Friday, June 12, 2015

The B's Knees Part Dos

Since we returned from our trip to Mexico, I have been the reason we have stayed close to home. While we were in Melaque I tweaked the replaced knee and I was in a bit of pain. It wasn't a twist or tear, it was more a situation where the scar tissue floated around a bit and caused massive clicking; this in turn caused swelling.

Once we hit the states I went into the Dr. to see what was up. The bad news was that the replacement knee hadn't healed correctly and I had a very loose knee that was causing some unnecessary movement.  Along with this, there was some scar tissue that needed to be dealt with.

While we were discussing the left knee, the Dr. checked out my right knee.  The right knee was the original knee that started my whole knee dilemma. The right knee was the first knee to cause me to go into the Dr. in the first place, but when he looked at my CAT scan, he said that we needed to replace the left knee first. Now the right knee has gotten to the point that it needed to be operated on.

My Dr.'s suggestion? Fix both of them and get it over with.

Monday, June 15th, I will go into surgery to have my right knee replaced and my left knee cut open, the plastic replaced, and the scar tissue removed. This operation should take about 3 hours and then I will have about six weeks of major recovery.

I will update this post with progress reports. I don't want to fill the blog with stuff about all this, but I do want to document some of the progress.

There you have it, hopefully, our next post will be one describing a future adventure.

The Operation

After all the updates and schedule changes I entered the operating room at about 10:45 am. My pre-op nurse was wonderful. She was an NIC graduate and we really enjoyed chatting as she prepped me. The anesthesiologist arrived and gave me a couple shots, talked about the operation and then I was out. Next thing I remember was waking up wondering where my pre-op nurse was.

I was in surgery for about 2 1/2 hours and everything went very well.  After talking to Dr. McInnis and to Travis, the physicians assistant, this is what they said about the surgery.

The right knee total replacement went smooth as silk. No problems whatsoever. When they got into the knee they found that it was far worse than they had expected. The meniscus was worn and torn much more than they could see in the x-rays. The thigh bone had several chunks/divots out of it prompting Travis to ask me what I had been doing to have this happen. They were amazed that the knee hadn't locked up more than it had. This up close observation of the old knee made me feel much better about our decision for the replacement.

A bit of swelling and 61 staples.
The left knee plastic replacement was scheduled for a longer period of time in the operating room. When they go into a clean-up and replacement surgery, they don't know what they are going to run into in the knee, so they schedule more time to get everything completed. They ran into nothing unexpected and it turned into a routine plastic replacement. They cut away some scar tissue and stapled me back up. As you can see from the photo of the two sets of staples, I got a couple good scars coming for my participation in this event.

The left knee has 35 staples and the right knee got 26. There was a bit of swelling, but the healing process started immediately and I was up on my feet the evening after the operation.

My hospital visit was from 8:00 AM Monday to 5:00 PM Tuesday when I was released to got home.

The Replacement (What it looks like.)

I was visiting the Dr. having my 12-day exam, we were left alone in the exam room and  I was able to pick up and play with the real cool knee replacement demo. The demo shows exactly what was replaced and how it all fits together. First thing I did was pick the item off the desk and have it explode all over the exam room. Linda did very well and just sat there rolling her eyes and shaking her head.

After gathering all the parts from under chairs and exam tables, I played around and took pictures. These photos show exactly did to my bones and what was inserted back into my knee.

This shows how the bones are cut.
The titanium cap on the tibia.

Both titanium caps. 
Plastic spacer or meniscus.
Another angle with all the parts.

How it fits together.


Everything went well in surgery and I was in my hospital room by about 3:00 pm with two very long incisions on my kneesThe new knee on the right had 25 staples and the rebuilt knee on the left had 36 staples holding it together.  I woke up very confused and all I could remember was that my pre-op nurse had been an NIC student.
20 days after the operation.
In the hospital, I breezed through all the tests that they give you to see if you are able to be let go to home care. I walked immediately, ate my food and used the bathroom. By 5:00 pm the next day they loaded me into a wheelchair and delivered me to Linda waiting with a car to take me home. 

Recapping, I entered the hospital at 8:00 am on Monday, was in my room bed by 3:00 pm and was released to go home by 5:00 pm on Tuesday. That's about 33 hours in the grip of the medical system. When I had my first knee replaced, I spent four days in recovery alone. They cut three days off my recovery stay this time.

At home, Linda set about taking care of me and I did my best to recover.  We had home health care coming in every other day for two weeks which included a very nice nurse and a good physical therapist.  The knees got stronger and the pain was getting less and less.

During all this Linda has been a saint. She has gotten up every night a 2:00 am to give me my pills. She kept me fed, put up with my grumpy self and was the most wonderful care giver I could ever ask for.  It has not been fun and Linda made recovery the best that it could be.

7/13/15 - Off of all heavy narcotic drugs for pain.

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