The surgery diaries: noticing my knees

Even though I had my surgery six years ago now back when I was 16, I can still remember they first time I really paid attention to knees as clear as though it were yesterday.

Before I had the operation, they had both begun to turn inwards (the left more so that the right) and were giving me a fair bit of pain in lots of parts of my body because of the way that I was standing and sitting. By then, it had got to the point where they didn’t even really face outwards when I sat down anymore either.

As silly as this possibly sounds, I don’t really remember paying all that much attention to how they now looked for the first couple of days after I’d had the work done. I must have seen them at some point but it didn’t really register. I was still in bed with an epidural block in my spine with lots of pain killers in my system. I think I noticed that they were looking better as I lay there with my legs outstretched (which was already a huge change in the right direction for Lefty already.

It hit home most of all when the epidural was taken away and I was told that it was time to brave my first attempt at getting out of bed and having a shower. This is the point where my memory really kicks in. Mostly because everything that followed in the next half-an hour of so really, really hurt.

I very quickly realised that sitting myself up onto a sliding board and pulling myself into the shower friendly wheelchair wasn’t easy. I couldn’t do into matter how hard I seemed to try. My hips (which had been broken as part of the surgery so that my knees could be reset) were throbbing and my arms were heavy with effort. Eventually (and a lot of help later) I was in! Later, I was given something called a Monkey Pole to help me pull myself into a sitting position, and mum came up with the idea of swinging my legs off the edge of bed before I tried to use the slide board, which made life so much easier I cannot even begin to tell you. For now though, back to sitting in The Chair.

These chairs also had a hole in the bottom so that you could sit on them over the toilet to go to the loo. There is probably a proper name for it but I don’t know it, sorry. I’m pretty sure my one hips brushed against the edges of the hole a couple of times. That hurt a fair bit, too.

So I sat in the shower, being washed down by my mum, crying. It all felt too soon and it all felt too much. I sat and wailed that I had made a mistake,  that I had been stupid, and Mum kept telling me that I hadn’t and carried on washing my hair. I looked glumly at the floor and waited for her to rinse the shampoo from my eyes.

That was when I was them, blurry from water at first, but I blinked that away and they were still there. Two nice and pink, (the water was lovely and warm)  front-facing, ‘normal’-looking knees! I wasn’t crying now, but I did hear myself actually gasp the phrase “I’ve got normal knees”.

Mum laughed and assured me that I had, them there were more tears, but happy ones this time, and suddenly I knew that I hadn’t made a mistake. It would be a long journey, but it would all be worth it.

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5 thoughts on “The surgery diaries: noticing my knees

  1. I remember a similar feeling when I had major surgery at 13.
    Before I had the surgery my left leg turned in quite severely, a couple of days after the op when I was on enough drugs to keep a disco nut happy for months, I suddenly noticed that my legs were actually straight and both my feet were pointing the right way – I got a major fit of the giggles!!!!
    I did struggle with having to stay in bed for so long, because I was very active at that age.

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  2. Nic, I love the way you write and feel the honesty and the underlying humour, and this part of your story brought both tears to my eyes, and a nice big smile to my face! I think I, (as a mum), am slowly coming to terms with some of what may lay ahead for our daughter (just turned 9). We have vague ideas of some possibilities that may lie ahead, but are generally quite focussed on getting through each day with a broard overarching goal of doing the things we can to help put off surgies as long as possible, and doing things to help her have as many choices for a future time when she can be more involved in decision making. I am wondering how you got around mostly when you were around 9 if you don’t mind me asking, and also whether you had to have any kind of muscle releases prior to your surgery and if you ever had botox treatment in your lower limbs to help at all as a child? Cerebral Palsy affects both my daughters legs, and her arms and hands a bit and she also has low lone in her trunk, as well as the CP affecting some oral motor function like she cant move her tongue in all directions and things like that. Also are you on facebook? Our facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/mikaylasteam

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    1. Hi!

      Thank you for your really kind words. I’m glad you like my posts!

      Of course I don’t mind you asking. You can ask anything you like and I shall try answer them. When I was 9 I got around mostly using my walking frame and holding on to my parents’ hands.I used a large buggy for long journeys because I didn’t get my first wheelchair until I was 12.

      As well as surgery I had my lower legs put in casts when i was younger to try and help my ankle muscles. They would sty on for about 3 weeks and then be taken off again. I also had bo-tox in my legs a couple of times as a teenager which really helped. I had some again last Decemeber and it helped me again. I was told o do lots of physio in the 6 weeks after it so that my body can get as much benefit as possible.

      I wish you luck with your daugher and the journey that you have ahead. I think that your strategy of taking it one day at a time is a really good idea. I hope that she manages to achieve everything she wants and more. I’ve liked your Facebook page.

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      1. Hi Nic, cant find a way to email or facebook contact you, but I have seen and replied to a few of your posts now – one above here, and am now following you (which I thought I already was, but apparently NOT….all fixed now though I hope) I was wondering if you ever had to use the medication called Baclofen…….if you are happy to email me rather than on this reply you can at teammikayla@hotmail.com. We are also faced with our first potential surgery, so many of your posts may be helpful 🙂 Hope you don’t mind responding

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