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Monday, February 20, 2012

Art Seeks Rod's Advice

Art Wrote:

Dear Rod,

Please call me Art as I have a bad case of arthuritis in both knees (notice my play on words). And since you have had double knee replacement I thought I might find out how your experience went and whether you have any advice for me.


Dear Art,

Yes, I noticed your play on words (sick), and yes I have some advise for you (sick). But I hope you realize that nowhere near my name do the terms (Dr., or MD) exist. There are several phases involved in this surgery.

First of all, don't try to perform this surgery on yourself. Sure, you might save yourself over $100,000, but I'm afraid that by looking through a mirror to do this you might get your knees glued on sideways.

Phase One: In this phase you will get a CT scan to measure your knees so the proper parts can be made (hope you have good insurance). You will be sent home with a list of physical therapy to do before surgery. If you cheat on the PT you will be cheating yourself at recovery. Phase one also includes the pre-op physical. They want to make sure your heart will keep beating while they have your legs sawed off. Also, during phase one you will start to have crazy dreams about the operation and the post surgery therapy.

Phase Two: is the surgery itself. The last thing you will remember is the nurse putting the drip in your arm and raising the sides on your bed so you don't fall out while being pushed down the hall for surgery. The next thing you will remember is waking up in your hospital room with two machines attached to your legs exercising them. There will be a constant line of people coming and going doing various things for you. You may be experiencing a certain amount of pain. While you are still delusional a nurse will explain to you how to self medicate and will show you where the menu is. A nice juicy burger might sound good, but you'll probably settle for a half a bagel.

Phase Three: While in the hospital you will spend about 8 hours a day on the exercise machine, you'll pee into a catheter, you'll drift in and out of sleep. The day after surgery they will try to get you on your feet and coax you to take a few steps, then sit you in a chair. My first day I stood. The second day, I stood, walked a few steps and sat in a chair. The third day, I walked up and down the hall with a walker, and went up and down some steps. The Dr. got the report, came to my room and said, "you're going home."

Phase Four: That's where I am now. Each week since surgery I've had a physical therapist come to the house three times a week for a 30 minute session. The therapist teaches certain practical functions. She also tortures me for 30 minutes and teaches me how to torture myself. I have a certain chair where I do many of the exercises, I call it the "chair of suffering." But make no mistake, no pain, no gain. In this phase I also lost a lot of water weight and body weight. I'm down 23 pounds from the time I left the hospital. You'll be standing in front of the toilet about every hour on the hour, every night, the first week you are home. You'll sleep whenever you can.

So, Art, getting new knees of titanium is not at all like getting buns of steel. But, hey, three weeks after surgery I'm walking over three miles a day, I couldn't do that before surgery.

Hope my story has helped you, Art.


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