All is now pretty good. I had a left knee replacement in October, and I am only now starting to appreciate the operation. I had been in considerable pain and was limping all the time.
It has been quite an ordeal. I had expected it to be painful, but it seemed to go on for so long that one felt one was becoming a whinger!
The anaesthetic must have been marvellous, because one minute I was sitting on the edge of the operating table chatting nervously, the next I was in recovery, having had the operation. The attention was good and I felt I was coping well.
It was unfortunate that the only vacant bed was in the cardiac unit, and I was wheeled there. I thought I was in the orthopaedic ward, as I normally would have been.
No one came near me after the initial move. I rang the bell for a drink of water, and a jug and glass were brought in. I was given a drink and the vessels were placed on a cabinet out of my reach. I was being shifted to the correct ward, I was told, and my belongings were all piled onto my bed with me. The only thing within my reach was the telephone and the bell. After some hours, I pressed the buzzer, with no response. Many times I did this, the same. I could not see into the hallway, which seemed deserted, but at last I heard footsteps, and called out, ‘Help!’
A physiotherapist came in, amazed at my tears, and said she would summon help. But there was nothing. Another hour or two passed and I was beginning to panic. There was no movement at all down the corridor. I was desperate, presuming I had been forgotten. What to do? Both of my daughters were at work. The only phone number I could recall was that of my ex-husband, so I phone him and asked him for help. ‘I’ll be right up!’ he replied.
When Colin got there and raised a bit of a riot (I believe), there was some action, but not much. I was in the wrong ward for surgery, they said. The wardsman was busy but would move me soon. They were not too worried about my distress, and chatted away among themselves.
When I was in the surgical ward, things were different altogether. The hospital secretary came to apologise for the neglect, and I was decent about it. I had a crowd in the room, Colin and my son-in-law Scott who had been despatched to see what the fuss was. It was all plain sailing from then on.
The next week was painful indeed, even with the painkillers. And the physios had me out of bed, walking with crutches, all for my own good. Going to the toilet was excruciating. But every day brought an improvement in movement in the exercises prescribed.
Then I was transferred to Rehab., which was the old hospital of fifty years ago, a lovely old place of four-bed wards, with a common bathroom. Quite okay. We were obliged to walk with our sticks, crutches or trolleys to the dining room for lunch. Breakfast and our evening meal could be partaken in the ward, but on a chair.
There was a gymnasium, and every morning at eight, we had to be showered and fed before reporting to the Gym for our exercises. There was a certain camaraderie among the patients. We had a very noisy person in our ward, but there was no single room available for her until the night before I left. Otherwise we all got along well. The nights were broken of course, because if one patient wanted assistance, the rest of us were woken, no matter how quiet the nurses tried to be.
After two more weeks, I went to Colin’s house(which used to be my home) to fully recuperate before coming home. I was there for three weeks, and he looked after me well. He understood my discomfort, because he had a similar operation nine years ago, and remembered it well! My daughters visited me, but they were able to go home and look after their young families, safe in the knowledge that I was in good hands.
Finally I came home, and it certainly was difficult. The stairs were hard to negotiate, and I could not even water my garden. But Judy, a friend in the next street, brought my mail in every day, and ran any messages for me. I had plenty of food in the freezer and pantry. I managed with my new walking stick, finally walking round the garden.
I have pushed my boundaries every day, knowing that the less I did, the less I would be able to do. Judy still checks on me each day, but I walk down the street unaided, after four months. The stick lies at the ready in the living room, but I do not need it. I can roll over in bed without wincing. Yes, I am glad I had the operation!