to report on how my operation went - if anyone's interested.
Monday 26th February
I was very brave and had a spinal anaesthetic with only a little sedation which meant that I was wide awake during my operation. Whilst lying waiting for the lower half of my body to become numb I was a bit taken aback to see this leg appear in front of me. It took me a few seconds to realise it was mine! Of course I hadn't felt anyone move my leg - it was such a strange thing to happen I burst out laughing and have to say that set the trend for the whole operation!
During the operation I could hear the sawing and banging and whilst not feeling any pain I certainly felt the vibrations of the sawing of my bones which set me off laughing again - the surgeon asked me if I would please try not to laugh as it made my knee jiggle about which interfered with his sawing. The operation took about 2 hours but it passed so quickly and I felt absolutely fine. I spent an hour in recovery until they were sure the feeling was returning to my lower body - which it was in the shape of pins and needles - most annoying, then they took me back to the ward. I felt so well they allowed me (only because I insisted really) a couple of tuna sandwiches and a lovely cup of tea. I was starving as I hadn't eaten since 7 p.m the previous evening. I had a couple of drains in my leg and a saline drip in my hand, I was on oxygen and I also had a PCA (think that's what it's called) so I could administer my own regular doses of Morphine - great pain relief!
Tuesday 27th February
The drips, drains etc., were taken out and the physiotherapist got me up out of bed and sitting in a chair. When she asked if I would like to try walking with a zimmer frame I jumped (not literally) at the chance as I desperately wanted to get mobile so I wouldn't have to use a bedpan anymore - yuk! Once I got started on the zimmer there was no stopping me and I was amazed that although I wasn't able to put my full weight on the operated leg I was able to stand on it without pain. She then took me through all the exercises I have to do to get my leg mobile and said she was amazed that I could get a 45 degree bend in it already. Later I was taken for a post-op xray on my knee and I couldn't believe just how straight my leg appeared! It truly is amazing what they can do.
Wednesday 28th February
My Consultant's registrar popped in to see me wanting to show me the post-op xrays but I told him I had already seen them. He said they were all really pleased with how the operation had gone, it had been a complete success. He commented on how well I was doing as the physiotherapist had reported this morning that I could now get an 80 degree bend and do a straight leg lift. This is unusual, apparently, so soon after the operation. I progressed to crutches today as I am doing so well.
I didn't get much sleep last night as the goings on during the night resembled a badly rehearsed farce!
The other ladies on the ward were all in their eightees. One lady was arguing with the nurse that the blood she was being given was not her own and she had been told her own blood from the drain would be given back to her. This was possible as that is what had happened to me. However, for this to happen there has to be enough blood to transfuse within 6 hours of drainage and apparently this was not the case with her. As she needed a transfusion they had to cross match it and have it delivered from the Transfusion service. The poor nurse was trying to explain all this to the lady but she couldn't seem to grasp it at all, she knew all about blood she said, she'd been a donor for 30 years. Eventually she settled down with the transfusion but once the nurse had left the lady in the bed next to me began winding her up saying' if you don't want that transfusion, don't you have it gal'. Peace rained at last and I dropped off to sleep. Suddenly all the lights went on and alarms were ringing. Another lady had apparently collapsed in the toilets and was rushed back to her bed in a wheelchair whilst all the staff on the floor arrived with the crash trolley etc. After much bustling and toing and froing the lady came round and it was decided that she'd only fainted! Panic over.
Ah peace at last you might think. Not so, just as I'd settled into a peaceful sleep I was awoken by the sound of security alarms. Another lady had mistakenly opened the security doors by mistake whilst looking for the toilets. Bear in mind this lady had been on the ward all day and been to the toilets umpteen times. The sainted nurses pointed her in the right direction and the alarms eventually went off. Back to sleep, but not for long. The blasted alarms went off again- the poor old dear had got up for another wee and opened the wrong doors again. This time the transfusion lady must have woken up thinking she was at home because she started shouting 'You'll wake the neighbours up, put the code in or it'll never stop' and proceeded to give the security code for her own alarm at home.
By this time it was 4 a.m. and all sleep had forsaken me so I got my book out and waited for my first cup of tea for the day at 6 a.m.
Thursday 1st March
Had a fantastic night's sleep last night - I think we must have all been drugged!
My surgeon came to see me and said he was extremely pleased with how the operation had gone. I had to demonstrate my straight leg lift and bend and he said I could possibly go home tomorrow.
The physiotherapist put me through my exercises and was amazed when I managed to get 90 degree bend. She said there was nothing else she could do for me it was just a matter of me religiously doing the exercises for my leg to improve.
I then had to go to see the Occupational Therapist who wanted to see how/if I could transfer from crutches to chair, toilet, bed, bath and make myself a cup of tea. Needles to say I passed everything with flying colours - I had been determined from the start that I would get home as soon as possible. The length of stay in hospital after a total knee replacement is usually 5 - 7 days after the operation. This was my third day.
After I had been back on the ward about an hour the sister came to tell me that the Physio and OT had passed me fit to go home and I could go later that afternoon. MWM was overjoyed when I rang to give him the news and promised to be there for 6 p.m. with everything I needed.
It felt so good to be home, and we had a Chinese takeaway to celebrate. Thankfully I didn't have any trouble getting up and downstairs with my crutches, the physiotherapist had given me some instruction on them and I remembered how to do it from the first operation I had on my knee. I suppose it's a bit like riding a bike - you never forget! Getting in and out of bed took some manoevering, it being a waterbed, but I got there in the end.
Friday 2nd March
Had a wonderful night's sleep in my floating island, so comfortable after the hard hospital bed. MWM helped me get onto the bathboard so I could sit and have shower whilst he passed me the shampoo and shower gel. He then helped me out and dried my legs as I couldn't reach down to do them. He then very kindly slathered me in my favourite body lotion and helped me dress. I could probably do all these things for myself but I would really struggle but as he's only too willing to do what he can to make things easier for me I am really grateful for his help.
Saturday 3rd March
Had a bit of a disturbed night last night, for some reason I seemed to have a bit more pain than usual. I awoke about 3 a.m. but it was too early to take any more painkillers so I drifted in and out of sleep until 6 a.m. when I took another dose. I managed to sleep again then until 8.30 ish when the whole rigamarole of showering and dressing started again.
My eldest brother brought his son and my father up to see me this afternoon for a couple of hours and they had no sooner gone than my youngest son brought Kai and Nate for a visit. I find sitting in a chair for any length of time uncomfortable and have to continuously jiggle my foot and flex my knee to stop the pins and needles.
I am supposed to do my exercises every hour but obviously that is impossible when you have visitors. I am up and down stairs frequently so I suppose this is good exercise too.
My leg is very swollen, especially my ankle but I was told this could take a few months to subside completely - something to look forward to!
Well readers, that's the story up to now. I'll post any progress or setbacks (hopefully there won't be any of those) in the days, weeks, months ahead,
I can honestly say, at this moment in time, I am happy that I've had the operation because I can see already, even with the swelling, that my leg is straight now and the same length as the other one.
I'll keep you posted and post some before and after photos eventually.