|In recovery a few minutes before |
they told me to walk.
<Warning up high in this blog entry… I put some pics of the knee as it is healing at the bottom. If you are squeamish you may want to stop halfway through.>
I know many riders face this same decision so perhaps a log of how mine went might be helpful to someone.
My surgery was eight days ago last Monday. I arrived at the hospital at 8 am for pre-op, bloodwork and to confirm for the second time that week that I was not pregnant. (No chance of it but they didn't believe me.) The lack of fluids through the night made the IV difficult to place but by 10 am and with the help of the anesthesiologist; I had an IV and was bent over so they could place an epidural in my spine. I remember bending over and the stick and that must have been when they knocked me out because the next thing I remember was waking slightly during the surgery to have them tell me that it was nearing the end of the surgery.
I had an epidural so I could very lightly be put under (making it easier to come out of anesthesia). I woke up a couple of times during surgery but it was like being VERY drunk. I didn’t care in the least that I was in the OR.
By 12:30 I was in the recovery room and by 2:30 I was walking with a walker to the bathroom. I have to admit I was a little terrified when they asked me to walk and put weight on a leg they had just chopped but it turns out the pain meds were still working well and I did pretty well getting there.
I had what is called a partial knee replacement which means that they replaced only the joint on the inside of my knee – the area of my knee with the majority of the arthritis and the cause of my pain. The recovery is generally faster and there is much less blood loss.
By a little after 3 pm I was in the passenger seat of the car and heading home. The surgery was a little over an hour away from our house and I rode all the way home with my eyes shut praying I wasn’t going to throw up. (I didn’t but I had a bag ready.)
We had to pick up my son from school on the way. As he approached the car, “Mom, what is wrong with YOU?”
“I just had surgery… I don’t feel well.”
“Oh… well you look like you are dying.”
Thanks. You can always count on teenage sons for the truth.
The first couple of days were not fun. I had physical therapy the first day and they spend most of it trying to see how far they can bend your knee. I was sure the stitches barely holding my swollen knee together were going to burst in the therapists face. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t ducking.
Each day gets better though. You have a decent day and decide that sure… you can go to work for a couple of hours. I mean all I do is sit -- its not like I work construction. What’s the difference between sitting there and sitting at home? I tried going for two hours on Tuesday and paid for it all night. No sleep because the pain meds just couldn’t keep up.
I haven’t seen my horse since the night before the surgery. I hope he remembers me. I am hoping that next week I can start driving again and can stop relying on wonderful friends who are currently caring for my horses. Until I wean myself off the pain meds I can’t drive. Right now I am down to a little less than half the dose I was on the first week so I am getting there.
The good news is that although my knee hurts its completely different than the hurt before the surgery. Instead of getting worse every day … its getting better every day. I have high hopes that I will be riding soon and will be doing it pain free. The goal is to be able to bend my knee at least 120 degrees and extend it completely flat at 0 degrees. At my therapy session yesterday I was at 108 degrees flexion and 2 degrees extension.
I can’t wait to post the entry about my first ride after surgery. The sooner the better.
The picture to the left is the day after surgery. The word "Yes" I had to write
on there to make sure they replaced the correct knee. The knee to the right
is a week after surgery. The bruising didn't start showing up until
about day three.