My left knee started to have problem right after my retirement. It slowly got worse and worse over the past 8 years. By the middle of last year, I knew there was no more cartilage left on my left knee. It was bone rubbing on bone and so was very painful when walking. I had to start using a cane and was put on the waiting list for a knee replacement.
The operation was on June 10. I was given the spinal anesthetic so that I was paralyzed from the waist down for 12 hours. I was also given some anesthetic by mouth to put me to sleep during the two-hour operation. However, I could faintly hear a lot of loud noises of electrical tools such as drills and saws. I knew what they were for. They saw off the lower end of my thighbone and the upper end of my leg bone to put in a replacement metallic joint. After the operation, my anesthesiologist woke me up and told me the operation was good. I believed it was his duty to check that I really woke up.
When I was moved to the post-operation recovery room, I found that I had lost all my feeling from the waist down. I did not feel any pain on my leg, but also did not feel my legs at all. It was a very eerie feeling when your hand could feel your lower body but your lower body did not feel your hand! It was like that for another 10 hours.
That night my left leg was swollen from upper thigh to toes like a “steamed sausage”. It was also deep red, which scared me a lot at the beginning. I later discovered that it was only the antiseptic solution they painted on my leg for the operation. The practical nurse washed it off for me the next day.
The post-operation pain was not as bad as I had dreaded before. On a scale of 1 to 10, I told the nurse it was only in the order of 2 to 3. The fellow on the bed next to me was reporting something like 6 to 7. We were given a self-administering morphing machine for the night. Early that night I could not sleep, not because of the pain, but because some staff members were chatting all night outside in the nurse station and a TV was on in the staff lounge just across the hallway from my room. I pumped 3 shots and was able to fall asleep. They took my machine away the next morning after seeing that I did not use it much.
The next day a physiotherapist came over and got me off my bed to walk around in a walker with two front wheels. Then I got back some mobility freedom such as going to the bathroom. Before that I could only pee in a bedpan. Unfortunately, our bathroom was shared with the patient in the next room. That meant that the bathroom had two doors, and we had to lock the other one after we got in. Once, when I opened the door, a young lady was inside and she screamed.
The following day my surgeon doctor came over and told me everything looked good and I could leave that morning. That was one day earlier than the standard 3-day stay. I was so glad that I could get out early. The food was bad. They were made for nutrition, not taste. The bathroom was filthy and also inconvenient as I mentioned above. There were constantly people talking and chatting near my room. My roommate next bed was a problematic one. He had other medical problems so that he could not get up to use the bathroom. They wheeled in a wheel chair with a commode. I was so happy that he did not use it during my stay.
I got out of the hospital at 1 PM on June 12, just in time to catch the World Cup opening ceremony starting at 2 PM that day, and the first game of Brazil vs. Cameroon at 3 PM. For the next several weeks, I would have no problem passing the time. The games were at 9 AM, noon and 3 PM Vancouver. Perfect timing.
It is a long road to recovery, but I think I will eventually be able to walk better than before the surgery. There is one thing I am truly grateful. I did not have to pay a cent for the entire operation and the hospital stay. Thank you my Canada.