The day of the total knee replacement finally arrived. These are my tips-:
- Make yourself a schedule for the day so you are not running around panicking all day long eg Alarm, 6.10am, Breakfast by 6.30am, Leave house, 12.15pm Arrive hospital 1pm. Operation c3-4pm
- Set your alarm so you can have a drink and some food before the time when you are not allowed to eat or drink anything if your operation is later in the day
- If you don’t feel like eating, (I didn’t), have a hot milky drink to fill you up
- If your operation is later in the day, leave some easy errands to do so you keep your mind off the thought of the operation , eg cook some food for when you are coming home, buy some magazines, pack your suitcase
On arriving at the hospital and the admission ward, I -:
- changed into the surgical gown and pants,
- was weighed and had the normal medical checks of pulse, blood pressure etc
- was checked to see that I didn’t have any cuts or bites or bruises which could cause an infection
- was given an identity bracelet and another special red one as I am allergic to penicillin
- had a TED stocking put on my non operated leg to prevent DVTs
The anaesthetist came and explained how -:
- I was to be given a spinal anaesthetic which would paralyse me from the waist down
- I would be sedated which would feel as if I was asleep and would not know what was going on
- this is preferred for lower limb joint replacements because it is easier, more effective and much safer.
- I would still have control of my airways and breathing and be able to cough and swallow, just like when being asleep.
- When I woke up, there wouldn’t be any after effects as you may get with a general anaesthetic.
The surgeon came and -:
- checked my identity
- asked if I had any last minute questions
- asked if I had any incontinence issues so I would need a catheter afterwards (three people asked me about this afterwards and the answer is you don’t need a catheter unless you have continence issues)
- explained the consent form which I signed it for my agreement to the procedure
- drew an indelible arrow on the leg to be operated on.
When it was time for the operation-:
- I was wheeled in silence along a seemingly never ending corridor to an ante room to the operating theatre. This was the scariest bit.
- the anaesthetist gave me the injections for the spinal anaesthetic and the sedative for the operation
- Sting was playing on the radio; ‘Every move you make, every breath you take, I’ll be watching you.’ As the sedation took hold, I was floating happily down a psychedelic staircase. I woke up to the sound of people wrapping bandaging round my knee.