Saturday, 13 March 2010

The week that was

Well it's good to be back home and online after my resurfacing surgery. What a week eh? I actually can't believe I was discharged in time for the weekend. If you asked me on wednesday if I would be, my answer would have been a definite NO!

Sunday 7th March:
A little late getting to the ROHB due to roadworks, but after calling them to let them know they were only concerned about whether I was having a safe journey to the hospital rather than being late for my 'check-in'. They are so nice there. Once there I was placed on Ward 3, the hip and knee ward, and subjected to a ton of paperwork. I had to have blood taken too - cue the on-call weekend lacky, er junior doctor! I hate the doctors taking blood and no-one had informed this 'trainee orthopaedic oncologist' that taking blood with a regular 20ml syringe and needle had been banned a while back (they use those vacuum syringes now). Couple the giant syringe with the fact he didn't release the tourniquet to draw blood and it wasn't the best experience. Don't worry, I told him so in no uncertain terms! Anyways, apart from that and a giant arrow drawn onto my leg, sunday was relatively unremarkable.

Monday 8th March - the day of surgery:
7am: Woken up and sent for a shower.
7.30am: Visit from the anaesthetist - we briefly discuss anaesthesia and what I'd like. I ask for a general anaesthesia with a single spinal shot (lasts 7-8hrs as opposed to the 24-48hrs of an epidural).
8.30am: Taken down to pre-op theatre, shoogled onto the operating table, stuck with a cannula in my hand, hooked up to monitors and plastered in electrodes!
8.58am: I was given 5 bottles of wine, sorry, the anaesthesia.....then.......
10.30am: Awoke in recovery seeing the clock on the wall, oxygen mask on my face, IV fluids into another cannula in my wrist and the noise of the hot air filling the heated blanket over me. I ask if the surgery was successful, the resurfacing, yes it was. Relief. Then I feel the ache. Morphine given. Ache still there half and hour later - more morphine. Better :o)
12 noon: Was about to be moved to the ward but started to feel sick due to the morphine. Blood pressure also low so they kept me in recovery.
1.15pm: Back on ward 3 fairly awake and very comfortable. Parents came in to visit me not long after that.

Spent most of the day napping and feeling sick due to the morphine. Was sick a few times and decided that I wouldn't take morphine that night, just the NSAIDS and paracetamol. I was not allowed out of bed either - like I could, my leg felt welded to the bed!!

Tuesday 9th March - day 2 post surgery:
Mmmm.....perhaps not taking the morphine wasn't such a good idea! It was at this point that I remembered all the times that I'd forgotten to take the diclofenac and how crap it was to play catch up with the pain. So most of day 2 was spent wrestling with the breakthrough pain and the sickness of the remnants of the morphine, joy! During this time the super-smiley physiotherapists turned up to get me out of bed!!

This was the moment I was dreading and it was just as joyous as the last surgery. Well, as the spinal had worn off it didn't feel as traumatising turning straight-legged using the monkey bar to get your legs over the side of the bed. Bending the legs at the knees over the bed however felt so tight and heavy I thought my feet would never get to the floor. The incision site felt like it was going to burst - they assured me the staples would hold, don't panic (they did!). So, feet finally on the floor, a zimmer frame gets plonked in front of me. Now, as a 31 yr old spring chicken one might think that the site of such a contraption would just induce a depression, but honestly it was a god send - when your leg feels welded to the floor and someone is asking you to do something impossible like 'walk' you take anything you can hang on to with welcoming arms. This is always the point where you think "what the f*** have I just done to myself! I can't walk, I can't remember what it's like to walk, will I walk again?". The latter question was a good one as I did manage to move the leg forward, although there was little control over it and I could hear myself shouting in my head at my leg "MOVE damn it, MOVE!"'s like the first scene in Kill Bill when she wills her big toe to move after waking up from a long coma - yes, its THAT hard to do! However, 3 steps on and I'm hit with a massive wave of nausea and several bright white spots cloud my vision. Couldn't open eyes due to feeling blinded by said bright spots and the physio's manhandled me back into bed asap. My blood pressure had plummeted to 93/51. No more getting out of bed for me til the next day. As I was still in pain, the nurses decided that sickness wasn't a good enough reason not to take the morphine, I gave in. The rest of the day was spent vomit-worthy but pain free. I was also getting told off by my parents for being too hard on myself as I just wanted to get up and walk - I'm thinking the morphine and anaesthesia affected me in more ways than one mentally.

Wednesday 10th March - day 3 post surgery:
Woke up still vomit-worthy so the on-call doctor gave me IV anti-sickness drugs which actually worked! Hurrah! By this point the diclofenac with paracetamol was working so no more morphine. I still couldn't stomach much food though which was making me feel crappy as I had no energy. I could barely stay awake on day 3 due to this. The porter kept coming to take me to x-ray but the Sister kept shooing him away as I couldn't be mobilised until the physio's came back again, and until I stopped throwing up! Apparently Mr. O was desperate to see his handy-work!

The physio's came back again with military precision to get me out of bed for round 2! Urgh. This time I made it across the room to the bathroom - HUGE achievement this, a glimmer of independence was emerging with the sight of the bathroom door. Washing in bed is bloody impossible and horrid I can tell you. The physio's also told me that there would be no restrictions on my movements either during recovery. This is the big difference between resurfacing and replacement - there's a list of restrictions with replacement so you don't dislocate the joint in the early stages of recovery when the muscles are at their weakest. I don't have to worry, just to use common sense. Obviously I cannot touch my toes just yet because my muscles just won't let me, far too tight! But they will stretch out soon.

Thursday 11th March - day 4 post surgery:
Today was a good day! Despite having had zero sleep (despite my fabulous foresight to bring an eyemask and ear plugs - trust me, worth it when in a ward bay of 4 people!) I was so alert thursday. I got a shower!! Oh I cannot express how fabulous it was to sit under the hot water and wash away that hospital smell....bliss *sigh*. The X-ray dude then carted me off which cheered me up no end as it was my first trip out of the ward bay in 4 days! Then when I got back to the ward the physio's turned up again with 2 shiny new crutches for me. We did the full length of the corridor and then the stairs. With that it meant the physio's signed me off for discharge! HIP HIP HOORAY! Just need to get the occupational therapist and ward Sister to sign me off for discharge and FREEDOM! The OT had to witness me getting in and out of bed safely and unaided - check. They also made me show them that I could sit on a toilet safely without the use of a raised toilet seat and hold rails - just using my crutches and reaching out for guidance. That's easier said than done and not something I could have done post-PAO. But 2 tries and the OT was happy to sign me off for discharge too! The ward Sister was happy with my progress and was happy to discharge me with one exception - I was not allowed to travel back to Scotland in the car! The ROHB do not like their hip patients to travel in cars. So an ambulance was booked, but it meant getting away thursday was impossible - 8am friday morning and I would be free!

Friday 12th March - day 5 post surgery:
6.30am: Woken up to get ready to leave. Wound checked - holy crap, 30-35 staples! Given painkillers to take home and a supply of clexane injections for 1 month (to prevent DVT's, rather than the sexy TED stockings!).
8am: No ambulance yet.
8.30am: Done 4 laps of the corridor and collared Mr. O's registrar to show me my x-rays (wow!). Still no ambulance.
9am: Ambulance!!! Hurrah! Bundled onto the stretcher into the ambulance, en route to Scotland.
3.20pm: Home sweet home baby yey! Very stiff as we only stopped once. Walked about the house lots to relieve it.
11pm: Asleep in my own bed!


  1. wow! welcome home then! happy healing!

  2. well done Bex - sounds like you're doing brilliantly. Envious re the no restrictions although 6 weeks post op now and mine are gone. Really glad you're able to walk well - isn't it a great feeling ?