Sunday, November 7, 2010

Knee Surgery

This past Friday afternoon, Spouse had knee surgery. Last winter, he spent way too many hours shoveling and blowing snow. He is also someone who likes to do everything fast, so he didn't notice that he was doing serious damage to his right knee. While revellers were enjoying the massive and memorable Snowmeggedon snowball fight in Dupont Circle, he was shoveling snow from around the office building he works in on the circle. [Building engineers never get a break!] Since February, he's been coping with his painful knee, hoping it would just go away. It didn't. Last month, his orthopedist told us he had a torn meniscus and would need a "little surgery." [For lack of medical smarts, the meniscus is padding between the bones of the upper and lower leg, behind the knee cap.] If you ask me, no surgery is "little" especially when anesthesia is involved. To add to my concerns, Spouse has sleep apnea which causes him to stop breathing when he sleeps on his back. I'm so tuned in to it that I wake and nudge him til he starts breathing again. I hung out in pre-op with him and watched as a nurse gallantly tried to shave around his very furry knee. We were all chuckling by the time she finally finished. [Since then, I've had to reassure Spouse that the hair will indeed grow back.] Nicely breaking up the monotony of waiting for things to get started, two incredibly gorgeous young men entered Spouse's curtained area to explain anesthesia. One was his anesthesiologist and the other was a med student who would be observing. Both could have made fortunes in Bollywood but chose medicine instead. We both lost track of how many different people came by to ask Spouse to spell his name, what his birthdate was and which knee was going under the knife. When his surgeon stopped by to check in, he initialed the appropriate knee. [There was absolutely no chance the wrong limb would be cut!] The two Bollywood boys then returned to start his I.V. and not long after that, he was wheeled off. [I mean no disrespect here -- they were very professional but couldn't help being gorgeous and utterly charming!] Feeling pretty confident that the 20-25 minute arthroscopic procedure was in good hands, I headed back to the waiting area. After an hour and a half had passed with no word, I checked with the volunteers at the desk. They called someone and said they'd let me know when they heard anything. I returned to my Elin Hilderbrand novel, Barefoot, [another excellent read] and devoted about half my brain to it. Within minutes, a woman dressed in scrubs walked to where I was sitting and told me, "The doctor is ready to talk with you now" and lead me to a tiny room with two chairs and a table with a stack of brochures about the chaplain service. Her tone and demeanor seemed very somber. My heart sank and the blood drained from my head as my imagination started kicking-in. When the surgeon arrived, before he could get a word out or sit down, I asked if everything was OK. He immediately assured me that everything had gone well and I choked up. He's a very laid-back kinda guy, but I could tell he was worried about me so I told him what had happened. I took a minute or two to gather myself then headed to the closest lady's room. I appreciated that he took it upon himself to have a friendly chat with the volunteers and staff in the waiting area on my behalf. About an hour later, I was lead to the recovery room and waited with Spouse to be discharged. He looked drained, but wonderful to me.
Epilogue: Spouse is totally inept on crutches but he's quick to heal. I'm really tired of running back and forth between his recliner and the refrigerator, but so relieved he's home and intact. Between the two of us, we've had four surgeries this year, so we've decided there will be none in 2011!


Janney said...

here's to that! :)

Nan said...


Glad to hear everything went smoothly. Tell UB "Get better soon" for me.

Mark said...

Jeez, you had me worried for a minute. Glad all went well, and I hope he leaves the shoveling to others this year. seemed to really enjoy the hollywood docs.

dcpeg said...

Thanks for stopping by,y'all. It was a difficult day but thankfully ended well. I so appreciate your comments!!