Yesterday I attended what my hospital calls “Knee Class”. In the class we talked with case managers, a floor nurse, and a physical therapist.
Before class I had a meeting with one of my doctors personal nurses about a clinical study I am going to be a part of surrounding the implants they are going to use for my replacements. If I remember correctly I will be getting the Biomet Vanguard complete knee system with the E1 Antioxidant Infused Tibial bearings, I have the exact information at home but am currently out of town visiting my brother.
After the meeting I spoke a few minutes with the case manager about my post-surgery care. We choose which hospital I will be going to for five days of inpatient physical therapy and then talked about the assistive devices that I will be needing at home once I get home.
Once my meeting was over with the case worker I just sat and waited for the rest of my class mates (which were all at least 30 years older than me) to show up and then for the class to get started. After they all meet with the case managers the class got started with one of the floor nurses walking us through what to expect.
Since I will be staying the night before in one of the hospitals hotels I will be able to relax in my room all the way up to time for me to go to pre-op. They will come get me from my hotel room and wheel me directly to pre-op about an hour and a half before my surgery. She talked us through showering with a special soap to help remove as much bacteria as possible and then what to expect in pre-op. The main thing I was concerned with was wether they will be shaving my entire leg or just the surgical area. I have had knee surgery before and they just did the surgical area leaving me looking like I had long socks on because of my hairy legs. She said I could ask for them to remove all hair but to not do it myself because they prefer to do it for infection reasons.
Once they get me into surgery it should take about 3.5 to 4 hours to get my new knees in place, then I will spend another hour and a half in post-op before finally getting moved to my room for the next three nights. During those days I will be attending physical therapy where I will learn basic movements like getting in and out of bed and cars, getting up stairs with my walker, and other daily movements. I will also learn my physical therapy exercises that I will be performing daily to improve my range of motion along with strength around my knee.
The nurse talked about a few of the assistive devices that I will be using and also showed us the cooling system that I will be using to ice my knees down. That was pretty much all the nurse had to tell us, it was pretty informative and helped to answer some lingering questions of mine.
Next up was one of the physical therapist. He kept things short and sweet and basically just told us what to expect daily while in the hospital and the equipment we will be using. Once he was finished we were dismissed from class.
It was close to lunch time and I had about 40 minutes before my appointment to get the medical clearance for surgery but I went straight to the clinic in hopes of getting in early.
The ladies at the front all made comments about my age but worked me in quickly and got me checked in. They also gave me an estimated cost of my visit (just under $39,000) along with what portion I will be responsible for. It only took a few minutes for the staff to call me to the back and start my physical. After asking a few questions, taking my weight, blood pressure, and pulse ox we moved on to getting an EKG. Everything came back normal and the I meet with one of the hospitalist who reviewed my medications and then told me what meds I will have to discontinue before surgery. I expressed some concern about a possible flare up with my psoriasis and she said to contact my Rheumatologist and discuss with them about one of the drugs and possibly staying on it an extra week to hopefully keep this from happening.
Overall it only took an hour to get my medical clearance and be on my way out the door for the day. Now I just have to wait for the next 21 days to pass by, though I will be busy working on my to-do list, hopefully getting it all checked off before I leave the day before to check into the hotel.
Now that I know what to expect when I arrive to the hospital and the next few days I can hopefully be relaxed and as prepared as possible, which should make the journey into my next chapter an easier one.