Mahnee N. Payne
I arrived at Bon Secours/Mercy Mary Immaculate Hospital bright and early the day of my surgery. (As I couldn’t have anything to eat or drink, wear any makeup, perfume or lotion, there really wasn’t a lot to do except get dressed, brush my teeth and hair and take my pre-surgical antibiotics before going to the hospital). Due to COVID -19, I had my temperature taken and had to answer all the questions du jour before being escorted to surgical check in. They sent a nice lady in scrubs with a wheelchair to come collect me. She wheeled me out of the main waiting area, into the surgical holding area, stopped at a scale to weigh me, and she then proceeded to take me into my room.
My responsible person had to stay in the waiting area and could not come back to the pre-op holding area with me. So, at least for now in the era of COVID-19, if you are headed into surgery soon and are anxious or apprehensive about it, please understand that you will be alone pretty much the whole time when it comes to having loved ones or friends with you for comfort and company. However, there is some good news. The nurses are very nice and are with you much of the time, talking to you. They tend to keep you fairly busy once you get in the room, as they know what you’re feeling and thinking. This isn’t their first rodeo and they understand if you need a hug or are feeling scared. Talk to your surgeon as well. Bring your phone or something to read if you get bored easily. They do have TVs in the room, if you want to watch TV.
Once in the room, the nice lady in scrubs asked me to take my clothes off and then wiped me down with warmed antibacterial wipes. She gave me a gown to put on. She then swabbed out my nose with antibacterial swabs. She asked me to get in bed and then put on those lovely hospital socks with the rubbery thingees on the bottom and covered me up with a sheet and blanket. She gave me a hospital mask to replace the one I wore from home and a hair cap. She put all my clothes and shoes into a plastic bag for safekeeping while I had surgery.
About that time, a nurse came in and introduced herself and started asking me a bunch of questions about my surgical procedure. While she was doing all of this, she started hooking up my blood pressure cuff, my pulse oximeter, putting electrodes on my chest, etc., so that she could get me hooked up to the monitors that would be used to keep track of my vital signs.
Then she said it was time to start my IV. I told her that I was not good with needles and did not want her to dig around in my arm. I told her that I would give her 2 tries and then I would start swinging. Literally. She told me to trust her and she confidently got the IV in the first time in a vein in my forearm. Brava!
Dr. Haynes came in to see me and of course we cut up and laughed as usual. He marked my surgical leg and asked me if I had any last-minute questions. I really didn’t because I had already chewed his ear off so many times before. He said that my MRI came back solid and that we were good to go with our original game plan, using the Smith & Nephew Journey XR 2 implant, using the Subvastus approach, which would spare me significant surgical trauma since it cuts no muscle or tendon. I said I was ready and for him to do a good job. He promised he would!
Soon after that, the Anesthesiologist came in to visit me. He again asked me a lot of the same questions that I had been asked before. Remember, this redundancy is for your safety. I told him that I would be writing an article about my experience and he said he was happy to answer more questions, I asked if I would be intubated for the procedure and he said I would not be. “Why not”, I asked? “Because I did not need to be paralyzed; therefore, no intubation was needed”, he said. Instead, they would use a nerve block and I could choose to have twilight sedation for the procedure or be asleep. I said that I wanted to be knocked out, because I knew there would be a lot of drilling, sawing and hammering going on, just like a construction project. He said that he would make that happen. A little while before the surgery was to start, he and his team would come back and give me something for pain and then would administer the nerve block above my right knee. He answered all my questions and then left the room.
I watched a little TV, took a picture of my IV for this article and before you know it, the Anesthesia team hustled back into my room to do the nerve block. Well, I really wasn’t ready, I mean are you really ever ready? But the next thing I know, they say, “We’re going to give you something for pain”. I’m hoping that they wait a minute or two for the medication to kick in before they start causing said pain, but shortly thereafter, they poke a needle in my leg above my knee. I remember it being uncomfortable at the time, but now, I guess the drugs they gave me were so good, I don’t remember how bad it was or I just don’t care anymore. In other words, nerve block GOOD. Get the nerve block. You’ll thank me later.
After that, the nurses came to wheel me into the operating room. Let me tell you now… I love to look around the OR. I am such a nerd. I guess it’s because I’m fascinated with medical things and surgery. I want to see what everything is, all of the equipment, the monitors, the lights, everyone is so busy, it’s so cold in there, so many people, everyone is so nice. I remember seeing Dr. Haynes’ Physician Assistant Chris, talking to the implant rep, Cody, at a table over at the side of the room. They moved me onto the operating table like I was Jesus getting onto the cross, with my arms strapped out to the sides. Everyone was talking, it was a blur of activity.
It seemed like I was awake for quite a while in there before finally being put to sleep. It was all good and I was at peace knowing I was in good hands. I remember saying a prayer for Dr. Haynes and the OR team that God would watch over them during surgery and that that I would have a good outcome. The Anesthesiologist asked me if I was ready and that I was going to sleep now. That’s all I remember until I woke up in recovery.