The Monkeywrangler's Blog
Friday, January 21, 2022
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
The new knee
Aug. 19, 2020 I joined the Collective. In Dallas, I underwent a total knee replacement surgery, aka TKR. It has been an interesting journey.
It all started when I tore my medial meniscus in a church league softball game, somewhere around 2006, I think. It was scoped, which seemed to fix things, but I was warned it would become arthritic.
Boy howdy, did it ever! Ultimately I had tri-compartment arthritis, bone on bone medially. This was making everything more difficult, especially when compounded by the pair of large cysts in the knee joint. The cysts were restricting movement, and the smaller was causing a lot of nerve pain. The cysts of course were driven by the arthritis.
I could've tried to just have the cysts removed but at least two orthopedic surgeons indicated it would likely return fairly rapidly, due to the arthritis, unless the knee was replaced. Not wanting to undergo multiple surgeries for the issues at hand, I went to see the surgeon recommended by both the other guys I had spoken with. Dr. G. is an orthopedic oncologist. No, I do not have cancer, but he is extremely experienced and skilled at digging unwanted things out of patients bones and joints. He also does a lot of joint replacement and reconstruction, and revision joint surgery. Dr. G. said he would not only remove the cysts, he'd do it during the TKR, and from the "front", eliminating the need to have a second large incision on the back of my knee. YAY!
A date for surgery was set, rather far into the future, due to the Covid19 restrictions in place at the time. I would've liked to have the surgery sooner, but coordinating family schedules, and Covid19, meant a longer lead time.
|There's a new knee under there somewhere.|
|No more staples!|
Saturday, May 30, 2020
The Bees Knees?
Thursday, May 7, 2020
If it's not one knee, it's the other!
FF>>> to 4 years ago, when the arthritis started getting bad, and I began favoring things to my "good" left knee, which had experienced a similar surgery in 1999. All was good afaik, until this March, when I began to notice some medial knee pain in the left "good" knee. It was wearing out. The right knee had continued to deteriorate to the point that it is bone on bone, and I was just beginning the workup for a total knee replacement, when the quarantines hit and the .gov decided to ban elective surgeries. Bugger all!
Now, picture this, it's Easter morning, 01:30 and a big line of storms is approaching. I awaken, and decide to short circuit the dogs' storm fears by giving those big chicken Ridgebacks some calming treats. I thought they were in the kitchen cabinets, but when I moved and turned, to look in the second cabinet, POP!!! OUCH!!! My good knee went out. Managed not to scream and awaken Dave, and hobbled back to bed, only to awaken in time for Easter service barely able to put weight on it.
The next day, Doc Killemquicker diagnosed a torn meniscus in the good knee. MRI confirmed just how shredded it was. Since two weeks ago, they lifted the elective surgery restrictions, I decided to get it fixed last Thursday (it was making walking any distance at all fairly painful).
Surgery went well, despite the crazy Covid19 restrictions, and I only experienced my first bout of post-anesthesia nausea. No pain. Yay! I left for home with Dave driving, and my knee with a ton of surgical dressing wrapped around it. Mind you, there are only two quarter inch incisions (arthroscopic) in my left knee and they are steri-stripped shut.
Being a smart patient, albeit a stubborn one (so named by Doc Killemquicker!), I behaved and spent the rest of the day in bed, legs elevated. I had stopped all NSAID consumption the week before, except low dose aspirin as ok'd by Doc.
I noticed, when I sat down in the bathroom, that my knee went squishy-gurgle on the lateral side (kneecap incision site). It did this 2-3x, when I would transition to sitting. I also began to notice the surgical dressings were getting heavy and pulling away from my knee... Turns out by 18:00 that night, they were soaked thru with blood. Hmm....that's never happened before. So I changed out the dressings and wrapped everything up again. By 22:00 it had happened again. Things were simply not wanting to clot. It was too late to call Doc's office, and too far to drive to an ER. Besides, the flow, while steady, wasn't arterial or anything. By 06:00 Friday, it was soaked thru, and messing up my bed. Blech! Dressing change again!
Got ahold of Doc's office at 08:00, and after explaining I had needed 4 dressing changes, Doc said to drive into the Metromess. Mind you it's usually a 2.5-3hr drive depending on traffic. Dave and I left just a few min after 08:00. By 10:00, I was waiting to see Doc, having already soaked this latest dressing thru in 3 hrs, and dripped blood all over my floorboard in the truck! I conservatively estimate blood loss at one pint by this point in total. (I've been donating blood for most of my adult life, so I am well acquainted with how I feel when a pint low.)
Doc Killemquicker peeled off the dressing, and revealed a narrow but steady stream of blood. After 3 attempts to staunch the flow with steri-strips, he conceded defeat, and said,"You're gonna make me stitch that, aren't you? You know, I've only had two other bleeders in 33 yrs of surgeries. One was due to a rare medication side effect, and the other stopped with steri-strips. But, no, YOU have to be difficult!" He put in two stitches there in the office, which didn't solve the problem. So he took one out, and used a different style of stitch, one that managed to miss ALL the areas numbed with lidocaine...I don't think Doc saw the bad faces I was making! But finally, it stopped bleeding!
But now Doc was concerned over infection risks, since we were 24hrs post-op and your suture window ends around 12hrs. So I also got a round of horse pill sized antibiotics, and he said he'd come in on Sunday afternoon to remove the stitches and check for infection. You ever heard of a doc who would give up his Sunday afternoon to see a patient?? This is one of the reasons I am willing to drive so far to be his patient!
No more bleeding. Sutures removed last Sunday. No infection. No pain in the joint. And, I get to drive in again tomorrow for my regular surgical follow up appointment! And then next week I get to restart the TKR work up with a specialist in Dallas, who was recommended by Doc Killemquicker.
At least now, Dave has restocked our supplies of medical dressings!