In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.
For this weeks blog, I am sharing photos taken from pre-op to 6 weeks after. On creating this post, you have to realize the human body has amazing recovery capabilities, the repairs to the bone, muscle, tendons and skin are simultaneous!. When you are going through it on a daily basis it can feel like sh!t – don’t worry, you will get better!
Pre-Op mark up
Post Op – compression bag on leg to reduce swelling
After 1 day, compression bag removed
Day 2 – Getting ready for home, remove the bandages
Looks like I have run out of space, stay tuned the next post will continue the journey.
So this blog is written by Priya. We met with my surgeon Mr Minhal Chatoo at the One Hatfield hospital on 8th May and he recommended Priya interviews me to share how life has changed pre- and post- Osteotomy.
Hi, Priya here. I thought of a bunch of questions to ask my dad about his progress.
How has the pain around your leg changed since the Osteotomy operation? Every day and every week I notice that the pain is getting less. However I do notice new pains appearing. The swelling in my leg is still there but is gradually reducing. The Osteotemy does entail bone cutting, drilling, cutting deep into flesh, muscle and many nerves. It does take a long time for the healing process to complete.
What life changes have you made since your first diagnosis?
I have made an effort to lose weight and eat the right foods. I have cut down alcohol, sugar and some types of meat. I have had to stop jogging due to the impact on my knees however I have now started going to the gym more where I run on the treadmill, use the cross trainer and lift weights to strengthen my core. If I can lose more weight I may be able to run again.
How has the operation influenced your life now?
To be more aware of long term health. I know I cannot run as much or kick a football about as much, so I need to find new sports/pass times to get involved in. Also life is about longevity so doing the right exercise is key.
How might the operation impact others around you?
As his daughter I have seen a urge in my father to lose weight and really exercise more. The effect this has on me is that as a family we go out and walk in different new locations on a weekly basis. This is a more active effect on my life and it’s for the better, as we are also eating healthier and experimenting more activities.
How do you think you can help others?
If you are young enough and want to continue having an active life, there is an alternative to a knee replacement surgery. The operation does give you the chance to defer such an intrusive operation for a number of years. The psychological impact of getting your life back to a normal balance is very important.
After 7 days, it was time to see the stiches and the healing process after the Osteotomy. Read on!
February 7th (day 7)
When you are unable to walk and get out of the house for a number of days, it does drive you a little crazy. There is only so much daytime you can take before insanity sets in. I also noticed that my swelling from the leg has traveled to my ankle. Late in the morning, I was sat on a stool in the kitchen in the sunshine as my mother lunch. I must have been sitting for 30 minutes. After I sat back at the sofa, my ankle did begin to hurt.
One of the more consistent pains I am experiencing is the pain of standing up. The shin area of my leg is really tender and when I stand up, that area becomes overbearingly painful for a few minutes. So much that I am unable to walk. Do watch out for this after your op.
Loiza planned to replace the current bandages and so we took off some of the tape around the wound to see if we could proceed. Unfortunately the replacements provided by the hospital were too small so had to wait. What we did see (as below) are metal clips. The points where the skin are pinched together still look raw and I can understand why I have so much pain in my shins.
February 8th (Day 8)
My nights sleep was very uncomfortable, a combination of heartburn and leg pain. I also felt that I was coming down with the flu. I did go back to sleep after a warm glass of milk but felt rough in the morning.
My breakfast routine of tablets, porridge, fruit juice and fybrogel continues. Today my mother took over as Loiza went to work early,
My parents were going to leave to day, a little sad but i think my dad was getting a little tired. I will miss them as they helped me during the day and kept me company.
Today I found walking even more painful than normal, walking by sliding my foot just made it easier for a short time. Unbearable today. Also I fell asleep on the sofa with my leg resting above my head; i jerked my leg for no reason and woke me up. The pain was a 9 out of 10 – right on the stitch lines on my leg. It took 5-10 minutes for the pain to die down.
Once Loiza returned from work, we removed the bandages and had a chance to look at the stitches. There was also blood on one of the stiches – may have been a result of knee moving while I was asleep earlier
I didnt want to speak much for the rest of the evening; also the pain and swelling from my ankle was at a 8 out of 10. Loiza gave me a salt bath to soak my ankle. Helped a bit
Time to leave the hospital and going home. Recovery gets real
February 2nd (Day 2)
Last night I only woke up twice in the night. I was given stronger pain killers and the sleep was so much better. I was able to go to the bathroom by myself, major result in getting some independence back
Later in the morning I met with the resident doctor, pharmacist and physio again. The doctor mentioned 6 weeks recovery for the bone and 2 weeks for soft tissue. This sounds tough but I need to recover properly. I guess I will be house bound for the initial duration of 2 weeks at the least.
I was taken for a walk with the physio at 10:46am and they got me to walk much further. This was tiring but a great milestone reached.
Other than the nurse washing my leg this morning I really want to go home.
Right now it is dealing with tiredness, loss of leg muscle mass and taking drugs to control the pain is what I need to acknowledge. I need to make sure I am doing exercises every hour to ensure recovery is fast.
Loiza arrived just after 11am and we chatted; I was excited about going home. People came and went to check my BP, O2 and administer more pain killers. The pharmacist came round and mentioned providing me with Co-didromol and ibuprofen. The pain will be high for the next week or so as the soft tissue heals.
Mr Chatoo came round at 1pm, he helped remove the bandaging and reassured me again on progress.
He recommended ice packs to reduce the swelling and pain killers to manage the pain. I was happy to hear from Mr Chatoo, a person who does take his work very seriously.
At Lunchtime, I was discharged from hospital. At last!
Getting into the car was not as painful as I thought and Loiza. I really enjoyed the ride home; I was finally out of hospital and moving around.
As I made it into the house, I felt relief of being back home; sitting in a hospital watching daytime TV drives you mad but also have my own creature comforts around me as well as the kids.
I sat on the upright sofa for a while and then lay flat once the pain started.
Movement is getting better but the swelling is causing discomfort in terms of knee movement and feeling my skin stretch across my calf. This in turn causes me to itch.
The pain and tiredness came in waves today and after having dinner (lentils) i fell asleep whilst watching tv at about 9ish. I just could not get warm and could not tolerate the cold peas. Hoping tomorrow would be better
I didn’t have a good sleep the night before so got up early. No food or drink as prescribed by the hospital so getting ready was quick. Priya was awake and gave me a hug before she went off to get her breakfast. Aroon was asleep so i gave him a shove. Time of arrival to the hospital is 7am. I remembered for the last 4 or so weeks repeating to myself “this is the last time i do….in a while”…well that the end of the line now.
We arrived at the hospital on time and taken to my room. All sparse but the TV was good. Not sure how many people have used the room as its all very new.
Mr Minhal Chatoo (Surgeon and specialist ) came in and spoke about the operation and highlighted the risks. This is expected as he covered risks in tibia under/over correction, risk of cutting a nerve and rehab time. The good news from what he said was movement on the Knee will be possible as the cuts will be below the knee. He was very reassuring as he drew an arrow on my leg
He left by saying that i am the second person on his list and that the anaesthetist will be round later. We sat until 10:20am and then was taken down to the operating theatre.
I remember an Australian lady and Joan Washington (Sister) taking me down on the lift; i made a comment about the disco lights in the lift (nervous energy!).
I was led into the operating theater and laid on the table. At this point another chap who was administering the drugs noted my DOB was incorrect – born in 1953? That was corrected quickly.
Once the anesthetist came back, he mentioned the drugs and an additional injection in my right thigh to aid the operation. We chatted and had a giggle for 10-15 minutes as their actions were completed. I noted the time was about 11:40am.
The operation was to cut below the shin on the right leg. A wedge 11mm wide would be cut out. A bone graft applied. The gap create in the leg will have metal strips screwed in to support the bone growth to correct my leg.
The drugs took action and i passed out
Coming round after surgery
I came around at about 1:30 and i was in agony – a sawed leg, 2 metal pins and bunch of screws added to my leg. 2 nurses were near by. They talked and administered drugs once they spoke to the anesthetist. I was left downstairs for a while. Once the pain was tolerable, they wheeled me back upstairs. I was glad to see Loiza in the room.I held her hand. I cannot remember if i fell asleep again but i guess it was on and off. They gave me oxygen and connected me to saline and heart rate monitor.
Mr Chatoo then called us to talk about the operation. He said the procedure was on plan and that he was satisfied. This was a relief. Loiza and I reflected and after a while and then she left for home. I fell asleep again. I remember waking up as Joan was taking my Heart Rate when i complained that i wanted to vomit. I felt that i was losing consciousness and could feel my self sweating and my heart pounding. The Doctor lay me down and i could hear them telling me to keep my eyes open. I was struggling but they pulled me through. After laying flat, i felt much better. My blood pressure dropped due to a reaction of the drugs. At least that gave me something else to worry about rather than my leg.
The pain in my leg is prevalent but didn’t feel like it was sawed, had metal strips and screws put in. the air pumps/ cushion on both legs is helping my blood circulation. Dinner arrived and it was seabass with potatoes. It tasted dry but i finished it so quickly.
Loiza, Aroon and Priya arrived at 7:30ish..if felt like they had been gone for a long time. The kids made me a card for “Brotato”.
Priya read her “grand designs” magazine with me and Aroon talked about his Physics lecture at school. He mentioned the speaker was very enthusiastic about her subject matter. We sat chatted and i just watched everyone -i was just happy to see them and didnt want them to leave.
Joan came by with her shift replacement and went over my case notes. A shame to see her go as she really looked after me as i came round. She was calm, direct and very precise,
Loiza and the kids left and i fell asleep again. Another nurse came in and administered pain killers. They kept the oxygen running. I was a little impatient on waiting for things but the nurses must be busy. Anyway things went as per plan anyway. Every 2 hours they came in and checked my vitals. The pain was bearable and was able to move my toes. I didnt want to risk moving any more than that.
Initially the Osteotomy surgery date was meant to be on 17th January but the surgeon had to push the time back as there was a risk of overrunning on a more complex surgery that was planned earlier in the day. For me, I had programmed my mind (at home and work) that surgery would be on a specific date so felt prepared. With that moving, it was tough trying to adjust and refocus on work but it had to be done.
Work for me this month was very manic; recruitment, interviews, dealing with sales staff in the corporate world is stressful. Also, with my manager being unable to take my workload, this didn’t help the stress levels. This actually helped me avoid thinking about the surgery.
So now i am sat at 6:30pm on Tuesday feeling a little numb. I’m not sure how to react other than to ‘go with the flow’ tomorrow.
In terms of the ‘what will i do after the surgery’ quandary, not too sure what that would entail. The thought of the surgeon drilling through my tibia, taking a 1.1cm width of bone out, drilling holes and adding metal plates is daunting. What will the pain be like after a few days? How will i go to the toilet, shower and dress myself. Also being stuck in the house with a wounded legs for a week or so is not riding well.
I’m not sure what Aroon or Priya are thinking. Aroon is wrapped up in his own things and Priya is busy being a girl. As long as they support Loiza, thats all goodness.
I’m going to go early to watch Priya at football practice and see how the day ends, Its NIL BY MOUTH 12 hours before the surgery and need to get to the Hospital by 7am.