Surgery Diary: give me a penguin and some food, please

It’s admittedly been a loooooooooooong year with my hurt knee.

(I want to say, too, that I am so thankful for my health. I know an injured knee is way on the bottom of a list of serious problems, and I’m truly so grateful that on the whole my body and mind are healthy. I’m so thankful for that.)

But I do also love to play. I really do. When I was nannying, my favorite games with my littles were playing tag, hopscotch, hide-and-go-seek, races, running with my littles while they rode their bikes, chasing them all over the playground being the lava monster…all the games. I love them.


Basically, being active is a huge part of my heart. I love to play. And frolic. Pretty sure that’s one of God’s plans for me to enjoy in heaven: “She will frolic! I’ve made her to play and frolic and she will do this without abandon!

I miss it here, too, though. I miss running and hopping and being my fully goofy and playful self in this beautiful land of the living.

It’s time to frolic again. I pray that it is.

I’d never had surgery before yesterday, and disclaimer: when I step foot into ANY doctor’s office (even the dentist) I tend to freak out. Doctors and their weird tools and that sterile smell – so thankful for all they do!! – absolutely freak me out.

So…to process the gamut of my emotions yesterday…a Diary Entry is CLEARLY in order!

My Surgery Diary

Thursday: I’m told I will not be able to eat or drink until surgery. “Okay!” I said. “Totes fine. I’ve heard of that. When’s the surgery? 9 a.m.?”

“Nope! 2:30 p.m.”

Meh. Okay. Glad to have the surgery, regardless of the time. I want my knee back!

Saturday: Wake up at 4 a.m convinced it’s the day of my surgery. It’s not…so I read Chronicles of Narnia until I fall asleep. Because, Aslan.

Sunday: I have the best friends and church in the world. I get prayed over literally three times. My choir stops everything and prays over my knee. My small group meets early and prays over my knee. My couple’s bible study ends the night by praying for my knee. My best friends from all stages of life text and call and hug me and tell me they’re praying for me. My family is praying for me. Literally, God provides.

Monday: I wake up to a million texts from the best friends and family in the world. They’re still praying for me. God provides, friends!

-I get ready to go to the hospital, but I can’t wear makeup or drink any water or eat any food. Totes not ideal. But again, I’m thankful I could even get into surgery this week!

-Michael gulps lots of water on the way to the hospital. I go a little crazy. I am very thirsty and nervous and so hubby kindly stops gulping.

-I play candy crush. Lots of candy crush.

12:30: I go back into pre-op. I have the whole place to myself and also have a very nice nurse named Elaine. I tell her I hate needles. She essentially says, “We’ve got stuff for that. It’s called happy juice. It’s good stuff.”

I have no idea what happy juice is, but the name sounds nice so I’m on board. Totes on board.

12:45: I’m wearing a super comfy HEATED purple hospital gown with hand warmers and fuzzy socks. This is seriously not as bad as I was expecting!

12:50: Time for the IV. She has numbing spray!!! Hallelujah!! God provides, friends. Where would I be without numbing spray. I don’t know.

She gets the IV in on the first try!!! Woohoo!!! Y’all. I can do this. This is great. I’m totes great. I got this. Gosh, I’m so brave.

12:51: There is a needle in my hand. There is a needle in my hand. There is a needle in my hand. THERE IS A NEEDLE IN. MY. HAND. Why is there a needle in my hand? It looks gross. There is a needle in my hand. What if the doctor forgets to check my whole knee? I NEED TO MAKE SURE THIS GOES WELL.

Elaine listens to me. Then she says it’s probably time for the happy juice.

12:52: Hubby comes back to say hello. I get the happy juice in my IV. All of a sudden I do feel very happy and like I would really like to go on a safari.

“How big are elephants’ brains?” I ask. This is a very logical and important question right now.

Hubby doesn’t know. Why is he laughing? I like elephants. I insist he google the answer.

Turns out, elephants are very smart animals and have normal sized brains. I learn that elephants also have more muscles in their trunks than we have in our human bodies.

Huh, I think. God is very creative. I think I would like a pet penguin. Penguins are very cute animals. Tucker would like a penguin.


me on happy juice. apparently this was right after I asked for a penguin.

1:00: The doctor comes in and talks to me about the surgery. I have trouble forming a coherent sentence but I insist that he mark all over my knee the places I want to make sure he looks.

He obliges and ends up drawing a big frowny face on my knee for me. I am satisfied with this.

Sometime later: Hubby kisses me and they wheel me back to surgery. The anesthesiologist is very kind. “Time to party,” he says with a smile.

4:00: I wake up somewhere else. Mylanta. Where on earth am I? What happened to my knee? Is everything okay? My eyes focus in on a nurse.

“Am I okay?” I ask.

“Yes. You were very insistent that we give you penguins and food. But you’re okay.”

Penguins? I feel like I remember penguins. But what about my knee?

“But what about my knee?” I ask.

“The doctor took great care of you. He discovered that you had some extra tissue in your knee that had flared up and set your kneecap out of its correct position. He cleaned up the tissue and loosened it so that your kneecap will go back to its correct position. It’s all taken care of.”

I start to bawl. “But I thought it was going to be something major!” I sputter in between sobs.

The nurse goes to get hubby. He comes in and pets my head.

“This is very common,” the nurse says to my confused hubby. “When patients wake up, they usually react 1 of 2 ways. They either cry or want to punch me in the face.”

I am very confused. “But can I run again?” I ask in between tears.

“Not today. But yes. The doctor told you this, too, but you don’t remember.”

I cry harder. “But it wasn’t a torn meniscus! I thought it would be something like that! I just wanted to run again!”

“Sweetie, you will run again. It’s good that it’s not a torn meniscus. That’s why you’ll have a fast recovery time and so you can run again sooner!”

I let this sink in. It still doesn’t make sense to me, but I decide to process it later. Nothing is making sense to me right now except for the apple juice and peanut butter crackers they gave me. I like food. I want more food, I decide.

4:30: They wheel me out to the car. The nurses are very nice and make me laugh while they wheel me out. Probably to stop the tears. It works.

Hubby offers to make me chocolate chip waffles and scrambled eggs when we get home. The world starts to make a little more sense.

I still think I would like a penguin stuffed animal, though.

5:00: I’m all tucked in on the couch, responding to the sweetest friends and family in the world, and thanking God for fixing my knee.


Tuck sniffed and hugged my knee all night 🙂

I play more candy crush, drink gallons of water, and watch 8 episodes of Saved by the Bell on Netflix.

Today: I wake up so thankful for the skill of my doctors and nurses. Thankful for the hubby God gave me to stay home with me today, take care of me, and comfort me always. Thankful to God for being my Healer.

I’m thankful for the phone call from my doctor to check on me. “My goal – my expectation – is that you will have a knee you won’t even have to think about anymore. My expectation is that we will get you back to doing whatever you want without having to think about it,” he says.

(My doctor is literally amazing. If anyone needs a knee or shoulder doctor, I’ve got your guy!)

Hubby lights the first fire in our fireplace of the season. I’m excited about physical therapy tomorrow, and I’m excited for the first cup of coffee I’ve had in what feels like forever. (24 hours without coffee? What?!)

Thank You God, for caring for even our smallest needs. Thank You for caring about my knee even more than I do.

Blessings and comfort to you all (and someone let me know where I can find a penguin, please 😉 ),