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Broken knee. Operation tomorrow. Anyone been through similar?

(137 Posts)
Spidermama Sun 20-Oct-13 17:15:57

I have two fractures in my femur and tibia a depressed fracture in the top of my tibia. They're going to put a plate in my knee and graft the bone.

It happened a week ago today on holiday in Thailand and it still hurts so much.

I'm on crutches so effectively useless in terms of laundry and cooking. I'm in a full leg cast. I'm really just looking for other stories so I can get an idea of how things might pan out.

Poor dh is up to his eyeballs and cracking under the strain.

RaisingthedeadArizona Sun 20-Oct-13 22:37:17

No experience of anything similar but just wanted to wish you all the best for tomorrow and hope you are soon a lot more comfortable and able to get around again. flowers

I broke my knee cap 4 years ago so I do have immense sympathy for you as I know how hard going it is....mentally & physically.

My injury was from a fall in the garden & my kneecap split in half totally. It was repaired by sewing the bones back together with wire thread. It was apparently a very rare type of break.

I was in hospital for 3 days & in full plaster for 6 weeks (thigh to ankle). I had the plaster changed a few times as the swelling gradually reduced -the plaster dropped & rubbed my ankle casing blisters. It was also quite painful at the start with the plaster rubbing on the wound, but painkillers helped. The bruising was very colourful & was still surprisingly visible, but not painful once the plaster came off.

I contacted the Red Cross & had use of a wheelchair (with a leg support) so I wasn't totally housebound. At home I had a bath seat so I could sit high up & still shower. To aid this I would really recommend a cast cover - see this was invaluable!

When the cast came off my leg looked awful. The scar was about 8 inches long & looked raw- I thought it would never look normal again & it really got me down. I wore a knee brace initially to limit movement. I cannot lie, regaining the use was a slow process, not helped by my lack of confidence in what I thought I could do without inflicting further injury.

I started physio a couple of weeks after the plaster was off & continued with this weekly for 6 months. I drove very short distances about 6 weeks after the plaster came off.

All in all I was unable to work for 4 months.

Four years on, it's not too bad. I can't kneel on that knee & my balance is a bit off at times but otherwise I function normally. Amazingly the scar is barely visible- just a white line now. I did use Bio oil on it so maybe that helped in the early days.

I wish you all the very best for your op & recovery. Don't hesitate to PM me if you have any other questions.

Spidermama Mon 21-Oct-13 04:59:10

Wow Demolitionduo. Four months off work? Why so long?
I'm on crutches at the moment but it means I'm useless because I can't do anything with my hands. I would like a wheelchair. We live on a hill and our house is a typically Brighton house on 3 floors so proving very difficult.
Thanks for the tips about bathing and bio oil. I'm glad to here you are so much better.

Spidermama Mon 21-Oct-13 06:33:43

Hear not here.

Matildathecat Mon 21-Oct-13 11:07:44

Not the same but surgery for dislocated patella years ago. Similar casts etc.

Thing is, this has only just happened so you are basically in shock. My response to Demo's response was, wow! Back to work that soon!

You have a serious injury. Do accept all the help you are offered and all the pain meds. Slow but sure will win the race. Try to think about chores you can do ( after the surgery). Try to stay on one floor of your house as much as possible. It is hard on your DH but if it was the other way round you would be doing it for him.

So, call in all the favours you can, get your internet shopping planned and most of all rest and recover.

Good luck.

NorbertDentressangle Mon 21-Oct-13 11:25:53

Oh you poor thing! All the best for your op.

I've not had what you have but at different times I have been in plaster with a broken ankle and been in a leg brace after major knee surgery.

Its interesting what you said about your DH as when I broke my ankle DP really couldn't cope with it to begin with. I think he saw weeks of me not being able to do anything and him having to do it all. Obviously he severely underestimated what I (and probably every other mother on this planet!) is capable of doing as when the initial pain subsided and I was able to partially weight bear I just got on with things. He even still managed to go away for a week leaving me and the DC.

Admittedly everything takes longer and you do have to come up with ingenious solutions but you soon learn to remember to bring everything downstairs/upstairs in one go to avoid unnecessary trips. You learn that if you want a cup of tea/coffee you need a seat in the kitchen next to the kettle as you can't carry a mug of hot liquid whilst on crutches (or you carry it in a Thermos in a rucksack).

Accept any offers of help and definitely jump at the chance of a lift anywhere. A very dear friend of mine used to pick me up in the car once a week so we could go for coffee in town - it kept me sane to get out!

See it as time to do something different or helpful in another way - I used my time in plaster to do my Xmas shopping online (and made sure I had a note on the door warning the postman/couriers to allow time for me to get to the door!). It's also a great opportunity to write/email/phone all those people that you've meaning to contact for ages.

NorbertDentressangle Mon 21-Oct-13 11:31:23

ooh, I meant to add re:knee surgery.

When I had mine I think it shocked me how painful/sore it was afterwards and for how long. I soon learned to take the painkillers and anti-inflammatory meds that were on offer - its not worth trying to go without.

At one point I did feel quite down as it was all much more debilitating than I'd imagined but I believe this is quite common - just keep an eye on how you're feeling. Remember that it will get better, it just takes time. Our bodies are amazingly clever but complex things!

Spidermama Mon 21-Oct-13 11:59:54

Thanks Norbert. I'm already finding that my usual productivity is being channelled in different ways. Great idea about Christmas shopping and the thermos flask in a back pack so I can get myself a cup of tea.

It's been over a week now since I fell and I can feel improvements. However I dread being knocked back again by the surgery (now on Wednesday morning).

DH is really losing it now. I broke my knee in Thailand and he's had an horrendous last five days or so battling with the insurance company to get us home. He's also lost a bit of work. He's been to Wickes because he wants to put rails on the stairs etc to help me get around but I'm trying to get him to prioritise on things like laundry and a bit of pastoral care for the kids. At the moment he's rushing around like a madman shouting at them to help and making the whole house very tense. I don't mean to be ungrateful as he's had to do so much for me over the past week and it's been difficult, but he's SO STRESSED OUT!!

Any ideas as to how I can help him chill? My friend up the road gave him diazapam which is a tranquiliser apparently but he hasn't taken it yet. Should he?

Spidermama Mon 21-Oct-13 12:01:53

As for work, I was thinking I can get back just as soon as I get the full leg cast off and can bend my knee again. I just need to be able to get under a desk. I can keep my leg just as still at work as I can at home can't I?

I even wondered about getting them to adapt my desk so I can go back, if necessary, with a full leg cast and put my leg up under the desk.

Matildathecat Mon 21-Oct-13 12:33:39

I honestly wouldn't start thinking about work yet. As above, it took me a long time to bend my knee. Once the plaster came off I actually felt much frailer for a while as the protection was gone. You'll get back when you're ready.

Re your husband, you are right, he needs to calm down. The insurance thing sounds very stressful, though. Have you got anyone you can ask to help? Friends are usually delighted to be able to offer practical help. Ie could you come for an hour and help me get the laundry done? School runs, batch of quality treaty meals, push the Hoover round?

Hope tomorrow goes well and very soon things will settle down.

Btw, I would recommend doing the stairs on your bottom.

NorbertDentressangle Mon 21-Oct-13 12:40:18

You will probably have to spend a lot of time with your leg up to reduce swelling which makes it difficult to be anywhere but on your sofa TBH.

Do you feel under pressure from work to go back?

How did you do it BTW? It sounds like a nightmare to happen anywhere let alone so far from home!

Spidermama Mon 21-Oct-13 12:54:16

Norbert dh and I were on holiday in Thailand. It was our first ever holiday alone since the first of our 4 children was born 15 years ago. We had a combination of grandparents and friends looking after the kids. We'd spent weeks filling the freezer with meals we'd cooked and writing detailed notes in a special diary about their various clubs and engagements.

We had three days of dream holiday then I walked on the rocks to watch the sun rise on a beach in Koh Phangan and stepped onto what I thought was a small rock but turned out to be a space between two rocks. So my left leg plunged down jarring and twisting the knee. I pulled the leg out with my hands and it flopped onto the rock. I thought, 'I'll just sit here for a while 'til the pain subsides a bit' but deep down I knew the holiday was over. sad

I had to be stretchered by speedboat to the hospital on the neighbouring island of Koh Samui where we spend five days arguing with the insurance company who wanted us to stay in Thailand for the operation, despite the Thai doctors suggesting we fly home for it. Very stressful.

Spidermama Mon 21-Oct-13 12:56:22

Work are not putting me under any pressure at all but I feel it none the less. Also I don't see why I can't work at a computer while my leg heals. Maybe I'm being naive.

NorbertDentressangle Mon 21-Oct-13 13:09:08

Spidermama , that's awful. After all the planning that must have gone into that, not to mention how much you both must have been looking forward to it sad.

Be kind to yourself. Don't rush back to work as the GA, the op generally, the pain (even when well managed), medication and the healing will take it out of you especially if you're not sleeping well.

You'll get tired physically hauling yourself around on crutches (but on positive note you'll develop very toned arms and shoulders and great upper body strength smile)

See how you go and if you're itching to go back then maybe do so on a trial basis part-time? Or could you do some work from home?

Personally though I know I would have struggled to have gone back to work before the plaster/brace was removed and I was mobile again.

Spidermama Mon 21-Oct-13 14:45:42

Yes we're fairly gutted. I feel a bit foolish too for messing up something so simple.

Oh well I'm sure it'll be another journey and I'll certainly get plenty of reading done and eat healthily.

Sorry to hear you are still waiting for your op. Horrible waiting around.

I agree with Matilda & Norbert. Don't even contemplate work. Me going back even after 4 months was a nightmare & with hindsight I could have done with longer. I had to have a Personal Evacuation plan devised & agreed to get me out in the event of emergency (couldn't walk up & down stairs with any speed for a long time), they ordered me an Evac-chair which we had to test I could use. The loos were on a mezzanine floor so more difficulties there..... before you think of going back just make sure you think everything through & can manage without putting yourself at risk.

As for painkillers YES! I found Diclofenac the best all rounder but it doesn't suit everyone.

Be aware the op itself may knock you for six. I'm not sure if you have had surgery before but be prepared for extreme tiredness for a good few days & maybe a dip in mood too. All very 'normal' but not always expected.

I bought myself one of those 'overbed tables' like a hospital one, but from an online mobility aid store. It was a godsend for eating & using the laptop as it kept additional weight off the cast & meant I could sit up in bed but still do things.

I am almost a lone parent (ex lives in the house but we don't communicate- a whole other story!). My twins were 11 when I had my accident & they had to do a lot to help around the house as ex would do nothing. To make life easier for you & your family, you may need to cut a few food shops were a must. I got the delivery man to put all the bags on the work tops so I could unpack (slowly!) and put stuff away. I did all my Christmas shopping that year online too.

If you have friends & neighbours you can call in favours from, now is the time you need them! Don't be afraid to ask- I am sure they will want to help.

I had friends help with the housework/change the beds etc....all relatively simple everyday things until your leg is in a cumbersome plaster, you are in pain & tired out!

If I think of more I'll add to it, but I don't want to frighten you. Everyone responds differently to surgery etc & your experience & recovery may be completely different to mine.

Hopefully the fact you have a husband & teens to help out, it will take some of the pressure off you. You just need to concentrate on resting when you need to & not overdoing things which may jeopardise your recovery time.

Spidermama Tue 22-Oct-13 06:20:35

Gosh demo that sounds really tough. I.m glad your twins helped out. My kids are beginning to realise they have new roles! They've not been great at helping out traditionally.

It must have been incredibly hard for you with an unhelpful husband around. Mine's extremely stressed but at least he.s trying. The bed table's a good idea.

I am braced for a drop in mood and ability after surgery. It seems a shame as there's been a slight but hard earned improvement in the nine days since the accident.

I'm finding inability to wash one of the biggest challenges. I sit on a towel on the floor with a bucket of warm water and a flannel. I haven't yet worked out how to wash my hair. I want to do it today as the op is tomorrow and its only going to get harder.

I am worried about not going back to work soon, as it took me about ten years to finally secure that job however so far they're being very understanding.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It's been very helpful.

One more thing ... My mum and a couple of my friends have been telling me I should research surgeons and try to find someone known as an expert in the field but quite honestly, with the op imminent and at my nearest hospital, I don't feel I have the time or strength. All these comments have done is made me worry about potential botched jobs. Did you research your surgeon?

NorbertDentressangle Tue 22-Oct-13 09:20:05

Dry shampoo is your friend! Normally I wouldn't touch the stuff but when needs must....

I tended to use it between washes as it was such a faff to wash it properly even with just a below knee cast on (which meant I could lean over the edge of the bath and use the the shower attachment).

Do you know how long you'll be in hospital for after the op?

At a guess they'll have you up and walking down the ward on crutches before you know it! I remember when I had my knee op I was on a ward where everyone else was at least 40 years older than me and, even with the old ladies who had had hip replacements, they had everyone up and about really quickly.

Re: surgeon - I didn't research mine, but this was about 20 years ago and TBH I think this 'researching your consultant' thing is, on the whole, quite a recent thing enabled by the internet, increase in private healthcare etc.
I had my knee done at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford by a surgeon who specialised in knees so I was happy with that.

Listmaker Tue 22-Oct-13 10:52:47

I broke my heel bone 3 months ago and am still very much housebound so in a similar situation and have faced/am facing the same issues.

I work in IT and have been able to work from home - my company wouldn't let me into the office (on the 2nd floor) as I wouldn't be able to manage the stairs unaided (or at all!). Could you work from home? It has been a godsend as to have all this time off would have been really hard and I'd be on 2/3 money by now. It has kept me sane though as it fills the time.

I too got an overbed table which has been great. I still haven't managed the shower - I used to wash in bed with a bowl and flannel as best I could, now I get to the bathroom and do it there in the sink. I can bend my knee so have been washing my hair over the kitchen sink with my knee on a stool. I didn't wash my hair for about 10 days whilst in hospital - horrendous!

The Occupational Therapists should help you with things after your operation - I have a thing to go over the loo to make it higher so easier to get on and off and a commode which I used in the early days - luckily not for a while now! I also have a zimmer frame and crutches and I got a wheelchair from the Red Cross as someone else mentioned.

My DH has coped well on the whole but finds the kids' mess hard and rants and raves about it which makes the atmosphere at home a nightmare at times. My DDs are 15 and 13 and have been good at times but have found it tough as I always did everything for them. That has been the single hardest thing of all - not being able to look after them all and just get on with things in my way. Asking people to do every little thing is a nightmare.

I was lucky that my Mum comes over a lot and helps with the washing and ironing as my DH seems incapable of managing it all. I also got a cleaner to come in once a week. I do online shopping as well.

Crutches are just so useless though as you can't carry anything which makes you pretty useless.

I am hopefully only a few weeks away from walking without them now but it's been a long old haul! So good luck and try and keep smiling - try Netflix and Breaking Bad - got me through a few weeks that did!

Listmaker Tue 22-Oct-13 11:28:56

And also we bought a bed and installed it in a room we have downstairs (was my DH's 'den'!) and I've been sleeping there and sitting on it in the day with my foot up most of the time - it's only in the last couple of weeks that's it been OK down for any length of time. So I haven't been upstairs in my house for 3 months! We are lucky to have the room and a downstairs bathroom of course so this may not be an option for you?

mawbroon Tue 22-Oct-13 11:37:32

I obviously have no idea about your house layout, but ours only has an upstairs bathroom.

When I broke my ankle at 32 weeks pg, getting up the stairs to the toilet was a real challenge, so I managed to organise a commode which I kept downstairs.

I found that the pain after surgery was excruciating, but after about 4 days, it just disappeared. Take all the pain relief that's going!!

Has anyone recommended a Limbo plastic cover? I would really recommend them.

I used a rucksack for moving things from room to room and had a little bag over my shoulder at all times with the house phone and my mobile in it, just in case I fell, or went into labour or whatever.

Listmaker Tue 22-Oct-13 11:47:34

When I was using the zimmer I tied a bag to that to carry things about as well! Crutches are more of a challenge so a rucksack or cross the body bag is the only answer.......

Spidermama Tue 22-Oct-13 12:27:48

Wow Mawrboon it must have been really difficult breaking your ankle while heavily pregnant! What a tough start. I can only imagine how THAT birth went.

Listmaker I wish I could work from home but I work in radio so need to be in the studios to do anything. I was imagining being off for a few weeks not months but I think I've severely underestimated healing time judging by all the experiences on here.

Another huge challenge is that out house is a typical Brighton terraced house with three stories and then three lavatories in between the floors meaning I have to go up and down a small amount of stairs every time. That's proving very difficult. A commode sounds pretty grim I must confess, especially for DH who'd have to empty it.

My DH is really stressed. He's quite stressy anyway so this has sent him right over the edge. Like yours Listmaker he keeps shouting at the kids and it just makes it harder for everyone and I believe they're LESS likely to help in this sort of atmosphere. I see it's a long road ahead.

Spidermama Tue 22-Oct-13 12:30:00

The surgery is tomorrow so even though I'm in pain today I know it's going to be a whole lot worse afterwards for a while. I'm really scared.

Listmaker Tue 22-Oct-13 12:42:47

Oh you poor thing. On the pain front just take all the drugs you can!

On the home front yes it has not been easy in this house! I try to sympathise with my DH who has got a lot on his plate now but I do think in lots of ways he hasn't made this easy for me or himself by getting so het up about stuff. Yes my DDs are a pain and leave cups and plates and crap about but that's just how they are (they aren't his biological children which may make things worse?). It drives me mad too but I roll my eyes and just get on with it. He rants to me about it which is just not helpful and upsets me sometimes because there is NOTHING I can do about it right now! Sorry rant over!!

It is really, really hard but I cling to the idea that it's not permanent or life threatening and lots of people are worse off etc etc. And I like to think about all the things we'll do once it's over and how I will make it up to them (we had to cancel our family holiday this summer etc).

Hope the surgery goes well and that there's not too much pain. Enjoy being in hospital and having the nurses to look after you!

Oh and my poor DH had to do the commode for a week or two at first - very grim for him! So he got some brownie points for that!

Spidermama Tue 22-Oct-13 13:48:08

It's a tibial plateau fracture. I've just been terrifying myself on Google reading all about them. Must step away from the computer!

mawbroon Tue 22-Oct-13 14:57:26

Yes, the commode was not nice, but I promised DH that if I needed a poo I would make the effort to get upstairs to the toilet, so it was only pee needing emptied. It had a lid, so out of sight out of mind. Once I was weight bearing, it was easier to get to the toilet so I used the commode less.

It was a bit of a nightmare being pg tbh, but the birth was fine in the end. I was in a removable boot by that time and my Limbo cover fitted over it, so I got to go into the birthing pool for a bit. They were hovering at one stage muttering about a CS because ds2 was a little distressed, but it didn't end that way fortunately. I cannot imagine being on crutches and having CS recovery to deal with!! Another down side was having to be wide awake during 54minutes of orthopaedic surgery because they wouldn't give me a GA because I was pg.

I think it would be wise if you don't Google. DH googled my injury (trimalleolar fracture, and the bottom broke right off one of the bones) and said it would be wise if I didn't look!

Re showering, I don't know if this is possible in a full leg cast, but what I did was get a cheap plastic stool from Ikea (or rather DH did) which I sat in the bath on a rubber mat. I then brought a stool alongside the bath and swung my good leg into the bath while remaining sitting, then I shuffled over to put my bum on the bath stool, and then lifted my bad leg into the bath. I needed help getting my towel, dressing gown etc until I was weight bearing.

I hope the surgery goes well for you x

Spidermama Tue 22-Oct-13 15:38:02

What an amazing story mawbroon. Maximum respect for enduring 54 minutes of surgery wide awake. shock

I'm glad the birth went well. You certainly deserved that!

Thanks for the bathing tips. DH has already ordered a commode. blush I hope that, post op, I can make it to the loo on my own for poos.
Mind you my four births are standing DH in good stead for being right at the sharp end of things.

mawbroon Tue 22-Oct-13 15:43:06

My midwife organised a commode for me, check in your area, I bet you would be able to have one on loan. I can't remember the name of the department, but they lent out all sorts of mobility aids and the like.


I didn't get to research my surgeon as I was admitted as a blue light emergency. However my surgeon was OK, & I think he did as good a job as possible given the mess he was presented with! I was a bit of celebrity in hospital because in his 35 years as an orthopaedic surgeon he'd never seen a break like mine.....My x-rays & I were paraded in front of various ambulance crews, nurses, doctors & physiotherapists as a bit of a freak show!

Pain-wise after the op wasn't that bad to be honest. Just keep up with the regular doses of whatever you are prescribed. There are no extra points for persevering with pain!

Do you have a shower in the nearest bathroom? Mine was over the bath but with the shower seat (which rests across the edges of the bath), I learned to manoeuvre my way in. The cast cover which I mentioned up thread really was totally watertight so I could have a proper shower & wash my hair. Despite this being VERY hard work, I made myself do this every be honest it was all I did for several weeks, other than watch TV & be on my laptop.

You may well be assessed by Occupational Health in hospital- I was. They worked out what obstacles I'd face at home & helped find solutions or mobility aids to make things easier. If they don't offer this, make sure you ask. You potentially face being stuck at home for a while so you need that time to be as manageable as possible.

I think you'll find the surgery bit is the easy part, so try not to get too stressed about it. I really hope everything goes well for you. Make sure you check in here regularly for moral support & with your progress reports.

Will be thinking of you tomorrow.

Spidermama Tue 22-Oct-13 16:49:19

The nearest toilet is in fact a shower room. It's a tiny room with a stand up shower and a lavatory basically so not much use. The bath is on the top floor up two flights. Our house is lots of stairs but not much ground space. It could barely be worse actually!

By the way all of you -- thanks so much for sharing your stories. I'm inspired by you all and I'm already benefiting from your practical advice. This thread is a massive support to me and I'm really very grateful. xx

BasketzatDawn Tue 22-Oct-13 16:52:37

Do take your favourite shampoo etc in with you. They will probably want you showered before the op, if poss, and wards esp in orthopaedic units have those little shower chairs and accessible showers, so somebody can wheech you in and out the shower with maximum ease. Getting your hair washed at the same time not a problem and will no doubt boost you a bit. Hope it all goes well.

NorbertDentressangle Tue 22-Oct-13 17:58:43

Just popped back to wish you all the best for tomorrow. Hope it all goes well Spidermama.

A tip for hospital - take some nice food treats in as I found that the food was dire (vegetable crumble made with a SWEET crumble topping anyone?!) and you need to keep your strength up. Eating is something you can still enjoy even when laid up post-op so make the most of it. When I was in DP brought a couple of hot meals in for me straight from the oven at home!

Also take reading material that's not too taxing, something like magazines or short stories that you can dip in and out of as it can be difficult to focus and concentrate with everything going on around you. Or maybe crosswords or word/number puzzles that can distract you and help pass the time but that don't need total focus.

Spidermama Tue 22-Oct-13 19:55:17

Thanks Norbert. Sweet veggie crumble? (Gag)

Spidermama Tue 22-Oct-13 19:56:42

Thanks basketz. Lush shampoo and conditioner packed. I think I'm psyched up and ready to go.

tolittletoolate Tue 22-Oct-13 22:28:04

I fractured my tibial plateau in 2005 and it was plated and pinned and I had to have a bone graft because I compressed the tibia by 2 cm. The scar on my pelvis from that hurts the most!

I was in hospital for a week (Royal Sussex County) and in plaster from ankle to hip for 6 weeks then I had a hinged cast for another 2 weeks. I walked out of hospital on my own even though I was told to use my crutches for a while longer and 2 months after that I was back riding my horse smile

Spidermama Wed 23-Oct-13 04:39:24

Toolittle that's the same injury as mine and the same hospital good to hear your healing was so quick. I'm guessing you're younger than me (I'm 47).
My surgeon says he hopes he can graft the bone with jarred boney bits but admits he won't know til he's opened me up wether he'll need to take bone from my pelvis.
Did you have much physio?
Do you still have the plate in?
How's the knee now?

I'm all packed up and ready to go in this morning.

Listmaker Wed 23-Oct-13 08:48:35

Good luck for the operation Spidermama. Hope it goes/went well.

I haven't managed the shower at all even though we have one on the ground floor. It had a big step up into it and we tried with a stool in there and me sitting back onto it but I couldn't manoeuvre myself in so gave up - it would have involved a lot of help from DH and he was stressing and busy enough so I preferred something I could manage myself. I am desperate for a shower now though and reckon I can manage it now but again I need help and some of DH's time and it always seems too much to ask somehow......

I think heel bones breaks are a really bad one as it's so long before you can put weight onto it etc. Also I am 49, very overweight and unfit which hasn't helped (hospital food is a good diet though - reckon I've lost at least a stone since this began! I wouldn't let anyone bring me any food other than fruit so I could try and lose some weight!). So I'm sure you won't be incapacitated as long as I've been.

After the operation and before you're discharged make sure you speak to the ward Occupational Therapist - they will talk to you about your home and what you need to manage etc. They gave me all my kit apart from the wheelchair.

Let us know how you get on

tolittletoolate Wed 23-Oct-13 09:04:58

Yes the plate is still in, I'm assuming it's staying there for ever!
I had a bit of physio but my recovery was very good, the only real problem after the break was that my knee wouldn't straighten but my physio gave me exercises for that.
I have had to have another operation to take the cartilage out of the knee but I'm unsure if it is connected to the break or not. As far as the initial injury is concerned I have no trouble with it, although I do still have a bit of a limp.
It's quite a serious bone to break!

Hope all goes well xxx

Spidermama Thu 24-Oct-13 17:44:10

Well I had the op yesterday. It was horrendous for the two and a half hours after I woke up. They gave me 'enough to knock out a horse' including ketamine but I was still in really bad pain for ages.

I was 'out of it' all night on drugs and didnt even have the jaw strength to eat a biscuit.

Then medic I hadn't seem before told me this morning 'you should get home today' and I was horrified.

I had a bit of a meltdown at lunchtime with flashbacks from the aftermath of the op. I told them I'm not ready to go home and they agreed thank God. (I heard them yesterday talking about a bed crisis).

The cast is off and I have a hinged brace. I've been bending my knee slightly and have now managed a few steps on crutches.

The pain is bad but I don't like the morphine much as it makes me feel sick and woozy.

Ill probably be going home tomorrow evening. Dh has borrowed a commode and a wheelchair. The real recovery starts here I reckon.


Glad it's all over but sorry to hear you are having a rough time with the drugs.

No plaster cast is great news though as I'm sure it will speed up your recovery as your muscles shouldn't waste as much as they do in a cast.

Take it easy for the next 24 hours and if you really don't feel well enough to be discharged, dig your heels in. Having said, weekends in hospitals are pretty grim so home might be the best option if you can manage it.

Push to see the occupational therapist too before you go, even if it's just for hints & tips on how to manage.

Sending you healing vibes & best wishes for a non-eventful & speedy recovery.

Listmaker Thu 24-Oct-13 19:29:43

Sorry it's been so painful Spider. I had my opinion on the Tuesday but didn't come out til the Friday so don't let them kick you out too soon!

Hope the pain subsides a bit. You're on the road to recovery now!

mawbroon Thu 24-Oct-13 19:40:43

Urgh, I remember the post surgery pain, it was by far the worst pain I had ever experienced sad

BUT it only lasted 4 or 5 days and then disappeared. I hope the same happens for you hugs

mawbroon Thu 24-Oct-13 19:41:24

Ooops, sorry that wasn't supposed to be a link to nowhere!

NorbertDentressangle Thu 24-Oct-13 20:33:18

Glad the op is over. Good on you for standing your ground and refusing to get turfed out. Make sure that when they discharge you that:
-you have enough painkillers
-that you've seen the physio and OT (and have follow-up appts. with them if necessary)
-that you know who to contact in case of any concerns or problems
-that you know when you need to see the consultant again

I think the hinged brace sounds like a massive improvement on a full-leg cast . It should make life a bit easier especially if, further down the line, you can remove it briefly for showers etc.

Take it easy and here's to a speedy recovery!

tolittletoolate Thu 24-Oct-13 22:06:37

I was in hospital for a week after my op, I wasn't allowed home until the physio's had taught me how to go up and down stairs safely with my crutches. I was totally non weight bearing on my leg, apparently it would have broken again with just the slightest weight on it.
I Hope the rest of your recovery is good, don't forget to take your painkillers! xx

Spidermama Fri 25-Oct-13 09:53:42

They're turfing me out today. I asked if I could wait til evening when my husband could pick me up and be at home for me but they're insisting in getting me transport home to a potentially empty house this afternoon.

Honestly I'm in worse pain than ever but they're making me feel like a malingerer.

I can feel the screws in my bones. Could you feel the screws?

tolittletoolate Fri 25-Oct-13 10:15:19

omg you poor thing, yes I could and still can feel the screws in my leg.

I can't believe they are being so bloody uncaring, although being in hospital over the weekend is not nice at all so maybe it's better to be at home.
What painkillers are you on?

tolittletoolate Fri 25-Oct-13 10:16:44

I used to live near Brighton but have moved to Buckinghamshire recently, what a shame I could have come and visited you.
Will you have any help from friends and family?

Spidermama Fri 25-Oct-13 10:30:06

I'm not on enough painkillers I reckon. Paracetamol and another thing that's 'like morphine but not as strong'. Nothing overnight so I lie awake in pain.

I feel like the screw in my knee is moving the knee cap when I bend and straighten my knee. Ill mention it to the physio.

There are certainly people worse off than me in this bay but I still feel pretty wretched.

mawbroon Fri 25-Oct-13 10:35:34

Yes, I was always aware of the metalwork until I had it removed about 9 months later.

Can you ask for more pain relief? I can't remember what they gave me, but I do remember loving the Tramadol! I think others in the ward were getting more pain relief than me, but I was pregnant so I guess there were some meds that I couldn't have.

But I did have to laugh when they sent me home from A&E with paracetemol. Fucks sake, like farting against thunder.

Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Fri 25-Oct-13 10:36:50

Oh god you poor poor thing.

I am sitting in bed at the moment with a broken ankle, which after ten x-rays, they decided not to pin, which I so so relieved about.

My advice, is take it slow, all of you. I live in a ridiculous Georgian townhouse over six floors and I cannot really go down to the kitchen more than once or twice a day so my poor DH brings me breakfast and then I slide down three flights of stairs (14' ceilings, damn you) on my bum and make a sort of lunch for my 3 year old.
Then, I drag myself back upstairs to rest my leg and put DVDs on for my little one.
At tea time this is all repeated except for a 5 year old as well.

It is do -able but the house is a tip, I just ignore it.
DH focusses his energy on making sure everyone is fed (lots of instant type meals from Ocado) and in clean clothes and sheets. The rest doesn't matter.

Tips - Limbo cast covers are amazing
- do everything that you can on the internet so you feel useful, I do the Ocado shop, buy all christmas and upcoming birthday presents
- find a project such as writing the christmas cards, that will keep you busy, I have knitted gloves, hats and scarves for everyone. It turns out that there really is so much tv you can watch without going mad
- you will feel pretty knackered for a bit, your body is in shock, just go with it, your body heals in its sleep.
- Take ALL help that is offered, I have had to do a rota for my friends for school pick ups, people are amazingly kind and helpful and I will buy them all lovely presents when I am better.
- Put some keys either on a string for you to throw out to delivery men etc or in a secret place by the door which you can tell people. People always seem to ring the bell when you are on a different floor.

I really hope that you will feel better soon, I'm sure you will. I was discharged with three hours, which was AWFUL but as soon as I was home and in bed it was all ok. My cast is off next week and I am feeling cautiously positive.

mousmous Fri 25-Oct-13 10:43:40

my fil had this over the summer. he fell off a chair when changing a lightbulb...
shatterd tibia.
first thing the suregon said to us was that the fracture was really bad, he might never walk again. shock

had op and was non-weight bearing for 12 weeks, but is now doing intensive physio (different country) in a specialised institution. swimming, weights... he has never been as fit as now!

I wish you a good recovery, this is a shit bone to break and recovery will be slow. but you will get there!
btw my fil got on well with a mix of paracetamol and highdose ibuprofen.

1leggedwobbler Fri 25-Oct-13 10:47:06

I am sat here in plaster with a broken fibula that I had to have surgery on. You have my every sympathy.

Before they turf you out of hospital beg them for some tramadol & diclofenac painkillers to take home with you. Diclofenac is also an anti immflamatory (sp?) and tramadol certainly helped to knock me out at night post surgery.

When you get home stay in bed & before your DH goes out to work get him to make a sandwich for your lunch & bring it up to you plus a thermos of tea.

Please do pm me if you want any other tips or you just want to rant at someone who will understand.

Spidermama Fri 25-Oct-13 10:49:50

Wow Oranges you really have got it tough. Some great tips there clearly born out of necessity!
Good luck when the cast comes off. They say its best to work on regaining mobility as soon as possible. I'm doing this but having to coincide it with pain relief.

Ten X-rays sounds rather excessive btw.

I think the difficulty for me us I don't know whether I'm supposed to be in this much pain or whether something has gone wrong.

Spidermama Fri 25-Oct-13 11:27:16

Gosh oneleggedwobbler there are so many of us! I think as regards pain killers I go home with my fate is already sealed as only the doc can change it and he didn't even meet my eye in his fleeting visit this morning despite me saying I need more pain relief. I'll give it a try though.

They're now not going to transport me home but putting me in the discharge lounge until dh can get me around 8 tonight.

Thanks for sandwich and thermos tips. Good thinking.

Spidermama Fri 25-Oct-13 11:28:43

Mousmous that's an inspiring tale! I'm determined to do the best physio I can. It sounds like it can make or break you.

Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Fri 25-Oct-13 11:46:51

I know exactly what you mean about being in pain but not sure if it is OK.
My toes went black one day for no apparent reason, I freaked out, my mum freaked out but after extensive googling we found out it is fairly normal, just means I've had my leg down too much.
Also, I've had wrote a lot of pain at night, I think it is because I'm turning over in my sleep instead of lying flat and the pain wakes me up but it doesn't stop you worrying that all is not well at 3am. there quite a good forum called mybrokenleg. com which has been useful, although there are plenty of worse case scenarios on there so sometimes I'm not sure if it is that healthy to look at it!

1leggedwobbler Fri 25-Oct-13 12:35:11

Spidermama, I also found cocodamol good painkillers. they have paracetamol in though so you can only take them with ibruprofen. cocodamol can bung you up, not good news if sitting on the loo trying to keep one foot off the floor is painful!

I slept quite a lot for the 1st week I was home, due to a combination of surgery, painkillers & the fact I had been up at 5am for work for the previous 6 months.

I also recommend the limbo cover, it's great. How I have managed to have a shower is by putting an old plastic step in the bath & then sliding my bum from the toilet seat lid over the side of the bath onto the step, putting weight on good leg & keeping bad leg in air with Limbo on then resting it in the bottom of the bath. It isnt very elegant & my DH had to help me the first few times until I was confident I could do it on my own.

You might also have to send someone out shopping for you, I had to get new strectchy pjs and tracksuit bottoms because none of my trousers would fit over my cast! My normal trousers are a size 12 but only a M&S size 16 would go over the cast sad

hope you have a good journey home

1leggedwobbler Fri 25-Oct-13 12:38:46

Oranges - another one of us who has broken something! What did you do to your ankle? I completely dislocated mine & spectacularly broke the fibular which they put back together with metal plate & screws. I did it 5 weeks ago. I had a surgical cast for 2 weeks & I've now got a normal cast which comes off next thursday to be replaced by another cast for either 2 or 4 weeks, it all depends on the x-rays.

I'll have a look at the forum you suggested

1leggedwobbler Fri 25-Oct-13 12:47:21

One more tip, if the crutches make your hands hurt get some grey foam pipe lagging & tape it round the handles. Use micropore tape not gaffer tape otherwise the glue slides out and makes your hands revoltingly sticky!

mawbroon Fri 25-Oct-13 12:53:17

YY to Limbo

Spidermama Fri 25-Oct-13 13:10:56

Doh! Too late. Dh has done it by cutting up camping mattresses and securing with gaffer.

VirgoGrr Fri 25-Oct-13 13:12:27

I haven't RTFT as rushing, but just wanted to offer you a very gentle unmumsnet hug and tell you that it will get better eventually and it is possible to get back to something like normal. I get on fine now and don't have any residual pain. Like someone else said, I just have some balance issue now and then and stairs are not my favourite thing.

I had a severe tibial plateau fracture in April 2012. Had an artificial bone graft and internal fixation with a plate down the outside of my knee and shin and six screws through the tibia. On crutches, partially weight bearing, gradually increased over 6 months. Have been about back to something like normality since early this year. I never had a cast, once the plate was in, they splinted the leg and then I had a full leg brace for months with gradual increase in bending the knee. Physio is vital, try not to lose thigh muscle if you can avoid it - mine is still not the same as the other leg. Have whatever they offer - as many x-rays, MRI, whatever is needed to get the best outcome. My surgeon was a Mr Desai, he practices privately in the midlands, I understand, but I had my op on the NHS at Kings Mill Mansfield. The surgery was successful, he didn't take the graft from my hip as originally proposed and the scar is fine. It's quite neat but I just tell people it was a shark bite/fighting pirates/from the Falklands.

Some things you can get back to pretty quickly but don't rush it if you don't have to. I was at work two weeks after op, with an elevated foot but probably shouldn't have been. I was only back that quickly as I wasn't getting sick pay. I drove again in the June. Was fantastic to get freedom back. I will read the thread later and be back.

Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Fri 25-Oct-13 14:34:34

1legged - you sound much worse off than me. I just slipped over one Sunday morning while walking the dog! total nightmare. Anyway, I dislocated my ankle and snapped the tib. They weren't sure about pinning it so I had it manually reset in hospital (hurt like hell) and lots of x rays. Then had to go back a week later to have more x rays and check it didn't need pinning and then have it manually reset again ( oweeee). I had to go back after that to check it was healing right, so more x rays but thankfully no reset. The cast will be coming off next week but I think I got off lightly, if I had torn the stabilising ligaments rather than pulling them it would have def been pinned. So close, but OK thank goodness!
Anyway start physio next week so hopefully should start to be more mobile then.
who knew walking the dog was such a dangerous activity?
How about you?

Spidermama Fri 25-Oct-13 17:41:28

Thanks Virgo. Your injury and op sound very similar to mine. Bloody painful isn't it? Your story is inspiring though.

Spidermama Fri 25-Oct-13 17:45:23

I'm not sure how its possible to not lose thigh muscle on the affected leg because exercising it won't be possible until its weight bearing again.
I'm already bending my knee around 30 or 40 degrees. It doesn't hurt at the time but throbs for 20 mins after.

NorbertDentressangle Fri 25-Oct-13 18:13:55

Wow its great that you can move it already - that will really help in the long run! Has the physio given you exercises to do?

I had to keep mine straight for weeks and then gradually start bending it by setting and increasing the maximum angle on the leg brace. As you can imagine after weeks of not bending it, it becomes very stiff and difficult to move.

Also, I recommend cycling gloves for using with crutches of your hands are sore (fingerless gloves with gel pads on the palms!)

mousmous Fri 25-Oct-13 18:50:51

wrt to thigh muscle.
my fil was given deep tissue massages from about 2 weeks after the op and passive physio (= them gently moving the joint).

Spidermama Fri 25-Oct-13 18:53:40

I think the new thing is to avoid casts and get mobility back as soon as possible.
I like the idea of cycling gloves. I'm looking forward to an increase in upper body strength as a result to this. Hopefully I can kiss goodbye to the ol' bingo wings.

Spidermama Fri 25-Oct-13 18:59:02

Ooh mousmous I like the sound of PASSIVE physio.

scurryfunge Fri 25-Oct-13 19:20:09

Hello Spidermama. Hope you are feeling a bit better.
Agree that rucksack and flask is a good idea. With regards to bathing, I put a plank across the bath so my leg could stay out of the water. I was in a half leg plaster though and could bend my leg, so not sure if that would suit you.
It does take a long time to recover but you need to be patient and accept help from everyone.
The worst part for me was disturbed sleep through the pain and not being able to get comfortable easily in bed. It does get better though. Hope everyone is looking after you. Take care.

VirgoGrr Fri 25-Oct-13 23:23:47

Are you home yet Spidermama? Hope you are in your own bed by now. I do remember that the trip home was very difficult, felt every single pebble in the road. Have you had fixation on the femur fracture as well as the tibia? Mending one break takes a lot out of you, quite exhausting - I imagine two is going to need to bit of resting up.

You will indeed banish the bingo wings - crutches are exhausting to begin with, but once you get your stamina up, you'll get about much more easily. If you go onto partial weight bearing, its a lot easier once you can put the foot on the floor at least, just to give yourself a bit better balance.

Re: showering, its much easier without a cast - get in the shower with a seat and take the brace off once you're sitting down. I assure you that even though it feels like your leg is going to fall off without the brace, it's going nowhere and you'll be fine. It's most undignified being helped in and out like a pensioner, but it won't be forever. I did just do strip washing for a few days and went to the hairdresser across the road a couple of times to get my hair washed, but once I got the hang of showering, there was no need.

What you said about your kneecap feeling pushed out - it's the swelling. It will take a loooong time for the swelling to start going down. Remember there's a foreign object in there and your body has to get used to it. Don't worry about anything being in the wrong place, it'll be fine, they will have checked, double checked and x-rayed from several angles to make sure it was all fine while you were knocked out. You will feel better about this when you go back for your first check up and to have the staples out. They will show you your new knee on x-ray if you ask and I found it made me feel more confident about its 'integrity' iykwim.

BTW, If you need a recommendation in the next week for morphine induced constipation - it's glycerine suppositories, I'm afraid. Whoever invented those should have been awarded a Nobel Prize.

VirgoGrr Fri 25-Oct-13 23:33:24

Also, re: thigh muscle - your physio should be also recommending exercise straight away to straighten the leg as well as bending - the break will have damaged ligaments and you will probably have found that it was more comfortable to have the knee bent with a pillow behind before you went for your op and also now the op is done?

It's important not to let the ligaments mend like this or when it's mended you will find it difficult to push your knee back to 'lock' when you're standing and it will be unstable. You need to practice pushing the knee down gently while you're sitting or letting the weight of your leg straighten the kneed and you can do extended leg lifts in that position to exercise your thigh muscle.

Do what your physio recommends anyway, but I do recommend seeing a private physio for maybe once a fortnight if you don't mind the ££. Worth it imo.

VirgoGrr Fri 25-Oct-13 23:52:03

flowers to any of you still recovering.
Psst, I've put up a couple of photos. Anyone else fancy comparing x-rays?

Spidermama Sat 26-Oct-13 07:57:57

I'm home and massively grateful for the commode in my room and the rails dh has put up. I'm glad he's taking the 'in sickness and in health' bit seriously. wink

My leg was set straight in a cast for a week and I was desperate to bend it. I can now bend it a little but I have to prepare for about 20 minutes of pain afterwards. Manageable though with the drugs,

I'm a bit worried about a swelling which has made a kind of strap around my heel. It's quite pronounced. Did you have weird areas if swelling?

As for x-rays I'd love to see some. Mine are singularly unimpressive because the depression is right in the middle of the plateau. It was the ct scan which revealed it in all its glory.

The physio has given me vet little so I reckon I will have to get some private sessions. By all accounts its the most important part of recovery.

Spidermama Sat 26-Oct-13 08:07:32

Thanks for reminding me about glycerine suppositories. They were my saviours after four births and I shall call upon them again. I haven't 'been' since Monday. shock

NorbertDentressangle Sat 26-Oct-13 08:41:09

Glad you're home and in the comfort of your own bed - at least this enables you to stand a chance of getting some sleep, some lovely food as and when you need it, easy internet/TV access, some peace and quiet (although that depends on your family I guess wink) and company when you want it, not only during visiting hours!

Something else I've just remembered - be prepared for horrendous bruising! After my op all down the back of my leg was the biggest, darkest bruise I have ever seen. Watching it change colour as it faded was quite strangely fascinating (although the fascination may have been to do with the drugs I was on grin)

Marlowmarlowmarlow Sat 26-Oct-13 09:26:25

I had double knee surgery last year, different operation to you as I had a lateral release but both knees done on the same day.

I am impressed that you are in your room, I spent 4 or 5 nights on the sofa but then it was slightly different as I didn't have a 'good leg' to stand on literally so stairs were an absolute nightmare for the first few weeks.

My main tips are to remember that recovery from knee surgery is never linear, there are often days when you feel that you're further back than the day before. You're not really but don't be too despondent if it isn't a continual straight level of recovery.

Secondly do the Physio religiously. I set my alarm five times a day for the Physio I was meant to do. I got virtually nothing from the hospital Physio but was lucky to have private Physio cover so saw her every week for the first couple of months then less often up until about a year post op. Physio really is the key to your recovery and gaining back full mobility and use. That said remember not to overdo it, you can push yourself too far. Always take painkillers before seeing the Physio!!

I was 8 weeks on crutches and not driving in the end, DH was brilliant but my mum was my saviour. She came and stayed Monday to Friday for the first month or so when DH was at work. She helped with the house, sorted the kids and took them to school and very importantly took me out, which made a massive difference.

I had various complications in one knee including an infection and a burst haematoma a couple of weeks in. The first time I was left alone for a couple of hours I felt my sock was wet then looked down and my knee was literally pouring blood out of the bandages!! A bit of a shock but soon sorted at the hospital. I was of course very rare in that I had two knees to compare, other of which seemed to be at the opposite ends of the recovery spectrum!

Take all the painkillers you can get. I had codeine to start then tramadol for the next few weeks in addition to ibuprofen.

Nearly lastly there is a website called kneegeeks which has lots of post op diaries which are worth a read. Remember though that people still posting on there after a year or two are those with problems, the good cases have gone on and got on with their life.

Finally take care. My day 4-5 post-op were the worst days for me. Treat yourself gently, you've been through a lot.

Spidermama Sat 26-Oct-13 10:24:30

Thanks Marlowe and Norbert.

Wow Marlowe, 2 knees?!? shock
Sounds like your mum did you proud. I'm hoping mine will come and help out for a bit but she's in her 70s and those sudoku's won't do themselves.

I've just watched two episodes of The Waltons back to back. Fantastic!

Matildathecat Sat 26-Oct-13 12:19:55

Fluid tends to settle wherever gravity takes it, hence the ankle swelling due to reduced circulation. Elevate your leg whenever possible and if you can, move your ankle and wiggle your toes. Similar to exercises you do when flying.

You sound as if you are doing fantastically well. Just don't over do the physio, start very gentle but often the build up. It's a marathon, not a sprint!

Btw, re bathroom issues, lactulose does it for me plus senna if nothing happening!

Marlowmarlowmarlow Sat 26-Oct-13 15:27:08

Yes I found a real low was when I watched a whole afternoon of Katie Price 'documentary' back to back grin.

Spidermama Sat 26-Oct-13 18:00:46

I should probably do something amazing like learn to speak Italian. Just now though I'm concentrating on opening my bowels. 2 glycerine suppositories have failed. sad

Matildathecat Sat 26-Oct-13 19:05:14

Try the lactulose (softens) and senna( stimulates the bowel). Lots of fluids. You will go. Don't go mad, you don't want diarrhoea and cramps.

Box set of MadMen. Hours and hours of pleasure.

Spidermama Sat 26-Oct-13 19:06:19

Ok thanks Mathilda.

NorbertDentressangle Sat 26-Oct-13 19:32:56

Failing that try starting the day with a strong coffee and a fag wink grin

tolittletoolate Sat 26-Oct-13 19:41:26

I was stuck at home with a 2 yr old when I broke my knee. She had a paddy every time I turned over from cbeebiessad

dietstartstmoz Sat 26-Oct-13 19:50:26

spidermama - I had such awful constipation after an op earlier this yr, not knee though. I ended up with an emergency appt to the GP as I was crying in pain with constipation. The Dr prescribed me Micralax suppositories as nothing else worked, and they were bloody marvellous. If it doesnt get better then call your GP out-don't leave it until Monday, it's horrible to suffer especially when you are in pain anyway. You poor thing, I really feel for you.

ExitPursuedByABogieMan Sat 26-Oct-13 19:51:51

Marking my place to share tips tomorrow.

mawbroon Sat 26-Oct-13 19:54:50

Yes toolittle, ds1 was 4yo when I broke my ankle, I also watched rather a lot of cbeebies....

Spidermama Sat 26-Oct-13 20:24:14

A bit torturous to have to endure Ceebeebies. Mine are old enough now so I don't have to watch them.

Dietstartz that sounds really upsetting. It's bad enough having the surgery pain but to be terriy constipated as well!!

I think they should give laxatives in hosp as a matter of course when people have had lots of opiates. I was even wondering about colonic irrigation if I haven't 'been' by Monday .
God help the clinician who has to do me though. blush

tolittletoolate Sat 26-Oct-13 20:59:39

They wouldn't let me go home until I'd moved my bowels, I lied and said I had just to get out of there.
I did wee all over an old lady's slippers while sitting on a commode in there that was funny grin

Spidermama Sun 27-Oct-13 01:46:42


They were only too keen to turf me out as soon as the surgery was done.,

VirgoGrr Sun 27-Oct-13 02:17:06

Quite frankly Norbert encouraging the OP to smoke, whether she does usually or not is a bit thick. At this stage of recovery, I'd just been discharged after having 10 days of abdominal injections to prevent DVT, so 'having a fag' is not the best advice.

VirgoGrr Sun 27-Oct-13 02:30:20

Keep on with the suppositories. After a few goes, you should have cleared the blockage, as it were. I found after a week or so that I wasn't drinking enough because of minimising trips to the loo and that was also making me dehydrated. It doesn't help with the constipation in the long run. Better to drink more and do more loo trips but less constipation.

Spidermama Sun 27-Oct-13 04:18:14

Maybe the fag isn't such a great idea but I thought I might have a coffee in the morning to see if that gets me moving. I'm a former coffee addict but I've used my time since the accident weaning myself off it. Then I read caffeine inhibits the absorption of calcium.
Nevertheless getting this out is my top priority at the moment so I reckon I'll have one.

Yesterday I developed very painful back spasms. They've become really bad pain in my back (which is why I'm up in the night). Not sure if its related to lack of bowel movement but its certainly an unwelcome development and hurts even more than the knee.hmm

VestaCurry Sun 27-Oct-13 04:46:51

Dulcolax tablets were fab for my constipation due to opiates. I had oramorph and also fentanyl lozenges (woohoo they are fabulous painkillers). The dulcolax can be bought over the counter or prescribed. Nothing else worked for me.
Wishing you a speedy recovery.

ancientbuchanan Sun 27-Oct-13 05:04:47

Poor you. Not read all the thread, sorry, but feel got you

Two years ago I slipped and did a ski jumpers break not skiing, quite rare. plate plus loads of pins. I also severely bruised the coccyx and damaged the sciatic nerves. Your back may be a result if bruising, of what they had to do while setting the femur and the knee.

I was immobilised for ten weeks, told not to move leg at all. Lay on bed not moving. Foot had to be heart high to avoid swelling. Was downstairs as have down stairs loo. Back to work but mainly from home thereafter. It was when I discovered MN.

Do take the painkillers. Do the exercises you have been prescribed but don't overdo. Work from on line. Use neighbours ruthlessly. Don't know how old your children are, but this is s wonderful opportunity to see more of them and house train them. Ds, 13, took over the catering completely. they can learn to peel potatoes with you, etc and learn to use the washing machine..

I learned eventually to wash my hair in the sink with zimmer at hand.

I became the centre where everyone gravitated. Think " what Katy did".

We also bought a slow cooker. If I was getting up I used the time to throw things in and then Ds didn't have to do it.

Lots of fluids.

NorbertDentressangle Sun 27-Oct-13 09:34:53

VirgoGrr - erm, it was a joke (hence the wink and smile afterwards).

I've been in a similar place to Spidermama having had major knee surgery years ago and I know how grim it can feel at times, I just hoped it would make her smile.

I've chatted earlier on this thread and offered genuine advice and tips, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have taken this particular suggestion as a serious one.

NorbertDentressangle Sun 27-Oct-13 09:40:58

Spidermama, the back spasms may be due to your position when you're sitting and lying down, especially if you're not used to a sedentary lifestyle. You're probably a bit tense too due to the pain and holding your leg in certain positions.

Have you found a comfortable position to sleep in? I found it helped to be surrounded with pillows in various places - behind my knees, in between my knees etc to take the pressure off my back.

SoupDragon Sun 27-Oct-13 09:48:07

OMG - you poor thing. Absolutely nothing helpful to add but wishing you a speedy recovery!

Spidermama Sun 27-Oct-13 10:07:04

The eagle has landed. blush grin

Good old coffee. Thanks for that Norbert.

I think the back pain was related to the fact that I had 7 days of hospital food and pills backing up inside me cos its eased.

NorbertDentressangle Sun 27-Oct-13 10:09:53

Congratulations grin

(congratulating a 'stranger' on having a poo isn't something I do every day grin)

Spidermama Sun 27-Oct-13 13:00:24

Indeed Norbert. And outside Mumsnet not a soul knows about my retention issues this week. (Apart from Dh and my mum).

I love you Mumsnet. (Very unmumsnetty emoting I know but I am from Brighton after all).

Ireallymustbemad Sun 27-Oct-13 16:36:15

What a relief Spider grin.

ExitPursuedByABogieMan Sun 27-Oct-13 17:51:39

Only just catching up. Black Forest tea from South Africa is your friend in bunged up situations.

Spidermama Sun 27-Oct-13 23:10:42

No need ExitPursued. (Brushes hands with satisfaction)

ancientbuchanan Sun 27-Oct-13 23:42:40

Spider, if pain gets worse try a tens machine. Although it did nothing for me in labour, I found using it at the highest level and all night ( despite what you are supposed to do) helped, esp when I came off morphine in this accident. I also tuned my radio so that the night watches were easier to put up with.

I obv don't recommend the following, but I found a small glass of red wine went well with morphine and diminished the awful hives. I wouldn't have tried spirits, but a glass of decent wine worked wonders.

Spidermama Mon 28-Oct-13 06:42:46

Thanks ancientbuchanan. God idea about the tens machine. I used gabapentin (reluctantly) and a hot water bottle and managed a good nights sleep. Long overdue.

I'm dealing with knock on pain from posture issues (being so still for so long) and various strains from using crutches.

Still it's early days.

Ireallymustbemad Wed 30-Oct-13 14:14:51

How are you doing spidermama?

Spidermama Wed 30-Oct-13 15:10:42

Good days and bad. I had a great couple of days, made it downstairs, felt like part of the family again. But then it was suddenly much worse and more swollen the next day even though I hadn't really done anything differently. I just did my normal very light physio and hobbling to and from the loo.

I'm looking forward to seeing someone at the hospital again and waiting for my clinic appointment to come through. They said ten days after discharge so that would be early next week.

I'm very up and down. I'm mostly off the serious painkillers now and on paracetamol and ibuprofen so I think that's a step forward. I've had aches and pains in other areas because of posture, sitting around all day, and using crutches.

I certainly don't recommend it but it is what it is and there are definitely emerging benefits. I've lost lots of weight, the kids are learning just how much housework I do and I'm getting to watch telly and read a lot. Not to be sniffed at! smile

ancientbuchanan Wed 30-Oct-13 20:35:42

I decided to treat it positive

ancientbuchanan Wed 30-Oct-13 20:38:31

Ffing phone

Positively too. I was able to be there for my family in a way that working full time I have never been before. I finished knitting a disastrous jersey for Ds and it had to be rescued by someone who has become a friend. I got lots of things done that we couldn't DIY and had been waiting for years.

And, I discovered MN.

Ireallymustbemad Thu 31-Oct-13 15:02:14

Glad you're doing ok. As I said earlier it's never a linear recovery, there are many ups and downs. Don't feel afraid to take the painkillers though if you feel they may help.

Sadly my kids didn't realise quite how much I do as my mum came and stayed and did it instead of me!

Ireallymustbemad Thu 31-Oct-13 15:03:12

Just realised I nc'd between some of those posts!

JellyBelly10 Thu 31-Oct-13 15:11:28

Hi Spidermama, really sorry to hear about your knee, I haven't had the same surgery as you but have had knee surgery twice and know how dreadful knee problems are and how utterly debilitating long-term knee surgery recovery is. I haven't read through all the posts so someone may already have linked to this site, but there is a site called KneeGuru which is run by a British knee surgeon and as well as having lots of useful info re knees in general there is a very active forum of people experiencing knee problems and knee surgery sharing their experiences and asking questions etc. I found it really useful and learned more about knees than anyone could possibly ever need to know!! There are lots of specific forums to look at depending on your knee problem so I have tried to link to a section called Bone breaks around the knee which would include your injury/surgery. You may find out something useful about recovery/rehabilitation etc from someone going through exactly the same thing. Good luck with your recovery. KneeGuru

1leggedwobbler Thu 31-Oct-13 18:13:26

Hi Spidermama, I hope your knee is having a good day today.

I just wanted to hopefully cheer you up a bit. 6 weeks ago I was unable to even go to the toilet my ankle was so bad post surgery. Today I had my cast taken off, it has healed better & quicker than was expected. I now have a black space boot for 7 weeks.

The change in the last 6 weeks has been immense, I was even unfortunate enough to be mobile enough to take the kids to soft play this afternoon ;)

Hang in there, it will get better & things will get so much easier.

NorbertDentressangle Fri 01-Nov-13 08:43:12

Hope the good days are out weighing the bad days Spidermama and hope your bowels are fully functioning now.

Have you managed to get out at all? I remember being desperate just to see something other than my house. So desperate in fact that I made DP take me to an out of town garden centre (I figured that it was a nice genteel place to go, with nobody hurtling around madly, just lovely folks pottering around looking at plants ! I felt 'safe' there in my post-op state IYSWIM).

ConfusedDotty Fri 01-Nov-13 09:37:25

Hi Spider, glad to hear to you are on the mend. I am in pretty much the same position as yourself. I broke my femur and shattered my knee 1000s of mile away from home too. I was allowed to fly back home and had the surgery abroad, so I too have a leg full of titanium and what feels like half a ton of screws.

My accident was about 10 weeks ago now and the pain is minimal and the swelling has gone down considerably, although my knee will start to swell if I try to do too much. I am still not allowed to put any weight on that leg and the specialist had kindly given me some sort of Robocop leg brace.

I think you get bad days and good days, there was a week or so when I was so down and blamed myself for being silly enough to fall down some marble stairs, but soon realised (with the help of DP) that only time will sort it out.

I have gone back to work despite my doctor's wishes, but he did eventually sign me off the sick, I simply couldn't be in the house all day, it was making me worse, I am office based, so to me sat in front of a pc all day was hardly putting any further stress on my leg, I am doing fine at work and more importantly my mental health has improved.

I still can't do much around the house, I love to cook but have to take little breaks so I am not stood up too much. I won't be able to drive again for the best part of a year, that's a killer, having to rely on DP for lifts too and from work. Lack of excersie is the other biggy, I used to run a lot and lazing about and being sedentary really dosen't suit me, but there is absolutely nothing I can do about that one, it's even too soon to start physio yet!!

I still use my zimmer frame around the house and have fashioned little 'holsters' for it so I can carry the essentials, travel mug for coffee, phone etc. It funny how quickly we adapt to these things.

I will watch your thread with interest Spider, wishing you a full recovery.

ConfusedDotty Fri 01-Nov-13 09:38:00

sorry, meant to say that I wasn't allowed to fly back home.

Spidermama Fri 01-Nov-13 10:43:12

Thanks for the link Jellybelly. I'm ridiculously excited to have a new a. activity I can do in bed. I am getting bored and frustrated here.

We had a little Halloween gathering last night. DH and the kids put it all together and I just sat their in my ghost from the past outfit. It was interesting. I did get bored telling my tale and I was really exhausted after it, but it felt good seeing others. I love Halloween and we had a houseful of kids of all ages. That cheered me up, but I'm a bit flat today.

Reallymustbemad since you wrote about progress not being linear I've had it in my head as a mantra. Thanks. It's really helpful to know it's ok to have bad days and it's still recovery.

1leggedwobbler that's inspiring. I'm glad you're making progress and I hope you're rocking the black boot. wink

Norbert I haven't been out. We live on a hill which complicates things. However, a friend says she's bringing me her mum's mobility scooter to borrow because her mum never uses it and has offered apparently. If this happens it'll mean I can go on the dog walk. That would be so lovely.

ConfusedDotty I'm interested in the Robocop leg brace. I have one too but I'm not sure exactly what it does and whether I'd be allowed to use crutches without it at this stage. (I haven't dared yet). Mine has about a mile of velcro to contend with and is quite fiddly to get on and off, although I guess its better than a cast.
I'm really looking forward to the swelling going down as that's just scary.

I've finally got an appointment for a wound check and re-dress on Monday so I'll get to see the scar which is all a bit mysterious at the moment.

I'm surprised they told you it's too soon for physio as they had me doing some light exercises the day after the op. shock I still do knee bending (Robobrace is set at 60 degrees but I'm not there yet.) and heel flexing. They encouraged me to go further and bend it more. It was a bit scary as I thought I'd be in a cast while bones set. I guess they are confident their polyfiller and titanium have done the trick. I'm still non weight bearing for 6 weeks though and the thought of putting my foot down again is terrifying.

Anyway good sharing stories as ever. I'm off to follow Jellybean's link.

Spidermama Sun 03-Nov-13 05:24:29

It's still swollen and the entire lower leg still hurts a lot. Is that normal 9 days after the op?

ConfusedDotty Sun 03-Nov-13 09:51:22

My surgeon told me the swelling will take about 3 months to go down, he was right. I still get a lot of fluid around my knee if I am stood up for a while.

My pain seemed to go about 8 weeks after the op. I can still feel the broken bone, but no pain as such.

Take care.

Ireallymustbemad Sun 03-Nov-13 20:03:41

Yes swelling 9 days post OP is normal.

As for getting out, if you can get someone to drive you, you can use shopmobility schemes. The one near me will give you a temporary blue badge so you can park next to it then lend you a wheelchair or mobility scooter for a few hours. It was lovely to go out and have a coffee in the shopping centre although I was very conscious of the scooter so didn't feel entirely comfortable but that was in my head. It was free but donations encouraged.

Take care.

Spidermama Sun 03-Nov-13 23:01:19

I'll look into the shopmobility idea. Sounds good.

ConfusedDotty, how was it having to be operated on abroad? Where were you? I was in Thailand and keen to get back to my home and kids.

I'm glad you're pain free after ten weeks. I'm also interested in getting back to work (desk based) but can't imagine spending so much time WITHOUT having my leg up.

ConfusedDotty Tue 05-Nov-13 19:39:45

Spider, I was in the Middle East and the treatment was amazing, second to none. My leg wasn't stable enough to fly and I needed loads of blood transfusions, they were great though.

Just had a major set back yesterday though. My specialist told me there is no sign of healing, so I have to have a bigger operation with bone grafts in the new year. One step forward and all that. No sign of my boogying at the Xmas parties. hmm

Hope you recovery is doing better than mine.

Spidermama Wed 06-Nov-13 09:29:04

Gosh Dotty! I'm so sorry. That must be extremely demoralising. Why do you have to wait so long for another op?
I can recommend chair dancing over the Christmas period. Any kind of dancing - even just hand dancing - can lift the spirits.

ConfusedDotty Mon 11-Nov-13 12:10:59

Ha ha chair dancing sounds good to me

How are you recovering?

My fracture is showing no signs of healing at all, it's still quite a large open break despite being plated and screwed. They will wait two months more to see if there is any natural improvement, if not they will go down the bone graft route.

Driving/running and walking seen such a long way off.

NorbertDentressangle Thu 14-Nov-13 14:29:27

How are you doing Spidermama? Have you been finding things to do to keep boredom at bay?

Hope you're on top of the pain now.

Spidermama Tue 03-Dec-13 14:22:20

I've been lucky enough to have a fantastic physio therapist come to my house twice a week and she's made a massive difference to my recovery I'm sure. I still can't get physio on the NHS so she's private. Annoying but worth every penny. She's showed me how to reactivate muscles which had just switched off because I haven't been using them.

I can now bend my leg about 110 degrees and have full flexion so the consultant told me yesterday I can start partially weight bearing which I've been doing. I was euphoric when he told me that.

So I'm hobbling around the house practising. It's a long road ahead and for a while I got quite down feeling like I'd plateau'd but I can feel progress now so that's helping.

Norbert I'm still waiting for my trip to the garden centre.

Spidermama Tue 03-Dec-13 19:32:58

I've been partially weight bearing all day now and my whole leg really hurts. I guess that's normal.

I'm wondering if I'll wake up in renewed pain and have to go back on pain killers.

NorbertDentressangle Tue 03-Dec-13 21:06:35

Fantastic news that you're making such progress! The physio will have definitely helped. I can't believe that you can't see one on the NHS! Will that come later?

I seem to remember seeing one after my knee op, although that was many moons ago so there have no doubt been cut-backs since then. I know that when I broke my ankle a couple of years ago I had to ask to see one -they were just going to send me away when the plaster came off. No advice, no suggested exercises to build my leg back up, no follow-up appointment, no nothing hmm

Keep up the good work but don't overdo it !

(and get yourself to a garden centre soon wink)

Spidermama Mon 09-Dec-13 11:58:15

I've been partially weight bearing for 6 days now. My leg is sore and particularly my ankles. It's also very swollen. DS said my foot looks like a rubber glove which has been blown into. shock

DH says it's normal but as he's not a medic and has never broken any bones I'm after a second (MN) opinion.

Spidermama Mon 09-Dec-13 12:24:23

I've been partially weight bearing for 6 days now. My leg is sore and particularly my ankles. It's also very swollen. DS said my foot looks like a rubber glove which has been blown into. shock

DH says it's normal but as he's not a medic and has never broken any bones I'm after a second (MN) opinion.

ConfusedDotty Thu 12-Dec-13 08:48:22

Well done Spider. I am so jealous of your hobbling about. Hope you have a great Christmas.

Ireallymustbemad Fri 13-Dec-13 10:50:23

I may be a bit late to come in now but it is normal for the leg to be painful as you gradually increase what you are doing with it. The first few days of doing anything extra will be sore but will gradually ease off. More painkillers for those days when required.

I was also told it's normal for other joints to hurt as you tend to overuse them whilst compensating for the knee and trying not to put too much pressure on it.

Good luck with the rest of your recovery.

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