Surgery Day (Tuesday April 26th)

It is surgery day.  Kammy and I awaken at 5 AM.  I’m filled with nervousness tempered with impatience and even a bit of happiness.  It is actually time to move forward!

Kammy makes coffee (none for me) and we stumble around the house, gathering what we need: Crutches, my knee brace, insurance card, camera (yep photo geek), one credit card.  I leave any jewelry behind including my wedding ring.  We get in the car and make the 20 minute drive to Tria uneventfully.

We go right up to the third floor and its just 6 AM, right on time.   There are two couples ahead of us, one already waiting, and one with the receptionist.  After a few minutes it’s our turn so we walk up, hand over the credit card (to cover copay and the pain meds they’ll send me home with) have a quick chat with the receptionist and then take our pile of paperwork to the waiting area.  By now both of the other couples have moved along so we have the room to ourselves.

Before we really even get seated a nurse comes out and calls my name.  Nervousness wells up in me…here we go.  She leads us back to the pre-op room; it’s a three walled room off a wide corridor.  She hands me a gown, grippy slippers, and a bag to put my clothes in and gives directions.  She closes the curtain that makes the 4th wall of the room and leaves while I change.  As soon as I’m lying down on the bed two nurses come in and get to work.  First there’s an EKG with some easy-on, easy-off electrodes, then they stick some heavier-duty electrodes to my chest and arms (those are gonna hurt when they come off…).  Two more staff come in and get to work.  One introduces herself as the anesthesiologist and starts discussing with me whether I prefer General or a Spinal + a sedative that will ‘make me sleep’.  She points out that with the General I will have to go on a breather and that this surgery is done about 80% of the time with spinal plus sedative.  I feel good going with the latter to avoid some of the complications and annoyances that General anesthesia causes some people (nausea, sore throat, etc.).

While this conversation is going on the IV nurse comes in and gets to work.  I tell her that I have ‘squirmy’ veins that a lot of people have trouble with (I immediately wonder if I jinxed her by saying that.)  Suffice it to say that two nurses and several pokes later the IV is in and my nervousness is giving way to some pretty strong anxiety.  They apologize profusely for having to try so many times (It is pretty typical for me so while I don’t like it it’s not a shock) and I say not to worry.  Then one of the four staff in the room says “What do you think…does he deserve a 2+2?”  One immediately replies YES!  I can’t say for sure but I think it means they gave me a bit stronger dose of Fentanyl than they might have otherwise.  Within under a minute all anxiety/nervousness was gone.  This was very good because now the anesthesiologist was getting ready to give me a Femoral Block. As she’d explained a few minutes earlier, the Femoral Block is a shot they give very high on the groin area (big needle) which goes a long way to helping with the post-surgery pain I’d otherwise be feeling.  It also meant absolutely no weight-bearing on that leg until full feeling was restored.

Then my surgeon came in and talked with us for a few minutes.  First order of business:  Verify who I am, what’s being done and where.  They were all very diligent about asking me my full name, my date of birth, what was I here for, and which knee.  Both the anesthesiologist and the Surgeon wrote on my leg to REALLY make sure everyone was in agreement about what was being operated on, and what was being done.  Then he went on to reiterate much of what we’d discussed during the two consultations: risks, concerns, and outcomes.  After a few minutes discussion he said he’d see me in the Operating room and left.

A nurse put an oxygen mask on me and said that if I started feeling sleepy I should just go to sleep.  They wheeled toward the operating room…the next thing I remember was being shuffled from the gurney to an operating table and lying down, tried to look around…now sit up for the spinal…

The next thing I recall is that I’m waking up.  More specifically I am trying to wake up, sort of like I’m a marshmallow in a bag of marshmallows trying to get to the top…but not trying too hard…I can see my nicely bandaged leg…I’m in a new room I haven’t been in before, more like an ‘area’ where a nurse could keep an eye on several post-op people like myself I presume.  Someone talks to me (the Surgeon… a nurse?) and I agree that I’m ready to go back to my pre-op room…then I’m in the pre-op room and Kammy is there…we talk a bit…a nurse asks me how I feel….OK…no, a bit of pain starting in my leg.  Someone hands me my first Percocet, pain subsides quickly?  Now I’m getting dressed (well Kammy is dressing me)…here’s a wheelchair…I’m getting in it…I’m getting in the car…we’re half way home and I’m uncomfortable…now I’m at the steps.  They seem impossible.

We live in a 110 year old Victorian house in Minneapolis.  There are 5 steps to the porch, one more step over the threshold, four steps to the landing then 12 steps with a 90 degree turn for the last 5 steps.

I ask Kammy to walk behind me and steady me as I crutch up.  It takes forever.

Posted by Greg on June 21st, 2011 :: Filed under ACL Files
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Surgery Day (Tuesday April 26th)”

  1. Benton Jackson
    June 22nd, 2011

    That sure brings back memories of my two knee surgeries. The second knee surgery, I told them not to give me a sedative unless I needed it, and I was able to watch the view through the orthoscope on a monitor, and kibitz the doctor. He wasn’t used to that!

  2. Greg
    June 29th, 2011

    Maybe I’d do that for my next surgery, maybe not. How was it remembering it all?

Leave a Reply

Type your comment in the box below: