Home / Surviving the Cut

Surviving the Cut

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Originally appeared at Molotov Cocktail Frank
(Arthroscopic Surgery, December 16, 2003)

Doctor J’s* Excellent Adventure in and around my knee appears to have been a success. He cleared out the bollocks but I will have to wait until Monday’s followup to learn the implications of the “cartilage irregularities” that the procedure confirmed (this conversation transpired as he was leaving the surgery room so I could have hallucinated all or part or none of it).

Because I chose the spinal anesthetic plus sedation option, I was awake for most if not all of the 42 minutes that they were scoping around. The anesthesia guy lowered the curtain off to my right so I got to watch most of the surgery on the monitor–a nicely magnified shot. I asked him to lower the rest of the curtain and prop me up a bit so I could watch the scoping in the flesh, literally, but the anesthesia dude seems to have ignored that request.

That silver headed scope-a-mabob** moved all over the place. The inside of the knee resembled an undersea cave, except the dancing flora and fauna were mostly red and white and the water was pink, so to speak.

I saw one image that was troublesome–an area of red on white that resembled a wound. At either that point or another point, the doctor said “see that there?” to the people who were assisting and/or observing. They also saved several images (I think), including the aforementioned wound.

The musical choice in the operating theater this day was an Eagles Greatest Hits compilation of some sort. They discussed it and presumably details about the collection. At one point, I said, “I like the choice of music,” which elicited approving murmurs and whatnot.

The anesthetic action left me feeling paralyzed from the small of the back down. At one point while adjusting my apron during recovery, I inadvertently slid my hand over what turned out to be my wiener. Uhh, huh huh. My wiener was numb. In truth, that experience strengthens my empathy for those who suffer from paralysis. God bless them.

They had an unexpectedly busy surgical day. The surgery nurse apologized for the delay while she was wheeling me to the surgery zone. As I said and she seemed to appreciate, “Hey, there are people here a lot worse off than I am, so the wait is no big thing.” I was thinking of the woman who was wheeled into the ER bay next to mine while I was waiting (they ran out of surgical waiting rooms)–the woman screamed constantly for about 30 minutes.

One of the check-in nurses: “Highest grade level completed?”

Me: “Beyond college.”

Nurse: “So you can read and write.”

Me: “Well, I should hope so.”

Same nurse, during recovery: “Don’t forget to pee for me…”

On an unrelated front, my wiener was no longer numb at that point.

*John, not Julius

**I was unable to confirm whether this is an industry term

UPDATE: Wed. 12/17 — This morning upon visual self-inspection I recalled an aspect of the high-tech quality control in use at the hospital. Everyone has read or heard stories about hospitals amputating the wrong limb or flubbing one or more sides of “right time,” “right procedure,” “right patient” triangle.

To avoid such a miscue, one of the nurses drew a big smiley face on my leg above the target knee, and wrote “NO” on the leg above the non-target knee.

Patient and knee are doing okay today. The three incisions are remarkably small, considering the amount of maneuvering that they did inside. The knee is sore and swollen, and this humble correspondent is a bit groggy and disoriented, and largely unable to recall details of the “Rockford Files” episode that he just watched.


Nurses: A+
Surgeon: A
Facility: A

From Molotov Cocktail Frank.

Powered by

About Chris Arabia

  • Eric Olsen

    Excellent news Chris, thanks! We were certainly pleased with our most recent hospital visit as well. Of course the doctor and nurses didn’t have to DO much when Alex popped out in 25 minutes, but they were all very nice and competent and kind to Dawn during her 48-hour stay post-little-man.

  • That sounds much more pleasant than my own experiences with knee surgery. Two ACL’s at two different times. Although the one nurse I had could shoot morphine shots into my butt cheek so that I didn’t even detect the fact that my ass was being turned into a pin cushion.

    Anyway, hope the swelling goes away soon.

  • debbie


    Congratulations to you and Dawn! I was wondering if the “blessed event” had occured but didn’t want to pry.

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks! yes, Friday, see Dawn’s site for pics and details.

  • Joe

    “cleared out the bollocks” – you pay extra for that or did your insurance cover it?

  • Re Comment #4, visit Dawn’s site for pics and details regarding the newly arrived Alex Olsen, not my surgery deal (I’m making what I think is a safe assumption).

    Joe, I called my insurance and asked them that question and they hung up on me, so I guess they don’t know either.

    I meant to ask whether I could keep any bone fragments and other knee debris, but I forgot. 🙁

  • The last time that I had surgery with a spinal block and sedatives (foot surgery–screws put in or taken out), I had a nightmare dream that I can only compare to A Nightmare on Elmstreet for its fogginess. It was a dream somewhere between the world of the awake and the world of the asleep. All I remember is being on the surgical table, looking up at the walls which were covered with peg-board, and seeing old, rusty tools and farm implements hanging there. I also know that I mumbled a lot, but I have no idea what I said (I hope I didn’t jeopardize national security).