Knee Surgery Scheduled




January 24, 2005 at 8:13 pm

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All my obsessive research paid off after all, since everything I read prepared me for the words from my orthopedic specialist that we’ll be doing a

to repair my completely torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).

Surgery is set for Friday, February 4th at 7 AM (I have to check in at 5:30 AM!)

I could have postponed it, but after my many near falls and the two that caused this injury ( and ), I’m ready to get this mother on the road to recovery and get back to hiking, camping and…hell, walking like a non-ape would be nice, too!

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My consultation with the specialist was quick, but thorough. The doctor reviewed the 6 new x-ray films they took today, as well as my MRI results from January 18th.

He then did a manual check of my left leg’s range of motion or “play”, manipulating my leg in such a way as to illustrate exactly how my knee now buckles due to the severed ACL.

I thought the physical exam would be painful, but I only had one brief twinge of pain — nothing more than I feel with every other given step these days.

After the manual exam, the doctor reviewed my MRI films with me, pointing out the damaged areas. The undamaged portion of my ACL appeared as a well-defined, tightly woven rope-like structure but then abruptly ended in a wispy, clouded formation — this, he explained, is where the tear begins. We briefly discussed my age (31), the type of work I do (primarily a sit down job at a computer), my recreation activities (hiking, camping, and a goal to get into backpacking), and whether or not I have children or dogs (eg. other beings that rely on me for survival; cats are more independent and thus, apparently, less of an issue). Based on all these factors, he recommended surgery to reconstruct the completely torn ACL so I could resume my previous activity levels and desired activities.

After having me sit back down on the examination table, he explained the patellar bone graft method of ACL reconstruction while tracing imaginary lines over my patella (knee cap), tibia and femur.

This echoed what I had read online, so I asked a bit about resolving the meniscus tear I also have. Only in acute cases do they remove the meniscus entirely, so I can expect them to snip, smooth or otherwise resolve the torn area of my damaged meniscus. After that, I got dressed and met with the surgical scheduler who set me up with an actual surgery date and briefly outlined some of the DO’S and DON’TS of the upcoming surgery:

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I don’t deal well with complete unknowns, as is readily apparent, so I’ve actually been floating on a bit of euphoria since I met the specialist and scheduled the surgery.

At least now I’m replacing the unknown with the known, and my imagination can cool off a bit.

I’m sure I’ll get serious nerves as the surgery date approaches, since I’ve never had surgery in my life (except for wisdom tooth removal, which was done under nitrous oxide, not general anaesthesia). The only time I’ve ever spent the night in a hospital, I was probably 5 years old, suffering from my first severe asthma attack and placed on oxygen and observation.

I had a pleasant chat in the waiting room with a gentleman several year’s my junior who was in for his 10 day post-op checkup, after having the same surgery I will be having done. Like I told my mom, it was a bit of divine providence that he was waiting at the same time I was — the chat was a good reminder that, while routine, this is serious surgery and I’ll have to prepare for serious pain (he was still flinching at certain movements, and putting only the smallest of pressure on his post-op leg while he used the crutches and wore his full crotch-to-ankle brace). Still, he was up and around and very optimistic and absolutely behind his surgeon — who happens to be mine, as well.

I wish I’d had a digital camera, though.

Here’s a major office shared by something like 15 orthopedic specialists, most of whom are also surgeons.

Any patient not in a brace, on crutches, on a cane or walker or in a scooter, is new.

Everyone else has had surgery or a more violent injury that’s being stabilized.

So where are the offices? On a floor of a medical building that’s completely under construction — I’m talking wiring dangling from the ceiling, exposed duct work, workers putting in drywall, cement flooring and taped up fixtures.

When the elevator door opened, I momentarily thought, “The elevator’s malfunctioning — it’s letting me off on a floor that’s been condemned!”

So, navigating the office when I’m back on Valentine’s Day (10 days after my surgery) for the checkup is going to be F-U-N!




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