After months of trying to ignore the pain (and willing it to go away), a few TCM massages (which relieved the pain a lil’), consultations with the orthopaedic surgeon, physiotherapist, xrays, MRI and finally, the surgery yesterday.
I had the same problem in 2003 and did the same procedure at SGH. At that time, it was just a small lil’ tear on my left knee meniscus and the senior orthopaedic just snipped off the tear. As I did it during the one week school break, I was able to rest at home and not feel guilty about it.
Since D’s company insurance covers specialist consultations, surgery and other medical costs, I decided to see a orthopaedic. Generally the pain isn’t so bad that incapacitates me, but there are good days and bad ones.
Anyway, since insurance covers these kinda treatment, I had to go thru’ a few consultations, an Xray (only shows the bone and not the soft tissues), some physio before the doc can recommend an MRI. So each time I see the doc and go for these things, I just whipped out the insurance medical card and sign my name without paying for anything. This is also the main reason why I decided to have my knee checked here in HK, since someone else will pay for all my treatment.
When I first decided on the orthopaedic surgeon, my first thought is to find someone who can see me in the afternoon and the clinic is easily accessible from home. I didn’t want to make morning appointments since that would disrupt my lessons and make it inconvenient for whoever was planning relief at that time. Moreover I didn’t want to spend too much time on travelling since I want to get home as quick as possible. Fortunately for me, the clinic that I go to at Tsim Tsha Tsui has its inhouse X-Ray and physiotherapists which makes it even more convenient. The only time I had to go elsewhere was to do my MRI, and even then, the diagnostic centre was just further down Nathan Road.
I suppose as a teacher, I do feel guilty to be away from school for too long and paiseh to have to take time-off for things like medical appointments. Cos someone else, whether another colleague or a relief teacher, would have to take over the lessons and usually they would not really teach the topics but to give out worksheets or practice books for my kids to do. And when I return, it’s usually extra load of markings and additional corrections which frankly, I don’t like.
Usually I see the doc after school, earliest appointment at 4pm. Still there is that ONE and ONLY time (the doc can only see me at that time) when I had to request to leave early at 2pm in order to get to the clinic at 3pm. And even then, all my lessons end by 2pm that day and it was only another hour before dismissal. I reckon it is ok for me to leave right after my lessons and requested for time-off. A certain someone agreed but also added that I should try to arrange for a later timeslot next time. My inner voice was going, “Ok, uhhuh… come on, it’s not like I had any other lessons from 2 to 3pm and there isn’t any other meetings etc after 3pm!!!”
Apparently what I had done wasn’t appreciated. And there was another incident which I would not discuss here lah.
Anyway, this time round, MRI showed a tear in the same knee but did not reveal how bad it was. Doc recommended the same procedure, Knee Menisectomy and Chondroplasty, and he would only know the severity of the tear when he sees it via keyhole surgery.
After checking with the insurance company if I would be covered (but would still have to pay a nominal sum, not sure how much but would be lower now since I decided to do a 3-bedded General Ward instead of the semi-private), the op. was done yesterday.
I had to go to the hospital on Monday evening and check myself in at 7pm. Well, it was hard to leave TJ and D alone at home, and TJ cried a lil’ when I said goodbye to him after shutting the gate. According to D, TJ was quite a good boy that night, didn’t fuss or whine too much, slept just before 9pm and only woke up once ard 2.30am but quickly went back to sleep after that.
Originally my op was scheduled for 7.30am Tuesday morning, but it was postponed to 10.30am. By then I was hungry (had to fast) and sleepy, cos my roomate’s visitors left late the night before, came so early the next morning and talked so loudly the entire time. Anyway, I managed to finish an entire storybook during my stay and dozed a lil’. The nurse finally came to take me to the operating theatre and even then, it was almost 11am. And I had to wait another hour before I was really wheeled into the OT and prepped for the op. During that hour, I fell asleep again and woke up in time to answer some questions. The anaesthetist came to administer the drug via the catheter and told me I would feel some pain up my entire right arm. The only thing I remembered was breathing via the oxygen mask and heard someone waking me up after the procedure was over.
By then, it was close to 1pm when I was wheeled back into my ward and D had waited almost 2 hours. My doc had mentioned the op would take about 20 minutes, but the long waiting time really gave me the opportunity to catch up on my sleep. After surgery, my knee ached more than that time in ’03, and the sedatives I had prior to general anaesthesia took a while to wear off making me very sleepy the entire afternoon.
It would be another 4 more hours before I was discharged. My doc came to see me around 2pm and told me the tear was bad and he had to remove the torn meniscus and ‘cos of the tear, there is degeneration in my knee joints and he had to smoothen them. And the number of days I was given for medical leave… 24 😉
And just before I was discharged, I had to see the physiotherapist who taught me how to walk with the ah pek cane, climb up and down the stairs and did some strengthening exercises.
Having slept for so many hours, I actually woke up at 5.30am today and couldn’t go back to sleep. I lazed about till 6.30am, thinking I would doze off but didn’t. Finally I decided I had enough and got up at 7am. So far the knee doesn’t hurt too much, just stiff and sore, and I intend to go back to school this Friday and see how things go. Well actually the other reason to go back on Friday is to purposely walk in front of a certain someone so that this certain someone will know I wasn’t kidding about my knee problem.
Anyway, it will be another week before the start of the Xmas break, and I suppose it would be ok to take it easy in school for this coming week and rest again during the Xmas break.