Well, surgery #2 for 2011 is over and done. It feels good to know that all I have left to do is recover!
We arrived at the Rocky Mountain Surgery Center at 7:30 a.m. for my scheduled 9:15 a.m. surgery. After checking in and getting all my paperwork in order, Alex and I sat down in the waiting from for about 15 minutes until I was called back to get changed and set up for surgery. I know I posted yesterday that I was feeling more at ease about this surgery, compared to my first knee surgery in October; all true until I was sitting and waiting to be called. All confidence went out the window and nervous thoughts flew through my mind:
- What if my right knee isn’t ready? What if this is too soon?
- What if recovery doesn’t go as smoothly as the first one?
- What if I find out in 2 years that this DeNovo procedure didn’t do as well as I thought it would? Do I want to risk 2 bad knees if that’s the case?
- Oh shoot – I forgot about the PAIN. And the NEEDLES (I hate getting the IV).
Fortunately, the nurse who took me back was super friendly and helped take my mind off the needles and surgery. She took my vitals, let me get changed and then started my IV.
My bed partners before they wheeled me back – knee brace and my purse.
After I was IV’d, they let Alex come back and sit with me until it was time to get started. Having him with me in the minutes before surgery was extremely comforting – he helped keep the butterfiles at bay, as much as possible.
The last time I stood on both feet for the next 6+ weeks.
Before long, the anesthesiologist stopped by to talk about anesthesia, my previous reactions to it (nausea/vomiting) and what we’d be doing this time. I opted for a femoral nerve block, like all of my previous surgeries, to numb my left leg for about 12ish hours. It feels as though your leg is completely asleep and really helps mitigate the pain after surgery.
After the consult with my anesthesiologist, it was time to say goodbye to Alex.
Then, things got real – I was sedated (still conscious but a lot less with it) and given a bit of local numbing to my left groin area to prepare for the nerve block. In order to administer the block, my anesthesiologist uses a long needle to poke around on the different nerves in my thigh to find the right ones to block. As he moved the needle, different muscle fibers would twitch – some were long and slow, others were small and rapid and felt like a rubber band snapping on my skin. This is the strangest sensation in the entire world: to have your leg muscles twitch uncontrollably, in a not so comfortable way. He found the fibers he was looking for and pumped me full of nerve blocking meds.
Now, time to be wheeled into the operating room. I tried to sit up a bit and look around but I don’t remember much of this part. As they brought me into the OR, I heard Passion Pit on speakers (my request) and smiled. Earlier while I spent time with Alex, we discussed what music I should ask them to play. Last time, I’d picked Ryan Adams (my favorite singer) but he was a bit too slow for the situation. This time, I wanted something more upbeat and exciting to ‘pump me up for surgery’. Mission accomplished.
The last moments I remember in the ER were trying to crawl on the operating table from the bed I’d just been wheeled in on – much harder when my left leg was numb – and very lastly, a burning-ish sensation in my IV arm and shoulder as I went under.
I woke up in Recovery 1 which is where patients are re-acclimated to the waking world. My mouth was completely parched – no food or drink since dinner the night before – and downed 4 apple juice boxes. A nurse helped me change into my clothes after I’d been awake for about 10-15 minutes and then I was able to be moved to Recovery 2.
Recovery 2 is in an oversized arm chair and Alex was able to come back and see me. While in Recovery 2, I had 2 more apple juices and 2 packets of saltines. The nurses took my vitals, reviewed discharge instructions with Alex and we were on our way out.
I settled in the back seat of the car and after a quick stop for a bagel – the only thing that sounded edible – Alex got me home and into our apartment quickly and safely.
I spent the rest of Wednesday (surgery day) sleeping. The nerve block wore off at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday and I started taking Percocet for the pain. During my last surgery, I’d thought Vicodin was the culprit of my nausea but it has since turned out that Percocet isn’t much better.
Thursday was consumed with sleep and nausea but not without a wonderful visit from one of my best friends, Sarah, in the afternoon to help take my mind off things. It was such a nice reprieve from bad TV and thinking about my knee to catch up with her while she’s in town for the holidays.
From the last surgery, I know the first 2-3 days were especially crummy so I know I’m almost through it. Despite the pain and nausea, I do feel better than post-surgery in October. I’m hoping this is a foreshadowing of the rest of recovery!