by Dr. Iain Corness
Going under the knife
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about
preparing for an operation on my right knee after a tear of the cartilage.
It had become obvious that something was astray as it had got to the stage
that I could not walk and the pain was such it would waken me at night, and
then it was impossible to get back to sleep. I started begging Dr Suradej to
operate, just ‘do’ something!
On the operation Saturday morning a porter arrived with the trolley and I
was transferred down to the operating room. I knew the area, but with gowns
and masks it was even difficult for me to recognize the nurses.
While lying there, contemplating my fate, there was another form to sign,
indicating my consent to the operation, and also to verify who I was, what
the operation was going to be, and which leg.
It then started to get busy as first the anesthetist introduced himself and
we discussed what type of anesthetic would be best. To be honest, by that
stage I really didn’t care, as long as I would not be in pain, and the
anesthetic used would not knock off my brain cells.
The next visitors were the surgeons, and like all surgeons they were happy,
laughing individuals. Name, rank and serial number again and then the
anesthetist gently placed a mask over my nose, saying, “This is some
oxygen.” The first whiffs perhaps, but it was almost instantly ‘lights out’
for me, and I took no further conscious part in the proceedings!
After an operation you come round in the ‘Recovery Room’, and to be honest
it wasn’t all that pleasant. I knew who I was (so enough brain cells had
been left), and I knew I was in the Recovery Room, but slipping in and out
of consciousness can produce anxiety. I was anxious!
Then as I came round even more, I was aware of something I did not like at
all. My right knee was sending pain signals to the brain. On a scale of
1-10, I was looking at an 11. The nurse who was with me all the time
interpreted my groans and asked if I wanted something for pain. “Yes!”
So some morphine was administered and it was back to semi-consciousness
again, but after some time I was judged as being ready for the trip back to
the ward. Another trolley, another trip looking at the ceiling, but safely
back to the 11th floor and a welcome from the nurses who transferred me from
the trolley to my bed and literally tucked me in. They were a reassuring
sight and made sure I understood I was to go nowhere on my own, but was to
ring the call button and accept a helping arm. Being a fairly individual
person, this was not to my liking, but it was eventually drummed into me
that assistance must be accepted on the trip from bed to toilet. Reluctantly
I agreed, as I knew the only alternative is a pee bottle or a bed pan. (I
don’t know about you, but I cannot pee lying down, and the thought of
balancing on a bed pan is just not on!)
The next fun event was ringing for the nurse because my bladder really was
bursting. They knew me on the 11th floor and two nurses arrived to steer me
to the toilet, not one, but I did convince them that I didn’t need to be
held over the pedestal!
From there, it was the usual restless night on a hospital bed, they are
never really comfortable, despite all the electric adjustments, but I was
very chuffed in that my daughter had decided she was going to stay in the
hospital with me to “look after Daddy,” which she did very well.
The next morning the nurses came with a huge roll of ‘Glad Wrap’ to protect
the enormous dressing around my knee. My protests that I could easily walk
to the shower were ignored, and I was ceremoniously showered.
Now two weeks later and I have hardly any limp at all. Everything went as
planned, so thank you Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.
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