Surgery? Who Me-??

imageSome of you may have read about my struggles with my left knee. It’s been problematic for a long time, but my knee started buckling in October, after my first PT knee appointment. Last Thursday, I stepped over a pile of laundry on the floor with my left foot, and well, let’s just say that it didn’t go well. At all. It really swelled up and even after constant icing, the swelling hasn’t decreased one whit. My physical therapist suggested I get an MRI. Luckily, I already had a referral to an ortho surgeon.

I called the doctor’s office on Friday afternoon, and they were able to get me in early Monday morning as they just had a cancellation. So Saturday, after water aerobics, I went to the imaging center in the hopes of getting a copy of my knee X-rays. I was sent from one floor to another. An attractive Asian lady told me I was at the wrong office and that the office I wanted was closed. I explained that I was told to come to her particular office and that it was urgent I get those X-rays.

She called downstairs and chewed out the staff over the phone. “Why you send her up here?” she demanded. Her tone and accent reminded me of the owner of the dry cleaning establishment where TV’s Mr. Monk took his clothes to be dry cleaned and repaired. Anyone remember her performance? Very funny. Anyway, if it wasn’t for this lady, I wouldn’t have gotten my X-rays.

So I went to see Dr. Stein, the ortho surgeon, today. The staff weren’t a bundle of laughs but Dr. Stein was nice. I gave him the disc with my X-rays on it, so he was able to see my sexy knee joints. LOL!

It seems my right knee has moderate to severe osteoarthritis, while my left knee only has moderate osteoarthritis. Meaning, my right knee is worse than my left. Was I surprised! But my right knee only bothers me occasionally and it rarely swells. The doc had me walk across the very small room. Then he had me walk on my tippy toes (harder), then on my heels (easy). My left knee clicks sometimes. He had me lay on my back and bent my right knee. Tested it. Was OK. Then he did the same to the left. It didn’t hurt but the skin on my kneecap was very tight (edema).

He believes I have a torn meniscus! He said it’s a 15-minute surgery where they clean it out. He seemed to want to skip the MRI and go right to surgery. I suggested we do the MRI first to make sure we knew exactly what we were dealing with. (Yeah, no way was I gonna do the surgery first.) He agreed. The surgery would be done at a surgery center, and I’d be put completely under.

That’s the part that makes me nervous. Hey, I saw the Paul Newman movie, The Verdict. I know s**t can go wrong… Or the anesthesiologist gets drunk the night before, has a horrible hangover, and accidentally overdoses the patient… OK. Maybe I’ve seen too many movies and I’m whipping myself up into a paranoid frenzy. But seriously, anytime a human or animal is put under, there’s risk involved.

Here's what we're likely dealing with...

Here’s what we’re likely dealing with…

It will take awhile to get the approval for the MRI, so my next appointment with Dr. Stein isn’t until December 16. The doc said the recovery time after surgery won’t be too bad; I think I read that recovery time is 4 -6 weeks. But I know that some people get very sick after anesthesia, which I bet is a barrel of laughs. The good news is that I’ll be able to walk after the surgery with the use of my cane. However, I would think that stairs would be out of the question for at least a few days, so I’ll need to find somewhere else to recover. I know that it’s important to get full range of motion as quickly as possible, so I think I’d be able to tackle my stairs at home a few days after surgery.

In the meantime, I can continue exercising, even doing leg presses at the gym, as long as I don’t encounter any pain. I’m not sure if the surgery would take place before or after Christmas. My guess is afterwards.

Yippee.

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