Amanda and the Three-Hole Knee (feat. Erik Nightingale and the Ginger Ale Dancers)

Let me apologize for the long, post-surgical absence. Frankly, I was waiting for the “this damn knee sucks” malaise to blow over, but it hasn’t yet and I was starting to feel guilty for not letting everyone know I was still alive, at the very least.

So, I’m still alive. And, this damn knee sucks.

So much horror for one photo.

Hospital day was fine. I feel mostly bad for Erik, who was stuck in the World’s Worst Waiting Room across the aisle from a woman reading Sarah Palin’s book for at least five hours. Those chairs were brutal and I only sat in them for about 20 minutes.

Thankfully, I was in the swanky pre-surgery room wearing an inflatable gown and rubbery-bottom socks (Gratis! Score!). The gown had an air hole, like on a vacuum bag, and was connected to a temperature-controlled blower. Via remote control, I could make the blowing air cooler or warmer, depending on what state of panic I was in. And, I got to look like a marshmallow. Sweet!

I read two magazines from 2005 and most of Jenny McCarthy’s new book (thanks, Amy!), which had the nurses all a-flutter because of the bodice-ripping cover. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much about the book or the magazines. Mostly, I remember a million people asking me what I was in for, like prison, and having to take an unexpected last-minute pregnancy test (when something is standard procedure, they should give you a heads-up so you can mentally prepare. I need at least a week to prepare my pee focus for peeing in a plastic cup). Then, the male nurse who delivered the results was a real cut-up, who tried to make me panic that the test was positive. It really should be legal to kick male nurses in the nuts for stunts like that.

After what seemed like hours, the anesthesiologist came in and told me not to worry, that he’d had his knee scoped three or four times (not comforting), and Dr. Salty arrived to write his initials on the knee and give me a quick rundown on what he’d do in there.

Then, it was off to the surgery room. I had to walk there myself. No gurney. Once there, I was introduced to a whole team of people, who were really funny. It was just like any other workplace and that was comforting. The second to last thing I remember was the nurse spilling IV juice all over my arm and me thinking, “Holy crap, my armpits are sweaty!” The last thing I remember is a male nurse telling me that if he started to look like Fabio, I’d had too much anesthesia. He then told everyone about meeting Fabio in Vegas and that he was really short and really old-looking.

The rhino knee becomes a manatee.

After that, I woke up in the recovery room, ate some applesauce, took a pill, and began three days of a near-constant cycle of nausea-sweating-almost vomiting-lightheadedness. Poor Erik, again. I think I told him I was sorry about 10 million times. He had to get me food, which I couldn’t eat, and make emergency runs to the store for ginger ale and crackers. The second night, I even had to call him on the phone from downstairs to get help. He was the best through it all. I was so sick and so miserable, I’d cry even thinking about having to get up to go to the bathroom. Plus, I’m sure I smelled awful and looked even worse. (See photographic evidence above.)

Two weeks out, I’m mostly off crutches. I’m back to showering. The knee is still enormous and now a lovely shade of yellow-green. The exercises and stretches I do twice daily are painful, and I’m sure I’ve given myself frostbite from all the icepacks. It’s a bummer. I have cabin fever and I’m struggling to remember my life before I got lazy and lame and gimpy. (I’m sure I was a supermodel. That’s how I remember it, anyway.) The pain is ridiculous, so much worse than before the surgery, and I’m grumpy about the whole thing. But, at least I got some funny stories out of it.

Now, if I start to look like Fabio…

Hobbles takes a hike (and preps for surgery)

Saturday, I was able to hobble my way up a sizable hill, feel blowing snow on my face, and sufficiently freeze my backside…the perfect way to find calm before my knee surgery today.

Snow...and lots of it

About halfway up the hill, my knee cracked and groaned, and pain shot down my shin and back through my kneecap, a sure sign surgery is still a very, very good idea. I’m able to convince myself that any hacking at my flesh is to be avoided, but even I can’t deny this rhino-knee has to be eradicated. Frankly, though, I will miss the golf ball on the side. It’s so weird and squishy!

A couple things to note:

• I’m bringing my camera to the hospital. I’m hoping to chronicle this experience and bring back a funny story or two. Also, I’d like to prepare you for pictures of my stitches. It can’t be avoided. As soon as I can take off the oozy bandage and see what’s beneath, the camera is coming out!

Hobbles can't keep up with Paunch and Speedy.

• I’ll have a week off for recovery. During that time, I plan to watch a ton of TV (including the entire first season of Mad Men), read a few books and Fitness magazines from 2005 (college library cast-offs!), and put the finishing touches on my resolutions. Mentally, I’ve decided to start my New Year after the knee is de-rhino-ed. The Year of the Rhino is 2010; the Year of the Gazelle is 2011. I hope.

More stump pictures? Seriously?

So, I gotta get moving here this morning. I’m starving. I’m thirsty. And, I still have some hours of torture to endure before sedation. In fact, I have a second date with the foamy, orange pre-surgery soap that I’m sure is eating the skin off my most tender areas. (Surely, that has to be a risk for infection! Youch!) See you all on the flip side!