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December 11th, 2008

My athroscopic knee surgery...

Joe drove me to the Blue Ridge Surgery Center, and we arrived right at noon in the pouring rain. From the car, I ran to get under the shelter over the front entranceway to the building, but still got pretty wet. Who runs to the surgery center when they're getting knee surgery? Evidently I do.

I had alternating grump and good customer service.

  1. The lady who checked me in wasn't very pleasant. She was complaining about internal procedures to the customer, which I don't like. "Too many passwords," she groaned once.

  2. Helen, who had a delightful British accent and called me back to get into my gown and footies, was way nice—and fun.

  3. Margaret, a little old lady, who shaved my leg, was quintessential grump. She said, "What's your name?" After telling her, I said, "And yours?" since she hadn't introduced herself. She didn't even answer me; she just looked down at her name tag and then back up at me. Grump.

  4. The operating team—the anesthesiologist, my doctor (Dr. Isbell), and my P.A. (Jeremy Stinson) were all great.

A couple of amusing things happened along the way, both with "the fun one," Helen.

First, she told me that the person (I don't think she was a nurse, but might have been) who was in the curtained-off room across from us was going to take me when she was through, and that she was going to shave my leg.

"WHAT???" I just about hollered. "You are not going to shave the hair on my leg!?!" I cried.

"Yes, we are. About that much," she said indicating an area from about six inches above me knee to about six inches below my knee.

I was beside myself, as I absorbed this new information and she took my blood pressure, which ended up reading something like 184/102.

"That can't be right," she said, as I joked, "Good lord!  Way to traumatize me about the hair on my leg right before taking my blood pressure!"

"You really don't want it shaved, do you?"

"Well, I am sort of attached to it," I admitted. And it to me, I thought.

"Let's take it again," she said as we both laughed.

"127/79." Now that's more like it.

I've mentioned in here before that my earring is so small and thin that I've had friends who have known me, for literally years, who one day said, "Did you get an earring?"

Next Helen said, "Any jewelry?" and I looked right at her shaking my head back and forth indicating no, while her eyes fixated on my earlobe, and she cocked her head questioningly.

"It's so small, and it's a bitch to get back on," I said, "Do I have to take it off?"

"We highly recommend it," she said.

"Can I keep it on and sign a waiver?" I asked not really expecting to be able to do so.

"Oh sure, we can do that," she said, and indicated on the checklist she was going through that we were going to do that.

Then, as an afterthought, I asked, "So, I guess I should ask why they want you to take it off; what are the potential repercussions of keeping it on?"

"Oh, it can burn your ear," she said matter-of-factly.

I reached right up and pulled that bitch out. The earring. Not Helen.




Joe came back and spent a little bit of time with me, while we waited for the anesthesiologist to come talk to me. Joe took a picture of me in my cute little surgery outfit with his phone, but he doesn't have data service on his phone to get it to me. I had on a gown, which tied in the back, a robe to put over that, my socks, and then these little footies—that greenish-blue color, like the common color of scrubs—that went over my socks

I was so glad that Helen had told me that the little footies feet were for my feet, because I'm quite sure that left alone, I would have tried to put one of them on my head, like those bags you wear in the shower to keep your hair from getting wet, and that doctors usually have on in TV medical shows.

I would have emerged a total clown, with footwear on my head.



Yet another nurse, and another nice one, came and got me to take me to the operating room, which was much bigger than I thought it would be. But other than that, it looked very much like I expected it to—lots of bright lights, on the cool side, and very white and sterile looking.

The anesthesiologist was there, and put an IV into the back of my left hand with the smoothest prick in that area that I've ever experienced. That nice nurse put a clear, plastic mask over my nose and mouth, and as the gas began emitting I remember her saying, "Just take a few breaths. This happens pretty fast. It'll hit you like a velvet hammer." Gone.



In recovery, I said my usual when asked if I'd like something to drink. "A bourbon and diet, please."

Joe was there as I slowly came out of the anesthesia, and every couple of sentences, I would say to him, "Did I say that already?"

Here are a couple of pictures of "the work" that I had done. The official name of the procedures were: Knee Arthroscopy with Patellar Chondroplasty and Medial Meniscal Debridement

Before
Before

After
After



After about an hour or so in recovery, they wheeled me out to the covered area outside, and Joe helped me into his SUV. I was really feeling pain-free then, and pretty much did for the rest of the night. I was able to walk okay, and without the crutches. In fact, I haven't yet used them.

We stopped at Arby's on the way home, as I was absolutely starved. I hadn't eaten since midnight last night, and it was coming up on 5:00PM when we finally got to Arby's. We got that "5 for 5" special, through the drivethru, and ate the hell out of them back at my house.

Joe, in addition to being so generous with his time and friendship hanging out at the surgery center with me and spending the night, gave me a gift bag as we sat down to dinner. It contained a funny card about "medical speak" and what each phrase "really" means when they say it.

The gifts in the bag included: A bag of Dunkin Donut coffee, a bag of Lindt white chocolate balls, a bag of Lindt Peanut Butter chocolate balls, three small boxes of Mrs. Fields chocolates (each box contained three chocolates, one box had assorted chocolates and the other two boxes were caramel chocolates!), and a bag of trail nut mix, containing a mixture of M&Ms, butterscotch chips, peanuts, and small, dense balls of chocolate. Out of this world.

After spending about 20 minutes looking all over my house for my Will & Grace 1st season DVD set with no luck, Joe and I watched five episodes of Six Feet Under—enough of it for Joe to get hooked on it.

Before going to bed at midnight, I put the 1st season and 2nd season DVDs out for him to take, since Robert and I are past them.

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