Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Surgery #3 in Three Years

After a few hurdles, including the Department of Labor itself and getting the stupid IV in my arm, I had knee surgery on Thursday last.

My surgery was supposed to be covered by a workers compensation program which is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL). The scheduling lady who handles DOL claims at the doctor's office assured me that it usually only takes 48 hours for approval from DOL so the one week window I had before my surgery was fine. Well, I talked to her on Monday and my authorization still hadn't come though. Tuesday: same. Me: Freaking out. Wednesday I made some phone calls and got my case examiner and on her computer it said I'd been approved so she faxed a copy of that to the doctor's office and I was told I was good.

Thursday I arrived at the George Washington University Hospital (same place I went to have Betty removed) at 6am for my 7:30 surgery and was told they didn't have my authorization. Worst fear confirmed. I sat there waiting till about 6:50, slowly preparing myself to have my surgery canceled. Miraculously they got whatever they needed (some guy tried to explain it to me, but I was too busy finishing my paperwork to really pay attention) and off I went to have a resident and the head of anesthesia treat me like a pin cushion because of my tiny veins (I still have a bruise from one of three attempts to insert the IV!). At one point there were four people standing there watching and the resident said "I bet you've never had four people watch you get stuck with a needle before!" So it's not all seriousness all the time.

The most intriguing part of the whole surgical process for me is that every staff person asks what I'm having done and to what body part and then having the surgeon come in and write his initials on said body part so they don't screw it up. Obviously I'd prefer to repeat myself eight times than come out with the wrong leg operated on, or worse.

I think I confused the nurses or whoever was around as I was waking up afterward when I said (and I remember this vaguely) "I can't believe I fell asleep!" One of my finer moments of sleep talking.

So far so good on the recovery. They even gave me this nifty Cryo Cuff thing that I remember another medevac having after her ACL surgery:

You wrap it around your knee like so and use the cooler, which is filled with ice and water, to fill and empty the blue thing to reduce the swelling! I still don't really understand how it works, but to empty it you just connect the little hose and the water drains out, then you lift the cooler part above the brace thing and it refills it. Fancy!

I'm able to walk now, but for long distances (like to work) I crutch-walk and get funny looks from everyone along the way. I saw the physical therapist yesterday and have started some basic exercises to get the old girl working properly again in 4 to 6 weeks.


Casey said...

Yay, you posted a picture of the cryocuff! I couldn't remember what it was called and have been referring to it as "the borg thing" in my head for the last several days.

Glad things are still healing nicely!

Jen said...

I think they should definitely change the name officially to Borg Thing (TM).

Laura said...

Your brace from the future! Love! Glad you're recovering well! NO more surgeries!