It’s official. The surgery to replace Lea’s right knee has been set for the morning of July 11. We have been consulting with doctors for the last two weeks to determine whether Lea is physically strong enough to have the surgery. There are a number of concerns, including her heart and lungs, both of which failed twice while she was in Hartford Hospital. The concern is that they may not be strong enough yet to undergo the procedure.
Last Wednesday Lea had a two and a half hour nuclear cardiac stress test to determine the condition of her heart. Glory to God, the test showed that her heart is completely normal now! It is amazing that it has recovered so quickly and is functioning at a normal level! The cardiologist stated that she should have no trouble at all with the surgery, and the date was set immediately.
Wednesday morning we will meet with the anesthesiologist to discuss whether Lea will be given a general anesthesia or an epidural. When she had hip surgery last November she was given an epidural anesthesia because of the weakness of her lungs. In fact, after the surgery she had to exercise her lungs to strengthen them to a certain level before the surgeon would allow her to leave the hospital.
In the epidural procedure, medication is placed into a space between the vertebrae to relax muscles and bathe nerves in the anesthesia, which causes a numbness and inability to feel pain. But, we have to discuss with the anesthesiologist whether this option is the correct choice for Lea, and we are taking the full 30-page discharge report from Hartford Hospital with us, as well as the treatment report and hip X-rays from Kona Hospital to the meeting.
Wednesday afternoon we will be attending a class at the rehabilitation center to learn as much as we can about the course of recovery and what to expect. I also want to learn about any anomalies that may occur so I know how to respond if we experience any problems. I am very grateful that we are able to be so close to the hospital and emergency help if we should happen to need it.
Our family physician, Dr Miller, is also scheduling a nuclear treadmill test for me prior to Lea’s surgery, to make sure the ole’ ticker is surviving all the stress we have been under for the last couple of years. That test hasn’t yet been scheduled, but will take place as soon as they can fit me in a slot. The last treadmill test I had was in Hartford while Lea was in the hospital, so it is probably wise to get another look at the heart before we enter this next phase.
We anticipate that Lea will be in the hospital for two or three days, and then will come home to do regular exercises, and travel to the rehabilitation center three times a week for therapy. It is our hope that she will be able to recover quickly, and be up and walking normally within a couple months of the surgery. If that, indeed, is the case, she will be able to pack away her canes, walkers and wheelchair for the first time since her knee started giving out several years ago.
Bless her heart! She has been through so much pain in recent years, I can’t help rejoicing at the thought of all that pain being taken away! Praise God, our heavenly father, for His unchecked mercy and bountiful blessings in our lives! Bless our Lord God, our rock and foundation! Please continue to lift Lea up to Him for continued healing and provision, and for strength and wisdom for me as I tend to her needs throughout her recovery.