Wednesday, March 12

My Mom, the Terminator

Mom had knee replacement surgery today. I didn't sleep well and was up early this morning so I wished her well and tried to get more sleep until I could see her post-op. There were, apparently, a rash of emergency patients this morning so she had to wait about 3 hours for a bed. The good news is that she got a disco room in the new wing that has a nice view and is quiet.

Dad and I were in the waiting room when they wheeled her off the elevator. I knew it was mom when I saw her hand. Isn't that weird? I'd know my parents hands anywhere. I was so happy to see her not only looking well but joking with the nurses. Her throat was a little dry and her voice a tad raspy but I thought I heard her asking where her In-n-Out burger was. As they wheeled her into her room I tried to stay out of the way while checking out the numerous tubes coming out of her. And what was with that ice chest? Did they save the old knee for fun?

One of the nurses told Mom she looked "so beautiful and right after surgery!". It's true, I have a pretty Mom and you'd never know her age. She is a Texas beauty who takes her hair and makeup very seriously. The most upsetting aspect of the surgery was the disturbing news that she wouldn't be allowed to wear makeup into surgery. *gasp!* Well, she managed to sneak some mascara and lipstick on and it was still there when we saw her hours later. Another nurse even said "I can't believe you still have lipstick on!" Well if anyone can get away with it, its Mom. After the nurses got her situated and left, I asked if she wanted us to leave ice chips or magazines on the bed table for her. She just asked "Are those shelves on my bed table?" Yes. "Then I want my hair and makeup stuff on the shelves, please." I dug through her overnight bag for the smaller bags that held her curlers, brushes, makeup and magnifying mirror as Dad fed her ice chips. Once I showed her where everything was she was happy.

Her knee is currently strapped to this big contraption that has it moving/bending constantly. It's crazy! Her knee is already moving. She is expected to stand on it tonight and walk on it tomorrow. *shudder* Thank God for morphine. She was not in pain when we saw her but she was very concerned about keeping the morphine clicker in her hand. I was worried she might fall asleep and drop it, so the nurse wrapped it around the bed's arm rest so she could get her hands on it easily. A couple of times Mom looked at me, winked and clicked her morphine drip. Even post-op she makes me laugh. I later learned that the ice chest held, well, ice. It was attached to another crazy contraption that worked as an ice pack on her new knee to control swelling. The other crazy IV stand was circulating her own blood back into her body. I guess they drained a bunch of blood from her, for the surgery, then returned it in recovery. It's all so much better than her last knee replacement.

The doctor told my Dad that her knee had been in very bad shape but the new one slipped right in with no complications. He was very pleased with the surgery. The whole thing took less than 2 hours and we saw that he had 2 more surgeries lined up right after Mom. I can't imagine that being my day. Get up at 6:00am to do 3-4 joint replacements, maybe do some rounds, then go home for dinner. Man, how does that work? Shandon probably knows about it from her Dad. Orthopedic specialists amaze me.

My cell phone has been ringing off the hook all day from well wishers. It's been nice. Right after Mom was out of surgery, Dad called me (I was still drying my hair, that's how off-guard I was). He then called my brother and I called the people on Mom's list of people who had asked for updates. I got to speak with her cousin who is really more like her brother. He is as funny as Mom and it was great to speak with him. I told him Mom had screamed the other night when she looked up pictures of what her surgery would look like. I heard her scream and called down the hall with "You better not be online looking at knee pictures!!" I couldn't look at them. Her cousin had surgery to muscles in his face and admitted the curiosity got to him right before his surgery and he also looked up pictures. I believe his surgery was experimental and done in a teaching hospital. He told me he agreed to have it recorded, since it might be helpful for interns, but that he now lived in constant fear that one day he'd be channel flipping and find video of his face turned inside out on some science show. He said he'd seen a knee replacement surgery on tv once and that they "just fold that leg back on top of you." Ewwww! I said "Should I check Mom's shins for lipstick marks?" We cracked ourselves up. He then clarified that when the old knee has been removed, they actually flop the leg AT THE KNEE up and rest it on your thigh. Ok, seriously... that's disgusting. He said it was so they could get a "straight shot" with the drill. *Oh God, I may barf* I was just glad I hadn't heard that before her surgery. SO GROSS!!!

Anyway, if you're still reading this, and not hurling into a waste basket, that's the story of Mom's knee replacement so far. I'll be seeing her again tonight but I have a feeling she'll be sleeping. The nurses told her tomorrow was a big day and recommended resting up. I asked if they made the hip and knee replacement patients race down the hall and if we could bet on them. There's just nothing like making a nurse laugh. I don't think they get to chuckle very often. One of the coordinators remembered Mom but we're not sure from when. Mom's had a couple of minor surgeries in the past decade but I guess she made an impression. She always does.

Thanks to my buddies for sending positive vibes our way. I'll be sure to keep you all up to date on Mom's progress. Oh, and for those with weak stomachs, I don't think future posts will be as disturbing as this one. However, for those curious, here is a fun virtual knee replacement site. I haven't the nerve to go through it, but if you're interested... well, let me know how it goes.


shandon said...

Yay! Give your sweet Mom a big hug and kiss from me. I can hardly wait to see her!

kb said...

They folded her leg back up onto her thigh? I don't think I can look at your Mom ever again without picturing that. It's the kind of thing that will somehow work it's way into one of my dreams. I'm so glad she's doing well, though!!