Cramming for my knee replacement.

December 13th, 2007

My right knee will be replaced tomorrow morning.

I’ve had plenty of surgeries — quadruple heart bypass, hernia, emergency appendix removal, popliteal artery bypass, knee surgery (42 years ago). I’m sure more surgeries will come to mind. Probably in my dreams tonight, if I sleep.

I’m interested in my health, so I’ve always read up on these procedures. But I’ve been dragging my feet on this one. They gave me a quick overview of the components at the VA, and sent me home with a fair amount of reading, which I have not done. Until tonight.

For the last hour, I’ve been surfing the knee replacement articles on the web, from Wikipedia to personal accounts. My facial muscles are getting tired from wincing.

The knee. The knee. It’s worse than thinking about tooth drilling. It’s dark and I can see my reflection in the window as I write. I look like I’m having my fingernails removed.

I was fine until I learned about cutting the quadriceps. I didn’t know they had to do that.

And now I have a clearer idea of how they spike the lower surface into the proximate end of the tibia. They drill right down the longitudinal axis of the bone and jam it in like a golf tee. That’s what the graphics make it look like.

And they grind the distal end of the femur into numerous facets so the upper surface of the joint will adhere. Just the thought that it might come loose! I once had an expensive pen with a tight-fitting cap that would never come loose, but a number of ink-stained shirt pockets refute it.

There are a few possibilities — blood clots, infection, even replacing the wrong knee. And a few certainties — pain, bad food, and a TV constantly tuned to CNN. I will now try to focus on the upside — drugs.

Okay, I’m through worrying. Relax and forget about this knee shit.

Maybe there’s some football on TV.

19 Responses to “Cramming for my knee replacement.”

  1. grace Says:

    I can see that you are well prepared. Thank god. Now I don’t have to tell you about all…well, nevermind.

    While watching TV last night, I kept stopping on the History channel’s “Torture through the centuries” and it almost made me puke. The delightful ways to torture people that mankind has come up with is beyond insane. I sometimes think that earth could blow up and who cares? Mankind, or a lot of it, deserves it.

    By the way, I laid on my patio last night at 2:00 a.m. for 40 minutes and saw 7 shooting stars, part of the meteor shower that’s happening this week. Very cool.

  2. Bob Gilbert Says:

    Fred, The Lambada is called the forbidden dance for good reason. Maybe now you’ll choose to ski the black diamond runs instead of dancing. safety first. I wish you a speedy recovery.
    p.s. forget about becoming a Rockette, too.

  3. joan Says:

    medicine hasn’t changed, has it? the doctor scared you as sure as if s/he slaughtered and brandished a sharp-toed rooster. All this to put you in the proper state.

    Hope you slept the sleep of the completely knocked out.

  4. jean mckenzie Says:

    I wondered where the rooster was–is nothing funny anymore? and so just checked in and found out about your knee. ouch. Please hurry and get well. The world has been sitting around, insufficiently mocked or lampooned, for days on end now.

  5. Dean Says:

    Fred had his knee replacment last Friday but had to go in and have another procedure done to his veins to get the blood flow going down to his foot. He is still currently in the hospital. His health is good and there is no danger there, although there is a lot of pain. Looks like he’ll be in there for a little while longer. I will get a message from him and post it here.

  6. Kevin Wolf Says:

    Fred, I hope you’re mending and back to blogging soon. And that you’re home by now…

  7. Nancy Mc Says:

    I recently spoke with Fred – I read him the above comments. He really appreciated them and wants to let everybody know that he hopes to be back blogging by the end of the month. I think he would love additional comments! He said I could say something to the effect that the doctors’ prognosis on his leg is still pending. Nancy Mc

  8. grace Says:

    I saw Fred at the “home” and he walked down the hallway using a cane. That’s good. But he should have his leg elevated, so it really wasn’t so good to be up. He likes back rubs. Fred’s great.

  9. Lee Says:

    Nancy, Grace & Dean: Thanks for the updates. You are all sweets.

    Fred: Best wishes for continued speed in your recovery and return to your keyboard magic. We are all jonesing for a Fred fix and 2008 is proving just as loony as 07.

    PS I, for one, think you’d make a fine Rockette.

  10. Nancy F. Says:

    Hey, Fred, I was really missing my Bullseye Rooster fix. So I went to the site to see if there was any recent news from you. I hope you will be up and hopping, well–walking at least without pain , very soon.

  11. Bob Behrends Says:

    Hi Fred,

    As others have already mentioned,I’m also missing the weekly fix of keeping abreast via your blog.

    Hope you are recovering well and that you’ll be back to 100% soon.

  12. Nancy Mc Says:

    Bloggers: I just spoke on the phone with Fred – after seeing him yesterday at the place where he’s been staying for physical therapy. He seemed good then, but since then has taken a down turn, with some infection in his leg below the knee. So, he’s going back this morning to the VA hospital. We read him your comments, which he really enjoys.

  13. Ian Ross Says:


    Figured I’d finally speak up and wish you a speedy recovery. Greetings from Providence, RI. We’ve never met, but through reading your blog I feel that I could easily stalk you if I ever got out to SF. Hope you’re up and running again soon.

  14. Katherine Says:

    Hey Fred. Thinking happy thoughts at you. Get better, dammit.

  15. Don Blasingame Says:

    Hey Fred,
    I’ve run into Bill and Karl who have told me about you. I’m rooting for you and hope you can get out of the VA soon. (does this mean they can rotate you into iraq?) My best wishes.


  16. grace Says:

    Friday 1/25: I talked to Fred today, and he sounded really great. He has had the skin graft surgery and is being moved to another room, so calls might take a while. He hopes to be home by next week, and let’s keep our fingers crossed for that.

  17. Lyn Jenks Says:

    Fred -

    I am Buzz Jenks (ex) wide and am happy to have your blog site from him … witty, amusing, delightfully done. I am enjoying it and wish you nothing but the best with knee and leg recovery. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us.

  18. Knee Surgery India Says:

    Dr. A.K. Venkatachalam, MS (Orth), DNB (Orth), FRCS (UK), MCh. (Orth) (Liverpool), consultant Orthopedic surgeon trained in the UK & Belgium. He has performed over 3,000 knee arthroscopies including ACL reconstruction & over 1,500 knee replacement surgeries. He has pioneered deep bending knee, minimally invasive & less invasive procedures for total knee replacement, gender knee replacement, bilateral replacements, unicondylar oxford knee replacement and proxima hip replacement surgeries in South India.

  19. medical tourism Says:

    I ask my clients with ongoing knee problems about hip and low back issues.
    Knee replacement Thailand

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