I woke up in the morning feeling a lot better and finally started to feel hungry. After having some breakfast I was dosed up with some hard drugs ahead of my first physio therapy session. This involved starting on the codeine and liquid morphine.
The purpose of the physio session was to get me on my feet and teach me how to get up and down stairs so that I could hopefully be discharged that day.
The physio session started with the first time (hopefully not the last) that my underwear has been ‘wripped’ off and not just by one but two women! Thankfully I didn’t have to pay for this service but it wasn’t quite as it sounds as the underwear was made of paper and I’d had it on for over 24 hours so it was a case of needs must. The purpose was so I could put some proper clothes on to hop up and down the corridor. In terms of clothes I’ve become accustomed to standard baggy shorts and a t-shirt due to my brace, thankfully being a basketball player I have lots of pairs of long baggy shorts which I had with me but if you don’t then it would be worth investing.
So this was pretty much the first time I’d walked on crutches. I was given them the first time I injured my knee but I didn’t really use them as I found it easier and quicker to just hobble around. Getting around on crutches is not difficult but one thing I would suggest ahead of the surgery is to watch a few videos on the internet on getting up and down stairs on crutches so you have a basic idea on what to do. Following the surgery the pain was generally manageable but the first time I got up the pain was excruciating and especially at the back of the knee where I had the work done around the hamstring; as soon as I had my leg hanging under its own weight on the crutches the knee and hamstring were extremely painful and I found it very hard to take instructions and get around. I managed to get about 10 yards down the corridor but that was about all I could manage before the pain got too much so it was back to my bed for a rest and another try in the afternoon.
Once back on the bed the two women set about me again (the physio’s). It was time to go through the exercises that I was going to be doing to get me on the road to recovery. I was given three basic exercises to do:
- Leg raises
- Platella massaging
- Knee ‘crunches’
I was told to do reps of 10 every two hours (when awake) for the first 48 hours and then reps of 30 four times a day after that. The first time I did the exercises it was really hard work and it felt pointless even trying but I’ve stuck with it and have felt the benefits and improved every time I have done them.
Following the exercises was the first time I iced my knee. Despite really complex surgery RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) is still the best formula for recovery. The ice was very painful the first time I applied it but I’ve now got used to it and it has really helped to get the swelling down.
The physios came back in the afternoon (largely uneventful this time) and I had another try getting up and down the corridor and tackled the stairs for the first time. This was ok but again the pain was pretty horrific and I was only slightly more in control than Bambi on ice. On getting back to my bed the executive decision was made that I’d be staying in for another night. I didn’t complain, another night of food, free internet and not having to leave the bed suited me fine; better than going home and having to try and referee a 3 year old and a 10 month old from the sofa!
For the first 24 hours Inhad bandages around my knees so didn’t really have a feeling for the extent of the work they’d done to my knee. On the next round of visits by the nurses they decided to take the bandages off as the physios wanted to get the ice directly onto the skin to get the greatest benefit. It was at this point that the extent of the operation really started to sink in. On taking the bandages off I could see the incisions in both knees and the extent of the one for the MCL. They also changed the dressing so I got my first sight of the wound itself. Although it was tidy I am pretty quesy and again it just brought it home the extent of the injury and I was happy once it was covered up again.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful and mainly involved drugs (liquid morphine, blood thinner injected straight into my stomach, codeine, paracetamol and ibruprofen) and watching the night manager (all 8 episodes in a day).