I had knee surgery on Tuesday. I call it surgery, but my doctor said it was, “A simple little knee scope. Piece of cake.” My Doctor is a liar. There was nothing simple about it. But unfortunately, I didn’t have much of a choice. I’ve been experiencing problems with my left knee since I was sixteen.
As difficult as it is for the crumb snatchers to comprehend, I once was an active teenager. I ran track (yes, even though no one was chasing me), played softball, and volleyball. The first time my knee popped out of place, I was vacuuming. I couldn’t comprehend how I had broken my knee simply by performing this chore. With the help of my stepfather, we popped my knee back in place. You might ask why I didn’t have it looked at way back then. I’m pretty sure it was because we didn’t have Obamacare.
Also, my mother had her own philosophy about healthcare. If bones weren’t protruding, or blood wasn’t pouring out of a major vein with the possibility of bleeding out in 2.6 seconds, then just put some aloe vera or mercurochrome (apparently declared in 1998 by the FDA as “not generally recognized as safe and effective”)1 on the injury, slap it with a band-aid, place a heating pad on it for twenty-four hours, then ice it, and all should be well! I once told her that my chest hurt when breathing in. She told me, “Well, don’t breathe in!” So given that my knee cap was only slightly six inches from where it should be, and that I could still walk on it, I didn’t see a Doctor.
I learned to live with it over the next twenty-five years, fortunate to always be in the company of at least one sadist who didn’t mind pulling my knee back into place when it would pop out. At least up until a few weeks ago when it once again popped out, conveniently while Chief Money Maker was on one of those business trips where he was hanging out in a bar with his colleagues. I yelled upstairs for the only two crumb snatchers home at the time, The Eldest and The Nephew. They came downstairs and I explained that one of them would have to pull on my leg while I screamed and cursed at them until they heard a loud pop at which time I would experience immediate relief and stop cursing. Apparently, because they are so considerate of one another and wanted to allow the other the opportunity to show me how much they love me, they fought over who would perform this task.
The Eldest said, “Dude, you do it!”
The Nephew said, “Nuh-uh Dude, she’s your mother!”
The Eldest said, “No way Dude, she’s your aunt, and I have a weak stomach!”
The Nephew said, “Yeah Dude, but that’s only when you drink more than three beers.”
Meanwhile, I sat on the couch in excruciating pain watching this sentimental display of love for the woman who cares and provides for them on a daily basis. The Nephew finally won (or lost, however you want to look at it) and began pulling on my leg while I screamed and cursed and begged The Eldest to just go ahead and shoot me. Unlike the many other times, it appeared my knee was not going to pop back into place.
Given that I couldn’t move without screaming profanities, The Eldest finally called 911 and requested an ambulance. A few minutes later, our house was swarmed with at least ten good-looking EMT’s and fire personnel all hoping to find a young naked female who had fallen in the bathtub and couldn’t get up. Once they realized it was just an old lady with a knee problem, several of them went back to the station while the others that had drawn the short stick stayed and placed me on the gurney and took me to the Emergency Room.
After arriving at the ER, I was soon (one hour later) whisked off to the X-Ray room where a nice young man attempted to take pictures of my good knee. I gently said, “Unless you need a comparison of the knee that has absolutely nothing wrong with it, perhaps we should X-Ray the knee that is in pain?” He thought that was a pretty good idea. Maybe I should consider a career as an X-Ray technician.
Shortly after that (one hour later) the ER Doctor came in and said he had no clue what was wrong with my knee but he would bill me thousands of dollars for my visit and refer me to an orthopedic specialist who would then bill me thousands of dollars more to figure out what was really wrong with my knee. In the meantime, he would be happy to straighten out my knee and put it in a splint so he could at least say he did something. Before doing so, he was kind enough to give me a nice little pain killer called Dilaudid. If you have never had this stuff, I strongly recommend that you go outside right now and chop off your left hand so you can go to the ER and get some. It’s that good.
I set my appointment for Campbell’s Clinic, and several X-Rays later (of the correct knee of course), and an MRI, the nice orthopedic Doctor determined that I had a torn meniscus. We scheduled the “simple little knee scope” for August 30th 2011. A day that will forever live in infamy…at least in my mind.
We arrived at the surgery center at 12:30 p.m. where I was immediately whisked to the business office where I was asked to pay what our insurance wouldn’t cover, or they could hold my knee in lay-away until the balance was paid. After Chief Money Maker offered an alternative of signing over one of the crumb snatchers and they refused, we went ahead and paid the requested amount based on the assumption that I might possibly need my knee in the next few weeks.
We then sat in the patient waiting room where I had a head-on view of a large vending machine containing all kinds of goodies, and a soda machine, each displaying a sign that read, “Patients, we know this looks really good to you, but since you have been told not to eat or drink after midnight, these have only been placed here to taunt and torture you. Please do not eat or drink any of this yummy looking stuff.”
Shortly after (two hours later), I was called back to be prepped for surgery. They were apparently smarter than the ER X-ray technician because they wrote “wrong” and “correct” on my respective legs to ensure that the Doctor didn’t make a mistake. This was very reassuring….sort of.
Shortly after (one hour later), the Doctor came in to explain to me what he would be doing. Chief Money Maker and I nodded like we knew what the hell he was talking about, and then I was taken away for my “simple little knee scope.”
Now keep in mind, over the last several years, I have had two sinus surgeries, and two bunion surgeries. I also birthed Sweet Pea (not in the last several years) with no medication by using the simple pain control method of cursing out the Doctor and nurses in languages I didn’t even know I knew, as well as telling my husband that he would never again get to do the nana with me, which may explain why we are now divorced. But when I came out of this surgery, it was worse than all of those combined.
Upon waking, I was in immediate and excruciating pain. Apparently when the Doctor described the procedure, I missed the part where he would place a blow torch inside my knee, complete with a remote control where he would sit at the nurses’ station going, “Watch this, y’all.” At which time he would turn on the blow torch with his remote and slowly increase the searing blue flame until I screamed in agony. I also missed the part where he would place a watermelon seed inside my knee area, then fertilize it with nuclear strength Miracle Grow where it would it would suddenly expand to the size of an award winning watermelon at the County Fair.
As I cried and cursed out Chief Money Maker and the nurse, once again in languages I didn’t realize I knew, they tried to minimize my pain over the course of the next hour by giving me two Percocet, Toradol, Demerol, and finally the miracle pain killer Dilaudid, whereas the pain finally leveled out to a twenty-two on a scale of one to ten. When the nurse asked how I was feeling and I replied, “In my world everyone is a pony and we all eat rainbows and poop butterflies,” they determined it was time for me to go home.2
Once at home, Chief Money Maker made sure he kept me on my pain killer schedule, not wanting me to commit suicide to escape the pain, leaving him alone to care for five crumb snatchers. The crumb snatchers were very sensitive and understanding of my situation as well. Knowing that I could not cook dinner for them, they would gently wake me from my oxycodone induced dream featuring George Clooney, Richard Gere, and Ben Roethlisberger (yes, a weird combination I know…blame it on the drugs) to ask me what I was going to order them for dinner. Sweet Pea, realizing we were low on grocery staples, and anxious to use her shiny new driver’s license, also offered to go shopping. She returned with six two-liters of Coke, two bags of tortilla chips, restaurant style queso cheese dip, double fudge caramel brownies (supposedly to help me feel better), and vanilla ice cream. When I reminded her that I like them to have something green with their meals, she replied, “I know Mom. I got guacamole dip too!” The other crumb snatchers, sensitive to my situation made sure to stay away from me as much as they could for fear of being asked to do something for me, or being cursed out in case Chief Money Maker forgot to make sure I had taken my next pain pill on schedule.
So, the moral of this blog is: Doctors lie, Dilaudid is good, and never have a “simple little knee scope” unless absolutely necessary. I have to sign off now because Chief Money Maker says it’s time for my next pain pill.
1 As reported on this website: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2518/what-happened-to-mercurochrome – Don’t ask why I was checking out a website called ”straightdope”
2 As quoted by one of those weird little Dr. Suess creatures in the wonderful feature film Horton Hears a Who
© 2011 CThacker