Saturday, 25 February 2012

Back to Mr Knee

Just 11 days after the operation I was back at the hospital for my first visit to Mr Knee, followed by my first physio session.

Katie was at work so my good friend Jimmy gave me a lift. He had a great route, thanks to a building job he'd done a few years ago which was on the same route. Little had he known at the time how handy that would be.

As always I arrived early, I'd given Jimmy a false time because although he is a good friend he is from Cyprus and drives very safely. His route made my fears ridiculous.

I sat in the waiting room right in front of the sign which reads Patients will be seen in appointment order, not arrival order. Jimmy must have been laughing.

In came the Spanish bloke who had been first on the list on op day. I saw his hair and realised that his top of the head bun was indeed a fashion decision not an operative caution. Hey I'm no fashionista and don't have enough hair for buns so who am I to judge. Then in came Lumley-lite. It was then that I understood that what Mr Knee was doing was recreating operation day.

Spanish bun went in first. He hadn't come out when I was called in and I lay down, trousers off, in the cubicle next to him. I heard Mr Knee come in and tut as soon as he saw Spanish-bun's knee. Oh dear, I thought. As it turned out Mr Bun had not been doing his exercises, had not been doing the 10 10 10 , and had generally not lost any of the swelling. Mr Knee gave him a right good telling off.

Whilst this was going on Nurse Joan entered my cubicle to take out my staples. When they tell you they have stapled you rather than used stitches, for some reason I never imagined actual staples, but when she took off my plasters there they were, industrial staples from a staple gun. She had an office staple remover and started pulling them out. I winced in pain.

"I can't stop," she said in a friendly but firm tone "if I stop we'll never get it done."

To take my mind of it I told her that I was taking a picture of my knee every day and that at the end of my rehabilitation I was going to put them together in an animation of recovery.

She looked at me with pity.

"I would tell you to get out more, but your knee probably won't let you."

Mr Knee bounded in and stroked my leg for a bit. They all do this. They treat your leg like a project that they and you are working on, not like it is part of your body.

He told me straighten it, bend it and lift it.

"Looks good."

"Better than Spanish-bun?"

"Oh yes. He's a very naughty boy."

Then he did something that I wasn't ready for and nearly fainted. He sat on my foot, with my leg bent at 90 degress, clasped his fingers together at the back of my knee and pulled. I was expecting my leg to come off at the knee joint but..

"Rock solid." He declared. "Didn't move a millimetre."

"Don't do that again please."

"What?" He did it again with an evil chuckle. "This? Hey, that joint is stronger than its ever been."

He stroked my leg again, almost absentmindedly, and thought for a moment. "Ok, let's see you again in four weeks. Keep up the 10 10 10. Good work." and then he was gone.

I got dressed and made my way over to physio.

Clodagh came to get me and I hobbled after her to another cubicle.

"Trousers off, on the bed." This was after a series of questions about what I'd done to injure my leg (some bastard fouled me) and what my aims were in my recovery (to play football again as soon as possible). She started stroking my leg and I began to wonder if this is the first thing they teach you at medical school.

She got a special ruler out that bends in the middle. At school I would have known the name but not now. She told me to bend my leg as far as possible. I managed about 90 degrees, she measured it and noted it. She did the same on the good side. It seems a lot of this is about getting your leg as good as the other one. Then we did the same with straightening. She took a deep intake of breath.

"Ok, we need to get that bend up to 90 degrees. I'm going to book you in for the pool."

This is serious I thought. She booked me two pool sessions and then back with her after them and I made my way out.

No Jimmy to pick me up, he had an audition as a dictator's double, and the dictator for a play in Bath. I ordered a cab. It cost £15, and I began to wonder how I was going to afford to recover.

This had been my first big day out since the op and when I got back I was knackered. It made the walk to the co-op seem like just that. I lay on the sofa and fell asleep, dreaming about people stroking my leg like a Bond villain stroking his cat. I awoke with a start to find Katie sitting on the sofa, stroking my leg.

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