Thursday, September 9, 2010

moms knee replacement op

finally the time has come for moms knee replacement op.. an op shes been trying to avoid.. putting it off for as long as she can.. partly due to her stubborness and thinking she'll get better and partly because of the horror stories of the pain involved to go thru with it all... putting up with on some days excruciating pain till the inevitable had to happen

but it hasnt been all smooth sailing

esp on the health care cover side of things... a total nightmare that in my opinion they dont care for U and couldnt care less who U are and what U are going thru.. a money spinning revenue greed machine who suck U bone dry and spit U out at the crucial moment..

ok so in May mom gets a letter informing her that her knee replacement (and other non elective/pre existing conditions that require surgery on their list) will no longer be covered under her current policy & if she required cover for it she should upgrade her cover as soon as possible.. this she did.. however as low as they are they stooped to below cunt status when they informed us that now she will have a 12 month waiting period before she can claim

did we hear that correctly? a 12 month waiting period for someone thats been a current member for over 10 years? apparently so

so now we were faced with dilemma.. do we wait the 12 months in agony and slowly watch her deteriorate further? (her condition was worsening.. her normally energetic nature & active lifestyle she enjoyed was severly limited) can the doc somehow be sympathetic and allow her to pay him off for his costs over time? can the hospital portion be covered at least? can we go public?

investigating further and with the health fund informing us that NO portion of her knee replacement will be covered within the 12 month waiting period (have the surgery now.. claim later included) & public waiting lists the same waiting length.. she had no option but to pay for it herself.. forcing her to take out a loan to cover her medical costs

nevertheless.. this post doesnt aim to be bitter... I could go on about the procedure we were put thru with the banks.. but this post is focused on mom & her op.. so to cut a long story short.. her loan was approved and arrangements were made to book her in for surgery at a private hosp close by

all this placed a great deal of stress on her and the family.. as if the lead up to surgery wasnt enough.. suddenly the realisation of her fraility and pain was all too apparent to me.. this was it.. this is what she had to go thru to get better.. and on some days I couldnt cope with it.. the surgery itself carried risks of chest infection due to the heavy use of painkillers and spinal blocks and immobilization for extended periods.. and the surgery procedure itself when explained to me totally freaked me out.. our family has always been healthy and noone has ever had a major op like this ever.. I didnt know what to expect & I suddenly was faced with the possibility that things will never be the same again

if U can imagine making a fist with both hands and holding them together (with arms bent at right angles) and imagine your left arm from fist to elbow is your thigh bone and your right arm from fist to elbow is your shin bone and the fists in the middle are your knee joints.. what we normally have between the knee joints is soft cushioning cartilage seperating the joints.. in moms case the cartilage had completely worn away due to normal wear and tear of aging brought on by arthitis and both her joints were touching .. grinding.. causing her joints to splinter.. in turn causing her immense pain.. this is present on both knees but more marked on her right

fixing it consists of smoothing over the splintered joint and "capping" both ends of the joint (thigh & shin) with a heavy duty stainless steel cap and attaching a flexible rubbery latexy device inbetween acting as the cartilage..this is a permanent procedure we were told.. as the parts were designed to last a lifetime.. so that meant there was no chance of having bad knees ever again

she was finally admitted on Sunday 5th with surgery confirmed for Monday 6th Sep and shes doing well

on Monday after surgery she mainly slept all day due to the IV morphine and spinal blocks not worn off yet.. nausea and vomiting was present for most of the day which is common .. she was off her food.. but the main thing was she was pain free.. she wore compressed stockings that were contracting and releasing mechaically at short intervals to keep the circultion in her knees going and was hooked up to a device which kept an eye on her vital functions

on Tuesday the groggyness was still apparent but was easing.. she managed a few mouthfuls and fluids.. her specialist came by to see her and she was told she was progressing well.. her spinal block had worn off and she was able to start wiggling her toes.. they dont waste anytime and she was told that she would be got out of bed and commence weight baring and a few steps.. but when they did so.. she was overcome by dizzyness and did not continue.. still the main thing was she was virtully pain free.. and the walking can come when shes ready & stronger

this gave us the oppportunity to become close.. caring for mom.. talking about how she felt.. it was our turn now to be there for her after all she had done for us over the years.. this made me remember back to my fracture of the knee and how she nursed me back to full recovery.. being there making sure I was comfy.. doing my chores when I couldnt.. caring for me.. running my errands.. now it was my turn..

Day 3 saw the IV morphine removed along with the vital fucntion monitor.. and the compression stockings.. she was allowed to spend time out of bed on her favourite chair.. watching TV reading doing her exercises.. swelling of her knee joint was becoming apparent so she was given an ice pack to keep it under control.. she was eating fine by now thanks to ceasing the IV morphine and her pain was being kept under control via oral tablets of endone and infection at bay thanks to keflex.. she did experience pain theres no doubt.. but it was managable.. and her dressings consisted only of a waterproof gause and firm elasticised band which keep her knee straight

Day 4 saw her in a bit of pain.. because any morphine that she had in her system had worn off and she was given morphine in tablet form this made her feel nausious again and sleepy.. still she was able get out of bed with the aid of her walking frame to shower & go to the toilet on her own and go for short walks in the hallway when she felt bored.. her specialist came to see her again and remarked how well she was doing and mentioned she will soon be able to commence her physio at the rehab centre

all in all it is a painful procedure but one where the pain can be minimised and recovery is fast.. in fact I thought that she would be in much more pain and be slow to get up and about again.. so she continues to surprize us.. and continues to make a speedy recovery

more to come.. from physio xx