July 23, 2014: Wednesday, S-day

The surgery went smoothly. Strangely I could not get the plot of NEVER LET ME GO (Kazuo Ishiguro novel -- truly brilliant) out of my mind. Dr. C. got out of a meeting early and was able to move the time up from 9 to 8:30. The anesthesiologist (Dr. B) agreed that general was appropriate: he said it was good to avoid injections into the spine. He gave me the two nerve blocks: popliteal block and an adductor block (basically femoral and sciatic). They try to bathe the nerve in the drug, without touching the nerve, using an ultrasound to guide their needle close to the nerve, without touching it. Dr. C. dropped by briefly, and pretty soon I was unconscious. I remember being wheeled into the OR, but that is about it.

Recovery was ok -- no nausea, tears, or combativeness. Then up to Room 211 for my, I hope, two-night stay [ended up staying 3 nights]. Dr. C. came in at some point. I like him and his manner, though I suppose every patient likes the surgeon after a successful operation. The op. took at most 75 minutes. He cut off about a quarter inch of bone on either leg bone, and also trimmed the osteophyte (bone spur) that had formed on the medial side. The ACL and PCL are removed. He cut through one tendon but then sewed it back together. He did say that there was no question I needed the surgery. Bones were touching and affecting each other, though not grinding. He also straightened the leg and said that that might make me feel a little taller. The actual sizing of the implant is designed to preserve one’s height, despite the insertion of plastic cartilage that was not there before. He did two of these surgeries today.

Amazingly only 50 mL of blood were lost during surgery; that’s all of 3 tablespoons. Also they cut through one tendon at some point and sew it back quickly; interesting.

Della Crone of PT (whom we knew from Joan’s surgery 16 months ago) came in and after a while we tried getting me to the bathroom. I got there ok, and was able to urinate, but both took an effort and I almost fainted on return. They got me to a chair, and then, eventually, to the bed. I feel fine now (8 pm), but will not try to exit the bed until tomorrow. So one small step back there, but still all goes well.

I had a good appetite at dinner, and a second urination into a container was easier than the first. I still can feel nothing below the right knee. That can take 24 hours to normalize.

This surgery was first done in 1954. Wikipedia has a link to the paper describing the first such surgery,

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