Injury Log Part II – Knee Surgery

Looks like an average hotel room, right? Then you start noticing the weird shape of the bed or the unfamiliar sockets on the wall.

You’re not allowed to eat 12 hours before surgery or drink 8 hours before. It seems, when under anesthesia, you won’t be able to control yourself, so it’s best there’s nothing you can lose control of.

I was given regional anesthesia. That’s the one with a needle injected close to the spine, in the lumbar area. The anesthetist told me beforehand I would be mildly sedated during the procedure, so I wouldn’t freak out about having a needle stuck in my back. I have no recollection of having been sedated or getting that anesthesia shot.  I could have sworn I was awake the whole time.

And yes, I was awake during the surgery. Both me and the surgeons were staring into a monitor that was showing the insides of my knee. I could see my kneecap and my menisci, as well as the doctors chopping away the broken cartilage. They performed microfractures on the back of my kneecap, in order to stimulate the growth of new cartilage. This new cartilage is not as strong as the original one, but in most cases it’s good enough. Besides the kneecap problem, there were no other reasons to worry. The internal meniscus had a small lesion, not as problematic as originally thought given the MRI.

The whole surgery thing was pretty non-traumatizing. The most painful moment was having the IV needle inserted on the back of my palm. It seems my hands are too skinny. The nurse kept getting the needle stuck in my bones. Managed to get a good vein on the third try.

Things were a little more difficult after surgery, especially during the first night. I could never sleep while lying on my back. Needless to say, with a surgical drain stitched to my knee, I was unable to move or even shift in bed. So I just laid there, staring at the ceiling, waiting for a combination of tiredness and Xanax to make me unconscious.

I only needed to stay in the hospital for one night. In the morning I finally got the drain and the IV removed. After a short chat on what I can but mostly can’t do, as well as the recovery steps, I was released.

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