I had a stroke of great luck last night and was one of the few patients who managed to get a decent night’s sleep. I learned that I could sleep on my side as long as I had a pillow under my operated knee, though the canulla sometimes made it tricky. I was woken by the night nurse once again giving me my morning meds, blood pressure and an escorted trip to the bathroom. She also gave me the good news – breakfast would be ready soon.
Still sleepy breakfast was delivered along with a flood of messages from friends and a FaceTime call (though accidental I believe) by Anna Tammela, one of my housemates getting ready for her day at Arts Ed. I cannot tell you how lovely it was to see a familiar face and have such a boost in the morning and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone. I chatted to Anna over breakfast, the best meal given during my stay, what other hospital gives you smoked salmon?
My first physio session
I was re-introduced to Louise, my physiotherapist for my stay who started me off on my first exercises. She helped me take my legs off the bed and put them flat. She was a real character, telling me off for popping a pillow under to support my knee. Louise explained how because I had a locked knee, it was VITAL I got out of the habit of having my operated knee bent as soon as possible and got used to keeping my knee straight.
My week one exercises are:
Leg flat on bed: Tighten the thigh muscle by pressing the back of the knee into the bed and pulling your foot towards you. (Repeat 5-10 times)
Leg flat on bed: Bend the operated leg, sliding your heel on the bed up towards your bottom. (Repeat 5-10 times)
Sitting in chair: Slide your heel backwards allowing the knee to bend as much as possible. (Repeat 5-10 times)
Sitting in chair: Straighten your knee and put heel on the floor. Tighten the thigh muscle and then relax it.
Next we graduated to walking up and down the ward using the crutches. This was a little scary as it meant trusting the crutches to help me partially bear weight, putting the crutches out first, then my operated leg, finally the good leg and repeat.
HANDY HINT: It is much easier to take small steps with the crutch, almost like little penguin steps than to overreach and strain yourself. Don’t be afraid to go slow and take your time.
The final step was to master going up and down the STAIRS. This was VERY daunting for me as I had to go downstairs first. This was the method I was taught:
- Left hand on railing while right holds the crutches.
- Bad leg steps down first.
- Good leg joins it
Next was going upstairs, even worse because it meant transferring my weight onto my bad leg! This was the method I was taught:
- Right hand on railing while left holds crutches.
- Good leg goes up first.
- Bad leg joins it.
Remember to always put the crutch ahead at all times!
Having passed stair training I was cleared to be discharged by Louise and finally had my bandages removed.
(I WARN YOU IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH SCROLL QUICKLY NOW!)
Not the prettiest sight, and the pain has started to come now I’m exercising the operated knee, but it’s still not bad considering what I thought it would be!
I waited for Louise to bring me my brace which she taught me how to fit it onto my own knee. It involves four latches which tie together to secure it. The brace bends up to the maximum I am allowed to bend my knee to 110 degrees, pretty good for a newly operated knee! But IT IS HEAVY and I need a helper to carry it for me!
Finally I waited to receive my new white stockings which would give me better circulation and not irritate the dressings and was taken in a wheelchair to the car by a Porter.
I cannot tell you how good it is to be home!
Since arriving home I’ve had a lovely set of messages from friends and spent the day binge watching The Good Place. Oh Netflix how I have missed you.
I am already starting to settle into a routine of pain meds, moving round the house and icing my operated knee. I’ve been visited by my grandparents and sent some lovely roses and lillies by my dad. Flowers always cheer me up!
I’ve also managed to keep down a full dinner, a cup of tea, coffee and some treacle toffee, yay!
I now look like Alice in Wonderland and will post a picture of my sexy little medical suspenders in tomorrow’s blog 😉