Archive for the ‘anesthesia’ Category

I have been avoiding writing. Not all writing: I have been working on that endless project, The Novel. I’ve been avoiding real communication, like a blog or a journal (which is not communication, it is private – at least until I am dead and cremated). I have no excuse.

So here I am sitting on my bed, leg elevated and blanketed in ice. What did I do? I have no idea. I have a vague memory of pain, but if I felt it when it first happened, or if I just noticed it sometime after the first tear… How would I know? I ignored it, thought it would goaway, and slowly realized I did something BAD to my knee. I put off finding out what BAD I did until the end of the summer when I finally faced the fact that it was not going to get any better. So I went to see a sports injury doctor (orthopedic doctor) even though I have not played a sport since 1982 when I played womens’ softball and they stuck me out in right field (and prayed no one would hit a ball to me). (It was a fine strategy: the other players brought our team to the championship and even let me celebrate with them, pretending I actually played, which I didn’t.)

The ortho doc sent me in for an MRI. I would not recommend an MRI for anyone who is a tad bit claustrophobic (like me), but fortunately they were only looking at a knee and I did not have to go inside the VERY NOISY machine. Oddly, they offered to let me listen to music while I was holding absolutely still for 20 minutes, but I turned down the headphones. I’m glad I did. As an HSP, I would have found listening to music and trying to filter out all the LOUD grinding and thumping noises of the MRI intolerable and would have come out of the machine a nervous wreck. Instead, I listened to the LOUD noises and felt the sensations in my leg as electro-magnetic impulses probed it and photographed it. The end result was a diagnosis I suspected and feared: torn meniscus in the left knee.

The meniscus is what we used to call the cartilage, specifically the cartilage between the leg bones, behind the knee cap. It does not repair itself. A torn one means surgery, nothing less.

I have had a heck of a time facing surgery. A year ago, I lost a very dear friend when she went in for a minor surgery and had a massive heart attack under general anesthesia. Her memory wreaked havoc with my emotions and sub-conscious. It did not help that every questionnaire I have had to fill out between the diagnosis and the actual surgery asked if  I have any family history that includes death under anesthesia. No, no family… And I was feeling … Old.

I decided not to blog about it until after the surgery because denial works for me. Now surgery is over by just a few hours and I feel pretty good. The local won’t wear off for several hours and I should have enough vicodin in my system that I won’t notice when it wears off. My husband is being a wonderful nurse and catering to my every need, even without me asking. My throat hurts from the breathing tube, but that’s pretty minor. The worst was – and always is, for me – waking up from the general anesthesia.

You get these horrid shivers. They won’t stop. It’s like having the chills, but you’re not cold, your body is just involuntarily shuddering off the drug they put you under with. When I woke up from the hysterectomy a few years back, I’d forgotten about the shivers and was unprepared for them. I was justified in forgetting: the only other surgery I’d had was a D&C in the early 1980’s, a memory I prefer to push to the back of my mind. And the surgery before that was in 1964 when they used ether and I woke up wanting to vomit. I did vomit. A lot. But I also got orange sherbet ice cream and my mom babied me.

My mom isn’t around to baby me and I have never felt nauseous coming out of anesthesia since (although they do warn you that you could experience nausea). No, I just get those uncontrollable shivers and I hate them. This time, I was prepared mentally, but I still hate them. And I thought to complain, so a nice shot of demerol helped. Ah, drugs.

So, the meniscus tear has been scraped and it wasn’t as bad as the doctor thought (mostly just a cyst that formed in there) and my husband of 28 years is pampering me and I wonder why I waited so long to fix this. Hopefully, I will keep enough vicodin in my system to keep wondering why I put it off.

And maybe I will blog more than once during my week off for recovery.

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