My family

My family
My Family

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In sickness...

For the past month I have watched my better half suffer from intense knee pain.  As a wife, it pains me to witness my husband hurting. 

What did Adam do to hurt his knee?   Three words...we don't know.  Last November or December Adam fell on the ice while carrying our niece.  He landed on his knee, had normal pain and bruising that lasted a week.  In February, Adam embarked on a complete kitchen renovation.  During the final weeks of cabinet install, he began having pain in his knee. 

This pain progressively became intolerable.  Mid-March Adam made an appointment to see a local orthopedic surgeon to determine what was causing all of his pain.  The doctor ordered x-rays and an MRI but believed he had a torn meniscus.  He also instructed Adam to stay off his knee and use crutches at all times.

At this time, Adam's knee pain went from bad to worst.  He could no longer straighten it fully.  Adam was taking pain killers around the clock - even waking at night to horrific pain.

Adam went to see the orthopedic two weeks following his original appointment.  At this time, this doctor informed Adam that although the MRI said the meniscus was not torn, he believed it was and wanted to schedule surgery for the repair.  This local doctor was very arrogant and offended that Adam wanted a second opinion.  **Note:  we had several negative reviews of this surgeon, so knew that if surgery was needed, we would be going with another doctor in STL that we had recommendations for.

That day I drove a copy of Adam's x-rays and MRI over to STL for the second opinion surgeon to review.  Two days later, they called to give us their thoughts - Yes, Adam did need surgery.  It was scheduled for May 9 - more than a month away.  At this time Adam had been on crutches and out of commission for almost 3 weeks.  I was quickly becoming too overwhelmed being a "single mom", wife, and pregnant.  During the next week Adam saw his primary doctor for a refill of pain killers and ask about possible injections to allow him to function until surgery in May.

Adam also called Dr. Lehman's office to ask to be put on a waiting list in the event they had a cancellation.  He explained our situation (pregnant wife, 1 year old) and his pain level.  Amazingly they were able to move his surgery up to April 15! 

April 14, Adam and I met with Dr. Lehman in his office for his pre-operative exam.  At this appointment, we learned the severity of his knee injury - much worst than a simple meniscus tear - a bone chip.  We also were informed that Adam's lack of mobility in his knee was extremely serious.  Dr. Lehman prescribed a long road of physical therapy and home equipment use to regain use of the knee.

April 15 - Surgery day!  We arrived at Des Peres hospital in STL at 1:00 for his surgery (scheduled for 3:30).  I was able to stay with Adam during his prep and at 3:00 he was wheeled away as I was directed to the waiting area.  In this waiting room there was a board with patients initials stating their progress (holding, surgery, recovery, outpatient recovery).  The room was very busy with families.  I quickly discovered that surgeries were running about 3 hours behind due to an overloaded schedule (42 scheduled, double the normal number).

I waited and waited while I watched the board anxious for Adam's name to move from "holding" to "surgery".  At 5:00 the waiting room phone rang, it was Adam's nurse, she wanted to let me know he was bored and he would still be at least another 2-3 hours before he would be in and out of surgery, so I should go eat something.  While I was gone Adam was taken into surgery, approximately 5:30.  At this hour, most of the families had left the waiting room.  I bonded with the remaining three families waiting with me, to pass the time and keep my mind from creating images of Adam laying in surgery.  Finally at 7:15 Dr. Lehman came to let me know how his surgery went.  He informed me that Adam had several large chunks of bone chipped off in his knee, a small tear in his meniscus, lots of fluid and scar tissue.  Everything was repaired and Adam would start physical therapy on Monday.

Around 9:00 I was finally able to go see Adam.  He looked pale - very difficult to see him like this, but he was in good spirits.  We finally arrived at home close to midnight after a very emotional, long day.

So far, his pain has not been as bad as originally expected.  He begins PT on Monday, so I am sure that will be difficult.  Dr. Lehman believes that the entire recovery will take about 2 months.  Thankfully, baby A isn't due until mid-July, so he should be back to normal before his baby girl is born.

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