July 12, 1999
This week, we have a true story by Pat Peterson , from Arnes, Manitoba. He took part recently in literacy classes with the Interlake Adult Learning Association (IALA).
I first started to get pain in my knee about two or three months ago. I thought it was just a sprain so I did not go to the doctor right away.
But the pain did not go away so I went to my doctor at the beginning of August. I told him what I had and he sent me to Dr. Froese who is a knee "specialist". He looked at my knee, heard what I had to say, and believed it was a torn cartilage. So he booked a knee scope and possible surgery for November first. That gave me a couple of months to make arrangements to get to the Seven Oaks Hospital.
At first I was scared of the upcoming surgery because one mistake would have me suffer with it for the rest of my life. Another worry was the lack of wages during the recuperating time after the surgery.
The day of the surgery I was driven to the hospital by my cousin. The nurse sent me to the locker room to change into a gown, slippers and a robe. They had me seated in a lazy boy chair and given a warm blanket. Then they took me to physiotherapy where they gave me crutches and showed me how to use them properly. They showed me my exercises to strengthen my knee so it will go back to normal after surgery is all over.
Then I was sent back to pre-op for an hour's wait. During that wait I was asked about allergies and previous illnesses. They put an I.V. into my left arm. A few minutes went by. Then it was my turn for surgery. I walked into the surgery room where I was derobed and put on the surgery table. And given a needle in my spine which froze me from the chest down. It gave me a very weird feeling not being able to feel my whole lower half.
They had the knee monitored through the whole surgery so I could watch. Also the doctor could tell me what he was doing and what was wrong with my knee. He found that I had a torn cartilage. I also had a piece of cartilage the size of a quarter missing from my thigh. They ground off all the loose pieces and took out the debris.
Then I was taken to recovery. It took me about an hour to get my feeling back in the lower half of my body. Then I was sent back to pre-op. for another half hour. They gave me toast and coffee then let me dress. Then the nurse took me to my cousin's car by wheelchair.
For me the surgery was not as bad as I had feared. It's like they say; "Fear is what makes things look worse than they really are."
[This story was taken with permission from a collection of learners' writings from the Interlake area of Manitoba, entitled Interlake Insights, published by the Interlake Adult Learning Association (IALA).]