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Arthroscopic knee surgery

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Hi all,

Here goes my story:

Yesterday the 29/11/12, I underwent an arthroscopic knee surgery. The pain started years ago when I recall once I was doing some leg stretching and felt a sharp, uncomfortable pain on my right knee. I took anti inflammatory pills until the pain subsided and also called at the clinic to have it examined.

I was told that I had a torn cartilage and needed to be operated. At that time, considering the fact that I was younger I thought I should give it some time and not undergo the operation. Things were OK for years but recently the pain started cropping up again. I decided that this was the time to be operated.

The operation itself costs 1800 Euro if it's done in a private hospital and free of charge if done at the local hospital. As one can assume, yes, there is a waiting list if the operation had to be performed in a local hospital, however it did not take them long to call me in, in fact it was quicker than I have expected, perhaps the reason being was that the operation was now considered semi urgent.

Being notified:

I was notified on the 27/11/12 to call in for a PREOP on the 28th and the operation will be held on the 29th. I panicked on such a short notice since I had to inform work and also my Infectious Doctor regarding any complications, taking meds, etc. He asked me if I could visit prior the PREOP and so I did, We discussed matters out regarding any complications, meds, etc. and was also handed a note regarding my condition in case I felt uncomfortable revealing my status.

Off to the PREOP:

Once in, I gave the doctor the note - she barely could read what was written and heard her saying "Let me try to identify what is written here". I answered: Basically what is written is that I am HIV positive - on treatment - doing well (all the stuff that was written on the note which I could clearly read) LOL

After several questions asked, she examined me, took blood samples and informed me that I should call in at 0800HRS for the operation however due to my condition I will be the last person to be operated. I managed to sneak peek the how many persons had to undergo this sory of operation and I noticed that I was the 3rd in last but when I revealed my status I found myself last - 8th! I understood and did not even complain about it, this also happens when I visit my dentist, I'll always be the last to leave the clinic.

I had some concerns about confidentiality issues and also who will be the person giving the general anesthetic. A family member is an anesthesiologist and was feeling anxious that he will be present during the operation. No one knows about my condition except my wife and as long as I am healthy, I don't feel to disclose to other family members.

The doctor was kind enough to check who the anesthesiologist will be and NO, thank God it was not the person I knew. Also she told me that things will remain as confidential as possible.

D Day:

Off to the hospital, no food/drink as from midnight - was so hungry >:(  - Was admitted to be registered and asked again several questions, most common one "Do you take any meds" - Yes, I take meds for HIV!

Once registered I went out to the reception near my wife and waited. They called me in about noon - undressed and wore the gown and off to the theater room. Once in I was approached by the anesthesiologist. Again he asked the usual questions, showed me my sign on the consent form and started the procedure to be infused with anesthesia.

Once in the theater, I was approached by a very polite staff. All were asking questions and being hilarious (well that was until I was conscious - not sure if things remained the same after being asleep).

A man in his late 40's approached me and told me that he'll be performing the surgery. He uttered "You know, because of .. I know what he was coming with and immediately replied - Yes because of my condition, please advise everyone to be extra cautious and he just nodded.

I recall wiggling my toes on the stretcher and a nurse told me that I should be asleep very soon. I have noticed that after a while I was still wiggling my toes and thought - damn the anesthetic did not work yet! I remember when I was a child and was given anesthetic it took some time for it to be effective but it was not like this, this time.

When I was wiggling my toes the second time, the operation was done and I was being taken again to the ward to rest.

Being spoken afterwards about the operation:

I was informed that I had a tear in my cartilage. My cruciate ligament was intact and all that had to be done was to trim around the tear, inject some sort of gel which will eventually seal the tear and eliminate the inflammation. I was instructed to exercise at home as per instructions on the leaflet given until they call me for physiotherapy in 2 weeks time and also to remove the surgical suture.

The staff:

All of the staff appeared to be kind (at least in front of me) except for a foreign nun who was assisting in the Day ward, who kept pointing out my status on the file to the staff approaching me. May God give her peace!

Tags noted on file:

BIO-HAZARD
HIV Positive
HIV POZ
HIV +

There's no need of the bio-hazard tattoo, LOL.

Resting:

I am at home now resting and doing therapy as instructed. I shall be increasing my pace as normal within a couple of days and so far, it seems like there aren't any complications to discuss about.

It's true, living with HIV is not like a walk in the park but thanks to my wife, I have managed to move forward and also not let the stigma brought along and about this condition affect my life.

Also I would like to thank all of you for taking time to read my story and provide answers related to my questions when I needed them.

Regards

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bufguy:
Great write up...Thank you for sharing with us what is a very routine procedure, but has a whole number of "complications"...usually not medical or technical for those of us who are HIV+.
The only procedure I have had is a colonoscopy. The doctor and staff couldn't have been better....They had my complete medical history and never once even brought my status up.....A none issue!

2manyquestions:
Thank you for the story, hope you have a full recovery!

I've been wondering myself if anesthesia or anything else in medical procedures really matters in terms of the pozzie patients health or interactions?  Assuming that we're talking about a patient with modern meds, adherence and reasonable lab #'s.

From the answers I've found, it's just about letting staff know so they can be super careful.  Although, they should be anyway since they are exposed to more than just this bug.

I would appreciate any feedback where Pozzies found out that disclosing their status helped them or prevented ?something? medically that would have affected them.

  My doc also seems to think that you don't *need* to disclose but that it's the right thing to do.  The exception perhaps being a life threatening emergency, where some of the strong drugs and treatments may interact, even then he says that it likely will not change their course in life threatening matters, just potentially have a negative effect that will be outweighed against the possibility of death.

Thoughts from experienced Pozzies?

wolfter:
If you're going in for surgery, you absolutely must disclose your status and the medications you're taking.  There are some possible interactions with anesthesia and HIV meds.

I had a severe reaction to Versed during a operative procedure a couple of years ago and it's my fault for not speaking up sooner.  The anesthesiologist met me just moments before the procedure and looked up and asked about my HIV status.  Didn't occur to me at the time that he didn't have time to check the possible interactions between the drugs I listed and the anesthesia. 

Wolfie

2manyquestions:
Thanks Wolfie, would you share the meds that interacted?

  I'd love to get a proper list of interactions with my meds to know what to avoid.  Nobody is as concerned about my life as me.

I know they are posted but its really hard to tell what's real and what's the CYA for the pharms because one guy one time reported a problem that may or may not have been attributable.  I've read labels for meds, freaked out, not taken them because an interaction is listed, contacted a doctor and then been assured that there would not be a problem.  That was a hard pill to swallow!  But he was right, no interaction.

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