Ozlilly's musings...


Comparison of left and right knee surgery in two different hospitals. Just skip this. It is my personal journal for my own reference
and anybody else who really wants to know. This whole thing is gory details so skin colour is the background. I want to compare progress of left knee to right knee post op.
On Day 1
Monday 6 July 2020 I came to Baumgartner Hoehe Hospital without breakfast and sure enough, My left knee was operated on the same day.
Dr Valenta introduced himself. Henry came to transport me to the operating room.
I had an epidural and had the left knee replaced with an artificial knee joint of metal and acrylic.
Afterwards Dr Schefzig was in the recovery room with Nicole the recovery nurse.
The epidural really took away all feeling from the waist down. I felt like I had both my knees up but at times I saw what must have been my left leg lifted up high. I felt the hammering of the new joints. I heard the rotation of the saw or bone cutting equipment. I did not follow everything. I guess I faded in and out.
They keep asking you to put a number on your pain with ten being unbearable and one being mildly uncomfortable. The proviso there was you need to be a two or three before we take you down to the station. I still could not feel my lower extremities by three in the morning. They said it takes about five hours. Yet I still had pain. As I could finally start moving my toes towards five in the morning as the day started to break I gave my pain the number seven. Eventually they took me down to the ward.
I was given a full dose of my own blood cleansed during the operation and dripped back during the night.
I also received a number of bottles of fluid and also painkillers.
They also put a drip into my nerve to the leg to control the pain there.

Tuesday 17th November 2020
I had to wash myself with a special sterilizing lotion including my hair. Then I had to put on freshly washed clothes. I was allowed to drink water or black coffee until two hours before. I had to fast from midnight. I took my Atenolol for blood pressure with some water. I’ve had no Thrombo Ass since last Wednesday, a week ago.
It was nearly three before they took to the operating room at Speising Orthopaedic Hospital.
By around six I was out again. I stayed in the recovery room until around one-thirty in the morning. Then they took me to the ward.
Day 2

Tuesday 7th July 2020
I gradually felt more mobility as the numbness from the epidural wore off completely. The epidural meant that I did not feel anything from the waist down, but as I began to discover my calves and toes, my aching knees also plagued me. They keep asking what’s the pain level, and honestly as I had classified the peak after the operation as ten, I was relieved as I felt that it was successively, incrementally becoming better. That is not to say I felt better or less pain. It was just in comparison to the immediate post OP pain, of course, it was better.

Wednesday 18th November 2020
I had a drip of pain medication which they warned me could cause nausea. Sure enough, by the morning I was feeling like throwing up. And began dry retching.
Dr Eitelberg, the operating doctor, came around to see how I was. He seemed so young.
I received 4 Mexallen and 4 Novalgin tablets a day. At night I got something stronger which I thought they said was Tramal.
Day 3
Wednesday 8th July 2020

Today when the physiotherapist came to put both my feet on the floor and show me how to move the left leg back and forth on a paper towel, I told her that I want to go to the toilet. She brought me the commode and wheeled me into the toilet. Happily and surprisingly I could quickly do my business. I was a bit perturbed by the dark colour of what I wiped. I assumed since it was in the bucket “somebody” would be monitoring. My blood values were sinking and they wanted to give me a blood transfusion. I asked to wait which they respected.
The night nurse wanted to give me more pain killer in the nerve drip but said that it was already no good. So he took it out completely.
I had a weeping wound from the plaster.

Right knee
Chain stitch

Thursday 19th November 2020
They told me to take my own regular drugs after yesterday saying I should pause the blood pressure tablets.
Dr Eitelberger came around again today to ask how I was. Again 4 mexallen and 4 Novalgin. Twice I received Novalgin drops for excess pain. At night again Tramal.

Day 4
Thursday 9th July 2020

They took the blood drainage out of the wound today. I felt the catheter must be dripping overnight. I put my hands between my wet legs and then smelt my fingers. Yuk. So unhygienic. Determined not to eat anything with my fingers.
Friday 20th November 2020

New right knee

Again 4 Mexallan, 4 Novalgin, Trudolan at night for pain.
Day 5
Friday 10th July 2020

I had x-rays of the new knee early in the morning. On Friday I was moved to the Acute Geriatrie Remobilization. Most people here came 10-14 days after their operation.
Saturday 21st November 2020
4 Mexallen, 4 Novalgin, 2 Novalgin drops.

Day 6
Saturday 11th July 2020

I woke with a headache and attributed it to the afternoon coffee which I did not have. They keep asking whether I have my own medication with me. Some confusion about whether I should be taking my own or they will supply. They have Tenormin instead of Atenolol.
It still takes me a while to fall asleep. I try meditating and doing breathing exercises and eventually realise that I have slept after all.
Sunday 22nd November 2020
I woke in the middle of the night so went to the Rally of Hope and watched and mainly listened to parts of it and eventually dozed off. I have a backache when I walk and even to move hurts. The doctor said this should pass once I am mobile at home. It feels like my right leg is longer than before.
I had novalgin drops at 11am.

Day 7
Sunday 12th July 2020

It’s been a week in hospital and today is the first day that I actually get out the laptop.
I woke with a headache again which I once more attributed to caffeine withdrawal.
I must say, apart from pain, I am feeling much better, even mobile. I even feel like I can put pressure on my left leg. Now I’ll try retracing my steps of the last week here in my diary.
I had a shower after breakfast. I decided to put the nappy pants on after lunch before visiting time to be sure to be safe. My bladder is not as secure as it was before.
I told the doctor that I have pain when I move and she prescribed some Novalgin and Mexalen. I took both in the morning, not really sure whether I was meant to take one only first and then wait and see.
Monday 23rd November 2020
I was taken home by the patient transport at ten-thirty.

Day 8
Monday 13th July 2020

We were taken for chest x-rays with the wheel chair in a transport van.. The ergotherapist Elisabeth Weber gave me some tips and advice. The physiotherapist Lisa did her bit. She had spent about 6 months in Tasmania.
Day 9
Tuesday 14th July 2020

I hurt my knee while trying to cream my heels. The nurse then gave me an information sheet about what not to do after the knee operation. I really don’t know whether they told me before. In any case, I have it in writing now.
Day 10
Wednesday 15th July 2020

I had three new x-rays of the knee to check on the injury I got when I tried to cream my heels last night.
Day 11
Thursday 16th July 2020

The ergotherapist Elisabeth weber came around. She is responsible for organizing the physiotherapy and social worker.
Friday 27th November 2020
I slept quite long knowing that Josef got up around seven in the morning. I was dismayed to discover that I do not have complete control over my bladder. I woke with the urge to go. My blood pressure was very high while I tried to hold my bladder. By the time I got to the toilet my large incontinent pad was soaking wet, even leaving a patch on the bed and my pants wet through.
I had a shower and hobbled back to the bedroom wearing only my sports bra to get the nappy pants which I still had from the first knee operation. I sat in the arm-chair with my feet up after we had our brunch. My leg was really sore. Then I took an extra novalgin. Now at the desk my leg is still really sore. What I am doing now is compare the healing process of the first knee operation and this second one. Already figured out how to do it on my blog as I really don’t want to start another document for example an excel sheet. I’m working on rationalizing all my documents. I do like my journal and my access file. Now that I have the new Office 365 I assume that I’ll be able to do the integrations and formatting and programming that I want to do.
Day 12
Friday 17 July 2020

In Baumgartner Hoehe they had a daily pain diary. They came to ask us about our pain levels. You had to get below a certain level to leave the operating theatre to come to ward. Then another lower level to leave the hospital to come home.
Saturday 28th November 2020
The pain in my back and operated leg are almost overwhelming. I already took a premature dose of pain killers in the hopes of reducing the perceived pain. Now I’ve taken the rest of the lunchtime dose i.e. the Mexallen. It was the Novalgin that I took around ten in the morning before my shower. Still the pain feels excruciating and I struggle with the awareness of focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. How can I not think about the pain which seems to be crippling me? Even as I lie on the bed after my shower, the back pain shoots up from the base of my spine. I try to find a comfortable position, to imagine that it’s all in the mind, that I’ll feel better in a minute. The tears come to my eyes and I suffer in silence.
I think of being the role-model for all those suffering out there. I take a selfie and repulse in shame as I think I will never post that photo. So old, so ugly. That is not how I want to be remembered. I just hobbled to the bedroom to get my painkillers and typically I would take them with the water by my bed. Instead I had to carry them with me. This is a challenge with my crutches. I clutched them in my hands and hobbled here to the office to my desk. I’ve already swallowed them and hope that soon my thoughts will be somewhere far away from pain.
The funny thing is when you are in pain you are totally consumed by it. Once it subsides, you don’t really even notice! Your thoughts drift away to someplace else. I can’t even tell you that I feel better. I still have pain but it is perhaps not as intense as before. Now please note that I washed my hair today, in the shower, by myself.

Day 13
Saturday 18th July 2020

A few times when I had the oppressive headache, I had to wait until after breakfast. Josef got me a double cappuccino yesterday afternoon from the coffee machine on the ground floor so I had no headache at four or five this morning. However, by breakfast time I was feeling a bit, what? Unwell.
Robert came to help with showering and he washed my hair. I am still doing fine with my digestion and elimination. I took the hydal (morphine) 3x and lay down. I also have Diclobene Gel, a painkiller cream for the knee.
Sunday 29th November 2020
I sat in the arm chair with feet up. I’m enduring my pain and trying to find the dosage and timing of appropriate medication. It’s eleven-thirty and I took the lunch time dose of Novalgin. My knee is not as swollen as it has been but it is still sore. My back is also aching. The challenge to take my thoughts to a higher level. I realise I do not have a clear goal or purpose.
Day 14
Sunday 19th July 2020

I had hydal again three times. It is apparently an opioid which really helps the pain but may be addictive. 
Day 15
Monday 20th July 2020
I had the stitches, which were actually staples, taken out.
When I walk it is almost weird to see my reflection in the mirror. The other leg is still unnaturally bent outwards as both legs always were. I walk up and down the corridor. There is a mirror at both ends. There are markings every metre and the corridor must be 50 metres long. There is an armchair at each end. There are exercise bicycles in the dining room.
One week after the operation I wanted to cream my flakey heels and suddenly my operated knee made a loud crack and I had excruciating pain. The nurse said I should not be moving the legs sideways, but only forwards and backwards and handed me an A4 information sheet. Maybe they told me before. I don’t know. All my life I have been bowlegged. I had such pain in the lower calf of the left leg in an area which I had never felt before. I also had pain in the thigh above the knee joint. The x-rays told the surgeon that the operated joint was still intact. However, my pain was very real and still excruciating.
Day 16
Tuesday 21st July 2020

Cycled 15 minutes. I did 2.2 km with zero resistance. Walked.
Wednesday 2nd December 2020
A young intern came from Dr Chizzali and removed the stitches from the right knee. He said the wound looks fine. I commented on the chain stitch. He confirmed that it was a single thread as he used a scalpel to cut it into sections short enough to pull out through the wound. He only had a regular dressing, not a waterproof one so Josef bought me a couple on his way to work in the afternoon.
Day 17
Wednesday 22nd July 2020

I still have a headache until after breakfast. Lisa took us for a walk outside to the next pavilion. My “good” knee started hurting. It felt like it was a bit too much for me.

Thursday 3rd December 2020
The intensity of the pain is much less now, yet it is still recurring and strong. I am working on tuning in to really gauge and perceive it and to respond accordingly. I did not take the Novalgin this morning until about an hour later than the other drugs, when I really felt the pain in the leg. Now that the stitches are out I tried to cycle but found that the home trainer was much too much of a strain on the knee and the angle I needed to bend to turn the pedal. I asked Josef for the small mobile unit.
Day 18
Thursday 23rd July 2020

I cycled for 20 minutes and took a photo of the end screen.
Friday 4th December 2020
I cycled from the armchair for 15 minutes on the mobile gadget that Josef bought. He tied it to the base of the chair with a thick cord.

Day 19
Friday 24th July 2020

I had a shower by myself for the first time today. It was okay. I went to cycle for 20 minutes again.
I did not take my pain capsule last night and still had it on my bedside table this morning. Frau Beyer and I had a discussion about the drugs and how to deal with them. I would prefer to get my pain killers, the Novolgin and the Hydal separately rather than taking both at once and then feeling extreme pain when both wear off. The male nurse came to take it away saying that their accounting would not add up correctly if they don’t record it. Shortly afterwards, I think it was Katerina brought me a capsule. So I took a photo of it. Frau Beyer is familiar with all the various dosages and strengths. I’m not sure whether I got the same one again in the morning. Katerina said it works long term. I think they said the one yesterday works fast. In any case, I took it while sitting at the table with my footbath.
Dr Wagner came around. I’d just told Lisa that the pain on the bicycle was similar to the pain I’ve had for years when walking. I don’t mind going through the therapy pain in the belief that it contributes to healing and eventual freedom from pain.I was actually in tears on the bike as the pain at the beginning was quite strong. I felt a certain process that needs to take place to deal with the changing situation. It is now two weeks here in the acute geriatric remobilization. I had been thinking just one more week but honestly feel another two weeks would not be bad.
Saturday 5th December 2020
I slept until after eleven in the morning. Am dismayed to discover that I need the incontinent pads. I’m using the oestrogen cream in the evenings. I cycled for 20 minutes.
Day 20

Sunday 6th December 2020
I slept till around nine, went to the toilet then had my stomach block. I lay down again for half an hour so I could then take my pain killers and blood pressure tablets. Then I rested another half an hour waiting for the painkiller to work. Around ten I got up and had a shower
Day 21
Sunday 26th July 2020

I woke with a headache and sore back. Feels like I can last a little bit longer before I have to go to the toilet. I do not have any inlays for the panty-nappies and have not had to change so often.
I got up to have my shower after going to the toilet sometime after seven this morning. I took my panteloc (stomach protection) and a few minutes later the Novalgin, atenolol and candesartan hoping to relieve my headache. I sit in the chair and shower myself. It’s still a bit hard to get to the bottom of the legs but I can at least run the shower over my whole body. I even manage to wash my back just as I did before I came to hospital.
Day 22
Monday 27th July 2020

I Hydal, 3 Novalgin, 2 Panteloc Atenolol, Candesartan. Ergotherapy about how to prevent and deal with falls.
I got a haircut by a mobile hairdresser who came to the clinic.
Day 23
Tuesday 28th July 2020

We went out walking at nine. I cycled 30 minutes 6.9 km in the afternoon. Then I walked the corridor up and down, the 100m in the evening. 40 drops Vitamin D, Hydal, footbath, BP 100/60, pulse 66 Oxygen saturation 99%.
Wednessday 9th December 2020
I had dinner and then wanted to go straight to the couch afterwards with a sore back. My back was so sore.
Day 24
Wednesday 29th July 2020

I was taken down to the dermatologist about my actinic keratose. The doctor prescribed some cream which the other staff did not decipher from his script. They also did not order it in time for the weekend. They started using another gel which allegedly had the same active ingredients at a lower concentration.
Thursday 10th December 2020
Parallels in Gory Details Part 2
I’ve been reducing my drugs in taking only one of novalgin or mexalen and then taking the other when I feel more pain again. I had my shower and took the dressing off the right knee. I was surprised to see that there was some blood on the dressing. And of course there is a crust on parts of the scar. The holes from the stitches are still clearly visible. I put some of the healing oil on both knees throughout the day.

Day 25
Thursday 30th July 2020

And today it was down to the ground floor again for a visit to the gynacologist. The issue is my incontinence since the removal of the catheter. She prescribed oestrogen cream to use daily for a week and then three times a week. I had a foot bath for the tinea.

About the author 

Lilly Gundacker

Lilly Gundacker is an Australian living in Austria, now in Vienna. With a loving husband and gifted adult children' she excels at Communication, Family, Marriage and is an Organizational expert. As a retired International Civil Servant and dedicated Unificationist she motivates, inspires, engages, and makes a difference!

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

[…] and dealing with the constant and excruciating pain. It means I take medication four times a day. It means I try to follow the instructions on the medical report to reduce the prescribed medication. Luckily I know from the first knee operation in July, that everybody reacts differently. And I know that in the Acute Geriatric Remobilization they actually administered opioids to help relieve my extreme pain and to encourage more active movement. This second time I’ve been sent home after less than a week in hospital and due to Covid we are still distancing from “unnecessary” medical visits. So I rely on my own judgement in terms of dosing my medication. In general, I sense that this right knee is recovering more quickly than the left one. It is not as swollen and inflamed as the left one was. I do not need a daily ice-pack on it. Funny though, my physiotherapist suggested that the ice-packs were counterproductive as they restricted the circulation and prevented the proper healing. There is always a fine line between what is good for one or the other. In Baumgartner Hoehe and in Speising, they offered the ice-packs several times a day. So I’ve completed a few more details of gory details in my parallels. […]

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Follow Lilly on FaceBook here

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x