Monday, March 14, 2011


Several people have kindly asked about the outcome of my knee replacement surgery, so here is the status.

The operation went well, I came home from the hospital last Friday, and I'm currently doing rehab at home under supervision from the Kaiser Home Health Care team.  The surgeon said the xrays look very good.

The amazingly good news is my low pain level.  Anyone who's ever replaced a knee winces at the thought of the rehab exercises, especially in early days.  My surgical team used a new procedure called a femoral nerve block:  they insert a tiny catheter in the leg and feed painkillers just to the femoral nerve.  I came out of anesthesia with a pain level of zero in the operated leg; I couldn't believe it.  They leave the nerve block in place for about 2 days, during which you rest quietly and have basically no pain at all.  When they remove it, your pain level is still MUCH lower than what I used to consider "normal."  I will probably be able to get through rehab with only a couple of narcotic doses per day, to let me exercise; when I'm resting, I don't need narcotics at all.  I can't praise this new method enough.  In both earlier surgeries I took narcotics around the clock for several weeks.

I'm less sure about my long-term prognosis.  There was more damage than we hoped, and one leg is now slightly longer than the other.  But each day my leg feels stronger and more stable, and I'm feeling more and more positive at least about the near term.  Many thanks to all my friends who have asked about my status, and sent good wishes my way!

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