Watching own knee surgery live

(Please participate in the poll at the end of the post)

My fervent desire was to “watch” my knee being operated upon. It was not out of any morbid tendencies but purely intellectual: I wanted to see with my own eyes the marvels of modern surgical techniques, the skills of surgeons and of course just exactly what I had done to my knee.  May be taking it to the next level but in line with recent articles in the news  like  “Empowered Patient” on CNN and “Patient should be there own Primary Care Providers” on the Better Health blog.

Please note that it is only some surgeries in the lower extremities that allow such an opportunity, if I can call it that! Most other surgeries are either too serious to watch or require general anesthesia.

Towards that end, I requested the anesthesiologist to give me a spinal instead of general anesthesia. This will numb my lower body but leave me awake to watch, comprehend and remember what transpired. I was informed that along with the spinal I will have to be drugged a little so that I am calm and relaxed. Fair enough.

I am sure I was able to watch, comprehend and even converse during the surgery but you see there was a problem with the “remember” part. I don’t remember much….if anything I have only jumbled images from the procedure. The Spinal of course ensured that my stay in the hospital was increased by a 3-4 hours since it takes longer to wear off and the nurses will not let me go till I was able to urinate.

So the net affect was a full bladder, a few more hours in the hospital and still un-educated on the procedure and wondering about the modern surgical procedures.

And lest you are thinking that my thinking is bent to a point where I am missing the larger picture —  the surgery went fine! And for that I eternally thankful to the surgeon, anesthesiologist, the nurses and the hospital. For, apart from getting a tear in the cartilage fixed, I also learned a few lessons:

1. Be thankful for modern medicine and its practitioners and find a more opportune time to learn about modern medical procedures than when one is being done on you.

2.  And don’t be thinking you are twenty-something when you are not otherwise mother nature will remind you in ways you want to avoid.

Yours Sincerely,

The Tinkerer


One Response

  1. Had my meniscus removed late last year and couldnt decide which was worse the watching everything or knowing nothing – in the end they knocked me out – complete indecision – hate not being in control!
    Like your blog site

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