Monday, January 25, 2010

ACL Surgery

November 11, 2009

Surgery day. Checked in at 8:00 a.m. and found out that previous surgery went quicker than anticipated and were somewhat rushed through check-in and into day surgery. Wasn't long before ready and waiting in the operating room holding area. The GameReady cooling machine representative went over the procedure for running the equipment with us while we were waiting. Once the anesthesiologist arrived ready to give the femoral block, we were excused to wait in the day-surgery waiting room. The desk clerk let us know that surgery began at 10:31 a.m. Okay, we figured. Hour and one-half anticipated surgery meant that we should see Dr. Feinblatt around 12:00 noon. Twelve-thirty came, and still no surgeon. I checked in with the day-surgery clerk, but she had not heard anything. By about 12:45 p.m. a call came into the desk, and I was called to take a phone call from the surgery nurse. Now that will get you wondering, I tell you. But she simply was calling to inform us that everything was going well and it would be 15 to 20 minutes until the surgery was wrapped up. Sure enough, about 1:15 p.m. or so Dr. Feinblatt was there to speak with us. Once inside the knee they discovered meniscus damage that needed both trimmed and repaired (two stitches). He showed us the color photos from the arthroscopic surgery though some photos were rather ambiguous to us.

It was after 3:00 p.m. before they asked us to return to day surgery where DS15 would be returning shortly from recovery. Everyone was in a bit of a panic when he returned as he apparently was reacting to the Demerol given in recovery as he was covered with a red rash. It was already beginning to fade and within 30 minutes it was gone. However, since any reaction to an anesthesia is cause for alarm, the nursing staff made sure we understood to always list Demerol as an allergic substance for DS15. The poor guy was still pretty out of it and feeling nauseous. He was on oxygen and hooked up to the GameReady which was already icing his knee. His hamstring harvest site felt sore he said but his knee felt fine thanks to the femoral block. A little Percocet took the edge off even though it made him more sick to his stomach. He stayed too groggy to communicate much until his oxygen level dipped below 93 and sent the alarm off. That seemed to snap him awake for awhile. They removed the oxygen tubes so that he could actually get his own air in which helped considerably. But by about that time, all the IV liquids were hitting him and he requested to use the bathroom. Trouble with that was he wasn't ready to get out of the bed yet either, so...portable urinal time. His pain was increasing to they popped him another Percocet. Closer to 5:00 p.m. they decided he was ready to start the check out process because he was just going to continue to be drowsy the rest of the night. With some difficulty we got him dressed, shoes on, and disconnected from the GameReady. Using crutches he got up to use the bathroom again but just about passed out. Too quick to his feet they said, and the nurses sent him back to bed to rest for a bit. But eventually he was back up and in the wheelchair heading for the van. Since he was still feeling queasy, they left us with a plastic barf bag.

Thanks to the winding back roads home in the dark, about the time we pulled into the driveway, he needed that bag and unloaded. He hobbled into the house and plopped down the best he could in our downstairs bedroom. One Percocet every three house seemed to do fine for him since the block was still working, even to the point there was numbness along the front of his leg and part of his feet. Since that foot was so cold, I spent time rubbing it to get his circulation going off and on all evening. The icing machine circulates 40 degree water around the knee and that translates into cold extremities as well. I slept on the downstairs couch to be within hearing distance and to be able to get up with my alarm and get his Percocet into him at regular intervals. About 3:00 a.m. he said his block was beginning to wear off so we upped his dosage to two Percocet. And so it went all night, dosing with two every four hours and running the GameReady whenever I was up to set the machine for another 30 minute stint.

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