Getting Back to Normal-ish (Part 1)

Back on the bicycle…. kinda.

Prior to May 26, 2022 when I went in for knee replacement surgery, my left knee was bad. I had trouble walking, getting up from a chair, going up stairs, going down stairs, kneeling and worse, sleeping. After meeting with my doctor the decision was made to replace the defective parts. To be honest, I was apprehensive only because of the pain that I would endure afterwards, which, as it turns out, wasn’t that bad. My imagination made it worse that it really was. But mostly because I am internally fearful of doctors, operations, medical conditions, getting shots, blood taken and intravenous connections (I pass out every time I get those). But I had to go through with this operation because I have things to do and the alternative was not attractive either.

Surgery Day:

I arrived at the surgery center at noon with my wife and within minutes I was called to the counter to meet with the attendant to fill out paperwork, sign stuff and then go sit down again. I don’t think I was sitting for more than 5 minutes when my name was called to go in. I kissed my wife and said “Wish me luck”. Knowing how I am about these things she said “Just relax, you’ll be fine”.

I met Melanie, the pre-op nurse in front of the nurses station. She was cute, thin, about 5’4″ tall with long brown hair pulled back into a pony-tail. We made small talk as she walked me to the pre-op room where she handed me a plastic bag and some hospital clothing in a sealed bag.
“Put the robe on and the compression socks and these non-slip socks as well. Then put all of your clothes in this bag. When your done, have a seat on the bed and I’ll be back in a few minutes”. She said.

After I put on all that hospital garb and bagged my things, I sat on the edge of the bed and waited, nervously. Melanie returned. She told me what she was going to do next, tags, wrist thingy with my name and other info Then she had me lay on the propped up bed and told me she was going to put in an IV for fluids and something else. I don’t recall what it was, but as I always do, I let her know that I usually get light headed and/or pass out when I get IV’s. I don’t know why, my body reacts and then I’m off to la-la-land. She assured me I would be fine and would take care of me. Oddly enough, I didn’t even feel her put the IV in and I even complimented her that that was the first time I’ve never felt it. I felt slightly better, still nervous, but better.

Melanie left the room and came back a few moments later with two IV bags. She explained what they were for but I don’t recall and then hooked me up. She did tell me that one might make me feel warm and within seconds of her telling me that I said “Oh yeah… there it is and I feel like I’m going out”. She put her hand on my right shoulder. “You okay?”

The next thing I remember is Melanie and another nurse tending to me while I woke up. The other nurse asked how was and I responded with “So the operation is over?” She smiled under her mask and just set “No, you passed out”. Melanie came over and put a cool cloth on my forehead.

“You weren’t kidding were you?” she said.
“I wouldn’t lie to you. I just wanted to keep you informed” I said.
“How are you feeling now?” She said as she tamped my face, neck and forehead with the cool rag.
“Nervous be better” I responded with a weak smile.
“Just relax and close your eyes. I’ll be in and out to check on you” She said. I assumed she was smiling under the mask. “The doctor will be in to see you shortly”.
“You’re an angel” I said.
“I don’t know about that” she said as she waved and walked out of the room.

Moments later Dr. Bowling came in and told me about what was going to happen. With a shapie marker, he put his initials on my left Knee next to the purple initials Melanie had but there earlier. He assured me that things would go smoothly and I’d be on my way home before I knew it. He said something about being abused by the pre-op nurses and I just responded with “No, this woman is my angel and has been nothing but caring, I’m the pain in the ass here”.

He left and Melanie returned with another pre-op nurse. Melanie explained that the other nurse was going to wheel me into the pre-surgery space and then into the O.R. Then the two of them maneuvered the bed I was on through the narrow door out into the corridor. Melanie stepped aside and as I was being wheeled past her I grabbed her hand. “Thank you sweetheart. Wish me luck” I said. She responded with a simple “Take care Ted”.

After a 1 minute trip to the next pre-operative space where I was met with 6 or 7 nurses, assistants and other men and women in operation clothing and masks. It was 25 minutes past 2 in the afternoon and I was scheduled for a 2:30 operation. They were fun people, making funny comments that I don’t remember, chuckling and one even asked me “So you really passed out from the IV?” to which I responded “Well, gotta keep you guys on your toes”. They chuckled at that and then the head nurse, I assumed, explained what was going on and what was about to go down. She also explained that they were going to give me a pain block that would last 24 hours and something in my IV that would basically knock me out for the duration.

With that she said “Okay, here we go”.

That’s the last thing I remember.

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