The morning of Day 0 dragged. I at least got to lie in, rather than being at hospital by 07:30. I was able to finish book 1 of The Lord of the Rings with my son while he and his father had breakfast, even if I couldn’t have any myself. I had my last lengthy shower for some time and shaved my own legs! The weather was lovely, so an hour spent out sitting in the garden in the sunshine was also good.
About 11:20 we were packed, and ready to go and couldn’t find any other excuses to hang around longer. It still felt very unreal. At the hospital I was collected from reception and bought up to my room. I am very lucky in that the NHS are using private hospitals locally and I am (almost) being treated like a private patient. Visiting hours are fixed for us though and they recorded my debit card before I was allowed in! They also leave lots of hospital information and insurance brochures around to make sure we know what we are missing 🙂
I was checked in by a nurse and given a nice bracelet to make sure I can’t escape 🙂 Obs done and provided with a lovely gown and paper knickers. My surgeon visited to mark my leg with a purple arrow, presumably to make sure he didn’t forget. The physiotherapist came to see how far my leg would move now, how I walked and to remind me of exercises post op. then the anaesthetist arrived like a big loppy dog to tell me the anaesthetic was not either/or but everything. General, spinal, morphine and the dreaded catheter.
At 14:30 ish they arrived to put me in my lovely green surgical stockings and walk me down to theatre. My husband had been able to stay to this point and left me at the theatre door.
There is something about anaesthetic that makes you chatty I think. I have recollections of saying far more than necessary or usual in my nervousness. The next second though, it seems, I was being sick in recovery and a second later being hauled on my bed back into my room. My first question – was it a resurface or replacement of my hip – and such a relief to find it had been possible to resurface, not for now because the procedure is much the same, but for 20 years time when I might need it to be done again. However, there is no history yet that I am aware of of it having to be redone, so time will tell – maybe with care it will last the rest of my life. Getting back into my room I recall was a struggle for everyone. It sometimes seems that whoever designed hospitals didn’t take into consideration the fact that you might have to move beds, trolleys and people around them.
Unfortunately, many of the details of the last few days have already become distant memories. I had thought on my iPad that I would be able to write a little each day to retain the memory fro future reference and next time, but WordPress on iPad has some oddities – seizing up entirely and doing nothing and not allowing the cursor to move back, so mistakes have to have everything after them deleted to get back to them. Hence getting to day 4 before this is written up.
In brief then, Day 0 was fine because afterwards mostly I slept and I had a spinal and morphine, so felt no pain. The feeling returning is odd though. It came back into my left leg first and my right leg – it seemed there was an extra one. I would swear my leg was bent at the knee and in the centre of the bed – yet there was a wedge there and I couldn’t feel at all my leg splayed out slightly to the right. I did keep trying to wriggle my toes and had a lovely wit of a nurse who asked me if I thought I was doing it myself!! The feeling came back to toes first and gradually moved upwards until it was back entirely. I never thought I would be grateful for a catheter though.
Day 1 – it was wonderful to have one of the kindest nurses I have ever met come in and help me wash. I will name names – she is Mandy and works at the Droitwich Spa hospital. She was so lovely and fortunately with me for most of the time I was there. Having been able to wash and clean my teeth it was off to x ray to make sure my replacements were all in the right places. The first time really I was in pain – being moved from bed to trolley and back again on a pac slide with 4 people is no fun for anyone. A lot of the pain later that day was down to being unable to move in bed and my thinking at this rate I was going to be adding pressure sores to the list. Physio came and helped me to stand. There was a lot of pain in the joint and I couldn’t put my weight on it. Up, turning and back down was about all I could do. It was a very bad night. I thought the night staff were never going to get to me to help me. Come 00:50 I was in so much pain and distress I was in tears and could have phoned my husband to come and get me just to get some help. The staff were very busy but I felt so helpless and in pain – and my feelings then that they were unkind, unhelpful and unsympathetic may in hindsight be unfair. Ice packs and morphine did eventually get me to sleep for 2 hours.
Day 2 morning was much the same. The night staff removed my catheter, which I was a little alarmed about given that they didn’t check whether I could yet get up. However, the day staff and the lovely Mandy came along and helped me to the loo and sat me at a chair in front of a sink to wash – lovely! I took my time, and felt much better. However, I was still in a lot of pain. My first physio was fairly traumatic – great in that I walked on crutches as far as the corridor and back. Not so great in that as I decided going to the loo before sitting down again was a good idea and promptly tried to faint in a small bathroom. My mouth went dry, the room tilted, and the physio pushed the crash button to summon help quickly! I was still in enough pain to need morphine – though a lot of the problem is having to put weight and strain on my left leg to compensate, where I already have painful arthritis in my hip and knee. The physio is not going to let me go home in the morning. By the time my husband came to visit me it looked as though I was back at square 1. The second physio visit was the turning point. It feels to me that much of the pain is cramp. Once I’d done a few exercises and sat in a chair for a change I felt much better and my husband and son came in to see a different person in the evening.
Day 3 and a much better night. I am determined to go home. The nursing staff are busy but I really need to get to the loo. They are careful to make sure my crutches and walker are out of reach so I don’t head off on my own. I had to call in the end but at least it meant they could leave me there to sit and wash and change again. Much better clean and up! I feel a lot better. when the physio comes we get along the corridor and up and down the stairs. I’m only having paracetamol and Ibuprofen now. The morphine does not do enough for pain to make the awful feeling of being tired and ill worthwhile, and besides, I really don’t need it any more. There is some pain in the joint but it is mostly down to swelling and cramp, which doing the exercises, while tiring, does relieve. Better still, I can go home! My husband and son came to get me and, after a bit of a wait and extra physio, we headed off with lovely fresh stockings and clip removers – hopefully not DIY clip removal! – and what seemed like an endless set of instructions from Mandy.
This is now very long – I’ll continue the homeward journey from a new post 🙂