We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Surgery day

I don't remember a whole lot of November 16, but what I do remember needs to be recorded here.

I was having full knee replacement surgery, which involves inserting a metal substitute for the knee joint into the two leg bones. I knew ahead of time the make and model of the knee joint I'd be receiving- an American made prosthetic. I also had lots of fears. Would my legs be the same size when they were done? That was a huge worry in my mind. Would the new knee be the right size for my leg? Would I be able to wear high heels ever again? Would I be able to sit indian style on the floor ever again? All these thoughts were running through my head as I was being wheeled off to surgery on the morning of November 16. Thankfully, those magic happy drops the nurse gave me took such an edge off, the answers to all my questions weren't very important at the moment.

It was a short gurney ride to surgery. I'd never seen anything like it. You enter an area that is entirely stainless steel, with one big open slot in one wall. There is a nurse on the other side of this slot, I could see her. My gurney was wheeled up to the slot, lined up, and with a one, two, shove, I was moved off the gurney, through the slot, and onto another gurney on the other side. I recall the two nurses having some sort of conversation, and then my gurney was moved a bit, and a doctor walked over to me. He had colorful glasses. Green frames, and he wore a colorful surgical cap. I remember telling him I didn't speak much Italian. He made some small talk, then told me he was going to give me an ansethetic that would only numb me from the waist down, I'd be awake otherwise. A second doctor was in front of me, I was now sitting on the gurney, while the anesthesiologist inserted a needle into my spine. It seems like only a few minutes later and I didn't feel a thing in my legs, and they wheeled me into the operating arena.

I could see all sorts of equipment, trays of instruments, numerous nurses and doctors all moving around, getting things set up. They put a dark green piece of material screen-like thing in front of my face so I couldn't see a thing (thank goodness), and things started to happen. I heard lots of chatter, nothing I could particularly remember afterwards, but I know everyone seemed to be happy. Doctors were singing, one of them I know for sure was singing this popular Italian song "Ancora". What I remember most the sounds of lots of drilling and sawing, which seemed to go on forever. I was imagining Santa's Elves with dremel tools making toys. Really.

The next thing I remember is arriving at my hospital room being moved off a gurney into the bed. My left leg was wrapped in ace bandages. I was told the surgery itself was about 2 hours. I was in recovery a bit longer. The very first thing I did was put my two legs together and look at them to try to determine if they were still the same length. They appeared to be, so I felt relieved. One worry I could tick off my list.

What I expected next was that later that day or the next morning I would be gotten out of bed. I had read that getting out of bed early was necessary with knee replacement surgery. Unfortunately for me, that did not happen. I had pretty severe low blood pressure, which made me extremely dizzy, so I wasn't able to get out of bed that day or the next. I'm someone who has had high blood pressure for years, and wouldn't you know it, now it was just the opposite!

No comments: