Earlier that day I entered medical facility still not completely convinced that having my knee replaced was a good idea. After all, I was still very functional. I just finished three weeks of fairly aggressive hiking for crying out loud. Why was I voluntarily going from hiking to hobbling?
Too late to back out now. Done deal. I am the proud owner of a new left knee. And I am definitely hobbling...no hiking in the cards for a few weeks at least.
Now for the story…..
On Monday, June 25, 2018 Dr. John Edwards did a total knee replacement on my left knee in the Mountain West Surgical Center at 7:30 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Before the procedure the anesthesiologist used an ultrasound machine to pinpoint the exact location of the nerves in my knee. He used a pin prick (actually it was a needle prick) to insert a nerve block that deadened my knee for the next 30 hours. He also gave me a spinal block that numbed my entire lower half a few hours. Finally, via the IV, he administered a dreamy drug that put me to sleep (as in sleepy, not dead) for a hour or so. General anesthesia never happened.
General anesthesia never happened but the surgery did. I drifted off to sleep in the operating room and awakened in the same place. After my “It’s too late now” realization I heard the anesthesiologist giving instructions to the receiving nurse. “She was a little brady for me too,” he said.
Brady means slow, he explained in answer to my query. Apparently my heart rate was slower than normal. How slow is slow? 41 bpm. Yep, that is a little slow, even for me.
Slowly and steadily my heart rate returned to normal as did the feeling in my lower half, all but my knee. Because there was no feeling in my knee, there was no pain. I spent the afternoon enjoying a lunch from Kneaders Bakery, unlimited cranberry juice on the rocks, the World Cup Soccer match between Iran and Portugal, and the teasing attentions of my devoted husband. What a great way to spend an afternoon!
Our nurse, Blake, enjoyed the glimpses he caught of the World Cup Soccer match as well. With just moments left in the game, as Iran threatened to tie the score with a free kick, Lance called for Blake. “We need help in here,” he hollered into the hallway. “Help please!” Blake responded quickly with a query; “How can I help?” he asked sincerely. “We need help in here,” Lance repeated as he winked and motioned to the TV screen with his head. Blake graciously stayed and helped us for the rest of the game.
Dr. Edwards seemed to be a soccer fan as well. His eyes strayed repeatedly to the screen as he told us the results of the surgery. “It went ideally,” he said. “Doing a total knee replacement was clearly the right decision.” Not only was the joint bone-on-bone but the patella was wearing a groove in the tibial plateau. Also, the injury to the PCL caused the patella to cup which was causing further damage and erosion. I guess it is good news that the knee was so bad.
Blake’s declaration that I had met all the criteria for going home was also good news. I excreted the required amount of liquid, I did not wet the bed (“Because of the spinal block, 70% of our patients have an episode of incontinence,” Blake told me. “Don’t be embarrassed), I walked up and down the surgical center unassisted twice (I actually carried the walker they insisted I bring with me), and my credit card charge for $4,131.38 was approved. I was home before 5:00 p.m. Monday evening.
Being home was great Monday. It was great Tuesday too….until the nerve block wore off Tuesday afternoon, then it was not quite as fun. I have been miraculously blessed though. Tuesday evening/night was really the only time I experienced significant pain...and they have great drugs for that. I have not needed any narcotics since Wednesday morning.
We bought a pair of crutches at a yard sale last week. The $1 we spent was totally wasted; I have not used them at all. We borrowed a walker from Mom Hislop….also a waste of time. I used a cane when I went down to the pasture Wednesday to help weigh the hogs and lambs but haven’t even used a cane since then. Thursday I saw the physical therapist who indicated I was way ahead of schedule. “Most people struggle to get a 110 degree bend after three weeks. You are already at 115 degrees.” Friday I drove myself to get a haircut and to eat lunch with a friend. Saturday Lance and I again went yard sale-ing and Miles and I went to a family reunion. Today I hobbled to Church and sat (more or less--lots of wiggling) through all 3 hours of the worship service.
“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things…..” (D & C 59:21)
God has certainly been with me through this. Not only has He blessed me with a miraculously speedy and relatively pain-free recovery, He has blessed me with scores of moral angels. Both sets of my parents (Noel and Hislop) have been super supportive, our children and my husband have picked up my chores without complaint, my Young Women made and brought me dinner (Holy Heaven….delicious lava cakes!) as have several ladies from our LDS (Mormon) congregation. (I have to say….Natalie Ropelato made a better meal for my family than I have EVER made for them!). I have been ministered to by friends, family, and a former BYU roommate (Heidi) whom I consider both friend and family. Sallie brought me blueberries and Cierra brought me a book. Blessings, blessings, blessings!!!! I recognize thy Hand, dear Lord, and I thank thee.
And I ask for more….. Not necessarily for more meals (that would be too selfish plus I have already gained 5.8 lbs) but for more blessings. Please continue to help my body heal. And please grant me patience. I am relatively pain free but I am not comfortable. Mostly I always have a dull ache in my knee, thigh and butt and I have a hard time sleeping flat on my back. Doing physical therapy exercises three times daily is not a favorite and I really want to go hiking and biking outside a lot sooner than I probably should. Walking at a snail’s pace is definitely brady for me. Yep. Patience would be appreciated!