Wednesday, September 29, 2004

This is it --- knee day arrives: pre-op

Knee-day: Wednesday, 29-Sep-2004:
I woke up, showered, and took my normal AM meds with a sip of water. Then it was on to hospital. I checked in, and was escorted to the surgical waiting room. We watched CNN for a few minutes, and then ...

Pre-op suite:
A nurse came and walked me into the pre-op suite. She looked at my chart and said “Just to verify the plan, you are scheduled to have both knees replaced, right?” Panic attack! I was supposed to only have my right knee replaced. Fortunately, the bilateral indication was only on the OR schedule, everyone else involved had it right --- unilateral, right knee only. I gave a urine sample. I was asked to move my bowels if possible.

And then I took off my street clothes, and put them into a bag (which apparently stayed with my gurney). Put on a hospital gown. A nurse shaved my right leg with a disposable electric razor (3M brand). It was not a terribly close shave, and the nurse and I talked about this change in surgery prep. The first of many BP checks occurred, and then an IV port was placed in my left hand.

And then ... I waited. I watched CNN, and my wife was eventually allowed to wait with me. I told the nurse that I had brought my normal prescriptions with me for that evening and for the remainder of stay. She said that the surgeon would prescribe matching meds from the hospital pharmacy for the duration of my stay. She gave no explanation --- my assumption is that patient-provided meds could be adulterated, or in error. This way, the hospital is fully responsible for the meds, since they are the ones doing the dispensing. This is an understandable legal/ethical position.

There was a phone call. “They’re about ready for you”. I get onto a gurney and am wheeled into the anesthesia suite. My wife kisses me on the cheek and goes back to the waiting room.