On being in hospital

I’ve been looking back nearly seven years, to compare then with now.  This was the post I wrote about the original operation and it was much the same, as you’d expect.  Wanting not to have sedation seems to be less unusual now and the anaesthetist told me about a woman who was having a replacement knee and he didn’t notice her pulling the screen down so that she could see what the surgeon was doing.  The surgeon was not at all pleased and, later, told him he did not appreciate an unauthorised audience.

I didn’t have a catheter fitted this time and there was no drain either.  I don’t know why there wasn’t anything to drain from the wound, but that was the case, half a litre was in the bag from the drain last time, though I suppose it might have seeped into the bed – the sheet was certainly damp and … hey, I’d been thinking I wet the bed, but I couldn’t understand how I might have done so without being aware of it.  Dammit, it was from the wound all along!  Well, really me.  I was so embarrassed and apologetic.  The operation itself was uneventful – no, clearly I don’t mean that.  It was routine.  I heard the saw and smelled the burning and felt the hammering.  Last time, the new joint was not cemented in place but now, the surgeon tells me, they do it as routine. It doesn’t cause a problem and gives a little extra security.

LT waited in my room the whole time – I was out for about two and a half hours.  About an hour for the operation, another for recovery – I was awake but they wait until you can move your legs – and the rest was the travelling and preparation.  The anaesthetist told me that he was using the least possible anaesthetic and they turned me on my left side so that it would concentrate on the leg to be operated.  Both were numbed, of course, but it was noticeable afterwards that the right leg recovered first.  I was aware of feeling returning and being able to twitch my right thigh muscles, then movement gradually spread downwards: ditto on the other side a little while later.  When they were happy – and happy they all were, a jolly friendly bunch who all introduced themselves to me by name, so I made a point of remembering and calling them by name too – I was wheeled back and greeted by the Lovely Tim, who looked relieved.

I’d been asked by the cook what I would like to eat – last time, I had a very good chicken sandwich on wholemeal bread but, although I’d enjoyed it, I brought it up later, as I did everything I ate the next day.  So I chose tuna on white bread, as being more easily digested.  I also asked for a croissant, orange juice and plain yoghurt for breakfast.

I would have liked an earlyish night but it wasn’t until after 11 that I was invited to stand and I walked a few steps to a commode – good thing, not that it was far to the bathroom but I was feeling dizzy by the time I got into bed again.

I didn’t get given the elastic stockings this time, they’d got sort of air bags around my legs with rubber tubes that pumped air every few moments – this is to help with circulation, of course.  A nurse had to disconnect them every time I got out of bed.  The last night, the nurse decided I was all right without, which meant I could go to the bathroom without calling for anyone.

Whether it was having less anaesthetic, having more easily digested food or what else I don’t know, but I wasn’t sick and, though I felt dizzy on several occasions, I recovered quicker, to the extent that I came out a day earlier than expected rather than a day later as last time.  My leg feels more mobile too and I’m going to have to remember to be careful.  I’m not supposed to bend to less than a right angle (i’ll write a bit about tricks of managing this, tomorrow) but I feel as if I could easily.  When tired, though, I needed help lifting my leg into the bed – it doesn’t help that I’m having to get in the wrong side, i.e. my operated leg first.  But I’ve been all right all day today and I can feel that I’m getting more agile already.  But no chances are being taken.

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