Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Report from Kansas University Medical Center: Husband Glenn had surgery Wednesday. It is ugly surgery, lots of bloody bone cutting, implants, and drains. The doctors said the surgery went well though they forgot to come out and tell me that. At bedtime, he had whopper of a problem with Respiratory Therapy. The next day, the patient advocate came in, took a report, said she would do something about it, and apologized. She gave us her card and left.

Day two went a little better. Glenn’s doctor used a neuro block which was meant to keep the pain level low for the first two days. Glenn’s leg is in a CPM (continuous Passive Motion) machine that bends and extends the knee to keep the joint flexible. The supervisor of Respiratory Therapy came in to hear about the incident the night before. She apologized, also. Respiratory Therapy has been great ever since.

There have been the usual assortment of aggregations that go along with hospital stays, hurry up and wait moments and an overabundance of pressed turkey sandwiches. With few notable exceptions, the nursing care has been good.

Day three: Not eating. Supposed to be up and walking more, (so far not doing much of that.) The automatic pain injector has been discontinued. Glenn is now on pain medication by mouth and injection. He has lost a considerable amount of blood so needs a couple of transfusions. That’s next and requires a member of a team called I. V. Specialists. The RN put in a request at 11:30 AM.

3:30 PM  and still no I.V. Specialist. The RN has paged them a number of times, but she seems powerless and frustrated. I picked up the patient advocate’s card and  called her. No one answered but I left a calm but irate message. Ten minutes later, the I.V. Specialist appeared, inserted the I.V. line, and wordlessly left. The patient advocate’s office called to verify the I.V. specialist had shown up. The nurse ordered up the blood and at last, the blood transfusions began. I hope it will make Glenn feel better.

It is really hard to sleep in the hospital because the patient is awakened every four hours for routine but necessary monitoring. If you and your nurse can’t communicate with each other, it is doubly hard. Glenn couldn’t make his foreign-born night aide understand what he wanted so by day four, when I arrived, he was exhausted, in pain, and very much out of sorts. His doctor had been in and ordered enough pain medications, but for some reason, they weren’t controlling his discomfort. Working with the nursing staff, we set up a reasonable schedule and got that fixed. Finally, he’s been able to get out of bed and sit in a chair. That’s progress but he will need to stay here a bit longer than expected.

Note: All the above are good reasons why everyone who goes into the hospital as a patient needs to take along an advocate.

Today is Sunday. We’re still here. Hope to go home soon.

10 Responses to Total Knee Replacement Surgery

  • Bob says:

    My friend Lois always arranges for 24-hour, hospital coverage for family and friends who undergo any kind of surgery. I always laughed at her efforts. I don’t now.

    She has a book in the room where everyone writes down what happens while they are there–medicines, IV bags, visits, names of hospital personal, visitors, times, dates. Her friends have stopped several things from happening that shouldn’t have happened in the first place–wrong IV mediations, nurses not showing up to do something, ignored requests for pain medications. I plan to have her arrange 24-hour coverage for me if I ever need to go to the hospital for surgery.

    Glenn has a great patient advocate in you. Stay strong.

    Hope Glenn is doing much better and can go home soon. Keep us posted.

  • joan shimer says:

    Thank you Beth for sharing this and for your heads up on advocates for surgery.
    Hope Glenn is getting stronger now …… what a blessing you are to him.

  • joe kratchman says:

    Absolutely true, everyone needs an advocate in the hospital, staff is too small to handle everything – but, so glad he is getting better, and that you are there for him. Love to both you and Glenn, it WILL get better, try to smile.

  • Rennie Diemer says:

    Glad to hear things are getting a little better. I’m sure once you get him home the healing will continue to progress much quicker. I will keep you and Glenn in my prayers.

  • Peg says:

    Was the automatic pain injector for the delivery of morphine? I didn’t use mine much. A nurse came in and asked if I’d be okay if she disconnected it. She moved it out into the hallway, where it stayed for a couple of days. She said if it was connected in my room, it cost umpteen dollars per day whether I used it or not. I really didn’t want to have total knee replacement, but I was unhappier still with loss of mobility. That’s the trade-off.

  • Bill Wasserman says:

    If you love em you never leave them (in hospital)on their own. Know from experience that your being there is every bit as difficult – Please give our best wishes to Glen and take care of yourself. B&P

    • Beth says:

      Thanks for your good wishes. Am looking forward to our next bridge or dinner get together. Hope it is sooner rather than later.

  • Len Horwitz says:

    This is a sorry story coming from KU. Thank God you are there as his ombudsman. I am beginning to think that the person who wrote about 24 hour surveillance of what goes on is on the right track, at least until the pat is out of the woods. See you soon

  • Grace says:

    Betty, I totally understand and agree–every patient in the hospital need an advocate. I have been with Jim almost constantly since his accident in March and although the staff doesn’t much care for me, Jim has been protected from the most egregious nursing care. There are too manny mediocre and bad nurses compared to the good or great ones.

    Give Glenn our love…we know he has the strength to get well…but take care of yourself too!!!
    much love,
    Jim and Gracie

  • Dee Dee Dale says:

    Dear Betty,
    I know its a long pull–been there, done that. Next step, therapy?
    Please give him my bes wishes. Hope he’s up and around soon. Take care of yourself, too.
    Dee Dee

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