So the surgery did not go as expected. The theory of the simple meniscal tear repair followed by 2 weeks of rehab did not, unfortunately, pan out. I was; however, quite entertaining (if I do say so myself) during the procedure.
First of all, it’s strange to have surgery in the place where you work. As I entered the building at 10 am donning glasses, a ponytail, and not a hint of makeup, I silently begged, “please don’t run into anyone I know today.” Ya right. I ran in to at least half a dozen peops who glanced my way, did a double take (wow, she’s hideous without makeup) and exclaimed, “Oh! I didn’t recognize you. Good luck in surgery.” Again, nice to know so many people care, but difficult to remain anonymous during a private situation. For example, as I hobbled down the day surgery hall in my gown, carrying my urine sample, I was horrified to pass the cast and brace dude whom I see on a daily basis. “Um. Hi. Yep, I peed. Check it out.” On the other hand, I was so thankful to see my buddy Lisa, my fantastic physio who popped in a few times to help calm my nerves.
I opted for the spinal route so that I could watch my surgery via screen as it was occurring. As I was discussing this with my Anesthesiologist (great guy!) I noticed his eyes dart downward towards my chest and widen in surprise. Nope, no booby situation here. It was….THE RASH. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned THE RASH in my blog before. Mostly because I feel as though talking about it strengthens its power, causing it to spread faster and angrier. THE RASH is basically hives that begin to form on my chest when I am nervous, angry, or sad (basically any extreme emotion). I’ve been dealing with THE RASH ever since University when professors would call 911 in the middle of my presentations for fear that THE RASH would eat my face. It sucks. I actually specifically chose a high-necked wedding dress, knowing THE RASH would make an appearance at our wedding. It kind of runs my life, damnit.
So as each medical professional came in to my pre-op “stall” (kind of like a cow preparing for slaughter), they gasped at the site of THE RASH and I had to ensure each and every one of them that, as horrid as it appeared, it would NOT attack them during surgery.
As I hopped onto the operating table, my Orthopedic Surgeon , Dr. M, and his assistant, Dr. K, (a Physician that I know well) strutted into the OR ready to take on my simple knee scope.
“What is that?” asked Dr. M, pointing alarmingly at THE RASH.
“Don’t look directly at it,” I replied, “and it won’t harm you.”
I took my spinal, mixed with some fabulous “calming” concoction and instantly became relaxed. And funny. It was like the Kirstie show. All these people were my audience and I had their full and undivided attention. “Look at my knee! Look at my knee!” It was an only child’s dream come true.
“Did you just roofie me?” I asked the Anesthesiologist, “because I like it!”
It soon became apparent as they positioned the camera under my kneecap that this was not a simple tear of the meniscus.
“Look at this,” instructed Dr. M, “Your hard cartilage is all ripped and torn.”
I glanced up at the screen to see cartilage that appeared to have been through the paper shredder.
“But your meniscus is fine.” He probed a piece of smooth round soft cartilage.
“We’re going to have to drill holes in your bone to create a blood clot. This will promote new cartilage growth because yours is not good. The new cartilage will not be the right kind of cartilage but it's better than what you have now...which is essentially nothing, “ he explained.
“Whatever. Sounds fabulous!” I replied happily, not realizing the extent of what he was telling me.
Dr K hoisted up my leg to a 90 degree angle and Dr. M began forcefully pounding holes in my knee.
“Hey, Dr. K – how about a pedicure while you’re down there!” bahaha. I was fricken hilarious – even with 3rd degree cartilage tears.
Little did I know that the pounding would come back to haunt me 24 hours later when the sound of our neighbor building a fence would cause me to puke.
Cast and brace dude (Hey, remember when you saw my pee?) delivered a giant awkward knee brace and my surgery was completed with the fitting of this horrid brace. Suddenly the magnitude of my situation began to sink in. I would not be wakesurfing Candle Lake this summer, would I? I would have to scratch "running the Boston marathon" off my list of things to do. Damnit. It's a good thing I hate running.
“No weight bearing for 6-8 weeks. Your knee has to remain straight out in front of you. No driving, “ instructed Dr. M. “We will meet on Thursday to discuss the rehab that will follow. There will be some lifestyle changes.”
Shit. That’s quite a change from the anticipated 2 week recovery period. Shit. At least I can still play the flute and crochet. I was so good at those things, you know.
“Dr. M, If I were a horse, would they shoot me?” I inquired.
“I don’t want to answer that. You’re not a horse.”
“Just be honest,” I probed.
“A race horse?” He asked.
“Yes, they would shoot you.”
“But if you were a pony or a pet horse, “ he continued, “they would keep you because you are very good company.”