So the surgery went well, Alhamdulillah. It’s only been two days since the operation, but already the knee is free of the crunchy, audible grinding that was the result of damaged cartilage rubbing against damaged cartilage every time I flexed or extended my knee. Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah. I am happy and hopeful and optimistic about getting some of my mobility back. I may never be able to run a marathon, but climbing stairs without creaking and being able to play in the park with the kids would be really amazing, InshaAllah. 🙂
I was given spinal anasthesia for the knee arthroscopy, so I was totally awake for the surgery. It was interesting, being paralyzed from the waist-down you feel like half of a person, and as I watched the surgeon, I was sure that the iodine-painted foot planted on his chest and the carrot-colored leg he was wrapping up must have been someone else’s. They were miles away and felt like no part of my own body. When I got back to the room, I was laughing. HF and I had a good time trying to move my toes, and although I was vaguely aware of sensation, I couldn’t tell how or what was touching any part of me. It was so bizarre. It didn’t last too long though. The surgery was at ten, and by around 12:30, I started to regain feeling in my legs. And then the pain level started to climb the stairs by twos, and even though I hadn’t wanted to, I had to ask for some pain relief.
Now, about morphine. Whoever has been doing the PR for morphine should get a bonus. When you think of morphine, you think of drowsy, blissed-out addicts sleeping their way into a happy oblivion. Morphine is, after all, named for Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. If there was a Greek god for vomiting every time you adjust position and losing consciousness all day, then it should have been named for him instead. Morphine was awful. When they were injecting me, HF asked the nurse “So, how long before this takes effect?”
The nurse said, “The full effect will take half an hour, but you should start feeling it right away.” That was when my head started spinning. Right then and there, with the ceiling going down and the floors going up, I told HF that I needed to get out of bed, do wudu, and pray before I wasn’t able to. And he looked at me skeptically, but he helped me out of bed, walked me to the sink, held me up while I staggered through wudu, washed my feet for me, and then led us in jamaat (I prayed in bed) where I briefly lost consciousness during the third of four rakats. At some point, we had visitors who brought doritos and cookies and nuts. HF said I giggled too much, I don’t remember. My head felt like it was full of cotton, and I couldn’t hear very well. I had some doritos and passed out sitting up in bed. Some of my sleep wasn’t sleep, it just felt like being deactivated. My eyes were closed, but I could still hear everything going on around me. And then some of my sleep felt like dreaming awake, which was scary and vivid and I woke up disoriented and not sure whether the dreams had been real or not.
Then there was a shift change, HF left and Owlie came in, and then the vomitting began. I was mentally fuzzy and twitchy and remarkably pain-free, but every time I changed position in bed, I threw up. I would doze off, wake up, vomit, fall asleep again, wake up, vomit, fall asleep… the cycle lasted until 9:30 pm, when I was alert enough to complain to the nurse, who then gave me another injection to control the nausea. Then the vomitting stopped, Alhamdulillah, and Owlie and I went to sleep by around 11pm, and the next morning, SubhanAllah I woke up feeling like myself again.
I have to say, the morphine was worse than the surgery. I cannot imagine why on earth people take it voluntarily. This wasn’t the first time I’ve had morphine, but it was the first time that it was given to me when I was conscious enough to be able to determine what it did to me. The last arthroscopy I had, I was partially sedated and given morphine before I even woke up, so coming out of surgery was hot, cold, itchy, shaky, nauseating, confusing, and mentally fuzzy for nearly eight hours afterwards. I didn’t know what caused what, it was all too much to deal with at once. With this surgery, once the spinal wore off, I was back to normal, and at no point was I nauseated, uncontrollably drowsy, or mentally fuzzy until I was given morphine. Which I would NOT ever take again voluntarily, thank you very much!
But right, the knee. Alhamdulillah, my surgeon (Hooray for Dr. Ali Al Belooshi!) cleaned up and trimmed down the damaged cartilage so that it no longer gets pulled and mashed and ground against when I move my knee. Yes, there’s less cartilage in my knee than there was before, but at least my knee no longer hurts to move, Alhamdulillah. I haven’t taken any pain killers since Friday morning (when the morphine finally wore off) and I am trying to stay that way. My knee doesn’t feel post-surgical painful, it just feels like a really, really bad day for my knee, which I have had plenty of in the past six months. So this pain isn’t out of the ordinary and is well within tolerability, Alhamdulillah. 🙂
JazakAllahuKheiran for the duas, I don’t know if I can post the surgery video yet, because my own laptop has died and this borrowed office laptop doesn’t have a video encoder, but as usual, the inside of my knee looks like a the inside of a cloud with frayed lining, which is then eaten by a small robot with revolving teeth. A typical arthroscopy. 🙂