I woke up in the HDU the day after my surgery at around 4am. The nurse who had been giving me pretty much one-on-one care all night helped me go to the toilet (bed pan – ugh!), get clean and changed my sheets. I’d never had such good care and attention in NHS hospitals! I was told I was being weaned off my epidural and started to get some feeling back in my right leg (had the op on my right leg). It was a very strange sensation – sort of like having really intense pins and needles! The epidural was totally stopped at 8am after the night nurse handed over to the day staff – who were also very nice. I was concerned about having the epidural out because of my squeamishness and fear of needles but it was done really simply and pain-free.
I also had my drain removed from my knee, and as I was off the epidural I could get rid of all my tubes – I had oxygen in my nose, a blood pressure cuff that automatically took my blood pressure, various stickies connected to wires, and a cannula in my hand that was used to administer all sorts of drugs. They then moved me back to my private room from the HDU as I was no longer on the epidural so didn’t need continuous observation.
I started to get the feeling back in my left leg, particularly towards the bottom and on my foot. After a few hours I started to feel some mild pain, but not enough to keep me from trying the CPM machine! I was on it for about 45mins and had got up to 60 degrees ROM when my mum arrived. The hospital physio came and wanted to get me up and on crutches, which I did quite easily as I’ve had ops before and get around quite well on crutches. I did some walking and the stairs, before doing some heel slides. I then had a bit of a dizzy turn as I do have quite low blood pressure and after surgery when I first get out of bed I often get sick and dizzy.
I laid on the bed for a while and had some oxygen, before going on the CPM machine again. By this point the pain in my knee was quite substantial and I couldn’t get my knee to bend to the same degree – it was hurting too much. I stayed on the CPM for a whole 90mins before the nurse came to remove it and by this stage I was very tired and in a lot of pain. My surgeon came to see me again and told me the operation had gone well, and he had also done a VMO advancement alongside the trochleoplasty to hopefully achieve the best result possible. After he left I continued to rest up, before the physio came back and suggested I do another hour on the CPM. I only managed 30mins at 30degrees as I was in 10/10 pain and really struggling.
That evening my pain worsened and I also started to get some very intense and painful muscle spasms in my quads. I was really struggling to cope with the pain and would cry and moan – my poor parents having to look on. Eventually by the time they left at 10pm the nurses had called the anaesthetist who had revised my pain meds and said I could take some more powerful drugs to hopefully get my pain under control. Before then I was on paracetamol, ibuprofen and Oxycontin. On top of this I was allowed a fast acting opiate,which allowed me a few hours’ rest and sleep that night.