At last, six weeks after partial knee surgery, I was in the doctor’s office on Friday to hear the verdict about my knee, and possibly, just possibly, be allowed a little more freedom so I could go outside to visit the goats. I know, I know, the doctor had informed me before the surgery to not expect to go outside a lot, much less go down to the barn before three months was up, but I was hopeful.
It has been a battle to get the knee to bend 90 degrees and it had just done that a couple of days before the doctor’s appointment. I had talked to some total knee replacement people who said they had got to a 90 degrees bend on the third day after their surgery. Show offs. The hospital had sent me home on the fourth day after surgery with only a 64 degree bend, but I figured my spending most the time in the hospital throwing up was the cause of my under achieving.
The physical therapist and I then took on the challenge to try and catch up. He showed up twice a week to torture, I mean, work me and my contrary knee, and I faithfully exercised three times a day, no matter the pain, to get the knee working better. So now I was waiting on the doctor and the verdict on all my hard work and whining.
The doctor came in and gave my knee a solemn look and took it in his hands and worked it a little. He said, “Adhesions. We need to put you back into surgery on Monday, put you to sleep, and I need to do a knee manipulation and get more bend back into this knee. It won’t take long to do. It will take longer to wake you up, but it needs to be done. And, I want you to have physical therapy the next day and for the next two weeks.”
Well, goat berries! All my hard work and I get a knee manipulation. Rats. That’s that, if I’m to get to the barn and give Lee a hand with all the chores, then knee manipulation it would be. The hospital called that evening and told me I had to be there at 5:45 a.m. Monday morning. Good thing, I would be the first in surgery.
When I arrived, the nurse quickly had me change into a hospital gown three times the size I needed, put an IV in my vein, and got a magic marker and wrote “YES” across the right knee so everyone would know which knee to work on. I would think the very large scar and it still being swollen would have given them a clue, but it’s always better to be safe in case someone had forgotten their coffee that morning and was a bit sleepy.
It wasn’t long before they moved me from that holding pen to another. There the people that were going to put me to sleep talked to me and introduced themselves and the doctor came in to say hello and asked a couple of times if I had some pain pills at home. This made me a tad bit nervous but I had figured this would hurt, maybe I just didn’t realize how much. Before I had time to ponder on it some more, I blanked out. Out like a light. Yes, that fast. Those guys were good.
I found myself in yet another holding pen, awake, shivering, hurting like all get out, and wondering when they would get started. The nurse informed me it was over. I was so joyful over this that I didn’t mind a bit that I hurt like the dickens and couldn’t control my shakes.
A new nurse, being trained for that area, grew concerned with my pain. To tell the truth I didn’t know what hurt worse, my knee or my back. I can’t lay flat on my back on a hard bed for long without my back giving me terrible fits. The knee might have hurt some worse but it was a neck to neck race. Anyway, the new girl was very sweet and worriedly asked the older nurse to give me something for my pain.
The nurse took her a ways from my bed and explained to her that I had been given small amounts of morphine, and two other pain medications and with the anesthesia they had to be very careful because each person reacted differently. They could accidentally push me into a coma.
Now I was pretty loopy from the anesthesia but I heard and understood that. I waved my hand up in the air, “I’m fine. I’m fine. Don’t worry.” Waves of pain and chattering teeth were nothing compared to going into a coma. You bet I was fine.
I convinced them to raise up my bed a bit so I wasn’t lying flat and to distract myself from the pain of both knee and back, I started talking. To no one in particular because everyone seemed busy, “You know, I have 160 head of Boer goats. They are gorgeous. Beautiful animals. And, we have livestock guard dogs to protect them from the coyotes. They are fantastic. Wonderful dogs. We wouldn’t have goats if it wasn’t for those dogs.”
I chattered on to no one in particular. One nurse did stop her work and ask about the dogs so we talked a bit about them. And, either I was ready to leave or they were just tired of listening to me, I was rolled to my first holding pen.
There the nurse informed me that if I acted good, drank some liquids, ate some crackers, and didn’t throw up, they’d eventually let me go home. And, an extra bonus, Lee could come back and sit with me until they thought I was ready to go home.
Lee came back and proudly informed me that the doctor could only get a 85 degree bend at first from my knee, but by the time it was over, he had got a 130 degree bend. Good grief, was he trying to kick me in the back of my head with my own foot?! But, at least all adhesions should be broke loose now.
I discovered that what ever stuff they used to put me to sleep kept me so loopy that I would ask a question of the nurse, she would answer, and so help me, in seconds I forgot what she had said. I remembered my question, just couldn’t remember the answer. I apologized to the nurse and told her I had a teflon brain at the moment, and I couldn’t remember her answers for any length of time. Patiently she kept answering my questions, the same questions, a couple of times each. You know, it wasn’t any time before she decided I was fit to go home.
Lee had to lift my leg off the bed again because I couldn’t stand the pain to do so, but the nurse had me in that wheel chair in no time at all and I was waiting at the front door of the hospital for Lee to pull the car around and fetch me. It was good to get home. I couldn’t put much weight on the newly manipulated knee, but it didn’t seem to slow me down on the walker.
The leg is all swollen up, aches considerably, and I still have to exercise it like crazy, but nothing beats getting back to the farm. The manipulation will be well worth it to get me motoring along half decently and maybe get down to the barn in a month or two.
As I was standing with my walker, doing dishes the next day, I can only stand for a half hour then I have to go ice the knee a bit, Lee went and got the yearling herd and put them in the backyard to cheer me up. One of the yearlings, Penny Rose, has caught on that if she hears noises out of the kitchen window, it’s usually me at the sink. She can’t see me but stands under the window and we talk back and forth.
She stood under the window and called out tentatively. “Yes, I’m here Penny Rose. How are you doing, baby girl?” She called back happily. “Yes, I had that knee manipulation and I should be able to visit soon.” So, we chatted back and forth that until I had to go and ice my knee again. The goats have been very supportive during this knee time.