A nice lady who had just had arthroscopic knee surgery came into the ER for some knee swelling. She was by no means old, but old enough to join the AARP. The swelling had been going on for several weeks and her family got her worked up enough to come to the ER to get it checked out. It seemed like “routine” post operative effusion, no hint of redness, tenderness or warmth, so I felt that an arthrocentesis was unnecessary as the risk of introducing infection outweighed the potential benefit of finding a sterile effusion.

I hard a really hard time explaining to the patient that swelling after surgery can be normal and her knee needed more time to heal. I couldn’t get her to understand WHY she had swelling in her knee. So she says to me, “Well, I’ll just go home and find it on the internet. I can find anything on the internet!”

The nurse & I rolled our eyes at each other. The nurse says, “You have to be careful about what you read on the internet, it’s not all true!”

“That’s OK, I’m smart up here,” she replied, pointing at her noggin.