As our readers know, we are two Gerts. We are the poet, yogini, classical scholar and intrepid bush-walker, and we are also the singing, piano playing, weight lifting lying about, Gert. We are both compulsive readers.
Today, while Gert 1 is in a remote part of Australia leaping from rock to rock, this Gert, Gert 2, is minding the store and taking the opportunity to tell at length about her recent knee operation.
In the trade, as anyone who has had, or contemplated, this surgery knows, the procedure I have had is called TKR; Total Knee Replacement. I visualise the surgery as something like the removal of a small leg of beef and replacing it with a titanium joint held about with plastic. Of course, on-one in their right mind would want to have this procedure unless they had to, but a recent holiday in the U S and Ireland made me realise the time had come. The right knee which I had twisted, fallen over on, and destroyed the ligaments of, could no longer reliably support me. If I wanted to walk the Patagonia Trail, or even take a modest hike in Tasmania, my knee could no longer go along with it.
So here I am, eight weeks later after the procedure, still alive, a bit sore, walking without sticks, but a long way from taking a modest hike.
Some of the good aspects of my experience:
I was only in hospital for three nights
My surgeon made a neat semi-circular scar on the inner aspect of my knee so if I ever want to kneel, I will be able to
The physiotherapy was conducted by iPad and Skype, so I didn’t have to be driven to a physiotherapist two or three times a week
I was given a device whereby they could monitor my activity, so no skulking on the couch all day. A certain number of steps had to be taken.
The surgeon and hospital had a strong policy of no opioids. I had a spinal anaesthetic and a local implant to my knee for 48 hours. After that only some anti-inflammatories and a bit of low-key stuff
Some of the less good aspects
A purple, sore swollen knee is not conducive to sleep. I am still having disturbed nights.
I have developed some bruising which can only be explained by the fact that my iron level is very low. So much for being a vegetarian. I am having to rethink that.
Generally, I am glad that I have had the operation and hope to be in full force by Christmas.
Oh, and one word of warning, loads of patience (not my strong suit) is required.