Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by branbran, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. branbran

    branbran New Member

    Janet, first let me say I am posting in the General forum because I want to make sure you read this!!! I got the goose bumps and butterflies in my stomach when I read your ortho post in the watercooler forum. PLEASE DO NOT HAVE YOUR KNEES DONE!!!
    15 days ago my aunt, my mother's 57 year old sister went in to have both of her knees done, routine surgery right? You would think!!! She was awake the whole time, in sort of a twilight sleep, with an epidural. The operation went fine, she was joking with her doctor afterwards and then all of a sudden she told the dr. that she couldn't breath, the next thing you know she fell unconscience, 15 days later she is in a coma and has been since that moment. The doctor's are saying she had something call a Fat Embolism, particles of fat that broke off from the bone and lodged in her lungs (hence - she couldn't breath) and in her brain. They said it is not that common but when we researched it, it is #14 on the risk list. This was never mentioned to her or any member of the family. She now lays in a coma with a tracheodomy (can't spell that) and a G-Tube for feeding, they say she has severe brain damage and are not sure if she will wake up or how nuerologically defunct she will be when she does. My entire family is in complete shock and devestated by this, her daughter's can barely function daily. We are keeping right by her side everyday and praying for her recovery, however it is highly unlikely. SO PLEASE IT IS NOT WORTH IT, DO NOT HAVE THAT SURGERY. I'm sure if my aunt could talk right now, she would say that given it to do over, she would have never had that surgery no matter how much pain her knee's caused her.

    I hope you don't think this was out of line, I would just hate to see this happen to anyone else. Maybe it was fate that I happened to read that post, maybe it was my aunt in some mysterious cosmic way that forced me to read it and warn you.

    Please think about it, at the very least ask your doctor about the Fat Embolism. Whatever you decide, you are in my prayer's :smile:
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Ugh...see...that is one of my fears.

    I havent had the gastro bypass because my husband's mother died immediately after it due to pneumonia.

    This is why surgery scares me so much.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The fat embolism, when it happens - it DOES come from the bone, it's a fragment of bone marrow which breaks loose. Talk to the doctor about the risks - yes, it can happen and like all risks needs to be considered against the alternatives (which can include constant pain and immobility to the point where some would think life is not worth living?)

    There are always risks, but fewer these days as medical science improves. The risk is from the surgery itself. Another similar risk is from a combination of factors immediate post-op, and that is the possibility of a clot forming somewhere in the legs due to immobility, and then that clot moving and ending up somewhere nasty (similar to people who get thrombosis while flying in a plane - it's not the flying, or the surgery, that's the problem here, it's the immobility).

    Back when easy child was very young, we lost a neighbour to a clot like that, after he had his second hip replacement done. He had, in my opinion, been discharged from hospital too soon and had taken off his elastic stockings when told on discharge to leave them on. When he couldn't put them back on by himself, he didn't ask for help but just left it. I was very fond of the man but I remember telling him to get his stocking back on or call the District Nurse to help him - it would have cost him nothing to do so, her service was free.

    But that was 20 years ago. They do it differently now.

    I've known a lot of people who have had hips and/or knees replaced, he is the only one I've known who had any problems, and he also undermined the doctors' attempts to protect him from what eventually happened.
    I had a number of elderly relatives while I was growing up, who were not able to have surgery like this because it did not exist. They were increasingly miserable, suicidal. Cursed with longevity, one said.

    The biggest problem with our increasingly long life span is we don't get more youth, we just get more time spent being OLD. The best we can do is use what we can to feel as well as we can.

    Learn the risks. Ask the doctors about the risks. Then make a rational, informed decision that you can be happy with, whichever choice you make.

  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I am with marguerite, please ask the doctor about it. things happen in surgery to lots of people. But only you can weigh the risks and gains. My aunt (most surgery-phobic person on the planet) just had her second knee done. She quit smoking with Chantix on Jan 1, 2007 and has been smoke free ever since. She is in the rehab phase of her second knee surgery.

    She recommended checking into the new knee pioneered for women, she loves here. She also recommends the Chantix beforehand because bone does not heal at anything approaching hte normal rate if there is nicotine in your body.

    I am so sorry bran's aunt had such a horrible problem, I wouldnt' wish it on anyone. But I know many people who had the joint replacement, and have said they would do it again in a heartbeat. One is my bff's dad, who had problems with his hips since we were 10. About 15 years ago he had his hips replaced (finally a doctor had done tests and the "back pain" he had for 40 years was the total lack of cartilage and grinding of bone on bone) and he has been more energetic and lively than I ever knew him to be.

    Please talk about your fears with your doctor, with a doctor you know and trust! Several of htem even.

    I know my aunt died on the operating table from complications from general anesthetic, when my mom was in high school. It has made me ask more questions of the docs and anesthesiologists, but I have still had needed surgery.


  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It seems silly to not have a procedure that will improve your life done because there's an extremely small chance of a rare complication. You might die going to the mailbox tomorrow. You'll more likely die from the lack of exercise that will be inevitable if you don't get the surgery.

    by the way, if you have ever noticed the "Factor V Leiden" in my sig, that's blood clots for no reason. been there done that. Not fun. I have to keep living, though. And I've had two major surgeries since my last spontaneous blood clot on my lung. It happened when I was playing cards on my day off work.

    Sorry, Bran. I know you mean well. I just don't think it's right to raise the alarm because something so rare happened in aunt's sister's case. There's risks to everything. Education, prevention, and common sense is the key.
  6. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Janet, ask them to install a Greenfield filter before having surgery done, be it weight loss or knee replacement. It's basically set in a major artery and catches any clots or emboli before they wind up somewhere nasty. It's done as an outpatient procedure and provides a wide safety margin.

    by the way, your arthritis qualifies as a co-morbidity to your morbid obesity and should help qualify you for that surgery.
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Branbran, I moved your post over here. Remember that you always have the option of letting a member know when there is a post of particular interst through a pm.

  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I like the Greenfield filter suggestion. A safegaurd that will help to lower even more the risk of surgery for you.

    Way, way back in the day I used to work on an othrthopedics floor of the hospital. The difference in a pt after knee sugery is awesome. Talk to the doctor about ALL the risks, and things you can do to help lower them. (Like not smoking 24 hrs before surgery, doing your breathing exercises and getting up and walking when he wants you to after surgery, ect)

    There is risk with ALL surgery, even the simplest procedures. As others have said you have to way the risk against the benefits.


    I am so very sorry to hear about what happened with your aunt. Sending warm and gentle hugs to your family and saying prayers for all of you.

  9. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    lots of folks have knees done without trouble. including my mom, my brother in law, other friends.