Thursday, June 28, 2018

Needles, morphine, malpractice... oh my

I have not had the best week.

It all started back in February. The day after getting back from Sicily, I felt the dreaded 'pop' in my knee. I am unfortunately not a stranger to knee injuries. Three years ago, I tore my ACL. A few months after that, I tore my meniscus. That prompted me to fly home from Israel to get both repaired.

I was pretty lucky to not have any problems after my surgery until a few months ago. I wasn't doing anything exciting when I hurt it this time- just walking haha. My doctor thinks it was more the deterioration of the first repair vs. an entirely new injury.

So I tore my meniscus again. I waited a few months to go in (due to our big move) and it had not healed at all. I've been pretty crippled since February. Walking around New York on our trip was a struggle. Even walking around the grocery store has been a struggle.

When I found out I needed another surgery, I wasn't happy but I was excited to get it over with and start feeling better!

My doctor suggested doing a tibial osteotomy in addition to "cleaning up" my torn meniscus with a scope. 

According to an X-ray, the bones in my injured leg aren't aligned correctly. All of the pressure when I stand goes to the inner injured side of my leg instead of down the center like it's supposed to.

An osteotomy takes the pressure off the injured part of my knee by removing a slice of tibia (yummy) and placing a wedge and a steel plate to hold the bone in its new position. I dare you to do a google image search for "osteotomy." It's fun.

I had the big surgery one week ago at a hospital in Oconomowoc. Possibly the best named city in our state.

It ended up taking more than 4 hours but it was thought to be a success (cue some ominous foreshadowing). They didn't warn me beforehand that it was a possibility, but I had to stay overnight in the hospital because they did so much to my poor little knee.

That was a first for me! I've never stayed in a hospital before. Besides the apparel and nurses insisting on watching me pee, it was one of the best parts of my week. It was so much more comfortable to stay there instead of making the drive home immediately. I also liked the concept of people bringing me anything I wanted (drugs, ice cream, etc.) with just the push of a button. 

I went home the next day around noon. I felt pretty meh all weekend and had a low fever, but I started to feel more like myself by Sunday night.

I had my post-op check-up on Tuesday. It's never a good sign when the doctor walks into the room, sees your leg, and makes a noise like that sounded something like "Uh!".

My 5 incisions and 25 staples (just had to throw that in there) were healing fine, but my leg was too crooked. The bone was bent too far the other way. I'm guessing that wasn't really evident until they took off all of the dressings and brace. 

All of a sudden my doctor of few words and not so great people skills became sugary sweet to me (was someone afraid of getting sued? haha), and broke the news that they had to do surgery again.

Nooooooooooo. That was terrible to hear because I was just starting to not suffer and feel fairly normal. But, I don't really want to be maimed, so I agreed to get another surgery 2 days later.

The fun and curve balls were not over!! My calf had been sore since the surgery, but that night the pain got so intense I was crying whenever I had to move my leg. My trusty little morphine pills didn't even take the edge off.

At the hospital a few days earlier, they scared me into thinking "IF YOUR CALF HURTS YOU HAVE A BLOOD CLOT AND YOU WILL DIE," so I was freaked out. We ended up going to the ER (another first for me) to get it checked. Thankfully, no blood clots! And I didn't die!

The next morning, my doctor saw that I went to the ER and he called to check on me since after messing up my surgery he became very invested. He was worried about another life-threatening condition (didn't tell me that on the phone though), and had me come in right away for a test.

That test (I call it torture) involved sticking 5 HUGE and painful needles into an already super sore leg. He wanted to test for something called compartment syndrome, which happens when the pressure is too great in an injury and can cause casual side effects like paralysis, necrosis, and DEATH. He had to check for it since I was having such intense pain in one area.

Again, thankfully, the torture needles ruled that out and I didn't have to have a dramatic emergency surgery. 

It was pretty traumatic though. The Culver's comfort food we got on the way home helped more than any morphine ever could (I hate taking that stuff).

The very next day (today), I went in for surgery just one week after the previous one. They put a smaller wedge and plate into my tibia. It was a much shorter surgery and I was able to go home just an hour or two after waking up.

I feel more optimistic about things now, and I really hope this is the end of the road. I actually feel better now than I have the last few days. Fixing my crooked leg and having smaller hardware might have helped somewhat with the calf pain.

Fingers crossed that now that worst I have to deal with is boredom. Here's to spending the next 2 months on crutches!