Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

You know I’m bad; I’m bad you know it


Propofol is where it’s at, ladies and gents. Throw in a side of Versed, and it’s the best day you’ll have all week.

As we have repeatedly established here, I hate general anesthesia. Hate it. I always get massive nausea, no matter what precautions are taken (e.g. Scopalamine patch applied the day before surgery) or the medicines that are thrown at it after surgery (e.g. Zofran, Phenergan, and Reglan). I also have a hard time waking up and significant memory loss. The first knee scope I had resulted in three days that I do not remember. During that time, I ended up in a town two hours away and had no memory of how I got there. I also agreed to and signed up for a triathlon after that one. So, those directions they give you about not signing legal papers for at least 24 hours after surgery? Yeah, it’s important to follow them.

Back to the point of this post. My surgeon knows that I can’t handle the idea of general anesthesia, so he agreed to work with me this time. Since we were planning a pretty simple (comparatively) hardware removal and arthroscopy, he decided to do a nerve block instead of anesthesia. To be specific, he decided on an adductor canal block. This one uses ultrasound guidance to inject anesthetic around the saphenous nerve about mid-thigh.

Turns out, surgeons can be trumped. Even though I’d talked with my doc about how we weren’t going to do anything other than a block, my anesthesiologist disagreed. He had already looked at my previous records (points to him for that) and knew that we weren’t doing general anesthesia, but he wanted to use Propofol and Versed. I said straight up no to the Versed because I hate the idea that it’s meant to induce memory loss. I argued until he (literally) threw his hands in the air and said in an exasperated tone, “It’s like you’re asking a carpenter to build a house with only a hammer!” I finally gave in just to get the show on the road. Also because the surgical nurse was standing outside the door, tapping her foot while waiting to take me to the OR.

I walked back to the OR and was helped onto the table. I was awake for more of the prep than I’ve ever been. I was awake for the block, and it was not a big deal. Didn’t really hurt, but I was also distracted by the nurses getting me ready. My arms were placed out to the sides and strapped down. A large something or other was place over my chest and arms, and it blew warm air to keep me from getting chilled from the cool OR temperature. A nasal cannula was placed for extra oxygen. My surgeon placed the tourniquet. Someone (I think his PA) put a soft block under my left foot. And then I was out. Actually, I suspect I wasn’t out, but the Versed kept me from remembering anything past that point.

I woke up in the recovery room, and I felt the best I’ve ever felt after surgery. The clock was right at the foot of my bed, so I could see that I woke up right at 7:30 (that’s pm; it was a long day). By 7:35, I was asking my nurse how long I had to stay there. Her response was “one hour.” By 7:45, I was asking if I HAD to stay for the WHOLE hour or if that was just a guideline. By 7:50, after I declared myself ready to go, the nurse gave an exaggerated sigh and said, “We’ll take your vitals at 8, and then we’ll see.”

My surgeon randomly walked through the recovery room and stopped to check in (I think he was the only one still doing surgeries that late). I told him I felt great and was ready to leave. He said that everything went well. He took out the screws, cleaned up some cartilage on the patella, looked at some of the other cracked cartilage and removed a large mound of fibrous scar tissue on the lateral side.

So far, with this surgery, I’ve felt much better than even after the last scope (and worlds better than the big surgery). The worst part was the 12 hours I spent with my head in a bowl after taking two doses of the narcotic pain reliever. I was told to take the pain medicine as soon as I got home so that I had it in my system before the block wore off. I shouldn’t have listened.

Below are the two screws that were placed to hold my tibial tubercle in its new position about 16 months ago and have now been (obviously) removed. I told the nurse I didn’t want to see them, but they ended up going home with me anyway because she said everyone wants to see their hardware. I guess it’s cool to see how big they are–look, they’re bigger than the cat in the background.


Yes, they are in the same kind of specimen cup I had to pee in prior to surgery. TMI?

Right knee. Two days after hardware removal and arthroscopy.

The ‘ol knee two days after surgery. A bit swollen, but not too bad!

p.s. The title of this post is in reference to MJ. When told that I was going to get Propofol, I was informed that no one has had a bad reaction to it. “You know, it’s the stuff that Michael Jackson took.” To which I replied, “Um, is that not what you’d call a bad reaction?”


Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

9 thoughts on “You know I’m bad; I’m bad you know it

  1. I am so jealous that they let you take your screws home!!! Seems to me people used to be taking things like their appendixes home in jars all the time, but they won’t let me have ANYTHING they take out of me. [Pouting]

    Good job doing what you’re advised…i.e. less than YOU think you can. I’ve been more conservative than my surgeon wanted me to be (since I decided my third surgery was going to be my last EVER), and while that could be the reason I’m not yet as mobile as I want to be, 11 months later, I am virtually pain-free.

    I kept up with your blog when I was starting my rehab, and your gung-ho “if 20 reps is good, then 200 must be GREAT” attitude was a good reminder to me that it was probably safe to do more than I thought I should. You sound like you need a reminder in the opposite direction…it is ok to follow directions! It might be your best chance of making this your last surgery.

    • Haha! Guilty. Two hundred IS better, right? Maybe not always… I’m definitely working hard on sticking to my prescribed program this time. That’s harder than doing the exercises themselves!

      Congrats to you on being virtually pain free at this point! That’s huge! I’m sure the mobility will keep improving as you move along. It’s sometimes hard to remember that ortho surgeries take a long time to recover from, and you can still make improvements 12-18 months afterwards. Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi. I think we’re living parallel lives! I’m having my screws removed on the 22nd from my Fulkerson done in May last year. I also had a medial patellofemoral ligament replaced and a lateral release in november 2012 followed by an anchor removal (I popped it out somehow) and scope in february 2013. I have done well, then pushed hard, had set backs, been depressed, got somewhat better, and the cycle repeats. AND…get this…I’m also a rider! I have a very handsome paint. He’s black and white like the GV you showed!!!! I have been able to ride recently and often. I can even post. Today my horse was a bit of a turd and we argued on the trail so my knees are pretty sore. But hey…I can ride! :)

    I’m curious how you are feeling after your hardware removal. I only took a week off of work for this. I hope that will do it.

    So glad I found your blog. It’s nice to find someone who really gets it!

    • Hey Joanna! SO crazy! I’m glad you found my blog, too. I never wish knee trouble on anyone, but I do appreciate getting in touch with folks who really know what it’s like to deal with the fallout. Sounds like you’ve been through the ringer.

      I’m jealous that you’ve been riding! I can’t wait to get back to it. I was able to ride a few times last fall, and that just made me want to push even harder to get back in the saddle. I’m impressed that you’re posting. I haven’t made it much past a walk in the last few years. What’s your horse’s name? I love paints. If our horses didn’t keep us on our toes, it wouldn’t be nearly as exciting. :)

      I’m feeling really good after the hardware removal. That also included a scope to clear out some more cartilage damage and a big chunk of scar tissue. I’ve been taking it really slow this time because I’ve promised myself to try to stick with the program. That said, I never used crutches, and I was walking without much of a limp in two days’ time. Now, I didn’t walk much at all; most of last week has been spent keeping my leg elevated and iced as much as I can. I think you’ll be fine with a week off work. Good luck!

      • Hi!! I’m in bed…surgery is in the am. Although this is a “little” surgery, I suddenly got really stressed today. And I’m grumpy!!! I hate that!

        On to better topics…horses. :). My boy is Joe. Funny that he and I have the same name. I didn’t name him; Jo and Joe were just meant to be. Getting back into riding had been challenging. It was painful for quite awhile. I rode bareback a lot so there wouldn’t be any pressure on my knees by allowing any weight into the stirrups. That helped a ton. I also bought an English saddle for a different leg position. That helped too. Thank goodness for tack swaps!! Then, one day, I could post. And do a two-point. Soooooooo exciting. I really hope you can get back to riding more frequently!

        Wish me luck. See you on the hardware-less side! ;)

        • I hope your surgery went well today! I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “little” surgery, especially if it involves general anesthesia, so I don’t blame you one bit for being nervous. Or grumpy, really. It’s not fun.

          I love the Jo-Joe combo. How cool that you found each other! What little riding I did last fall was a mix of bareback and in a Western saddle. I usually ride English, but the chunky monkeys don’t fit in anything we have anymore. I’ll have to look into getting a new (wider) English saddle. But first! I must simply recover enough to ride at all. :)

          I can hardly believe that you’re posting and doing two-point. I’m jealous. Do you jump? I miss that part.

          What did you do, at the beginning when it was painful, to make sure that your knee recovered? Icing? Elevating? Compressing? Gritting your teeth and just getting on with it?

          Again, hope your surgery was a success and that you have a speedy recovery!

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