than it was.
I hope your life has been going well. Thanks to all who have sent me good wishes (they worked!). Thanks for checking in.