Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm home from surgery!!!

I really should have posted more about this earlier, like Tuesday when I had my pre-surgical consults but I forgot.

A little background for those not in the know... I injured my knee while in Iraq back in September of '08. They didn't know what the extent of the injury was then because medical facilities in Iraq are pretty much limited to life saving equipment. I had been complaining about knee pain after long convoys; in fact it was so bad that after a long convoy I couldn't bend my knees. Each time I went I was told that it was overuse and that I needed to "take it easy". Finally one day in September I was sitting on the side of a trailer with my feet on the tires. The tires on these trailers stick out several feet wider than the deck and pretty much run the length of the deck. Anyway, I went to stand up and turn at the same time to get up on the deck and just as I put weight on my right knee it snapped or popped. The kind of sound and feeling you get when you crack a knuckle for example. The leg gave out and I ended up on my butt on the deck. I couldn't fully extend my knee and I couldn't bend it past about 20 or 30 degrees. I was put on crutches for about a week and they tried to drain my knee once, but other than that not much was done while I was in Iraq.

It took a long time to get taken seriously once in the states but around May I was diagnosed with a pair of meniscal tears in my right knee. There are two meniscuses in your knee and they act like bushings between the upper bone of the leg and the lower two. An MRI showed that both my medial and lateral (inner and outer) meniscus had torn but didn't give enough resolution to see exactly how bad. The meniscus grow out of the tops of the lower bones and because they rely on the bones for blood flow they grow slowly. The plan was to go in orthoscopically de-breed the bad cartilage and then sew the ends of the good cartilage together to make the meniscuses whole again. Unfortunately when they got in there they discovered that one of the meniscuses was torn so badly that it had flapped forward into the middle of the joint. Naturally I don't remember any of this because of all the IV drugs they gave me but they told me and Diana that everything went smoothly. All I know is when I woke up it felt like someone had taken a sledge hammer to my knee and it took 6 mg's of Morphine to dull the pain.

Looking forward I have a fairly long recovery since it was not just a simple procedure like they had hoped. It's going to be three days before I can take off a brace they wrapped around my right knee and both legs have special stockings on them to help blood flow while the IV drugs work out of my system. I start physical therapy/rehab on Monday but they don't project that I'll even be able to drive a car for 6 to 8 weeks.


Mom Jones said...

How surprising to find a blog entry ... even though I do check your blog every day ... serious!

I'm glad your arthroscopic surgery and knee debridement went well, Jesse. I used to type up surgical summaries for just such procedures as you've had! So thankful that you were able to get this surgery over with. We will pray that this will resolve your knee issues and you can get on with your life in a much less painful fashion!

See you, right there in El Paso, with my very own eyes three weeks from tonight ... if the Lord allows that is. Much love to you, Diana, and the kiddos!

mom and dad hand said...

Hi Jesse: So glad you posted how
your surgery went and what they
found. I, like your mom, do check
Diana's and your blogs everyday just
in case. It sounds like it was
quite an ordeal for you physically
and very stressful for you and Diana.

We prayed all the time and now are
praying that recovery goes well. I
know you are going to work hard and
so will Diana, like you always do.

Just now you are all in our hearts
and minds all the time and that
we love you all very much.

Appreciate the background information and the explanation
of your injury, too.

Dad Hand said...

Glad to hear the surgery went smoothly. Now that it's fixed you can concentrate on recovery. Do what they say and don't try to overdo. Our prayers are with you, Diana, Emma, Chris and Matt. Love you all. Dad Hand

Jesse Pahman said...

Thanks for all the well wishes. I really am feeling much better, in fact better than before the surgery. There certainly is a good amount of pain, but I was in pain before the surgery.

One of the three braces they have me wearing right now (at the same time) has my leg locked straight and is removing any weight from the knee.

I start rehab on Monday and I'm working to get my laptop connected to the projector in the living room so I'll do my best to keep updates coming; I can't believe I let so much time go by without posting something here.