Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Left Knee: It's The STITCHES BITCHES!


When all your friends tell you that getting the stitches out would be a “piece of cake”, and “a cakewalk”, and that you worrying about it revealed in no uncertain terms what a whining pussy you really are. Both R and Jules wanted to do it at home, telling me that “they’re gonna just slide right out…you won’t even feel it”. Same thing the home health nurses told me. “Nothing to worry about” they said. With their rebukes in mind, I accepted my fate and went out to Northwestern Siberia (AKA “Cedar Park”; why would anyone choose to live way the hell out here?) for my first post-op appointment, 3 weeks after surgery, as scheduled.

Dr. Whittemore looked at me and said, “I wondered what happened to you”. “Here as scheduled,” said I. He checked out the knee and said that the incision looked fantastic. “Lemme get a stitch kit and we’ll slide those out of there”, he said. I relayed my apprehension, to which he said, “It’ll be no problem. You won’t even feel it.”

He snipped the top string that was protruding from my skin.




The he took the forceps and started wrapping the protruding bottom string around as he rotated the instrument, tightening the string inside the incision. As it got tighter, the pain began. “These could have come out a week ago”, he said. “Some folks just heal faster than others”. Lucky me.





Over the next 25 MINUTES, and after the string broke on five separate occasions, and after he had to get some rather large, frightening-looking locking hemostats (they looked closer to pliers than a medical instrument) he finally coaxed the last tidbit of the accursed string from inside my knee. Through the process, I could feel every tiny millimeter resisting all efforts to give up the ghost. Turns out that string really liked living inside my knee, and had no intention of surrendering without a valiant fight. “It’s usually not that difficult”, said Whittemore, with no trace of irony in his voice.




* Does this look like it didn't hurt like hell? Notice the internal stitch pulling at each internal spot of tissue. OUCH!........I had a death grip on the edge of the bench.


Suffice it to say that it hurt like hell, just as I knew it would, proving (to me anyway) that all my well-meaning friends are either idiots or liars. I can safely say that removing the stitches was the most painful part of the entire knee replacement. The nurse outside asked if that was me yelling in there, to which I replied: “Worst stitch removal EVER”. She called me a whiner.

On the way home on Research, right at the Duval overpass, as I was in the far right lane, a large SUV decided slam into the vehicle in front of it violently, causing the SUV to flip on its side and slide down the center wall with its left tires hooked over the top of the wall. As metal, dust, and sparks flew, it clipped one of those massive light poles, which proceeded to fall directly towards me and my pickup. I slipped right up next to the opposite wall and watched in slow motion as the pole fell across Research, blocking the entire road except for the width of my truck. I stopped and watched as crowds ran to the aid of the SUV driver, and wondered what good I would be hobbling around. As I drove off, I was the ONLY vehicle moving on Research. So I guess it’s one of those closed door-open window deals, or lemons and lemonade, or something like that. All’s I know is that the stitches thing hurt like a mofo, but I was REALLY glad I didn’t get crushed under a huge light pole a few minutes later.

Mick Vann ©   

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