Well, its taken this long for me to work up enough energy to sit at the computer and type out a report. There’s so much to tell, and maybe it will help someone else who is contemplating total knee replacement, so I think I might write several installments about my experience.
Overall, I will just say that it has been a good experience, and so much better than I imagined. From what I heard from everyone, I expected the post op pain to be really bad and to need a LOT of help. But let’s start at the beginning.
I arrived at the hospital bright and early–5:30 am on Thursday morning (July 20.) Got checked in and started all the pre-op preparations. One of the things I had been disturbed about was that I would not get to talk to the anesthesiologists until the morning of surgery. But I have to say, I was so very pleased with the anesthesiologists. I think they might have heard of my complaints. They came in and sat down and spent a lot of time listening to me and talking to me. My main concern was that I wanted to have conscious sedation, but I did not want to be aware of anything during surgery. Their main concern was that I have some scoliosis in my back, and so they were not sure they could do an epidural. And that would mean I would have to have general anesthesia, which I was hoping to avoid. So, I signed the consent for general, but they were going to try the epidural first. And then they walked out, but two minutes later walked back in and said that my doctor had a good idea–they could do a spinal shot and the conscious sedation, and then after surgery was complete, they would come and put a nerve block in that leg! So everyone was very happy with that plan.
The conscious sedation worked wonderfully, because I had not a bit of awareness of the surgery. And then my doctor came in and told me he had been able to do a partial knee replacement!! Wow, I was so happy. The previous week my knee had hurt so much I was fully prepared to have a total knee replacement.
I stayed in the recovery room for most of the day, and by 6pm I was taken to the orthopedic floor. So no PT that first day. But, my doctor came in to check on me at 10 pm that night! He asked if I had gotten up yet, and I think he went and talked to the nurse about it, because pretty soon she came in and asked if I wanted to dangle off the side of the bed. And then, she asked if I wanted to try walking, and I walked the entire length of the hallway!! She paged my doctor to come and see what I had accomplished.
That was an excellent first day, and I think I’ll end there, and write more tomorrow.