Monday, February 3, 2014

Knee Surgery Times Two

January 31st marked one month since my bilateral knee surgery. I wrote a blog post about the events leading up to the surgery and the decision-making process: The Final Cut. So I decided to write this post about the day of the surgery and will follow up shortly with a post about my rehabilitation progress.

The surgery was scheduled for December 31st at 4pm. I was told to check in at the out-patient surgery center at OHSU Center for Health & Healing at 1:30. I spent the first half of the day cooking food for us to eat during my recovery. This was a tormenting task because I was not allowed to eat or drink anything since midnight on the 30th. I fixed Greg a hearty lunch then took my final shower with Hibiclens, an antimicrobial skin cleanser, just before we left the house.
As with my previous surgeries at OHSU, I was called back to the pre-op area within minutes. After donning a lovely purple gown and socks, I was connected to the warming hose then the Q&A sessions began. Even though my complete medical history is already on file with OHSU, they still have to go over everything to ensure there will be no complications during or after surgery. An IV was run into my left hand (ouch!) as I just don't have good veins in my arms. By 2:30 or so I had been cleared by the first-string nurses but found out that my surgeon, Dr Herzka, who was performing multiple surgeries before mine that day, was running behind.
Believe it or not, I ended up using the spare time to work, as I discovered that my Irvington House email account had not been retrieving messages for several days. After multiple phone calls & texts, we figured out the problem and I confirmed that all of the arrangements I had made to cover my household responsibilities were in order. Finally, around 5pm, the anesthesiologist came in to review my file and, since I have had issues with dizziness and other complications from anesthesia & narcotic pain meds before, I was given a dose of phenergan as well as a scopolamine patch. Dr Herzka came in shortly afterward and we had a friendly chat as she wrote her initials on my knees (indicating she would be operating on both) and answered any remaining questions. It wasn't long before I was wheeled straight to the operating room and, after transferring to the operating table, took a few deep breaths and counted to 10. Lights out!
I woke up in the recovery area in a fair amount of pain. The post-op nurse gave me several small doses of fentanyl and/or dilaudid via IV. I handled that okay so I got to sip some diluted apple juice and soon was wheeled back to my room where Greg was waiting. I gradually started sitting up, experiencing some dizziness, but was able to sit completely upright within 10 minutes. Greg & the nurse helped me get dressed and, after reviewing my post-op instructions one more time, Greg wheeled me out to the parking lot. It was just after 8pm.
We were home within 20 minutes. I used my crutches to gingerly climb the exterior stairs to our apartment. It was not an easy task since I couldn't bend my knees! I hadn't eaten in almost 24 hours so I was quite hungry and glad that I had made a big pot of split pea soup in advance. Greg & I sat down to dinner at 9:30pm.
I stayed up and read for awhile on the couch, then moved to the bedroom. I actually managed to stay awake until midnight to welcome the new year before taking 5mg oxycodone and drifting off into an uncomfortable sleep.

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