The Joys of Being Awake For Orthopedic Procedures


Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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15 Responses

  1. Why couldn’t they put you under general anesthesia? That sounds horrible. (I realize this isn’t the same thing at all, but a friend of mine had his wisdom teeth out with only local anesthesia, and he says it was a horrible experience.)

    That said, I wish you a full and complete recovery, and I really hope this works out for you.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:


      That would require the services of an anesthesiologist & a full OR, which would easily double or triple the price. Remember, this isn’t covered by insurance, so the $6200 got put on the credit card until we can pull money out of our HSAs to offset the cost (and again, $5k HSA limit for a family is a joke).

      Hence footnote 1Report

  2. Avatar InMD says:

    A couple years ago I had several lipomas removed while fully conscious. Not nearly as invasive and the areas were numbed with local anesthesia but I very much recall the weirdness of someone poking around in there.

    Hope you have a speedy recovery and that the treatment is a success.Report

  3. Avatar Joe Sal says:

    That sounds brutal, but I hope the tradeoff in reduced future pain is well worth it.

    Wishing a speedy recovery, layoff the foot races and leg wrestling with bug for a couple weeks 🙂

    (On a related note, my bone density is high enough I’m not naturally bouyant.)Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Joe Sal says:

      You too? I was wondering if that was just my husband.
      The “dead man’s float” was a bad idea — all the lifeguards just gathered round and watched him sink to the bottom…Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Kim says:

        Ha, had a navy seal as a diving instructor(long story), he had never seen it, so I jumped in the pool and set cross legged on the bottom for about two minutes. He was completely amazed.Report

  4. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    I hope it works for you.

    My dad has severe knee osteoarthritis – he had one knee replaced, but the outcome was not what he hoped it was, so he never had the second one done. It seriously limits his mobility. He does PT on a regular basis but that, and Tylenol, can only go so far.

    (He is on other meds that rule out most pain medications like NSAIDS. Also, the knee replacement was probably unsuccessful because he waited until “too late” and wound up having to be immobilized for six weeks because of tendon/muscle problems, instead of starting PT right away like many knee replacement patients do.)

    He’s 81, so I doubt this will come in time for him….but maybe it will to help my brother or me if we inherited his problems.

    All that said? I have a horror of general anesthesia and admit I’d probably have whatever procedures I could have done while awake. But the knee procedure sounds pretty brutal, and I didn’t even read the squidgy bit.Report

  5. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Thanks for the report, Oscar. I hope it works out. On the other hand, if you can comfortablyafford the price (which isn’t more than a Silver plan deductible) and there’s no downside risk, it strikes me as a really smart decision on your part. Especially at that price: if it works, then real quick-like the FDA, the AMA, the CIA and etc will get aholt of it and drive the price up to truly obscene levels.Report

  6. Avatar Maribou says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Oscar, I thought it was intensely interesting.

    At the same time I wish you didn’t have to go through such a thing – and I hope you recover quickly and end up better off.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:

      Recovery is going pretty well. The knee is still a bit tender, but otherwise functional. My back is still sore, but mostly when I bend over. If I practice good posture, I have almost zero pain.Report

  7. Avatar Morat20 says:

    I hope it works out for you. 🙂Report

  8. Avatar North says:

    I’m very much rooting for you. I did wince at the squidgy bits in sympathy.

    I’m struck by how… crude… the procedure sounds when you distill it to its essential core: Drill a hole to the patients pelvis, suck out some marrow, process it a bit and inject the resulting goop into the knee. Star fleet medical it ain’t.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

      Way better than a whole knee replacement, which is, “saw off the ends of the femur & tibia, hammer the metal support spike of the artificial knee into the marrow of the leg bones until seated, then connect the muscles, etc.”Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Oh yeah. My father-in-law had that done — in the long run, it was well worth it. In the immediate aftermath it was…unpleasant.

        More than anything, the biggest difference in his recovery was the fact that his house has a pool. Turns out there are water therapies for the required daily PT, which he found very easy even as he was unable to handle the dry ones. So once that was sorted, he found the recovery a lot better.

        He’s quite glad he did it now, but the first few months…well, the only thing that kept him going was how bad the thing had already been, and heading downhill.Report