Operation Surgery Complete

My operation went great. I’m back home now resting, icing, and cuddling with the cats. I stayed at the Taipei Adventist hospital 3 days and 2 nights in total. I opted to get a single room which was very spacious and comfortable. It had a flat screen TV with quite a few American movie channels so my first night felt more like being in a hotel.

Dinner my first night was also very tasty, so unlike hospital food I have previously experienced. The hospital only serves vegetarian food but it was all very interesting and delicious.

But the hotel fantasy was ruined when on Monday at 6am a nurse woke me up, helped me into a hospital gown and then stuck a needle into my hand and hooked me up to an IV drip.

She didn’t speak any English and my Chinese wasn’t up to it so I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on. I had originally told Luke to come round about 7.30am, a half hour before I was due to be taken to the operating room. But instead I texted him frantically just after the IV was put in my saying ‘Come now quick!!!’.

So he came but nothing happened until around 8.30am when they wheeled me to surgery.

I went into the operating room around 9am and the last thing I remember was the nurse cleaning my leg and the doctor (as well as 4 other nurses) standing over me. Anesthesia kicked in and I was out. I woke up again in another room. I was drowsy and numb. I just remember being hooked up to machines monitoring my breathing. Then shortly after a nurse said I was okay and I was wheeled back to the waiting room where Luke was and we went to my room.

At this point I was starting to regain consciousness. My face was still very numb but I could move my arms okay. I looked down at my legs and saw this:

The worst part of the post-surgery part was not being able to drink (not even water) or eat for 4 hours after the operation. I had to fast from 12pm the night before and dinner was at 6pm, so I didn’t eat or drink for a good 19 hours.  It was agony. When I was finally cleared for drinking I sucked down water and Minute Maid like it was nobody’s business.

This of course led to me having to pee, really, really bad. I buzzed the nurse to ask if it was alright if I could get up. But in came four nurses and through a mix of Chinese and English I realized I was not allowed to walk for six hours after the surgery and so the only place my urine could go was into a bedpan. And so it went. I must have broken a seal too as it seemed I was buzzing them back in every half hour. The bedpan’s really not so bad once you get used to it. I just needed to block out the fact that  four nurses were standing round me waiting patiently for a little tinkle noise.

I slept a lot the rest of the day, waking up only for dinner:

and to watch a movie with Luke. Luke also brought me a welcome gift of Lattea.

Around 5am the next day the anesthesia finally wore off and I was in excruciating pain. I buzzed the nurse and she could immediately see I needed some relief so she jabbed me with a needle (assuming with some kind of morphine properties) and I experienced numbness once again. Later that morning the doctor came in to talk to me. It turns out that my knee was actually worse than what the MRI showed so he said it was a really good thing I had the operation. He fixed my tear and also removed my plica (which could also be a source of pain).

I was cleared for release around noon but quickly realized that I wold be unable to walk without assistance. I didn’t want crutches as my recovery is all about returning to normal use and strengthening so I opted instead for a Granny cane. Between Luke and the cane I was able to wobble down and into a taxi and make it home.

This next week will be all about rest and slowly rebuilding strength. I still feel very tired so I have been sleeping every few hours. As nice as the hospital was there is no place like home.

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