I went to the doctor and the doctor said
You’ve got a problem with your leg
But Ah’m a gonna fix it wait and see
With metal and a button in your knee
Oh doctor doctor can’t you feel me?
Oh doctor doctor won’t you heal me?
Oh doctor doctor put my trust in you!With thanks and apologies to Alex Nicholson
Wednesday 12th February. In a side room with another female patient. It is just after 7.30 am. I am to have my surgery at ‘lunchtime’. I’m sitting on a large comfy chair with a footrest. At the desk where I checked in there there was a large young man in blue scrubs. He wiped his nose on his hand then on his tunic.
7.50 Registrar has checked all my details and put an arrow on my left leg. He checked that I knew exactly what I was getting done (patella femoral replacement) and that it was my signature on the form. Listening to hip replacement lady next to me. She has never been in hospital and is needle-phobic. She needs a sick note for her work. Her husband is reading the Sun. Headline: DENNIS THE MENACE ON WARPATH.
More visitors. Nurse who is very thorough. Name, age, where are you now, what year is it? What age are you? Checking I don’t have dementia? MRSA swabs. Bands on wrist. Red one says no penicillin. Do I have dentures, pacemaker, am I pregnant (!!!) Reassuringly cheery anaesthetist checks that I’m having spinal, sedation and Hunter canal local pain relief. I get measured for my TED stockings. I have a shower (second today – I’m SO clean)
Just got anaesthetic cream patches, for cannula, on back of hands and take omeprazole and temazepam. Chatted to hip lady who is now in a gown too. I do up her ties. She has jewellery and nail varnish on and slippers without backs. I am a model patient without either form of adornment and I’m wearing regulation slippers. Temazepam kicking in. I like the feeling. I put on paper pants and backless gown. Slippers and dressing gown allowed thank goodness. Maybe I’ll doze for a bit. Try not to think about waiting. I have my new Val McDermid audiobook to distract me.
In my own room at 14.42. Surgery is over. Partial replacement as planned. I was blissfully unaware throughout. Still numb from waist down. Egg sandwich and coffee most welcome! Feeling much better after a visit from Cannyrob who brings proper coffee and a Kit Kat. My legs are coming back to life and I have robot sandals which squeeze my feet to prevent DVT. Dark pink left foot due to painted on antiseptic. Not sepsis.
Two kinds of humiliation. One: I have wet myself and am still peeing apparently. Male nurse comes to help. I am not allowed to get out of bed so various contortions required. I am left sitting on a bedpan. Two: my meal is here but I can’t get the lid off the plate. Nurse attacks it with a knife. Chicken, sprouts and potatoes. I manage to get off the bedpan and eat. My surgeon just came in (wearing his anorak) to report that surgery went well. Crumbling bone removed and replaced with metal. Plastic button behind kneecap. Prognosis good. Very little pain so far but there will still be a lot of pain meds in Hunter canal down side of knee.
Exciting events: visit from nephew- in-law who is a consultant here. Nurse gives me an anti-inflammatory drug which I can’t take. (She checked and I don’t need to take it.) Also I have wet myself again. Nurse too busy to help just now. Funny how different staff are. Just like real people. Cannyrob helps me sort the bed and reads me a chapter from American Gods by Neil Gaiman .
It’s after 10 and I’m ready to sleep in my red and black frilly heart pyjama shorts. I have been told very firmly that I am NOT ALLOWED to get up without assistance. I have to buzz for a nurse. Loud voices and telly somewhere. Shame I forgot my earplugs. Goodnight. At least I can reach the light switch.
It’s 3.10 am and I am sound asleep. My bad leg is comfortably supported on a pillow. I have successfully tuned out the regular sigh and buzz of my robot sandals. Suddenly the light goes on and a nurse trundles in with a blood pressure machine. The cuff goes round my arm. Beeps and dings. Light goes out. I listen as other patients are monitored. Back to Val McDermid.
Dozed again but there are more noises off. It’s 6.30 now and probably time to buzz nurse and get to the loo. Heard the hip lady groaning a while back. I’ve made progress! Allowed to go to the loo with Zimmer. So did my 3 metre mobility test. Blood pressure 119 over 65. Temperature low but room cold. I have an extra blanket now. Having a break from robot sandals. Pain not too bad. I have Tramodol (hello opiod my old friend!) Up now in chair ready for breakfast. Registrar and Mr O have been to check on me. Thinks I should be ready to leave later on today once all boxes have been ticked. I feel really encouraged by all the lovely messages from my family and friends before and after my surgery. Looking forward to a visit from my wee sister this afternoon. She knows all about hospitals.
Look out for the next thrilling instalment once I’m home. Do you have hospital stories to share? Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org