OK, Day 4.
The physiotherapist today suggested that we move to the next phase and try using a couple of walking sticks to support getting about. So, that has been one of the focus areas for the day.
Experiences like this are good for reminding ourselves just how much we take for granted and reconnect with a different view of time and recommendations. It has also allowed lots of time for reflecting on the way that any of us involved in the care, and development of, others, can potentially make the experience one which more readily builds on the relationship built with the recipient. More about that some other time.
Now, stop reading or turn your head away if you’re squeamish.
On Tuesday, with the assistance of a spinal block and sedation, both knees were removed by making an incision down the middle of each knee; pushing muscles, ligaments and tendons to one side and then sawing through both femur and tibia according to exacting specifications generated from data gathered via a CT scan a few months ago. The knee prothesis is also made based on this scan data and has a part which affixes to the femur and then a plastic plate attached to the cut top of the tibia which provides the platform to take the weight and provide a surface against which the hinge like action of the joint can slide.
The new knee prostheses were then inserted and affixed to the relevant bones before everything else was put back in place, drains inserted and the incision closed with the equivalent of a large stapler.
For the first day or so the emphasis is clearly on monitoring and infection control. Both knees are tightly bandaged and ‘scuds’ attached to the lower leg which are periodically inflated to assist circulation. Fluid is introduced to the body via a cannular which also has a branch which allows the patient to provide a controlled amount of morphine via a hand held button – ‘Patient Controlled Anaesthesia’ and we are encouraged to mitigate our own pain as required, as clearly everyone has different thresholds.
Blood is drained from the joints via drains and the blood recycled via transfusion.
Regular monitoring occurs of blood pressure, temperature and any other indicators of things which may be going awry. Clearly this is intrusive surgery of significant degree and the body is obviously going to respond in different ways.
After the first 24 hours, the physiotherapist introduces some exercises which build on the pre-operative suggested exercises, and then. as described below, moves to a staged process of a bit more each day.
You can see the result below: shot in the corridor with the Flip camera at the end of day 4