Skip's Knee Surgery, April, 2008

 

Background:

On Monday, April 14, at 1 pm Skip will be having arthroscopic surgery on her right knee.  An MRI has shown that a meniscus torn in two places is probably the cause of the pain she has been experiencing in that knee for many years.  In addition to the torn meniscus, the doctor will be cleaning up some arthritis as well.  If this surgery successfully eliminates the pain, she will probably have an MRI of her left knee and possibly surgery on it, too, but that's in the future.

 

We will report Skip's progress here in this mini-blog, rather than sending out group e-mails to everyone.  Feel free to e-mail Skip directly, as well.  Here is the latest:

 

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Skip writes:  My current status is that I am going to be out from work for another 3 weeks, at least, due to an unexpected bone problem that the surgeon found when he operated.  He wasn't able to repair the bone (although he did "fix" the meniscus), so the surgery was only partially successful.  I feel rather discouraged.

I had my second follow-up visit on 5/6, and Dr. Nordstrom sent me for a Venous Doppler of my right leg yesterday to rule out a possible blood clot.  The news was good:  no blood clot.  What I do have is a Baker Cyst behind my right knee (secondary to the surgery), and that is what is causing the pain and swelling.  Apparently it will self-resolve.  Meanwhile, I still have somewhat limited mobility.  However, I'm primarily off the crutches.

Meanwhile, I continue in Physical Therapy 3 times/week.  It is amazing how much pain my diminutive, soft-spoken Physical Therapist can inflict!  But I'm surviving and getting better.

 

Friday, April 25, 2008

Skip writes:  I am totally bored.  Yesterday's Big Activity was shampooing my hair ... with deep conditioning.  Wednesday and today, the exciting event was going to PT, and getting beat up.   I can't believe it  -- this tiny little soft-spoken very pretty Asian female who looks all of 15 years old is really working me over!  I guess it's paying off though, because I'm, starting to take some halting steps without the crutch.  And tonight I actually went out to dinner with friends!  Woo-hoo!

 

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Skip writes:  PT started today, so they will be beating me up 3 times a week for the next month or so.  Yikes!  But I am managing with only one crutch now, so that represents major improvement.  I'm still taking the "happy drugs" which does not seem to be improving my "happy index".  Just keep reminding me that I did this for a reason. J

Meanwhile, my friends have really come through for me.  I'm swimming in positive healing energy and e-mails from my wonderful women friends saying how much they miss me, care about me, and want me to feel better.  Bless you, my Sisters;  I couldn't make it without you.

 

Monday, April 21, 2008

Skip writes:  Today was my one-week post-op visit with the surgeon.  He looked at my knee and said everything is normal.  And I'm like, "If this is normal, can I opt for abnormal, please?"  The pain I've been having the last few days is excruciating; and it's about to get worse, b/c he's ordering PT 3 times a week.  That starts this Wednesday.  And I'm not very brave.  However, comfort food abounds.  All of my (real) friends are giving me chocolate, *dark* chocolate.  To be continued.

 

Thursday, April 17, 2008, 6:30 pm

Things are definitely looking up.  Monday Skip felt nauseous.  That wore off as the anesthetic cleared her system.  Then Tuesday evening, after I wrote the entry below, the pain started increasing as the Novocain that they had injected into the knee wore off.  Tuesday night was very excruciating, and Skip slept until 2 pm because she was up so much during the night with pain.  Wednesday, the pain slowly subsided.  (These pain references are on top of the effect of the Vicodin she's been taking for pain.)  It seems the worst is past.  Wednesday night we went out to a NOW meeting at Rich & John's, and Skip tolerated it very well.

 

Over night things got even better as Skip was able to get out of the water bed by herself.  I still had to help her back in.  Today she was well enough that I left her for several hours as I ran errands.  When I came home, she was walking around without the crutches.  She just announced that maybe she should start using the crutches again.  But things are definitely improving.

 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 5:15 pm

Skip is doing well.  We got over 8 hours sleep last night.  She's getting the hang of the crutches, and at the same time, needing them just a little less.  She's done some hobbling around the kitchen using the counter top for support.  She's still feeling some pain, but pain medication takes care of it, and ice packs help, too.

 

She's reporting a little itching and irritation where the two incisions must be, under the large bandage that keeps her knee from bending much.  The instructions are to take the bandage off tomorrow, Wednesday.  There are two Band-Aids or steri-strips covering the two small incisions, and that's all that needs to be there after tomorrow.  Once the bandage is off, she can take a shower.

 

Skip is already talking about how to cope with going to our NOW chapter meeting tomorrow night, which is positive, as that means she's not dismissing the possibility.  It should be pretty easy, as all she'll really need to do is make it to the car, and then at Rich & John's, make it up the ramp into their house.

 

Whoever might be reading this, I hope you're finding it interesting.  It seems to me that there's a lot less to tell than I was expecting.  I suppose that's a good thing!  Of course, my previous blog experience was with the house renovations, which were, thankfully, a lot more eventful than a routine recovery from knee surgery.

 

Monday, April 14, 2008, 7:06 pm

Skip went through surgery just fine.  She has minimal pain, but getting around on crutches is slow going!  The biggest source of pain has been the calf on her other leg, which apparently had a cramp during surgery and is sore now.  The doctor said she had minimal arthritis, and the meniscus tear was just what he was expecting from the MRI, so the prognosis is good.  We got home about 5:00 and had a bit of dinner.  The combination of stress and anesthetic have made her quite sleepy, so she is in bed, napping now.  I'm to wake her after about 2-1/2 hours, so she'll get some sleep tonight, too.

 

Monday, April 14, 2008, 11:00 am

Skip's knee surgery is scheduled for 1 pm today.  We're ready.  The crutches are in the car.  The MRI pictures are in the car.  (The doctor gave them to us to bring, figuring from experience, I guess, that we won't forget them, but he might.  Skip is getting dressed.  We're supposed to be there at 11:30 am.

 

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Monday, 3/31, the orthopedist that we have been working with for a couple of years read the MRI and as expected, recommended surgery.  (We already knew from the preliminary report that the meniscus was torn in two places.)  Tuesday afternoon, 4/1, we stopped by his office to fill out paperwork and to set expectations.

+  The surgery will be as an out-patient at Somerset Medical Center.  The pre-admission testing will be Tuesday, 4/8.

+  Skip may be able to drive within 3 to 5 days, depending on how she feels.  She shouldn't have any problem attending her women's circle the Friday after the surgery, especially as it's been moved to our house, and she also shouldn't have any problem attending the theater a week after that, almost 2 weeks post-op.

+  PT may be recommended if the joint is stiff or sore at the one-week post-op visit.  If the joint continues to be be sore, there are injections that can facilitate the formation of new material at the end of the bone where the arthritis is.

+  Skip was "issued" crutches for the few days she may need them.

+  Skip may be out of work as much as 6 weeks, depending on recovery speed.

 

 

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