Sunday, 13 January 2008


I got back home on Thursday 10th Jan after having spent somewhat of a rollercoaster 24 hours and a bit at the Praxisklinik Rennbahn in Muttenz, where Dr Joneleit performed an arthroscopy on my left knee. On arrival there just before 8 in the morning, I was then led to my room where my blood pressure was measured and other formalities completed. A nurse then shaved the hair on and around my knee, while I talked briefly with Dr Joneleit about the operation and agreed that I would stay conscious during the procedure so that he could explain to me what he was doing. The head anaesthetist finally give me a sedative pill and I was led into the operating theatre.

My anaesthetic - called an SDA - was administered via a spinal injection. It's similar to an epidural, but the injection point is slightly lower down the spine. Electrodes were attached to my chest and arms and then one of the nurses put a heated blanket over my chest. Before I knew it, Dr Joneleit had punctured two holes in my knee and I could follow the operation on the screen. He explained what he was doing as he went along. I was conscious of what he was saying, but I didn't register fully. Maybe this was because of the sedative and also because my upper body was shivering uncontrollably during the whole course of the operation, despite the warm blanket.

After the operation, I was trolleyed back into my room, where I lay for much of the remainder of the day and night with a couple of drips (pain-killers and such like) hanging above me and a thin pipe leading out of my knee siphoning off blood into a small plastic receptacle dangling below my bed.

The effects of the anaesthetic - mostly drowsiness - didn't fully wear off until the early evening. I then ate a pizza for tea, which I had chosen quickly from a menu shown to me just before my operation that morning. Fully sated, I settled down in bed and watched Bundesliga Klassiker 1996/97 on DSF. At that point, the nurse on the night shift, Bianca from Schopfheim (D), made her first appearance and - looking up at the DSF footage on television - mentioned to me that Erik Meijer, erstwhile Liverpool benchwarmer and Alemannia Aachen 2nd Division legend but who was a real star for Leverkusen with Ulf Kirsten back then in 1997, had spent the night after an operation in the very same bed I was now in. She said he was a laugh a minute. I raised a weary yet wry smile in response.

Early next morning, the doctor came in and removed the drips and pulled the blood siphon out. After breakfast with half a dozen other patients, I had physio, where I tentatively tested out my left knee and found that I could already put some weight on it. I then collected my belongings and left for home.

It's now been four days since the operation and I'm feeling fine. I have to take various tablets and inject myself once a day with some anti-thrombosis medication, but I think I may be able to discard the crutches sooner rather than later.

No comments: