I have been very impressed with Mr Ishaque and the team that he has around him

Steve Male

September 2011

The news that I would need to have an operation to resolve my sciatica problem was a bit of a shock given that I have never been in hospital before. Although Mr Ishaque was able to explain everything to me very clearly at the time and with the aid of the scan results on screen it was easy to understand what needed to be done, it was really difficult to take everything in. It’s probably a good idea to have someone else with you to help remember things and ask questions.

Everything happened very quickly after the decision was made and the process of being admitted was made as simple as possible. I attended a pre admission check which removed the need for a lot of the routine stuff on admission and also provided some information on what to expect.

The feeling I had throughout the process was that whilst this was a serious operation it was also one that Mr Ishaque did regularly and with a high level of success, all of which was very reassuring. The operation itself went very well without any complications although I knew nothing of it. I was wheeled down to the operating suite, everyone there was very calm and friendly and within a few minutes I was asleep – no one asked me to count down from 10 either!

Mr Ishaque made a point of letting my wife know how things had gone immediately after finishing the operation which was really appreciated.  It really is very much harder on waiting relatives than the person being operated on and it was nice that this was recognised.
The anaesthetist had explained that he uses an epidural to make things easier after the op and so that I could come out of the general anaesthetic more quickly reducing the likelihood of any ill effects. This worked brilliantly and my first night was surprisingly comfortable with no pain at all.

I was surprised how soon they had me out of bed. I was able to walk to the bathroom, have a wash and get out of the dreaded hospital gown and into my own pyjamas on the first morning. Brilliant!  It was uncomfortable, I did tire very quickly and I was moving around like a 90 year old but it was all much better than the sciatica I was suffering prior to going in. I felt very aware of my back which felt quite stiff and I was afraid of damaging anything which made me very cautious about moving around.

 It is worth mentioning that the sciatica pain does not go away immediately.  As Mr Ishaque had explained, the nerve in my back had been beaten up a bit and would take some time to settle down. The discomfort I had in hospital from the operation was minimal, it was mainly from the old sciatica pain although much less than it had been.  Most limiting of all are the inflatable cuffs that have to be worn on the legs to prevent clotting. They really do limit your freedom to move in the first couple of days as you’re hooked up to a pump & have to ask someone to release you each time you want to get out of the bed. By the end of the 3rd day I was able to escape from them unaided which was a relief.

The physiotherapist visited me the first morning after the op and this helped to reassure me about what I should be able to do and put my mind at rest about damaging anything. I started the exercises that day and they gradually had me walking further & further, culminating in going up and down stairs with no problems. This is apparently the final hurdle to going home, which I did after 4 nights.

The recovery period took me a bit by surprise. I was more tired than I expected to be and the advice to gradually build up what you can do and not overdo it is well worth following. I was unable to drive for 4 weeks and had a phased return to work 6 weeks after the operation. This involved gradually increasing the time spent at work over a further 6 week period but again it was very effective and I was fully recovered with no pain at all by the end. I had physiotherapy sessions to assess my recovery and to try and ensure I did not slip back into bad habits that caused the problem in the first place. Again, well worth working at if you want to avoid having further ops!  My physio was great – really understanding and realistic about what I could do.

I have been very impressed with Mr Ishaque and the team that he has around him. They all contribute to a feeling of confidence that everything is covered off, nothing is overlooked and that the patient and relatives are the most important thing.  Having surgery is not something anyone would choose, but if it is necessary I can recommend Mr Ishaque and his team.  My wife and I felt completely supported and in control at all times and whilst there is no denying surgery is daunting and uncomfortable it’s a lot better than continuing to suffer with the pain of sciatica.