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Mike live tweets running commentary on his hip operation at Oswestry Orthopaedic Hospital

By Sue Austin | Oswestry | News | Published:

People turn to social media these days to share all manner of details about their lives.

Mike Hamlyn after his operation

But Mike Hamlyn went a step further than most when he took to Twitter to share live tweets during his hip replacement operation at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry.

The 55-year-old from Whitchurch opted for a spinal anaesthesia rather than the traditional general anaesthetic for his procedure following discussions with his anaesthetist, Dr Ruth Longfellow.

It was combined with a mild sedative that helped him relax but allowed him to remain conscious throughout the surgery.

He said: “I had my headphones on listening to a podcast to block out some of the noise and then started sending Twitter updates off my iPad and replying to messages that were coming in.

“I could smell burning from the drilling but I couldn’t feel anything, so I was disassociated from it. Talking to people on Twitter was a distraction too. I was glad I did it.”

Mike's tweets during the operation:

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How does spinal anaesthesia work?

A spinal anaesthesia numbs the nerves from the waist down to the toes for two to three hours and allows an earlier start to post-surgical rehabilitation.

Mr Hamlyn, who is currently training to be a physics teacher through a PGCE at Keele University, said: "The whole operation only took around 45 minutes and before I knew it I was sat up in recovery having a cup of coffee.

"The night after was the first time I’ve slept through the night in six months because of the pain I’ve been in and when I got up the following morning I could walk. It is still a little sore but four days after the operation, I was able to walk into town for my morning coffee.”

Dr Longfellow, clinical lead for acute pain at the hospital, said: “We use spinal anaesthesia for the majority of our hip and knee replacements here. Patients are invited to attend a Joint School before their surgery, where they have the opportunity to learn more about types of anaesthesia, particularly spinals, so then come in for their operation fully informed about what to expect.

“Some patients choose to have a spinal anaesthetic and stay awake in theatre. If a patient does not want to be awake in theatre, they can still have a spinal anaesthetic, and combine it with sedation, so they sleep through their operation, but then quickly wake up when surgery has finished, ready for a cup of tea in recovery.”

Reaction to Mike’s tweets ranged from admiration to surprise that it was even possible to stay awake for the operation.

They were shared on the hospital’s Facebook page, in a post that was viewed by almost 11,000 people. Many people also commented to share their experiences of similar procedures at the hospital.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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