Today I met my new knee surgeon at my new knee care place. I had to change from Dr. F, who has been treating me for over four years because Dr. F and the hospital where he practices does not take my insurance anymore. I am sad to leave Dr. F's care because he is a good surgeon and a nice man, but I can't afford to have my knee treated without the help of insurance, so enter Dr. G.
Dr. G is young and handsome and kind and assures me that he is a very good surgeon. (He does have excellent ratings and is highly thought of by the staff that works with him.) The hospital where he will do the surgery is a very good hospital and I know that everything will be fine.
I'm getting a total knee joint replacement on my left knee on January 24. Even though my goal in meeting with Dr. G today was to schedule the surgery, after the consultation and discussion, I still cried when he left the room. This is a big surgery and it is scary. The four weeks after the surgery are not a lot of fun. As I sat in the examination room, all of those memories from four years ago came rushing back to me - the ice pack, the stitches, wrapping the leg in a garbage bag when I showered, the pain and the pain medication, the home nursing visits, the physical therapy, the crutches, the helplessness, the counting on others to help you. Believe me, if I thought there was another way to get rid of the constant debilitating pain, I would take that option, but I know there is no other way than joint replacement surgery. I also know that after the first four weeks, the repaired knee will start to feel better and I won't be in pain all the time and eventually I will be really glad that I had the operation, but today I am sad and scared and nervous and coming to terms with the reality of January 24.
You might be wondering how much pain I am actually having to make such a commitment. Let me try to explain. My left knee hurts all the time, every day. When I sit down, I can bend my knee until it starts to ache from being bent, then I try to straighten it, which causes more pain. The reverse is also true. If I am laying down with the knee straight (unbent), it will start to ache and then I'll have to bend it which makes it feel like something is breaking. After I've been sitting down for awhile, when I stand up, I have to take a moment and gently press on the front of the knee to get it to straighten. I limp when I walk. When I walk up or down the stairs, I put my right foot up (or down) first, then bring my left foot down (or up). I rarely walk up or down the stairs one foot after another. Exercise is fine when I'm doing it, I think because the blood flowing through the knee feels good, but when I am finished with the exercise, the knee swells and I feel like I'm dragging my leg around instead of having use of it. When I turn over in my sleep, the pain in my knee wakes me up. On a scale from one to ten, with ten being the worst pain ever, I'm normally around seven to eight to eight and a half. (I try to save nine and ten for post-surgery descriptions.) It's a sucky way to live when you're 50 years old. Hence, surgery.
In the meantime, I will continue to take some anti-inflammatory pain relievers and go about the business of life. I've lived with the pain for a long time, so another five weeks will be a snap. Plus there is so much to look forward to in that time - especially Christmas in California with my cousin from Spain and my first family along with MT and T!
Sorry for the long whiny post, but I needed it :) Talk to you soon!