February 22-28, 2016


Back to school, back to normal. I have also realised that trying to update the blog daily is too much! I’ve really enjoyed keeping family and (1 or 2) friends updated on our lives but somedays are not terribly interesting so I seem to be sharing more photos and far less words. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! But updating a week at a time is probably infinitely more interesting and less annoying to the 1 or 2 friends who are interested. I may throw in the odd post here and there throughout the week though so stay tuned…you never know when it might get REALLY interesting!

Monday 22 February:

It was back to school time for Ella after our lovely Half Term break and back to Mummy Sammy Day for Sam and me. Nothing terribly exciting occurred other than receiving the entire collection, but one, of the Harry Potter series of books from one of Ella’s Teaching Assistants and attending dance lessons again. We did manage to push the boat out and visit a local chippy restaurant for gluten free fish & chips on Monday night which was a real treat!

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Tuesday 23 February:

I spent the day working furiously and worrying considerably as my double knee surgery was to be the next day. I kept catastrophising about whether this would be  the last time I did this or that and kept wondering whether I should have been writing letters to Mark, Ella and Sam just in case. Thankfully I was not totally mental and managed to keep my emotions in check to make it through the day. Well, you just never know right? I realised by the children’s bed time, however, that Ella was definitely worrying as well. Clearly she is my daughter. She wrote me a note (below) which ominously reassures me that she will always remember me. She was not keen about what was to come. Truth be told, I was pretty apprehensive too.

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Wednesday 24 February:

I had to be at our local private hospital for 7:15am so I was up early (restless sleep perhaps) to get myself and the rest of the family ready for the short journey to the hospital. I was exceptionally fortunate to have my bilateral knee arthroscopy (official for: double knee operation) done at the local private hospital as an NHS patient. My consultant works out of that hospitals so obviously he gets to choose when and where he performs. I wasn’t complaining. Mark and the children dropped me off (he needed to get the kids to school and then himself to work). I was escorted to my room (a lovely single room with an ensuite bathroom which I only used twice to wee in!), was met by various official people including my consultant who had me sign the consent form and then I was off to theatre. I didn’t even check the time, it all happened so fast. The anaesthetist was VERY good at getting the canula in place in my hand and then I was off to LaLa Land. The next thing I knew I heard someone shouting at me to wake up! The surgery only took around 30 minutes and I was in recovery smiling rather dopey-like thinking how grateful I was to be alive and how bright the sunshine was streaming into the recovery room! Drugs are good.

I was wheeled back to my room and within a short time was visited by a nurse who brought me tea and shortly after that, another assistant who brought me a rather gorgeous chicken salad and fruit plate for lunch. There’s the difference between Private and NHS! I was still feeling a bit woozy and nauseous in myself but wasn’t feeling any pain. My consultant visited me and let me know that my left knee was considerably worse off than my right knee and that my only option is a full knee replacement (well, make that a double eventually). He told me he would see me in 2 weeks and off he flew. By 2:30, Mark had arrived to collect me, as I had had my physio visit and knew how to use crutches (which I was sure I wouldn’t need) and had negotiated stairs so I was ready to be discharged.

Arriving home, I was very happy to be back and installed myself on the sofa while Mark got on with a bit of work and then went to collect Sam from preschool. My class mum friends had rallied around to make sure that Ella was delivered to dance for us and we didn’t have to chase all over the place. I am most grateful for my friends. Ella was beyond ecstatic to have me home and pretty much stuck to my side until bedtime. I was uncomfortable and my dressing, particularly on my apparently-problematic left knee was saturated with blood. Not entirely what I wanted to happen. I made Mark sit with me while I changed the dressing which made me feel better but I was a bit horrified at the amount of blood that my knee was still spewing out! I slept like rubbish but was very glad to be home and back where I belonged.

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Thursday 25 February:

I had slept pretty badly but I managed to get myself up and downstairs in time to send Mark off to work. My friend was collecting Ella for the school run so I didn’t have to do it and Sam was home for the day as it was a Thursday. In hindsight I really should have made arrangements for Sam to go to school as I tried to do FAR too much and ended up really suffering. My left knee began to bleed again so I called Mark home for support. I properly changed the full dressing, including putting on new steri-strips and felt pretty good about my doctoring job. But as the day went on, I found my left knee swelling rather dramatically and the pain ramping up. I was taking co-codamol but still felt so much pain and tightness in my left knee in particular. By mid-evening I was having difficulty putting weight on my left leg and was beginning to worry about infection or Septic Arthritis (yes, I Googled it!).

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Friday 26 February:

I slept even worse, waking every few hours and by 5am knew that I had to see someone to ensure that I wasn’t filled with infection or worse. I had no idea the recovery would be this painful. Somehow, in my head, I assumed, since the consultant wasn’t really FIXING anything that my knees would be absolutely fine and I would be maybe a bit limpy but that would be it. I was WRONG! I rang the hospital at 7am and explained my challenges. They told me to come in at 10am to have the nurses check it just to be sure. Mark went to work and then came back in time to take the children to school and me to the hospital.

At the hospital, a resident doctor examined my knee and basically told me that I should have been elevating and icing my knee and taking ibuprofen and not co-codamol. He made me feel a bit stupid but did commend my dressings! I know all of these recommendations but no one at the hospital had told me to do them when I left and never mentioned choosing ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory) over co-codamol once. I was a bit cross, both with the nurses and with myself for not knowing better. REST and REST were prescribed. This pissed me off. My job was being taken away and I didn’t like it.

I got home shortly before 11am and installed myself on our bed with my leg elevated and iced while I worked on the laptop. This was actually quite pleasant and I got a great deal accomplished in addition to resting my knee. Mark came home early to collect the children from school and I spent the rest of the time laying on the sofa with my leg elevated. My inlaws came to visit and we enjoyed an easy dinner of pizza to round out the night.

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Saturday 27 February:

I spent Saturday wallowing a bit. I knew I needed to rest, elevate my leg and just let myself heal. I hated that Mark was having to do everything and that I couldn’t help. I was struggling to walk much less do anything of significance. It’s funny, isn’t it? You are so desperate for “Me Time” and “time to myself” but when it is forced upon you, it almost seems like a punishment! I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I positioned myself on the sofa, a stack of 6 months worth of Psychologies magazines laying next to me and pouting. Mark had taken Sam off on some errands and Ella had graciously been picked up by a friend’s husband and deposited at dance. Everyone rallied round to help us which was absolutely lovely.

The good part about alternating icing, elevating and ibuprofen was that I was seeing a bit of improvement in my left knee. The swelling was lessening some and I was able to walk with help from the crutches. I watched Rugby and listened to my family bustle about around me. It was Hell! Thankfully, even though the nights have been pretty sleepless and fraught, my knee has gotten considerably better. Clearly I needed to heed doctor’s advice!

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Sunday 28 February:

I felt a LOT better on Sunday and knew I needed to get out of the house. I suggested to Mark that we take the kids to my inlaws for a visit and then Mark could do the weekly shop while we were there. Then we could return home to do some jobs and relax before the weekend was done. It was so nice to be out of the house and visiting people. Even if it’s just your family, a change of scenery can make a massive difference to your mood. And sunshine, sunshine always makes a difference to your mood.

We enjoyed a simple lunch with my inlaws and later headed home. I felt a lot better at this point and my knee wasn’t protesting too loudly. I made dinner (ooh, that actually felt good to do) and then FaceTimed with my Dad in the US. We ate a quick dinner, did bath and bed and then Mark and I chilled out in the lounge together after the children were asleep. I very much hope this signals the beginning of my knee improving enough to let me do what I need to do. Losing my purpose as a Mum and caregiver and having to be a patient sucked, to put it bluntly! Onward and upward now…let’s see what we can accomplish this week?

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About Karin

Karin Joyce is a 40-something wife & mother who is helping to spread happiness one smile at a time. Karin is also a blogger and social media addict whom you may also know as Cafe Bebe. American by birth, UK permanent resident by marriage, Karin loves The Mentalist (specifically Simon Baker), her smartphone and lie-ins on Saturday mornings.

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