November 9, 2017
Knee Replacement Day
If you have ever had surgery or contemplated it, you know that so much thought and emotion goes into the decision. Even after you say “yes” you may have doubts. My husband had to talk me though many tears - yes or “not now”. I am all about doing every thing else possible to relieve pain and do everything possible before surgery becomes the decision.
So if you are in that place of considering a surgery, especially knee replacement (or hip, ankle), I totally understand. It is quite different that a meniscus repair or ligament work. The thought of sawing away bones for the implants kind I freaked me out. It is an irreversible decision - replacing original equipment with implants. But here we are on the day of “yes” to knee replacement.
My husband always writes a note to my doctor on my knees: right knee “nope”; left knee “have fun last time this knee”. We walked to the surgery center (about a mile) to honor the last rites of my knee.
Let the fun begin...
I checked in at 7:30am for my 8:45am surgery time. Before changing into my lovely hospital gown, I had to give a urine sample and wipe down my whole body with a sterile towelette first plus a second wipe down of my surgery Knee.
Good news from the urine sample - I'm not pregnant. What a relief!
My favorite part of a hospital stay? The warm blankets!
Then came the IV insertion and talks with the head surgery nurse and anesthesiologist. We decided on a nerve block with enough other “sleepy cocktail” because I really did not want to be cognizant for the sawing and hammering.
WARNING - THE NEXT PICTURES AND VIDEOS ARE GRAPHIC - TAKEN DURING SURGERY
I walked into the surgery room and had a seat on the table to start the IV cocktail. My anesthesiologist asked if I preferred "wine" and I said no, bring on the whiskey. That is about all I remember.
As the picture shows, I sat up slumped over (because I don't remember anything forward of this until I woke up in recovery), I was given the spinal block.
The next pictures are of the procedure....
Tools of the trade...
My left leg, pre-incision. You can see that I have a scar on the front of my knee that looks like a total knee incision, but that was for a surgery years prior so that Dr. Thorpe could access both sides of my knee to do some work on the medial side. It saved me a medial scar because we both knew someday that I'd have a total knee. That time has come! So that incision will be re-opened.
Incision with knee cap flipped out and upside down. That white disk in the middle is the articular cartilage of the underside of the patella (kneecap). Dr. Thorpe shaved down the lumpy bits to make it smooth. A little "manicuring".
OK - kinda fascinatingly gross. The white bone at the top is my femur which has already been cut to the proper angles and the holes for the implant drilled into the end of the bone (on the chondyles).
The "test implants" were put in place to check the range of motion of the knee and lateral stability. I haven't seen my knee bend that far for many, many years. Gives me hope and a goal post surgery.
After the trial was a success, Dr. Thorpe cemented to implant parts in place. There it is! Dr. Thorpe and my shiny new cobalt chrome knee. All aligned and ready to get sown up.
Waking up from this surgery, with the spinal and a "cocktail" was much nicer than a general anesthesia.
I spent the night at the surgery center and was walking with a walker with a PT session before I left. Of course, everything felt pretty darned good since the spinal block was still in effect.
Not long after coming to.... I felt compelled to read my "ode to knee"...
Then it was time to test out my knee...
I had physical therapy visit and got to go on a walk with my walker - weird sensation because my left foot was still numb. But everything worked!
I got to walk over to my "overnight stay" room. The night was not so bad, the foot pumps would wake me up sometimes. Pain meds and other pills were scheduled every 4 hours - and at 1:30am I waited a little too long - I got the first sample of no med knee pain and I don't want to go there again. I have no problem with pain reduction to increase healing.
After my lovely breakfast, I had another PT session and was released! Home at about 8:30am. Nice!
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To your Healthy and Happy Knees