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.