Monday, January 15, 2018

Not for Squeamish people

My trip through the road of knee replacement

                                                                 ************************

I have suffered with arthritis and fibromyalgia for a very long time. Despite these painful episodes, I've tried to be as active as could be.
I've lived quite far into the countryside for about 30 years. Part of the appeal has always been the access to walking and hiking trails and close proximity to one of the best provincial parks in Canada Outdoor activities like fishing, canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing (oh be still my heart!), hill climbing, I've done it all and miss it like mad.
My right knee in particular has always been a little sore, but it never slowed me down....until November of 2015. We were in Ottawa at the museum in Gatineau. Remembrance Day had been the day before and the Ottawa Childrens Choir was performing in the Great Hall. We went down the escalator to the floor of the hall and had a look around. It was getting close to time for us to leave so we had to go back up. Wouldn't you know it, the escalator QUIT, and I couldn't walk up! Something inside my knee just seized up.  It was positively horrible. I remember we finally found an elevator and made it up to the level where we could get to the car.
By Christmas I was still on the couch, barely able to walk. Getting up and down stairs was a trial.
My Dr. was useless. She told me to ice it. She didn't xray or refer me to another doctor. It  took a year of complaining before she FINALLY referred me to a pain specialist. I had a cortisone treatment in February, another in May and another in July. They were quite miraculous for me. The treatment took about a week to fully start working, but at that point I could do pretty much everything I wanted to do. The July shot didn't work out so well. The pain doctor couldn't get the big needle into the space between the knee bones. Something wasn't right. She sent my GP a letter and demanded she arrange for me to have an orthopedic consult.
That took perhaps another 3 months.  I was pretty disappointed when the first doctor told me it would probably be another 3 months before I saw the actual surgeon, then 6 months after that to get surgery. I saw my xRays and it wasn't pretty. I was suffering with bone spurs and a knee joint that was seriously out of alignment. One side has bone right on bone, and the other side has an abnormally wide gap. I don't have any meniscus left,  which is that bumper between the bones in your knee.
Imagine my surprise when I was called to see the surgeon just a few weeks later! What a lovely Dr. He had all the time in the world to discuss my surgery and  answer any questions. He is the first Dr since my old doc left his practice who showed any interest in my fibromyalgia as well.  He said that it has been his experience that us FM suffers tend to have higher pain tolerance than "regular" folks. Well I've always kind of thought that, but it was interesting to hear another doctor address it so kindly.
I went to a pre-surgery meeting last week. The whole process was explained to us. We were told what assistive devices we would need, what pain meds we would get, all the little things. I was kind of shocked to hear that I might be going home the SAME day. Apparently if the surgery is finished by 10 AM you're out the door the same day! I was talking to a friend who had knee replacement 30 years ago. She was in a cast for MONTHS!
Last Friday I had a lot of xRays. I had to hold this wand with a metal ball on the end at different points on the knee. They had me doing contortions! It was crazy but I see the point.
After all the xRays it was off to a lab for my blood transfusion donation. That was a trial. I felt pretty wonky after that. At least when you go to a blood donor event they give you juice and cookies after the draw!
I have another appointment this week with the physiotherapist. I'll let you know how it goes.

7 comments:

  1. I look forward to hearing the details, and hope it goes well. Too often I think we only hear from those who are complaining about their experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know quite a few people who have had theirs done, and only one complained about it. She had issues getting help after her surgery which might have been part of the problem.

      Delete
  2. All will go well. Perfectly.A great repair. The PT probably is the most important part of the whole affair; don't skimp on it.The blood donation is to make a potential transfusion with your own blood. Sneaky devils. Now we await the good results.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I talked to an old friend who had hers done just before Christmas. I bumped into her in the mall just a weeks after and couldn't believe how well she was walking. As long as I've known her she has had a serious limp.

      Delete
  3. It'll be quite a process, but it sounds like it's coming along for you. I have a touch of arthritis in the left knee- I was in an accident years ago, a car hitting me while making a right hand turn, and the doctor said the knee, where I took the injury, would one day likely end up arthritic. Some days, particularly cold damp ones, I can feel it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I was 8 I had a pretty serious accident that damaged my left knee....but it's the right that is causing all the problems now. None the less, the left has started aching a bit. Sympathy?

      Delete
  4. This is important to share your story. I've done the same with hubby's cancer. It helps other people!

    ReplyDelete