Chronic Pain, Disability, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, health

Surgery Day – TTT, MPFL Reconstruction and Lateral Release

Two weeks post surgery and I am finally lucid enough (and now able to keep both eyes open) to concentrate on something other than watching Grey’s Anatomy so I figured I should probably update my blog with how surgery went and how recovery is going. I’ll work through the whole thing chronologically, post by post but for now, we will focus on day zero, otherwise known as surgery day.

19th September 2020: Surgery Day

Surgery day got off to an early start (after very little sleep) as I had to be at the hospital by 7am. Admission was pretty quick, I said goodbye to Mum and Ian in the carpark as I wasn’t allowed any family with me due to Covid, had my temperature checked and in I went (I did have a Covid test 3 days prior). Most of the staff I encountered during my stay were absolutely lovely (with the exception of one nurse but I won’t be going into that whole saga here – let’s just say that after she told me she was too busy to help me when I asked for help getting dressed, things went downhill very quickly).

When you arrive at the hospital at 7am and don’t go down for surgery until 11:30, you take a whole load of selfies to pass the time…

The operation involved a Tibial Tubercle Transfer (cutting the piece of bone at the top of my tibia, moving it inward & forward and fixing it into place with a screw), Lateral Release (cutting the lateral retinaculum to prevent it pulling my kneecap over) and a MPFL Reconstruction (fully reconstructing the ligament that runs down the inside of my knee joint).  Before surgery, I briefly met with my surgeon (Mr M) and anaesthetist (Dr T). Mr M confirmed that I still wanted to go ahead, drew an arrow on my leg to ensure the correct knee was operated on and then let me know that my surgery would most probably take place around lunchtime/late morning. Dr T spoke to me about my intolerance to codeine and cyclizine and confirmed that I would not be given either of them. I then told him about my traumatic reaction post-anaesthetic from my last surgery and he assured me that precautions would be taken to try and prevent it happening again.

I headed down to the operating theatre around 11:30 and after a good laugh with Mr M and Dr T in the anaesthetic room, I was put to sleep. The next thing I remember is waking up in Recovery with the loveliest nurse by my side. I don’t remember a huge amount from my time in Recovery due to being extremely high on pain meds but I do remember telling the nurse that Mr M was the best and then her telling him that he was my favourite person when he came to check on me (I still stand by my statement as he is the best Consultant I’ve ever had and I’ve had a lot).

I eventually got back to my room at around 14:45 and decided I was feeling well enough to update my friends and family by text, only to find later on that I was so high on Fentanyl and Morphine that none of my messages made sense to anyone but me.

Photo 1: Whilst very high on pain meds I asked my nurse to take a photo of me (clearly always have this blog on my mind…)

Photo 2: Taken after my first trip out of bed post-surgery so I took a photo to show just how much pain getting out of bed caused me.

Mr M came to check on me around 17:30 and explained that surgery went exactly as planned and then told me to say yes to every painkiller I was offered because as soon as my nerve block wore off, I would be in agony.

The first night wasn’t too bad and I dozed on and off all night with my nurse coming to check my blood pressure, oxygen levels & heart rate and give me morphine every 2 hours. It definitely wasn’t the greatest night’s sleep I’ve had but it wasn’t as bad as I feared.

Overall, having surgery alone during a global pandemic was nowhere near as scary as it sounds and day zero of my journey was a lot more positive than expected thanks to the nerve block that kept my leg completely numb and pain free and the incredible nurses (again, with the exception of one).

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