Day 844 [Jan.24/11 JST] -- Knee Surgery Successful

Today's Report
January 24/11 JST

Position:  21°17'N, 157°53'W (Honolulu) 

Remaining distance to Yokohama finish:  13.4%

Saito-san is ensconced in a Honolulu hotel for a few days as he loses some of the tenderness from arthroscopic knee surgery that took place Friday. 

We called him over the weekend and he sounded in good spirits, glad that it went well, and relieved that it is behind him after doctors had temporarily put the surgery on hold out of concern for his heart.

We can now add to our earlier report on the injury to his left knee that occurred in October, causing ligament damage as shown on MRI. Specialists had advised surgery and during a pre-op conference learned that Saito-san has a history of heart trouble that goes back to the 1980s. That disclosure put the operation on hold, especially since the surgeon had advised that the procedure be done under general anesthesia, which is seen as potentially dangerous for someone just turned 77 whose heart might not be able to withstand the strain. 

Meanwhile, Saito-san himself was pushing for local rather than general anesthesia, so the surgery was pushed back until a cardiologist could clear him for a spinal procedure, since a local is presumably less dangerous, if potentially more painful. That clearance occurred in mid week, and the orthopedic surgery took place Friday, lasting about "30 or 45 minutes," Saito-san told us.

Scott reports Saito-san is now resting comfortably in the relative luxury of his hotel room, and that other than some expected pain, is doing well and getting lots of attention from Team Hawaii. Other than some highly welcome nights on couches in Punta Arenas, this is Saito-san's first non-"water bed" in almost three years!   

Scott wrote us yesterday:

He is in the Pagoda Hotel on Rycroft Street near the Ala Moana Shopping Center and doing well though with some pain to leg.

He is taking his tablets of Percocet (oxycodone with Tylenol) and has a good appetite. Using his crutches, ice packs and pillows.

Lori [Scott's wife], Naomi and I went to see him today and should have taken a picture for the record. Watching TV movies with his left leg up on pillows on the queen-size bed... AC on high! He will be happy to get out of this hotel adventure by the end of the weekend!! He will have a very rough time aboard his boat bending that leg unless it gets less painful more quickly.

Naomi brought him a big lunch from Golden Duck Chinese Restaurant that he enjoys very much.

Saito-san told us when we Skyped him Saturday that he thought he would be leaving Monday, as he hates the prospect of mounting hotel bills on top of the marina berth fees. However, it was advised that in at least the first few days getting on and off the vessel, as well as climbing into the cabin with its 6-foot vertical ladder, would put too much stress on his leg.

Immediately after Saito-san was released, Scott had written this:

Naomi is the hero who stayed up to get him out of the hospital by midnight and off to his recovery bed at the Pagoda. 

So, again, great thanks are due to everyone who assisted, including Team Hawaii, his doctors -- Dr. Ira Zunin (general practitioner) and Dr. Spencer Chang (orthopedic surgeon) -- and the medical staff of Straub Clinic & Hospital. (Earlier, he received treatment for chronic back pain from Dr. Tamar Hoffman.) 


There was also some additional good news today from an area along Saito-san's planned route, which would have taken him near Guam.

Five Americans have been located in their 38-foot catamaran, after the vessel was late to reach its destination. They had left Guam January 6 en route to the central island of Cebu in the Philippines, where the cat was expected to arrive about 7-10 days later.

The area has seen particularly severe weather this winter, raising the alarm that the vessel had foundered after no word was heard during a period of severe weather.

The Philippines coast guard rescued 260 of 277 people aboard nearly a dozen boats that sank, overturned or ran into trouble last week due to the stormy weather. Fifteen remain missing and two drowned, officials reported.