A NEW KNEE GAVE ME BACK MY LIFE SURGERY THAT GOT ONE READER BACK ON HER FEET

DE­SPITE AGONISING PAIN, TERRY TAVNER FEARED KNEE RE­PLACE­MENT SURGERY, BUT A YEAR LATER SHE CAN FI­NALLY CEL­E­BRATE... ON THE DANCE FLOOR!

Woman & Home - - Contents -

THE IRONY IS NOT WASTED ON ME

AS I SIGN THE CON­SENT FORM AND WAVE GOOD­BYE TO MY RIGHT KNEE. WHEN I WAKE UP, IT WILL HAVE BEEN RE­PLACED BY A COM­PLI­CATED COBALT/CHROME CONTRAPTION THAT WILL UN­DOUBT­EDLY TRIG­GER AIR­PORT SE­CU­RITY ALARMS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. WHY

AM I HERE? SPORT. I’VE DONE A LOT OF IT THROUGH THE YEARS – TEN­NIS, CY­CLING, A FEW CHAR­ITY RUNS AND SKI­ING.

I SHOULD BE OOZING HEALTH AND FIT­NESS BUT NO, THE UP­SHOT OF BE­ING SO AC­TIVE IS A SE­RI­OUSLY DEFORMED KNEE AND A GREAT DEAL OF PAIN.

ADULTS OF ANY AGE CAN BE CON­SID­ERED FOR A KNEE RE­PLACE­MENT, BUT MOST ARE CAR­RIED OUT BE­TWEEN THE AGES OF 60 AND 80. THROUGH THE YEARS, I’D AL­READY HAD TWO ARTHROSCOPIES, A TYPE OF KEYHOLE SURGERY, BUT AS

THE CAR­TI­LAGE ON MY KNEE GRAD­U­ALLY ERODED, SO THE PAIN WORS­ENED AND MY LEG STARTED TO DEFORM AS A RE­SULT OF WALK­ING ON BONE AGAINST BONE.

EN­TER PRO­FES­SOR TIM BRIGGS, CON­SUL­TANT OR­THOPAEDIC SUR­GEON AT THE ROYAL NA­TIONAL OR­THOPAEDIC HOS­PI­TAL IN STANMORE, NORTH LON­DON – A BEAR

OF A MAN, CON­FI­DENT, DE­CI­SIVE, FUNNY AND RE­CENTLY AP­POINTED NA­TIONAL DI­REC­TOR OF QUAL­ITY AND EF­FI­CIENCY BY THE DE­PART­MENT OF HEALTH (SEE BOX OP­PO­SITE). I FIRST SAW HIM IN JULY 2014, WHEN HE TOLD ME THAT SURGERY WAS IN­EVITABLE. HOP­ING FOR A MIR­A­CLE CURE TO AVOID SURGERY AL­TO­GETHER, I DE­FERRED IT AS LONG AS POS­SI­BLE AND TIM AGREED, AS­SUR­ING ME THAT I WOULD “KNOW WHEN THE TIME COMES”. HE WASN’T WRONG. I LIMPED ON UN­TIL THE END OF 2015, WHEN STAND­ING UP FROM MY DESK, MY KNEE BUCK­LED AND A SEARING PAIN RIPPED THROUGH ME. THE TIME HAD COME.

UN­DER THE NHS CHOICES SCHEME, I WAS BOOKED INTO THE SPIRE BUSHEY, A PRI­VATE HOS­PI­TAL, AND GIVEN EX­ER­CISES TO STRENGTHEN MY THIGH MUS­CLES PRIOR TO SURGERY – I WAS DE­TER­MINED TO GO IN “MATCH FIT”. TIM HAD WARNED ME THAT

THIS IS EX­TREMELY IN­VA­SIVE SURGERY IN­VOLV­ING CUT­TING THROUGH THE FEMUR (THIGH BONE), TIBIA (SHIN BONE), PLUS LIG­A­MENTS, NERVES AND MUS­CLE. MY KNEE HAD AN ADDED COM­PLI­CA­TION IN THAT IT HAD AN­GLED OUTWARDS RATHER THAN MORE COM­MONLY IN­WARDS.

APART FROM THE PRE-OP EX­ER­CISES, I’D TAKEN VERY LIT­TLE NO­TICE OF TIM’S WARN­INGS – I HAVE A VERY HIGH PAIN TOL­ER­ANCE – SO WAS TO­TALLY SHELLSHOCKED WHEN I WOKE UP AF­TER MY 90 MIN­UTES IN THE­ATRE WITH THE KIND OF PAIN I DON’T AC­TU­ALLY HAVE THE WORDS TO DE­SCRIBE. LET’S CALL IT AGONY. I’D BEEN GIVEN A PAIN BLOCK DUR­ING SURGERY,

WHICH MEANT THERE WAS NO FUR­THER

RE­LIEF COM­ING MY WAY UN­TIL MORN­ING. IF ANY­ONE HAD SUG­GESTED AM­PU­TA­TION THAT NIGHT, I THINK I’D HAVE JUMPED

AT IT (IF YOU’LL FOR­GIVE THE EX­PRES­SION).

TIM AP­PEARED FIRST THING AND BROUGHT GOOD NEWS: ONE, I CAN HAVE MORPHINE AND TWO, MY KNEE IS NOW STRAIGHT. THE OLD ONE WAS ROT­TEN, HE TOLD ME, AND BADLY ARTHRITIC DUE TO

LOSS OF CAR­TI­LAGE. HE RE­IT­ER­ATED THAT

THE HARD WORK LEARN­ING TO WALK ON IT PROP­ERLY WOULD BE DOWN TO ME – IT HAS BEEN SO DEFORMED FOR SO LONG, IT WOULD TAKE REAL DED­I­CA­TION TO COR­RECT IT. BUT

IF I TRIED HARD ENOUGH, I COULD DO IT.

HE’D BARELY LEFT MY BED­SIDE BE­FORE THE PHYSIO AR­RIVED AND WORK BE­GAN IN EARNEST. TIP – TIME YOUR MED­I­CA­TION AHEAD OF THE EX­ER­CISE, IT RE­ALLY HELPS! LESS THAN 24 HOURS AF­TER THE OP­ER­A­TION I WAS UP­RIGHT AND SHUFFLING DOWN THE COR­RI­DOR ON A ZIMMER, THE DAY AF­TER

THAT I WAS IN THE HY­DRO POOL WHERE THE RE­LIEF FROM PAIN WAS BLISS­FUL.

AND ON DAY THREE, I WAS DIS­CHARGED. APART FROM CRUTCHES, I WAS KITTED OUT WITH PRES­SURE SOCKS TO PRE­VENT BLOOD CLOTS, A SEVEN-DAY SUP­PLY OF SY­RINGES FOR DAILY BLOOD-THIN­NING IN­JEC­TIONS, ANTI-NAUSEA MED­I­CA­TION, SLEEP­ING PILLS AND PAINKILLERS. PLUS GEN­TLE EX­ER­CISES TO DO AT HOME UN­TIL THE CLIPS (34 OF THEM!) WERE RE­MOVED 13 DAYS AF­TER SURGERY. NOW I COULD START MY SIX-WEEK OUT-PA­TIENT PHYSIO COURSE. LOOK­ING BACK, I UNDERESTIMATED

JUST WHAT AN IM­PACT THIS WAS GO­ING

TO HAVE ON MY LIFE AND I DON’T THINK I MAN­AGED MY EX­PEC­TA­TIONS TER­RI­BLY

WELL. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO STOP US­ING CRUTCHES OR A WALK­ING FRAME AND RE­SUME NOR­MAL LEISURE AC­TIV­I­TIES SIX WEEKS AF­TER SURGERY. HOW­EVER, IT MAY TAKE UP TO THREE MONTHS FOR PAIN AND SWELLING TO SET­TLE DOWN AND UP TO A YEAR FOR ANY LEG SWELLING TO DIS­AP­PEAR. A NEW KNEE WILL CON­TINUE TO RE­COVER UP TO TWO YEARS

AF­TER YOUR OP­ER­A­TION. DUR­ING THIS TIME, SCAR TIS­SUE WILL HEAL AND MUS­CLES WILL BE RE­STORED BY EX­ER­CISE. THE MIS­TAKE I MADE WAS EX­PECT­ING TOO MUCH TOO SOON. AND I GOT QUITE DOWN BY NOT BE­ING ABLE TO DO AS MUCH AS I’D HOPED. HOW­EVER, TIME RE­ALLY WAS A GREAT HEALER.

AS I WRITE, IT IS 18 MONTHS SINCE MY SURGERY AND I CON­TINUE TO PUSH. I AM STILL NOT EN­TIRELY PAIN-FREE BUT I AM CER­TAINLY SUF­FER­ING A LOT LESS THAN BE­FORE SURGERY. I RARELY TAKE MED­I­CA­TION AND I RECOG­NISE THAT I LIT­ER­ALLY HAVE BEEN TRY­ING TO RUN BE­FORE I COULD WALK. BUT I AM AL­MOST THERE. AND MY AD­VICE TO ANY­ONE IN LINE FOR A TO­TAL KNEE RE­PLACE­MENT IS, DON’T PUT OFF THE IN­EVITABLE. GET IT DONE AND RE­GAIN YOUR LIFE.

I’VE BEEN SKI­ING TWICE THIS YEAR, I’VE DANCED UN­TIL 4AM AT MY SON’S WED­DING, I RIDE MY BIKE AL­MOST EV­ERY DAY

AND I WALK AT LEAST 5K EV­ERY MORN­ING. I GEN­UINELY THOUGHT MY DANC­ING AND SKI­ING DAYS WERE BE­HIND ME BUT NOW I FEEL THAT, APART FROM RUN­NING (A BIG NO!), MY BIONIC KNEE AND I CAN GO ON TO EVEN GREATER THINGS. ANY­ONE FOR TEN­NIS?

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