Today is the day… and I am nervous AF. Had to wake up early, shower, wipe myself down with this antiseptic thing. Which, btw, takes about 10 minutes to air dry while you’re naked or it’s super sticky on your skin. No food after 10 pm last night and no water after 7am this morning. I decided to wear a dress so I can easily change before and after my surgery.
We get to the hospital and I get admitted into the pre-op area. My nurse was so sweet and she made sure I was comfortable in my bed while they do all the paperwork, give me medicine, and call the docs over a last minute meet n’ greet.
I met the anesthesiologist first, who informed me I would be getting a adductor nerve block PRIOR to going under general anesthesia. This sensory only nerve block will help block the pain in my knee and lower leg. However, I was freaking out because this lady was going to stick a large needle into my thigh and I’ll still be awake.
As I’m lying there anticipating the needle situation, my surgeon comes by, Dr. Nima Mehran, and marks my left knee with his signature and a giant fish. He goes “You’ll do GREAT” and steps aside as the anesthesiologist comes back with her ultrasound machine. She asks me to take this pill to ease the nerves and I remember saying something cheeky back to her as the drugs took effect, “So I don’t shit myself when you stick a giant needle in my leg?” Her reaction….yes.
So without me really even noticing, she was able to do a ultrasound guided nerve block to my adductor nerve at my lower inner thigh. It was painless and I was definitely high on something. Seeing how sensitive I was to drugs, she gave me some antinausea medicine into my IV for prior and after surgery.
What seems like 5 seconds later, I get wheeled into the OR room and I try to make small talk with everyone around me. They had me transfer from my bed onto the OR bed and as they strap me down, the nurse anesthesiologist was already knocking me out. She put a mask on my face and told me to breath deep. I was drunkingly fighting back saying, “the mask is in my eye” and next you know I’m out.
When I came to, I felt my thigh was wrapped up really tight, and I knew my quad was harvested. My doting husband was already there next to me and the nurse asked me if I was in any pain. Honestly, I wasn’t sure BUT I was afraid I would be… so I said yes so she pushed some heavy pain meds into my IV. My doc came around and told me that the surgery went well, he tried to repair my ACL but when he bent my knee in the OR to test it, the sutures went right through my ACL and the whole thing tore. He quickly transitioned to harvesting my quad and reconstructed my ACL with it. I pretty much had BOGO surgeries.
At this point, the nurse asked me if I wanted to go home and I jumped at the word home. I was ready to get out of here. The moment I saw up, I got so high and drowsy, I could not remember the details of getting home. There were flashes of me getting into a wheel chair, standing up and scooting back into the backseat of the car, gagging in the car, trying to walk from the car to my front door and almost falling backwards three times, and going to the bathroom to pee.
I slept the day away and by the time I woke up it was around 7-8pm. My husband brought me some soup and I could only stomach a small bowl without feeling nauseous. Everyone told me to get ahead of the pain and take the pain meds before I start to feel too much pain. If you were to wait until it hurt so much, the pain meds will not feel like they are working at all. I also had patients tell me to save the pain meds for Day 2-3, when all of the anesthesia has worn off and it hurts the most.
I ended up taking 650mg Tylenol and 2, 5 mg oxy (4 hours apart) and I was lights out again.
When I woke up today, I was not in a lot of pain but I kept having this fear that it’ll come soon. My husband gave me another Tylenol and I decided hold on the oxy until I really needed it.
I spent most of that first day icing, elevating, ankle pumps, and reading. TV and the phone still made me a nauseous.
This ice machine was a life saver because I could just add frozen water bottles to it and it would stay cold for hours. I just had to make sure that my knee was wrapped up well so I didn’t get burned by the ice.
The most important thing for the first few days is getting my knee extension back. I made sure I propped my heel up as much as possible and avoided any cushion under my knee that would put it into flexion. It was very uncomfortable with pain in the back of my knee but I knew I had to suck it up or lose the extension. I used my triangle wedge a lot and continuously iced, elevated, and moved my ankle around so I would avoid swelling and stiffness.