Tag Archives: post-op

Unmovie

Thanks to a sudden operation on my knee I’ve been laid up for the last week, seeking distraction. I’ve needed an arthroscopy on my right knee for most of the year but the hoops I’ve had to jump through (assessment, diagnosis, then rejection by ACC, blood tests to discount arthritis and gout, my first ever MRI and ECG) all showed I had great health, for my age, and a perfect knee. Except for a ‘complex’ tear in my meniscus.

This time last Sunday I was waiting for a letter to either 1. Offer me an operation date sometime next year, or 2. Inform me I could not go on the waiting list as others had a greater need than me. I experienced the latter when I needed a bigger operation three years ago to correct Haglund’s deformity (heel spurs… the chronic condition that deferred Trump from defending democracy in Vietnam). See Post-Op Blog Couched In Cast Away etc

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So it was a total shock to get a call at work last Monday offering me surgery the following day. Somehow I manged to clear the decks and make it happen. Early the next morning I was climbing onto the operating table in a backless gown, talking to the local surgery team about how house prices in Titahi Bay had gone nuts, awaiting my third general anaesthetic. I distinctly remember the process. When I was six I woke in the night to wander the dark wards looking for my mother. Last time I woke to the rhythmic squeeze and hiss of a cuff on my leg guarding against blood clots. This time I took a groggy selfie to post on Facebook while Harry Nilsson’s ‘Spaceman’ ran through my head.

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It was only a 15 minute key-hole procedure and I was out for about an hour. Much quicker than the other times when I had to stay overnight. The lemonade ice-block to sooth my raw throat (breathing tubes) was delicious… I hadn’t eaten since the night before. Then it was on to crutches (easier with a bandage than with a cast) and I was free to go. Just before I left the friendly nurse asked if I wanted something ‘for the road’. I said yes. She smiled, poked her tongue out the side of her mouth, and returned with a little blue pill that, according to my partner, made me a lot of fun for the rest of the day.

Since then it’s been a lot of sitting with my leg up, trying to do nothing. I’m not very good at it. Especially as I’m surrounded by three small children and have no Christmas shopping done.

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Between reading and writing I’ve attempted to make the time between meds and leg exercises disappear by watching movies. It’s something I haven’t done in years. Not since I fell for the general trend towards the elongated 10 hour tales of ‘golden age’ television where, like a novel, you can get to love characters and spend time with them night after night.

Until this week the only movie I’ve watched this year (apart from kids’ movies) was ‘Swiss Army Man’ where Daniel Radcliffe played a dead body washed up on a desert island. What’s not to like? It was a lot of fun. Less one-dimensional than you would imagine.

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On Thursday I watched ‘Hell or High Water’. It’s as good as the reviews say. A pretty-as contemporary bank-robber/western. Languid and laugh-out-loud with wry comments on the post-GFC/Iraq War world. Jeff Bridges is a treat.

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On Friday I watched ‘Green Room’. The most suspenseful thriller I can imagine. A crap punk band gets trapped in a room after playing a dodgy White Power gig. There is violence, but it is sudden and real. A very compelling, fresh blast of the thriller genre. It also has the added fun of watching Capt. Picard and Mr. Chekov trying to outsmart each other (along with John Shelby, from ‘Peaky Blinders’, one of my fav binge-worthy TV shows). That Capt. Kirk is also in ‘Hell or High Water’ suggests a possible theme to my movie choices, but I am resistant to ‘re-boots’ and ‘franchises’, no matter how good they are meant to be. I love movies too much to be tempted by the lurch towards Tim Tam flavoured Capt. Disney-fried Star Wars sausage candy that has attempted to kill-off the strong, original story-telling movies used to glory in.

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Last night I watched the most original of the three films I chose from a list of the best of 2016. ‘The Lobster’ has Colin Farrrell as a bland pudgy single man who must find a partner within 45 days or be turned into a lobster. It feels like early 70s European sci-fi dystopia but is a lot funnier. The cast is great and the humour comes from the mundane way the situation is treated. It makes you laugh and think about the endless pressure to change or justify your ‘status.’

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So, what to watch tonight? I could finish off ‘Westworld’ or continue through ‘The Crown’ or ‘Vikings’ (loving these TV shows) but I’m going to keep with the movie kick. ‘The Invitation’ looks good. A man goes to a dinner party at his ex-wife’s and begins to believe something sinister is planned.

Seems like a good distraction from the endless cycle of ibuprofen, paracetamol, aspirin and leg raises while waiting to be able to move again.

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Post-op Blog

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I must say that I wasn’t expecting to be awake and lucid so soon after a general anaesthetic.

5 hours ago I was lying in theatre waiting for the drip in my hand to send me off, chatting with the nurse who has a child in my daughter’s class, reminiscing about the school show the kids did last week performing the Pukeko Stomp in cute wee masks; joining in on the anaesthetist’s discussion about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call for people to reconsider a consumerist Christmas…then suddenly it’s 2 hours later and I’m with all the other post-ops, being reminded to breathe (that’s the morphine, love) and eating the yummiest lemonade ice-block I’ve ever tasted.

Where was the disorientation and distress I recall so vividly from my last general anaesthetic 40 years ago when I was 5?

I guess the drugs have got a lot better.

My bright red toes are sticking out the huge lump of plaster that will be my friend and foe for the next 6 weeks, while my good leg has a sleeve on it that keeps pumping up & squeezing my calf to keep things moving.

This is the easy bit. The recovery/rehab will be in 6week blocks…rather intimidating. The nurse who brought me up to ward said her husband also needs the op to fix his Achilles but the long rehab is such a hurdle (pun intended).

I’m not thinking about that right now.

I’m gobbling ham sammies and tomato soup, waiting for a visit from my wee girl, keen to show off my cast… I have a pen ready for her to sign it.

She will be excited.

4 hours later.

Well, I guess I was being a little sentimental. She was rather unsure about seeing me. Very wide-eyed and hanging back. Fair enough. I may be chipper but I’m not the looming, tall rumble-tumble Dad she’s used to.

Not sick or sad, but not quite right.
She was very keen to get down from our awkward cuddle in bed.

I imagine it will change when the surroundings are more familiar after I get home tomorrow. I say home. I’m actually going to the neighbours but that’s as good as home to her. She know’s where the boy-next-door keeps his felts so my bright white cast will be well-decorated after she gets back from school.

Can’t wait to see it.

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