The Day After: Post-surgery reality and road to recovery

6.10 am

I had a good night’s sleep. Am just coming awake and I can feel that I am going to be reminded of the full meaning of the phrase: the Day After.

Yesterday was under post-surgery anaesthesia. Today is with post-surgery pain reality!

For starters, my lower back / waist area is feeling strained and has a little pain, probably from lack of movement. Further, any involuntary movement to the left leg is giving me pain in the knee and that’s how I know that the anesthetic block has worn off as has the pain medication from yesterday night!

Have to get used to the pain levels pronto else it’s going to be a long road to recovery. At the same time, I can’t let enthusiasm and empty-optimism drive me to rush recovery – so am waiting for the doctor and physiotherapist to get my next instructions and do’s and don’t’s.

7-15 am

Just had hot chai and a Nachni cookie. The chai was awesome and gave me the “yo let’s buckle up for the day” energy call. The nachni cookie was … um … ‘healthy’ …

The nurses shifted the Patient-Drip-Irrigation paraphernalia from my left hand to the right hand. The Patient-Drip-Irrigation is the IV tubes contraption that’s been feeding me all the meds. They had to shift to the right hand because the veins had swollen on the left hand and clotting had led to a kind of block so that the medicines were not going down the system. It had happened yesterday as well but they had been able to inject saline and slowly clear the clot. But today it was paining when they tried the saline flush. And so the Patient-Drip-Irrigation is on the right now.

9.20 am

Dr Sunil and Dr Gautam were just here. Dr Sunil did the dressing of the wounds and now that I have seen the surgery cuts and stitches, I feel oddly good. Dr Sunil cleaned and dressed the wound with a firm hand that automatically assured me that the on-touch pain levels are manageable. His instructions gave me confidence that I can move around after the physiotherapist visits and shows me the ropes. “You have to use the leg and put up to 50% of normal pressure”.

Mainly, I have to get moving, follow precautions and take the medicines as prescribed. Sponge bath, No water on leg at all. The last thing I need is a secondary infection after the surgery has gone well.

10.15 am

Dr Avijan Sinha has just left. As he said, “You are going to have to work with me for the next 6 months to get back to full strength.”

Dr Avijan is my physiotherapist and he guided me through the exercises I have to perform hourly and daily for the next two weeks. There are two exercises that have to be done hourly or 100 times a day (both legs). There are six exercises to be done 10 times morning and 10 times evening (both legs).

ShaikhSpear is making notes of everything everyone is saying and is always ready with followup questions and goes through the points at the time of implementation. Let’s me focus on dealing with the pain and keeping my mindspace clear.

10.45 am

Dr Pathak has given me a fit-to-go-home talk. The focus now is post-surgery recovery and care to ensure movement and flexibility of knee, general muscle movement of body, care to ensure no secondary infection and to eat properly and have adequate fluids to get regular bodily functions back to normal.

I am to see him in a week for first follow up after hospital discharge.

(Left to right): Dr Sunil Mane and Dr Shirish Pathak

12.15 pm

You know what adds great cheer to my recovery attitude? A great view from the hospital room. And thankfully I have a good view, of the city, of the river winding its way and of the bridges under which it flows.

A room with a good view aids the recovery

I will be honest: there is pain and fear and apprehension but I take my doctor’s advise like commands to be executed. That helps me in overcoming fears and inhibitions that are psychological since doctor represents the medical advise. If he says I can do it, then I must get on with it. Left to my own devices and logic, I will probably feel ill and in pain for a much longer duration because it is a comfort to know that I have reason to lay back and delay getting back to life. At the other end of the spectrum, I am equally capable of being over-enthusiastic and trying to be cool superman and rush my recovery which would be equally stupid.

Having spoken to all the doctors and specialists at Mangeshkar Hospital and especially my surgeon, Dr Pathak, I am feeling confident about stepping out of the hospital, following all instructions with the recovery roadmap clearly explained, and medication protocol and follow up schedule charted. I am ready for the next stage: recovery. Once that is complete three weeks from now, I will begin the third stage: rehabilitation under the guidance of my medical team.

13.30 pm

Just finished lunch. And it was sumptuous. Soya-chunks curry, roti, rice, daal, curd, a dry vegetable preparation, a sprout salad, curd, slice of lemon and salt. Sumptuous. Made me smile.

A well-balanced lunch is a welcome recovery treat

We are waiting for the insurance company (HDFC Ergo) to approve the final bill. They have been very good and prompt throughout the past few days, as has been Mangeshkar hospital’s Mediclaim department which has been coordinating everything with the insurer.

Once the final bill is approved you the insurer, it will go billing and then I will be discharged with my prescription medications and Walker.


I have got my Walker and am dressed to go. Now onto the next stage: recovery at home.

Taking the first step towards self-sufficiency

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