It used to be they had you count backwards from, say, 100. You might have made it down to 93 before you found yourself waking up feeling fuzzy. This time they dispensed with that nicety. I had the bright lights of the surgical suite at 8 in the morning, and the sense of being inside of some high-tech enclosure, then I found myself waking up feeling fuzzy. My experience with knee replacement surgery may have been typical. I see that it is the most common surgical procedure in the US. Still, it is a little startling in that I was moved up to a room and was assigned a physical therapist to guide me in a very short walk outside of the room by noon. I found that the glue used was from a chemical I used to make (methyl methacrylate), so in some small way I felt a bit of pride as I began the transition from the before times (suffering from arthritis) to the after times (feeling the bruising in my quadriceps from the tourniquet that was applied). It is amazing how debilitating such a procedure can be. I went from someone who could walk and use a leg somewhat normally, to someone dependent upon a walker in what seemed like an instant.
I was grateful when the surgeon stopped by the next morning while I was still in the hospital. There he explained I had ground down two bone spurs into tiny pebbles. I wish he had kept them for me as I have an interest in all things mineral, but if there is an opportunity with the other knee, maybe I’ll be able to grab onto a souvenir from my own body. He explained in more detail exactly what the surgery entailed, a scraping away of the damaged bone and replacement with a metal alloy glued to the bone. Then a polyethylene piece glued onto the metal, and voila! A joint expected to last the rest of my life without further complications. I hope so.
Incidentally, I found it very interesting when the woman came explaining that I was not truly an in-patient at the hospital. Instead, I was classified as an out-patient kept over for observation. Somewhere in the bowels of medical coding, I’m certain that little distinction makes a great deal of difference in the reimbursement. Since I’m now on Medicare, I don’t have much concern about the cost. We’ll get the reimbursement from Medicare, then my Medigap insurance should handle most of the rest, and this will be followed by me having to take care of the rest. Given prior experience it may be months before I send any checks to any of the providers who will show up on the bills.
Now my focus is on rehabilitation. Four weeks after the operation, I have recovered much of the range of motion I had prior to the surgery. I can swing my leg in and out of the car with ease now. Strength in the quads is also improving. Pain is still present, but I have gone to double doses of full strength aspirin and given up the opioids. The key thing is being able to sleep and not wake up at 4 AM. Of course, our nearly 18-yeatr-old cat has his own time frame in mind. He’s been my companion, and sleeps in the other twin bed in this room. He’ll not want to go back to normal where no one sleeps on the main floor, and the door to this wonderful room is closed.
The rest of the world definitely is mixed. You’ve got the battle for Ukraine going on at the same time as the first daffodils, the Lenten roses, and the crocus are all blooming outside. It’s good to be able to focus on the things around me, rather than the evil things happening half a globe away.