One Year Post Op, One Week Post Op.

One week after having the metal out and it could not be more different from one week after having the metal put in.

After the operation I was wheeled back onto the ward and greeted by the nurse who took my blood pressure and pulse every fifteen minutes. I was asked if I had any pain, which I didn’t,having had the recommended block as well as the general anaesthetic.A block is the strangest sensation as the arm is completely dead from the shoulder downwards. Of course I had a sling on and a dressing but apart from that I was absolutely fine. The nurse bought me some omelette and a drink which I greedily ate, I was so thirsty and hungry.

Halfway through my meal the lovely Mr F came in. ‘You look remarkably well’ he said, watching me scoff omelette with mild surprise.  He told me the operation went well, that he managed to get good movement out of my shoulder and that if I wanted to I could go home! The benefit of being first on the list.

I had been told to be very careful going home with a block in because as you have no sensation you can hurt yourself, burn yourself for example, and you wouldn’t know you were burning until you smelt the burning flesh. Yes, that is how dead your arm is. Once the lovely Mr F left I jumped out of bed and started getting myself dressed. Trying to put a shirt on was near impossible. My arm was useless, so trying to push it into the sleeve just wasn’t happening. I sat on the edge of the chair with my arm rested on my lap and tried to thread my arm through the sleeve with my left arm. It was a challenge with an added excitement of  wondering who might walk in the room to discover me topless. I did finally manage it and luckily kept some dignity by getting the buttons done up before the next visitor, the pharmacist. She gave me some co-codamol and lactulose. I took it without really thinking but after she went realised that she had given me 8mg codeine tablets whereas last time I had 30mg and Tramadol for when the pain got really bad. An optimistic pharmacist who had obviously not had orthopaedic surgery, I thought.

Once I got home I went straight to bed as with a block I knew I would sleep. Last time, once the block wore off I couldn’t sleep for about 2 months.

The next morning I awoke and the first thing that was apparent was that the block had mostly worn off but I didn’t really have too much pain. So I took the sling off, took the co-codamol for 24 hours and since then have been functioning as normal. I had the op on Wednesday and went back to work the following Monday. To the family’s delight I have been able to cook, clean, do the washing and generally run around as before.I have less pain than before the op despite the fact I still have the staples in. Getting washed is a bit tricky because of the dressing but I actually think getting dressed is easier. I can wash my hair, put make up on, wear earrings, all things I couldn’t do for about two months last time.I find it hard to believe that I had orthopaedic surgery a week ago.

I was told by everyone that the surgery would be much easier than last time so I wasn’t expecting to be quite as bad but I wasn’t expecting to be this good! I thought I would not be able to use my arm for a fortnight and that has not been the case. I do believe that I am pretty used to living with pain in my shoulder which helps but even so this really is unbelievable considering what I have had done.

The crunch comes on Wednesday, dressing off, clips out and x-ray.

I am hopeful.

Operation Metal Out

It is exactly one year since the lovely Mr F operated on me to repair my shattered shoulder last week he operated on me again to remove the metal.

A year ago I had no idea that the holiday that we had looked forward to would end so abruptly and consequently I was completely unprepared for the operation. This year was different. George dropped me off at the hospital and I went up to my room to be admitted. I answered 85 nonsense questions; Are you pregnant ( funny), Have you got any implants (yes, that’s what I am having removed) Did you have growth hormone before 1985 (I’m not that short) Are you allergic to bananas (Really?) and so on. I wouldn’t have minded but I answered them a year ago and clearly answers to questions  such as ‘Have you had brain or spinal surgery pre 1992’ won’t have changed.

The lovely Mr F asked me to sign the consent form. ‘ I am hoping that this operation will give you a sea change’, he said. ‘I know it seems unnecessary as I am going through the scar from last time, but I have to make sure I get the correct shoulder’ he said.


The anaethestist came and asked if I wanted a ‘block’ in my arm again. ‘I would have one’, he said. Well, in that case I will have one too. ‘We can let you go home with a block in your arm’. First I had heard that I might be able to go home on the same day – The lovely Mr F and the nurses all told me I would be in for one night.

The pre op nurse bought me a gown and the TED stockings and for some reason known only to her insisted that she put the stockings on for me. ‘I really am capable of putting these stockings on myself’ I told her. ‘Sit down’, she said, ‘You’re too independent’. I sat down while the nurse put the stockings on me and pondered the fact that by later that day I would once again be dependant on others for a bit whilst I battled with the pain and loss of movement of my arm. I was so damn miserable for so many weeks last year, unable to sleep because of the pain, hard to eat with one left hand, washing, dressing, everything such hard work. I was not looking forward to the next couple of weeks. The nurse told me to put the gown on, despite my complaints it was too early. I remembered when Max had his appendix out last year and was put in the gown and tights he turned round to me and said’ Mum, they’ve got me dressed up like a tit for no reason’.

Suddenly the door burst open and in came a theatre nurse with two porters. ‘Lovely Mr F has bumped you up to first on the list’ the theatre nurse said. I thought only I called him that! I asked why they had sent three people to get me when I could walk down. ‘You can’t walk down you might faint’ said the nurse.

I got on the bed and was wheeled into theatre. ‘Hello trouble, the gang’s all here!’ said lovely Mr F. The conversation went on to skiing – Mr F, the anaesthetist and the operating theatre nurse had all just got back from hols and were comparing speeds they had clocked. They asked me where I was skiing when I had my accident. ‘ I was in St Martin de Belleville’, I said. ‘Slight scratch on the back of your hand’, said the anaesthetist.

I continued my story. ‘It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect conditions……..’

‘Wake up, would you like some water?’, a voice said.

And that is how quickly the lovely Mr F removed all this.