Surgery in the Future?

 

Greg has been complaining about his knees for a long time, but lately, he’s really been hurting. I’ve learned that men in general don’t handle pain well. That, or they’re just more vocal about pain.

I knew this time Greg was suffering though. I had nagged him for months to see a doctor, but that ‘man gene’ kicks in and he refused to go until it had become unbearable. That’s when he got the news.

I was with the X-ray technician when she took the X-rays and I could see immediately how bad his right knee had become. No wonder he yowled whenever he had to take a staircase.

You know how a knee joint works; the rounded surfaces glides on top of a cushion. His ball joint looked like a flat tire. It was scraping bone on bone. I know this type of pain well. Fortunately, mine was more manageable. His is not.

As usual the doctor prescribed an injectible lubricant, and if that didn’t work, steroids. It’s just my opinion, but masking pain does more harm than good. It makes you believe you’re back to you’re old self when in reality you’re wearing down that joint even faster.

He’ll do the lubricant to see if it helps, but I don’t know if he’ll bother with the steroids. I think he’s better off getting the knee replaced. Either way, we’re looking at 3-5 months before he makes a final decision. The other, less damaged knee also needs attention. Hopefully that will only be arthroscopic surgery. We’ll know more next week.

I anticipate two surgeries for Greg this year. That means nursing a stubborn old man, rehab, and somehow getting him to walk more once he’s stable. He’s a grumpy patient at the best of times. Getting him to do something he doesn’t want to do is like pulling a mule up by the tail.

Oy.

So if somewhere around midyear I start to sound tetchy, it’s probably due to Greg’s rehab. I suspect he’ll do the prescribed drugs for a while, but if his condition is anything like mine (I think it’s worse), the drugs won’t help.

Any advice on how to deal with a post-op patient? Is there anything I should be aware of regarding knee replacement? What questions should I ask the surgeon?

 

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20 Comments

  1. Marianne: I don’t think any surgery is quick or easy. I know some people have better luck with their recovery. Others, not so much.

    re: Star Trek
    I know. Right? At least surgery is better now than it was 35 years ago when I had my appendectomy. Talk about ripping you open. I’m glad I was young enough to bounce back quickly.

  2. I don’t know what I touched on my control panel, but I lost Marianne’s comment and my answer, so here’s the re-enactment. πŸ™‚

    From Marianne: I’m interested to see how his knee replacement goes — we’ve discussed this before, I think, but likely both you and I are looking at that down the road. Hopefully, it’s quick and easy!

    For me, though, I’m hoping for Star Trek type surgery where they just wave something over my body and it’s done. πŸ˜€

  3. In reply to Marianne.

    Marianne: I don’t think any surgery is quick or easy. I know some people have better luck with their recovery. Others, not so much.

    re: Star Trek
    I know. Right? At least surgery is better now than it was 35 years ago when I had my appendectomy. Talk about ripping you open. I’m glad I was young enough to bounce back quickly.

  4. My knee replacement was so long ago they don’t use the parts I have anymore. πŸ™‚ A good surgeon is obviously essential, as is keeping up with postop physical therapy . I still wear my support brace and use a cane whenever I have to stand or walk for a very long time. If the doctor recommends a cane, I’ve found lightweight aluminum are best. Get one with a padded grip and a sturdy rubber tip– the unpadded ones can slip when your hand sweats — and if Greg regularly wears shoes with different size heels, an adjustable cane is better.

    • Lynn: LOL! You were cyborg before it was cool.

      re: physical therapy
      This is where I think I’ll have trouble with him.
      I’m more concerned right now with what parts they’ll use. My mom seemed to have an inordinate amount of pain with the new knee. I want to make sure Greg’s surgeon uses the best available device. I sure as heck don’t want him going through this again.

  5. I had a knee replaced at the young age of 44, the youngest my doctor had ever replaced but it was in really bad condition. I felt better when I woke up from surgery, got out of bed and walked to the bathroom. I’ve never regretted it. The longer he lets it go, the more out of line the joint gets and the more painful and long the rehab. I jog on mine, play basketball, field hockey and all those other sports. I don’t sprint but it’s so much better. And the stairs are easier. No remedy for how to deal with man pain. LOL

    • Susan: Holy cow, woman. You were young. I’m sorry you had to have a new knee so young, but equally, I’m glad it gave you back quality of life. There’s nothing worse than being in constant pain.

      Given how well yours turned out, I wish Greg could have your surgeon. πŸ™‚

  6. I’ve got arthritis in my left knee, but so far it’s mild and the pain only comes and goes. Exercise has been the best thing for it, that’s for sure (strengthening the muscle around the knee). And when I remember, I take glucosamine chondroitin (which helps with the stuff between the bones).

    I hope surgery works for Greg. It’s amazing what doctors can do nowadays. As for recovery: Just make sure to have all his favorite foods and movies so he doesn’t get too bored (plus, if he’s stuffing his face, he can’t complain as loud). πŸ™‚

  7. I heard (but can’t remember who I heard it from) that replacing the knee was harder to rehabilitate from in comparison to replacing a hip. But then again I have typed lots of reports where people had both of their knees replaced at the same time. You could always ship off Gary to rehab while he’s recuperating and let them deal with him and his potential attitude πŸ™‚

    betty

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