8 Weeks Post-op now

Hey, folks.  It has been a bit, but I wanted to check in.  Things are going better, but I definitely started traveling too soon.  Even after a week to recoup, I am quickly realizing that I should have waited longer again.  Working 80 hour weeks is too much for the knee.  Trying to keep it elevated has been a challenge as I have to get up and check on the users to make sure they are doing okay.  At least this place is a a bit smaller so I don’t have as far to walk.

I went to sleep about 0930 this morning (I’m working mids this week again).  I was actually sleeping pretty good until around 1400 when I woke up in excrutiating pain.  I’m not sure what happened.  Maybe I twisted in my sleep or something, but I woke up in tears and it took me a couple of hours to settle back down to go to sleep.

I worked with a trainer last week to start working on strengthening my knee as the therapist is working with me to calm down the baker’s cyst I have.  The workout was really good, especially considering we didn’t use a lot of weights.  We used the 22.5 pound dumbbells for my arms and just body weight for the legs.  We used the fit ball to do baby squats against the wall and for roll outs for a great core workout.  I was a bit doubtful that I would get any benefit from such a workout.  However, the next day I DEFINITELY felt it…especially in my buttocks and stomach area.  I wil be working with the trainer again on Sunday (I think).  He is going to write out a routine that I can use on a regular basis and continue to improve my strength and flexibility.

I am at 120 degree in my bend and full extension plus about 5 degree hyper extension.  Stretching is very important.  I will admit…I hate stretching.  It is boring and it reminds me that I am not flexible and not stretching enough.  So, I make myself do it…I grumble the whole time, but I do it.  🙂 

I just ordered a different cuff to go with my cryo-unit.  I found a thigh cuff.  I thought this might help since I have the baker’s cyst behind my knee.  I have been using the knee cuff for the swelling on the front and then taking that off and using an ice pack on the back of my knee.  I ordered the thigh cuff off of Amazon.com and hope that this will allow me to reduce the swelling on both the front and back of my knee at the same time.  I will let you know how it goes.

The pain is definitely decreased since prior to the surgery. I have gone down from 300 mg of Nucynta to 10 mg of Norco.  I can walk most of the day without the cane now. It is just the end of the day when I’m tired and my knee gets sore that I have to use it…and that is mainly for stability.  I have no regrets of doing this surgery.  Well, maybe just one…I wish I could have had it done sooner.  That being said, I am glad it is over and I’m in the healing process. 

Ok, time to get back to work.  Have a great rest of the week and I will check in once I get home.

5 weeks post-op…

As I prepare to go to physical torture again, I thought I would post a couple of new photos.  One is obviously of my right knee that had surgery.  The other is both my right knee and my left knee together.  The outside of my knee is healing very well.  I’m a bit sad that I have such a long scar, but at least I am walking better.

The inside of my knee is healing as well, but it is taking much longer than I want.  I am doing stretches to help relax the hamstring and calf muscles.  They are STILL not very happy.  I guess I wouldn’t be happy either if someone did to me what my surgeon did to them.  My therapist said that between weeks 6 and 8 I should notice a big improvement in my pain level and my range of motion.  I’m going to hold her to that.  🙂

I started two days ago walking down the stairs like a normal person.  Well, except I have to still go slow, use the hand rail and use my cane, but I am getting the hang of it again.  Going UP stairs is definitely more easier than going down stairs.  All I can do is practice, practice, practice.

I’m not sure if I will be up for a 5k walk by the end of October.  I’m doing about 1/3 of the block now.  I’m hoping to double that this weekend.  In fact, my goal is to walk a mile Saturday morning.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I will let you know how it goes.

Ok, off to PT.  Chat more later.

4 weeks post-op today!!

It is 4 weeks ago as of today that I had my TKR.  Wow!  I can’t believe it.  Yes…I am still working out hard and yes, I am still having some pain.  However, the pain that I had prior to the surgery is still gone.  Now I have muscle tightness and soreness, so I’m not giving up.  🙂  I will post a pic of my knee here shortly.

I am home this week and next week, then I have 3 weeks of travel in a row.  One of the trips (the second one) is going to be 6 nights of 12 hour shifts.  I hope I can make it.  The plane is going to be challenging.  I’m going to have to get up and walk several times in order to keep my knee from getting stiff.  I will still have to do my workouts and stretches during my trips.

I can get my knee completely straight now.  I am up to 111 degree bend.  The knee feels tight, but it is the knot behind my knee that seems to be keeping me from bending much more.  I do have a bakers cyst so I’m sure it is swollen and angry.  I still use my cryo-cuff daily, especially now that I am working from home and sitting at the computer.  I take a break every now and then and go to the couch and use the ice pack  to help with the swelling.

Oh!  MedCOM came by to pick up the CPM machine today.  It was both a blessing and a let down.  It was tough to strap myself into it, but once I was in it, it felt so good.  Apparently they don’t keep the cushion part, so we had to take that part off.  Beware….there are a lot of velcro straps holding that cushion on.

We are downgrading the pain medication to Vicodin.  I hope it helps.  I also have Tramadol, but that feels like just extra strength tylenol.  I ran out of pain medication on Sunday so had nothing yesterday and it was not fun.  I thought I had enough to get through the weekend, but I thought wrong.  😦

So, some information I wanted to pass along regarding the cryo-cuff.  I’ve been using ice and water as instructed.  My uncle just had shoulder surgery and he has a different model.  His nurse advised him to use small water bottle with frozen water in them.  He found 6 small ones that would fit in the thermos and still allow the lid to close.  He said that it kept the water really cold and he could rotate the water bottles as they thawed.  Great idea!  Now, the model I have, I’m not finding any bottles that are short enough to fit into mine and still allow the lid to close.  But, hey…measure yours out and see if you can find some.  It sure would save a lot of ice.  🙂

Chat more later!

End of the week check in…

Today started off being slow…well, that is ME being slow.  Getting out of bed is still pretty challenging since the surgery.  Nothing hurts as long as I just don’t move.  However, I have a dog that is not toilet trained and hasn’t learned how to cook yet (she’s only 11…I’m sure she will pick it up sometime soon).  🙂  I’ve been blessed as my mom has been coming over in the mornings before she goes to work to let my baby girl out.  That gives me time to figure out how to get out of bed and then make it to the facilities myself.

I finally got going and started work, and then I realized…CRAP!  I had a therapy session at 0700 this morning.  Why 0700??  Because my mom and nephew have been taking me to therapy and I’ve been scheduling my appointments around their availability.  Being it was 0815, I definitely missed that appointment.  I called them up, profusely apologized and asked if I could get in sometime today.  They said they had an appointment at 1300 (that’s 1pm for you civilians) so I took it.  That meant that I couldn’t take any pain meds as I was going to have to drive.

First day of driving after almost 3.5 weeks.  I had surgery on my right knee…I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to move my foot from the gas to the brake fast enough if I had to.  The other thing I didn’t think about was the act of getting in my car.  I drive a Dodge Intrepid.  If you have ever seen one, you know they sit low to the ground.  Not the best car to have when you have bad knees (which is why I’m starting to look for a new mode of transportation).  I got downstairs and unlocked the car.  I opened the door and thought, ugh…how am I going to get in here!!??  Well, I did the sit and turn (no, silly, not sit and spin).  It did take me a while to get in, but I did it.  Whew!  I practiced in the parking spot moving my foot from the gas to the brake and back to make sure I could do it.  I definitely didn’t want to hurt anyone else during the process of driving to my appointment.

Needless to say I made it just fine to my appointment.   I was able to do a complete revolution in under 30 seconds.  Yay!!  I did 5 minutes on the stationary bike and then the therapist advised that we were going to work on stretching and stairs.  I haven’t done stairs since my surgery.  Well, I go up/down the stairs all the time as I live on the second floor, but it’s just one step at a time.  I was very nervous and pretty scared that it was going to hurt like the dickens.  We started with stretching.   She had me put my right foot up on the second step up and then had me do a forward lunge in as far as I could.  I would hold that for 15 seconds and then straighten completely out.  I did about 10 of those.

Then it was time to conquer the stairs.  We started with just one.  I would put my right foot up on the first step, just my leg as much as possible and allow my arms to help me get up.  Then I would bring my left foot up to the same step and relax.  I was surprised at how little it hurt.  The hardest part was getting the muscles to remember to do what they are supposed to do.  You would think that would be easy…but, believe me, it is very challenging.  Then I had to take a step down backwards leading with my good leg.  It took a lot of work to get that right knee to bend when it was supposed to.  Even my ankle was more stiff than I expected.  I did 10 of those.

The therapist then advised me it was time to go all the way up to the top step.  There are only 4 steps…but it may as well have been 4,000.  It looked too challenging.  However,  knowing that PT stands for Physical Torturer, I knew I had better get going.  It was slow, but I did all 4 steps!!  No pain, just extreme muscle tightness.  I did notice going back down that I was starting to get a charlie horse in my quad so we went back to stretching…and then she made me go up the stairs again, and again, and again.

I am soooo thankful that I had this surgery after my gastric bypass.  I could NOT imagine doing this with the extra 125 pounds on.  I was sweating just from going up/down 4 steps at a time.  If I was my original weight, I would have had a stroke…I’m sure of it.  After that we went to the hamstring curl machine to work on stretching and strength.  I am getting really good at the lengthening of my leg…I’m almost all the way straight.  The bend is MUCH more challenging.  I am still at about 111 degrees.  I really need to work on that some more this weekend, especially since I don’t have therapy again until Wednesday.

After therapy I decided to make a quick trip to the bank and then head home.  I thought I was doing pretty good.  I had a rough day yesterday and had gone waaaayyyyy too long without pain meds.  I had to go without pain meds this morning due to having to drive.  By the time I got home and settled down, I was one hurting unit.  I put the ice pack on first and then switched to the cryo-cuff.  I ate a little something and then took a pain pill.  I should have searched harder for a ride so I could have taken some meds prior to therapy.  I keep saying here that you should not go too long without taking your pain meds.  Why do I say this?  Because once you are hurting, it takes time and a lot of stress to get to non-hurting status.  Argh.  If only I would listen to what I say!!  So, please!  Learn from my mistakes.

My mom stopped by after her and my dad went out for dinner.  She took my lil girl outside for me and visited for a bit.  I had settled down by the time she came over, but it was still really nice for her to stop by.  This has been not only a physical challenge, but an emotional one.  I have a hard time reaching out for help.  I’m usually the strong one.  It is challenging to not be the strong one.  Sigh.

Ok, I’m going to bed and praying that tomorrow will be a better day.  Mom is going with me to look at cars (ugh…I hate this process).  I’m not buying anything yet (at least I don’t think I am), but I want to get an idea of what I really want and what I can really afford.  I do know that I definitely need something that does not sit on the ground like my current car.  🙂  I also don’t want something I have to climb up into.  Yea, I know..I’m picky.  LOL!

Have a wonderful night!