Monday, April 30, 2007

A Bad, Bad Sign

In my all-too-distant last installment, we learned once again the irritating lesson that one must be careful when having fun.

I don't remember any of us asking to be taught the lesson again, let alone me.

The good news is, the operation went exceedingly well, and let me just say that the people at Coastal Orthopedics are the best. Here's a place that's everything you want a medical practice to be. They got me prepped, and only used a local anesthetic (thank goodness), so I was able to sit up & watch the whole thing on the same monitor the surgeon was using.

For those of you who were just sent cringing at the mere thought of it, don't be such a bunch of wimps. It's really cool! Then again, as a former pre-med major, I suppose my point of view isn't typical. Surprise.

In order to create a sterile area, they did have to screen the knee itself out of my field of vision, so I didn't get to see the doctor actually sticking the scope into my leg and moving it around and all that. Sure, I'd have watched that, too. Dammit, a lot of money was being paid for this deal, and every bit of entertainment should possible should be had out of it. However, since the insurance company was footing the knee bill, I had a real leg up on enjoying the whole thing.

I deeply apologize for that last sentence.

OK, no, I don't. Let's not digress.

So, here's what the damaged cartilage looked like:

You can see where the surgeon has conveniently labeled the tear, which is the fluffy-looking part. Everything you see that looks like that is supposed to be nice & smooth, like this:

So, in goes the various cutting tools (that's right, cutting tools! And indeed, there are sounds akin to those of a power drill) to cut, snip and smooth the torn area out. Yes, I'm now missing some cartilage, but after this procedure, it will heal much, much faster and do so much more cleanly. In the old days before "scoping" joints, it would've taken a nasty incision and a lot of time to heal, not to mention the physical therapy. Here's the result after the repairs were made:

Much better. Reasonably speaking, I think anyone can see how much easier it will be for the joint to work until it fully regenerates.

How much easier? Lemme tell ya!

I was left with exactly two, one-loop stitches. Granted that I was on painkillers for a while, but I was able to get up & move on it that night. In a couple of days, I could walk somewhat normally, without a brace, and without other assistance much of the time. In a week, I'm walking pretty well. Phase down off the painkillers (and honestly, I don't know why people like them so much. Other than doing their job, I find the side effects very unpleasant), and continue to improve.

So, today, a mere thirteen days after surgery, I went for my follow-up visit. I walked in quite comfortably, had my stitches removed, and everything was as it should be. Out I walked again, NO physical therapy needed. I'm told that in another two weeks, I'll hardly know that it ever happened. At this point, kids, I'm a believer.

It was doing so well last Saturday night, that I freely participated in the ritual Shed Bashing. Yep, we really did invite a bunch of people over for a party, during which we took turns destroying the shed with various and sundry instruments of mess destruction. I put my knee brace on just in case (as swinging a sixteen-pound sledgehammer does involve a lateral sway), and bashed to my heart's content. The Bashing will be the subject of the next post, complete with pictures.

So, after such a glowing report, what's the bad part? Well, many of the party guests weren't aware that I'd even hurt myself (thanks for staying in touch, guys), so I was compelled by circumstance to tell the story several times. Here's the catch: I caught myself referring to it as "my latest operation".


According to the stereotype, only old people go around telling people about their latest operation. It isn't a horrible thing that I've had enough operations to refer to my "latest" (I'm very fortunate; I got the care I needed when many cannot); it's just that actually doing so is a flaw in my mentality. Didn't I just go through an entire play and a lot of keen rationalization in recent posts to prove that I'm not "too old"?? I don't know what to say about it, except.

Ouch. Again.

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