Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Knee Bone is Connected to the Gunk Blob

I am happy to report that my knee surgery was definitely the right decision and my recovery has been like butterflies and unicorns. I couldn't be happier. In fact, I am so delighted by how this went that I kinda want to have arthroscopic surgery on all my joints to improve them. That wouldn't be weird, would it?

My surgery was Friday May 25 at about 1pm, which was a bummer because I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything until afterward. Food isn't such a big deal, but it turns out that I am a fan of liquids. I was actively resentful when I got to the surgical center and there was a water fountain right there in the waiting room. Also, they made me pee for a pregnancy test (negative, thank the good lord!), which was no easy task considering it had been 12 hours since I'd ingested water.

Weirdly (according to Alex), I wasn't nervous about the surgery. I mean, it's not like I was performing it. I was just hopeful that I wouldn't say anything embarrassing while sedated, but otherwise I felt pretty chill about the whole thing.

Alex, on the other hand, was extremely concerned about them operating on the correct knee. He was aghast to hear that I wasn't drawing a big arrow and the words "THIS KNEE. THIS KNEE RIGHT HERE," on the knee they were fixing. I figured if they operated on the wrong knee, there was probably plenty wrong in there for them to fix, so it'd actually be not that bad.

In turns out, however, that apparently enough doctors have operated on enough wrong limbs that there is now a whole procedure in place to make sure that mistake isn't made, meaning the doctor used a single-use marker to sign the intended target of surgery.

My knee in a bandage with an ice pack on top and my doctor's initials on my leg.
I took this the day after surgery. I don't think that ice pack was doing much through the 26 layers of bandage.
 Alex hung out with me before surgery and took a picture "so we have one last photo of you."

Me in a hospital gown and hair net in a bed in the surgery center.
Alex has probably three photos of me on his phone and this is one of them.
As I suspected it would be, surgery was easy, fun, and took only about 10 seconds from my perspective. Then they gave me animal crackers, Percocet, and wheeled me out to my car. Altogether it was a pretty good deal.

My doctor had told me that I should take a week off of work, which I did. I was prepared to spend that entire first weekend in deep recuperation mode, but my body recovered much easier than I expected. I did nap for much of the afternoon after surgery, but felt pretty good otherwise. I was more tired than anything. I only had to use crutches for a day or two and didn't have a lot of pain. Short bursts of energy on my part, however, led to multi-hour naps. People tell me that's because my knee was doing a lot of work inside my leg healing, so I didn't feel too bad. Plus I'd given myself permission to laze around for a week, although if I were to do this again, I don't know that I would take that long. I got so bored I cleaned my kids' rooms. I live a charmed life. I'm really lucky.

[knockonwoodknockonwoodknockonwood]

Alex had told me that the doctor told him the surgery went well but didn't give me many details. When I went to my follow-up appointment with my orthopedist, he told me ("now that you're more coherent") that my knees were much older than I was. I don't know whether to feel pleased for me or outraged for my knees.

He also told me that even more impactful than the meniscus tear was all the "gunk" in my knee bones. He showed me lots of photos of said gunk before and after his cleaning it up. There was also a ligament caught on something that he freed up—or something to that effect; honestly the details of what happened inside there is not that super relevant to my life. I mostly care that I can use the knee again.

I'm almost three weeks post surgery now and I'm feeling great. Apparently being physically active prior to surgery results in a significantly easier recovery. I've started what will hopefully be about four weeks of physical therapy although the PT told me that I can't run until I can do a one-legged squat, so apparently I'm never going to be allowed to run again.

I've been enjoying PT. It's like a not-hard personal training session that ends with, in my case, an ice wrap that acts very similar to a blood pressure cuff wrapped around my knee that squeezes and releases for ten minutes. It's my new favorite thing in the world.

Except for getting to exercise again. I can't run yet, but I am back on my (newish) spin cycle (trying not to be a Peloton nerd, but OMG LOVE) and loving getting to work my body again.

In sum: Surgery > delightful Percocet > napping > deciding I love Percocet too much to keep using it > feeling pretty recovered > living a gunk-free life > yay!

2 comments:

  1. Percocet is the one medication I've had that made me understand why someone might try to acquire a medication on the black market---and if I'd known where the black market was in my area, I might have mosied over there to investigate. Then I developed an allergy to it, which as far as I'm concerned is evidence of SOMETHING malevolent in the universe.

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  2. Be a peloton nerd with me. We didn’t order to bike (because OMG $) but we ordered a different spin bike and I have fallen in love with the ap!). We can talk peloton anytime. I’m all about hacking the peloton.

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Thanks for commenting! May you be visited by unicorns and kittens.