Not good news

If you follow my blog you’ll know that I had knee replacement surgery here in Italy in January 2018. I learned a lot about the Italian system before and after the procedure. I learned all about what to expect when you go to the hospital. And what to bring with you, which is very different here.

2018 Knee replacement part 1
2018 Knee replacement Part II
2018 Knee replacement Part III

I learned that the nurses don’t help with many basic things like bringing water. Or ice. They do blood pressure, medications, take blood for tests, basic bed making and body wash. But for your personal self, it’s on you to have a wash cloth, water, soap, a basin and toothbrush, toothpaste etc. for personal clean up. For anything like this you would need a helper. A family member or friend. Odd but true. Different hospitals have different rules. And, of course, very few people speak English. It makes for a lonely time without being able to speak to anyone.

OK so, my operation last year was fine, the PT in hospital was good, if painful. No opiates or pain killers in Italy. I was released but didn’t really understand I was supposed to go into in-patient rehab for 3 weeks. When I found out, this floored me. I couldn’t face it. After being in the hospital for a week I wanted only to be home. So I didn’t go. We arranged a nurse to help with re-dressing the incision. And hired a private therapist for PT in house. And all went ok.

I was told it would take 6 months to a year to recover. So I waited. And did my exercises… and I was in pain. Especially going up and down our 56 stairs. I returned to the doctor 6 months after the operation with concerns about how my knee “looked”. There was a malformation in my opinion. But the Dottore said all was well. Tutti va bene. So. I waited.

Now, more than a year later I am still in pain. Rising from a sitting position and doing stairs are quite painful. And getting more so. I decided to consult another doctor. I knew him from previous consults. I like and trust him. He sent me for X-rays of specific sorts. I returned and he said I need another operation. There are three issues. First the kneecap is skewed to the side because the ligaments and muscles are not holding it in place correctly. Second the top part of the prosthesis is too large for me. Last the bottom part of the prosthesis is slightly twisted off center. He said I could get lucky and they would only have to repair, realign the ligaments and muscles over the kneecap. But if the other two things seem to be an issue I’ll need an entire new implant. He will only decide once he can see it. Sigh. I have to lay this at the feet of the other surgeon. 😡 Not what I wanted to hear but I expected it, I guess.

My doctor asked me when I wanted surgery. I was taken aback. Last year I had no choice. The doctor put me in the queue. It took about 7 months and I had no real choice for the date. This doctor seems to have his schedule in a book he keeps and is able to pick dates. I will never understand this crazy health system here. Since I have multiple trips planned this year. And I don’t want to cancel them. First a week trip to Sicily in April. Then a 10 day trip to the US for my nieces wedding in May. Finally a special anniversary cruise in the Greek islands in July. I decided to choose end of September, after my friend Eunice goes home from a visit.

So I’m scheduled for surgery on 27 September, in Perugia in a small clinic/hospital and I will be in a total of 18 days. To include rehab. This time I will stay in for the entire rehab. It will be easier if hard to be in the hospital that long. I’m sure not looking forward to it! But it is what it is. On the bright side, I’ll lose weight! Food is awful in hospital.

The news for my blogsters is that I will share another exciting hospital stay experience with you. This time to include all that in-patient rehab! 😳 and Hey! I will learn more Italian.

Meanwhile I’ll enjoy spring in Umbria. And hopefully I can enjoy my upcoming trips. Fino a dopo i miei amici!

12 thoughts on “Not good news

  1. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Carlo, I guess it can happen anywhere. I have a new friend here who had 6 hip replacements (!) on both sides over time. Many complications, bad implants, bad surgeons. All in the US. So. Here’s hoping my next experience I have better luck!

  2. Carlo

    Nancy is right. We have three friends here in the US who have had to have more than one knee or hip replacements because of what appears to be medical procedure mistakes or prosthetic failure or improper prosthesis sizing, device selection, or emplacement.

    I don’t know but I am not too sure any place on Earth has the lock on perfect medical care. I have lived in various countries and I recall bad medical experiences by friends and family in all of them.


  3. Nancy Hampton Post author

    I dunno Sandi. I know a LOT of folks who had very bad experiences in the US. I do have Medicare but I think the care here is as good, or better…except for the pain management. I think I just,had bad luck. And I’m disappointed in my surgeon…if not for the initial operation then for him discounting my concerns 6 months out.

  4. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Awww. Thanks Leslie! On my last hospital stay I discouraged visitors. But if I have to stay 18 days! I think I’ll welcome them!

  5. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Melissa! I do think the system here is good. I know people who had very bad experiences in the US too. I had many recommendations for the surgeon. Oh well. Just bad luck. I am going on all my planned trips and I’m going to have fun. I hope we can work out a date for some of us to get together in May.

  6. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Rosemarie! I still plan to do all my trips. I hope Mr Knee hangs in there!

  7. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Sharon, Well, I have to say it was bad luck. I had several people recommend this surgeon, including my primary care doc. I guess it could happen anywhere. Happy to hear,things are better in Sicily. Thanks for the nice words!

  8. Sharon Barresi Duncan

    That sucks…..and your hospital care sucks. I know many who have had knee replacement with great results and compassionate care. ….and we live in Sicily, where it is said we are more behind the north. Even to th point of inserting the proper size prosthesis. So sorry for all you are going through.

  9. Rosemarie Lentini

    OMG You poor soul! Hope you can enjoy all your trips while in this condition. Planning to see you when you are here.

  10. Melissa Robertson

    Oh, Nancy, so sorry to hear about your knee problems and travails with the Italian health system! Hoping the second surgery will leave you pain free (eventually). Will we get to see you in May? Melissa

  11. Leslie Keller

    Nancy I’m so sorry. What a disappointment. But the good news is you have lots of friends in Perugia who can keep you entertained and provide you with good food. We’ll all be there to cheer you up and make the time fly by. Happy Spring!

  12. Sandi Lane

    Nancy, I am so sorry to hear this! You are a trooper. We have an English friend who had a hip replacement some years ago. Same thing. Bad French surgeon. She has had multiple surgeries to no avail. Finally spent 6 months in England with PT after surgery there. She is on the mend, but it is slow. Hang in there. I must say that this confirms my decision to hang onto our Medicare in the US…for surgeries and serious issues. We will be thinking of you! Sandi and Mark

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