Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Total Knee Replacement - Surgery Day Afternoon

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Total Knee Replacement

The room is a constant hive of activity. With two total knee replacement patients, another with both legs in casts and a less than completely aware hip repair in the last bed, we are all getting care pretty steadily. Both Jeffrey and Bob get regular visitors. The nurses are by on their regular four hour schedule, as well as other more frequent visits to refresh water, answer the alarms from the IV’s that are constantly going off. Physiotherapists come by. Doctors visit. Meals get delivered, and then dirty trays get taken away. Nurses are by to give your backs a wash. It all makes using the bed urinal difficult if your bladder is a little shy under Grand Central Station like conditions.

Nurse John tells me not to worry. “You had the nerve block didn’t you? It always affects the little valve in the urethra that way. You lose control of it. If you don’t get going again by tomorrow morning, we can always put in a catheter.” I don’t remember having the catheter discussion with the nerve block guy. Wouldn’t this be a relevant piece of information?

Of course, having a fair impression of what my condition would be after the surgery, I made a point of not only avoiding anything but “clear liquids” after midnight on Wednesday, but I didn’t even drink anything other than a tiny sip of water Thursday morning. I wanted an empty bladder.

“We’ll come by a little later and do a scan,” was John’s response after my explanation of why I didn’t need a catheter. They have a little portable ultrasound device that can be used for bladder scans and even prints out a little picture. The whole thing is about the size of a portable debit card scanner.

I managed to sneak that little urinal bottle under the covers for another attempt. Of course, the beds all have three privacy curtains around them. When mine are closed I get excellent coverage except in the two corners, where they come away from each other, and provide a clear view of Rachael’s bed through one gap, and the main hallway outside my room though the other gap. But Bob and Jeffrey can’t see what I’m doing. The nurses are sympathetic. “Yeah, these curtains are bad like that. The Velcro’s come loose.”

John is unimpressed with my 100 ml of orangey yellow liquid. “We better take a scan.” Out comes the tube of gel, room temperature by some miracle. Good news. I’ve only got about 160 ml in my bladder. Later that night, when the room seemed less like it was on the planned route for scheduled stampedes, nature has its way. There, I thought. That’ll show John. Must be 350 ml, at least. No catheter for me.

Total Knee Replacement

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