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Operation: Get My Life Back (& My Knee Fixed)


 Well, I survived my surgery. 

Yay!

I got to the hospital on time & got checked in/taken to pre-op almost immediately. Of course I had to do the required pregnancy test.1  

Eventually, a nurse2 came in to set-up an IV—she only stuck me once, thus allowing her to join my unofficial Hall of Fame—while my nurse3 reviewed my medical history, medications, allergies, and the results of the unnecessary pregnancy test.4 I praised Candi for her achievement and tried to interact with Danielle. I was more calm and relaxed once the IV56 was set up. Danielle said the change in my demeanor after the IV was very noticeable.7 She wasn’t really thrilled, at first, with my mom saying that she was there to mock me while my IV got set up, but my mom explained why she does that.8 But she didn’t need to. 

One big fear down, a couple more to go. 

The antibiotic they used was clindamycin. It’s amazing how my old acne medicine is one of the few antibiotics my atopy-prone body has not declared war on. I guess it’s because it’s not really used that often. Danielle said that typically they’ll give Keflex9 and, if the person is allergic, they’ll use penicillin.10 Or the other way around?  Having a Keflex allergy while having a penicillin allergy isn’t exactly normal, despite their being related. It probably happened in me because of genetics11 and because my first antibiotic allergy was Ceclor, which is related to both Keflex & penicillin somehow. Anyway, Danielle made sure I was not allergic to clindamycin before they officially hooked it up. 

When the anesthesiologist came in, he insinuated that I wasn’t allergic to the medicines I listed. That changed as I explained the reactions.  Each person who reviewed my list, including him, did not understand why I listed my orange juice allergy12 under the section for food allergies. Hmm. I wonder why a person would list a food allergy as a food allergy. 

Maybe because:

Oranges and other fruits contain proteins that are chemically similar to pollen; eating these can cause itching and irritation of the mouth in certain people, many of whom also happen to be allergic to pollen… (via Newsweek)

That article points out that orange juice allergies can be worse for asthmatics because of our already inflamed airways. There are also some who believe that orange juice allergies can be a result of salicylate (aspirin-relatives) allergies/sensitivities.13 Basically, this orange juice allergy stuff is serious as fuck. 
But I digress…again. 

Before taking me to the OR, I was given a dose or so of Versed, aka midazolam.14 In some people,15 there is an unexpected reaction16 and medical professionals can go into denial mode over it because it is pretty much the opposite of what the drug is meant for.

Eventually, I was rolled off to the OR. Special latex precautions were taken, which was expected, and was the reason my surgery took place at the hospital instead of an outpatient surgery facility. I think I was the last surgery on the schedule and there may have been a good reason. The anesthesiology team consisted of the anesthesiologists ans 2 nurse anesthetists—the 3 were monitoring me for allergic/adverse reactions. Seriously. The patient board in the OR also mentioned I had multiple allergy issues.17

Eventually, the sleepy-time doc gave me the propofol and I zonked out. My parents said the surgery took five minutes and that my orthopedist, who I saw one time today…before the surgery, said my meniscus and fat pad were fine, but that the debris in my patella was made of bone flakes and that I definitely have arthritis. He also said I need to start exercising and trying to lose weight. I got pissed when he said that because this particular doctor always dismisses that I do exercise. I told him with a previous injury that I was injured while exercising. I told him this issue became noticeable while exercising.

As for trying to lose weight?

  
I’ve lost around 27% of the weight I wanted to lose. I’ve lost 32% of what I need to lose to reach a healthy weight. I would have lost more if my knee hadn’t been fucked up since Spring. Being fat doesn’t mean I should be dismissed like this. 

Pretending like all of this is due to weight and weight alone is also bullshit.18 I’m having a hard time believing that the meniscus and fat pad1920 are totally okay, given the symptoms. I just think he’s used this to tell me that he thinks poorly of me for my weight. And that’s pathetic and superficial crap. If he’d ever bothered to listen to me, he could have come to that conclusion on his own. 

After surgery, I started talking like crazy21 to the nurses in the recovery section, including Danielle, who was literally keeping watch over me afterward. She got so busy talking to me that she almost forgot to give me a dose of Fentanyl.22 And she almost forgot once again with my Demerol dose. At first, I wondered if she wanted to give me the pain relief injections because she thought it would shut me up. It just made me worse. It wasn’t long before I was getting discharged; we did have to wait for a drug-induced23 vertigo spell to pass. 

I also had the lovely experience of a different nurse doing a bad job of removing my IV. She was trying to take the tape off without tearing my skin. I would be grateful for that effort except that, while doing that, she ended up removing the catheter24 rather violently. It started bleeding. A lot. As I mentioned earlier on Instagram, removing an IV so violently is not only painful and dangerous to people with conditions like Ehlers-Danlos or any other chronic health issues, it is painful and dangerous for able-bodied, healthy folks, too. And if you factor in the time it takes to stop the bleeding, taking it out that way costs you more time. Be careful with IVs.

Soooo…

As you have probably figured out, the IV bleeding finally stopped & it didn’t kill me. Yay!

Anyway, it’s been several hours since I got home. I’m still pretty wired and may be so for several days to come. 


  1. I chose to avoid going to the bathroom upon waking to make sure I could take the test. If I hadn’t, they might have refused to do the surgery. They almost refused my endoscopy-colonoscopy procedures a few years ago because I didn’t have enough urine to take the test. Part of that lack of pee was from the dehydration that resulted from prep. 

  2. Candi 

  3. Danielle 

  4. Danielle apologized for that multiple times, especially since she knew I was taking hormonal birth control. It’s funny how the nurses who wanted dehydrated, virginal me to take the pregnancy test a few years ago for my endoscopy-colonoscopy combo didn’t apologize for demanding the test. The one who did when I had my D&C and hysteroscopy did. 

  5. Candi gave me lidocaine to ease some pain, which isn’t the greatest to use in Ehlers-Danlos patients. 

  6. The IV itaelf was quite painful. 

  7. She understood what it was like to be a hard stick. The last time she had an IV, it took ten times. I almost asked her if she was some long-lost cousin. 

  8. I’ve repeatedly mentioned the hard stick issue. I used to, as a small child, get blood work done a lot and had IVs started, and there were always vein issues—including when, as a preschooler, I had blood work done using a vein in my foot. I also was admitted to the hospital for asthma issues and the nurses setting up my IV wouldn’t let my mom come in while they did it. I kicked and screamed and cried and they just were mocking and not compassionate. I remember that as one of the few truly dissociative moments I’ve ever experienced. As a result, I was terrified of needles until I was a teenager. My mom—who I get my bad veins from, so she’s got an idea of how terrifying and painful vein stuff can be—could keep me calm by telling jokes. The calmer I was, the easier it was to hit the veins. It’s amazing how that works. 

  9. My latest antibiotic allergy. 

  10. It was my fourth antibiotic allergy. 

  11. Thanks, Nana & Mama. They had allergies to antibiotics, pain killers, and anesthetics, too. 

  12. I vomit, have uncontrollable stomach pains, and have asthma flare ups whenever I ingest it. This even happens when it’s an ingredient in a dish. I have to check ingredient lists closely for it & caffeine, or related products. 

  13. Guess what over the counter pain medication Nana has an anaphylactic reaction to when she takes it?! Even in the form of cream for arthritic joints. 

  14. Midazolam is a benzodiazepine that is used in lethal injections to calm the convicted individual so they don’t panic as they are exposed to other drugs that stop their hearts or suppress their breathing. 

  15. Children, some death row inmates who were executed in the recent past, and me… 

  16. They don’t fall asleep or stay asleep; hyperactivity & its short-term sedative effect is actually well-documented. 

  17. There were also my bright protocol bracelets. 

  18. Yes, my weight contributes. That’s part of why I was trying to exercise. 

  19. He’s never acknowledged that the MRI wasn’t the “nothing is wrong here” situation he has suggested. Maybe he doesn’t realize I’ve seen the results. 

  20. It was swollen enough yesterday that there was a lump right over it. 

  21. I think if I ever imbibed, I would be a chatty drunk. More specifically, a chatty, giggly drunk. Alas, I shall never know, unless you count my drunk-like state when dehydrated and my intoxicated state on anesthetics and pain killers. 👋🏻, booze, I think we could have had some fun, bur jt apparently wasn’t meant to be. 

  22. She told me I’d already had two other doses of it. 

  23. There were quite a few meds in my system. 

  24. The tubing that goes under the skin & into the vein that connects it to the IV. 


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.

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