Ten days ago I went into hospital for surgery to replace my entire right knee. I injured it last early last year and over the months it became increasingly obvious that it was not going to get better without surgery. For the last four months up until the day of the surgery there was not a day or night or even an hour that I was not in severe pain even though I took very strong painkillers to combat the pain.
So It was deemed that the only way that I would be without pain as well as having movement in my knee that had swelled to twice what it should have been was to replace the parts in my knee that were coursing the trouble and that meant that I would be having a full knee replacement.
I entered hospital at 7am on the 27th February where I saw various people that would be present at the operation people such as the surgeon who would be doing the operation along with two young surgeons who would be assisting him.
The Anaesthetist came around and we talked of the different methods that they could use to put me under and we opted for both an epidural and a general. It was explained that the epidural would give me at least 8 hours of free pain when I came back from surgery and that they could give me more or less pain-killing drugs by doing it this way and the general anaesthetic was needed as it was going to be a three hour operation and it would not be fair to expect my upper body to lay still for those three hours, and did I really want to actually hear and see the equipment that they would be using.
The operation went well and I awoke to a nice nurse asking me if I felt sick and if I would like a sip of water and seeing as my mouth was as dry as a desert due to the fact that the last drink I had was at 5am that morning and it was now 6pm I thankfully took a few sips of water that instantly tasted like wine.
I had a peaceful night back in my four-bedroom ward when I came back from three hours recovery, although it seemed every time I went to sleep a nice nurse came along and woke me up to administer blood pressure tests and to make sure that I had not succumbed to an infection they did this every two hours.
I was worried the next day as I now had feeling back in my right leg that had been operated on but not in my left leg and my waterworks seemed not to be working properly either, They had to change the bed three times during the morning and I could not get out of bed as my left leg gave way, but I have to say I was surprised that my right leg that had been operated on was fine I had no other pain other than the cut that was a bit sore, I had been told that after the operation on a knee replacement people are wracked by the pain and here I was no pain at all which was really nice.
Late Tuesday afternoon they were still a bit worried that still had very little feeling in my left leg and that my waterworks were still not working properly and they concluded that it was the epidural that was the problem, they had little by little reduced the drugs that were flowing into my body during the day in the epidural and they came and took it out and gave me a shot of oral morphine that instantly made me quite happy.
I went to sleep that night and had the best night sleep for a very long time, no one came and woke me and I awoke at 6am with all feeling in both my legs and my waterworks although not quite right were far better than they had been the day before.
In most UK hospitals the nurses come around and get you out of bed around 6.45 am those that can shower, shower those that can’t are given means to wash themselves while all beds are cleaned and bedding changed. They came and got me out of bed at this time and I told them as I had not seen the physiotherapists who usually get people like me out and walking it would be better if they got me out. The nurse just took one look and said if you think we are waiting for them to come and get you out of bed sir your sadly mistaken now get up we will help you. So I got up with the aid of two nice nurses sat in my chair and felt far better for doing it.
After breakfast I decided to have a walk around so I got hold of my two crutches and went walk about, where I met my physiotherapist who took one look at me and gave me a good old fashioned telling off, to which I told him seeing that we are looking at the stairs that I was about to go up before we met and that they will be the stairs that you will want me to walk up while we are here why not watch me walk up and down them and then you can put in your report that I am ready to be discharged. He shook his head in frustration but had to admit when I came back down the stairs that if everything else was OK such as X-rays and blood there was no reason to keep me in hospital.
It took them all day to do more tests but at 7.30pm I was discharged and I came home.
Since then I have had four sessions with the physiotherapists at my home and four sessions with what we call district nurses who come out to homes to treat people and to make sure that the wound is still clean and free from infection, and today they came to take out the metal stiches and to redress the wound.
I have very little pain anymore just the pain of my knee and leg swollen from the operation and of course the wound, I can bend my new knee to a degree of 87 which I believe at the moment is very good and have been told that when the swelling goes down I will be able to bend it even more.
I had a shock when I went down for my x-ray I could see what they had done I have a metal ball that is my knee and that is held in position by a spike that goes in to my femur and a something that looks like a metal flat surface and again it is held into place in my tibia with another spike, it was not the ball or the flat metal surface that shocked me but the length of the spikes that went into the bones.
I am now on the road to a full recovery although today as the nurse took out the stiches she noticed that the leg around the wound was a light red and as a precaution she prescribed a few antibiotics to be taken four times a day just in case I have an infection, my next visit by her will be on Tuesday morning where I hope that the swelling will have gone down quite a bit.