Gert’s Knee

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.

36 thoughts on “Gert’s Knee

  1. Thanks for the update, Gert-the-not-laying-about. Glad you are going to be able to hike again eventually, and hope that day comes sooner than not. And hope you are finding plenty of reading to entertain you —

    1. Thank you Teri Gradually beginning to feel normal and attack the reading pile Mostly been listening to music and falling in love with Beethoven all over again Thinks…perhaps I will devote myself to the piano again and tackle the piano sonata op.111(family scream…’Oh no….)

      1. I don’t listen to music much, but every time I chance upon a bit of Beethoven, it’s true — falling in love again. No good ideas about the rest of the family. Anthea’s piano is electric (a high quality version), so she can play whatever she wants with impunity.

        1. The Silent Travelling Companion has voiced the thought that if I ‘take up’ the piano as before, we will need a new house. You certainly brought those girls up well, or gave them a great genetic heritage!

          1. Just add on a sound-proof room? Thanks for the compliments about the daughters — much of the time we just tried to stay out of their way as they blazed trails, and let us come along with them.

              1. Thanks Gert. Jim’s dad used to say, “you’re the product of genetics and environment, and I guess we’re responsible for both.” But I’m always surprised and entertained by what Regina and Anthea have created from what they started with.

                  1. We are heading to Seattle tomorrow for a few days with them — we will pass on your comments. Regina is working as a senior data person for AirBnB now, and Anthea’s producing a play, “The Brothers Paranormal,” a sort of Halloween-scary play described as “witty and haunting.” Deke is still selling pies . . .

  2. Here first are the heartfelt best wishes for a speedy recovery so that you can feel less guilty about doing less physical exercise.

    Secondly here are the customary puns about you knee-ding a well-deserved break, and about other Gert not taking joint responsibility for maintaining your blog.

  3. I know… patience, patience. It is not easy but you know it takes time and eventually you’ll be able to do more than you think possible now!

  4. I hope you’re on the mend by now, and getting some sleep. And if you’re not, ask your GP for some Panadeine or Mersyndol to take at night. I have just had some surgery myself, and provided your GP knows you are not a junkie, you should have no problem getting adequate pain relief, and it won’t do you any harm at all.

    1. Thanks Lisa. Hope you are on thr up and up.
      Before Mersyndol was prescription only I went to get some for the Man who can get bad headaches. The pharmacy staff cross examined me, checked I D and address etc then said ‘That will be $5 please.’ I’m taking Melatonin at night on Doctor’s advice, but I didn’t know it needs to be taken for a month.

      1. Yes, all those codeine products were monitored by pharmacists in a nationwide database so that they could tell if people were abusing them. Their advice to government was that nearly all of them weren’t. They were used by people for occasional migraines, severe toothaches and back injuries in the acute stage etc. Very few people took them for chronic pain. The AMA took a knee-jerk reaction to the opioid crisis in the US and demanded they be made prescription only (i.e. more GP consultations) and the government complied. It turns out now that because the lower dosage over-the-counter medications went off the market, doctors found themselves prescribing higher doses (which is why you now take one and not two tablets). Those poor folk taking them for chronic conditions are not being referred to pain clinics, where the waiting lists are months long.

  5. I don’t touch meat or animal products but my iron levels are fine. I take b12 supplements and have blood taken annually to check.
    Magnesium and Melatonin at night. And some brands of Melatonin seem much better than others.

  6. Dear Gert 2, I hope your nights are better now. I’m somewhat belatedly joining this discussion, but as someone who plays the piano every day, I can’t think of a more enjoyable recuperative activity. Spinach and parsley are best for iron I find. (I don’t eat meat either.) One thing I learnt recently – you may already know – is that calcium inhibits the absorption of iron, so best not to have the two together.

          1. Yes. Regular blood tests showed that my hemoglobin and hematocrit numbers improved substantially over a year or two, from low-grade anemia to high normal — much better energy. Can’t attribute the change to anything else. For a few years, I took the iron and C daily; now the energy levels seems sustainable with every other day. Good luck, Gert!

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