Kneed to know basis…

I had knee replacement in April. Seems like I waited forever to get my surgery date, then-bam-3 months flew by. While I’d definitely have the surgery again, I’m surprised (and disappointed) that I haven’t bounced back as fast as I thought. Guess that’s what happens when you’re not 20 anymore. Or 30, 40, 50. You see where I’m going with this? Everything I do takes longer, including healing. While that sucks, I can think of many folks who aren’t around anymore who’d love to be healing at a snails pace. So not gonna whine about getting slower. At least I’m getting older. Here’s my recovery update. Yay.

Third–The Good:

11. I’m finally starting to sleep better, except for an occasional night. If I maintain a certain consistent bed time, place an ice cold gel pack on my knee and read for about half an hour, I’m usually drowsy enough to fall asleep. Staying asleep is still an issue, but I’m doing better.

Incision has come a long way in 3 months…

R. The Chelsea Wellness Center is changing companies/policies/personnel, so while I consistently had one main guy named Rob, (who was awesome) my exercise program person changed almost every session, so there wasn’t a lot of continuity. So glad I’m finally done with going to therapy.

7. Hoping this week’s visit with Dr. Carpenter will be my last (forever! Please hold out and behave left knee). I’ve already seen him twice post surgery and was surprised when another appointment was set up for me.

XII. I am making some strides with my knee. Kind of strange because it happens when I’m not thinking about certain movements. There seems to be no noticeable change for a week or two, then one day I automatically pick up my leg and slip it into a pair of capris instead of putting the pant leg near the floor and sliding my foot through. One night watching TV, I notice both my knees are bent in a V shape with both feet flat on the recliner, although my left leg is snugged more tightly towards my butt than the other. But I did it without thinking (wincing, groaning, tugging or swearing) which is a major accomplishment.

T. While I have some aches and stiffness in my hamstring, the pain in my knee is gone. The place I find quite tender is a couple inches just to the right of the bottom of my incision. The gel pack sits there for the first few minutes.

First–The Bad:

LL. I’m still not comfortable venturing outdoors without a cane. Sigh. While that makes me feel old, inadequate and decrepit, it’s far better to use it than falling. This extra needful-artificial-appendage disgusts me, but I seriously doubt it has much to do with my new joint. I think it’s linked to Meniere’s which has haunted me for 15 years, stemming from my hearing loss. My balance is not the best on a good day, which has now been complicated by my new ceramic joint and knee cap.

Still my frequent companion unfortunately…

6a. Dang back has been a thorn in my side lately. I go months without a flare up, then all of a sudden I bend down to pick up a “plueshie” (Dutch slang for a crumb or fuzzy on the carpet) off the floor and I feel it slip out of place. A swollen lump the size of Milky Way candy bar forms low on the left side of my back. Nuts. I find my prescription for Flexeril, stick on a Solanpa patch, get out my heating pad and try not to move (which is a two-edged sword). The more I don’t move the stiffer I get. When I try to stand, I’m literally hunched over at the waist for the first excruciating 30 steps, then I usually manage to straighten mostly upright. But that’s not the worst of my back issues when it’s acting up. The worst happens when I’m laying down and try to sit up or stand. Electric shock spasms shoot from the lump down my leg to my toes. (This is to be avoided at all costs. Feels like I’m grabbing an electric fence, which I’ve done). Those little sharp spasms occur mostly in the morning when I’m trying to get up, but were consistent this time for over 3 weeks. Infuriating and actually kind of scary with my sometimes wobbly leg.

E. Stamina is an issue. I’m pooped after shopping an hour at Meijer. This is so embarrassing, goodness that’s hardly getting started at my favorite store. I’ve already accepted not running multiple errands on any given day, I now have to choose and limit myself to one or 2 when heading out. Last week however I managed to get in and out of the car 5 times, during one outing. Yes, I was quite proud. And totally shot for the rest of the day.

8. Therapy took forever. Sixteen sessions, should have finished in late June. We were out of town for a couple days so I had to reschedule one appointment, which brought it into July. Then my back went out and I couldn’t stand up straight for over a week. I closely resembled an upside down capital L, which put all leg exercises on the back burner for 10 days. Trying to reschedule, the only open spot was one day at 8 am, meaning my last appointment went into the next week. Ugh.

This is looking better everyday..

P. I used to walk at a nice clip. No more. Now I have to come to a compete stop if I intend to turn my head in either direction or I lose my balance. Arghhhhhhh.

Second–The Ugly:

5. I wasn’t limber before surgery. I have not been able to squat down for at least a decade. Thus it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that my knee does not want/like to bend. Straight and extending is great, but damn if I didn’t fear/stew/worry/constantly about going to physical therapy because I could not make my right knee bend comfortably beyond 115 degrees. Until the last day! Rob was loosening my knee up and for the first time he was forcing it a bit further in every direction. Not white knuckle pain but not very comfortable either. He gave me the old, “come on Iowa Hawkeye fan, you can do this,” routine with his little gauge propped up while I slowly inched my flat foot backwards towards my butt. It wasn’t easy, had look ugly and hopeless but I finally made the bend to 120 degrees. He assured me my bending degree will continue to improve for up to a year so I’m hopeful.

See that discolored strip down towards my ankle. Ick…

6b. The bruising that appeared about a week after surgery was horrendous from the bottom of my heal to mid thigh! While the bruises have faded, I’m not very happy with the skin discoloration that seems to linger. Even the nurse’s first IV attempt bruise is still visible. Is this because of my age? Or am I lacking something? Will it ever go back to normal? Enquiring minds wanna know.

In Conclusion:

17. Please tell me I can’t be the only person who finds almost everything about Battle Bots totally asinine like a bad joke? (Except for the actual Bots engineering teams which show some very clever ideas) From the corny hosts, the hopeless announcer, a much too enthusiastic audience, to the dimming of the lights leading up to the 30 second pause before the green light comes on, I find this program one of the dumbest. No, I don’t watch it but have walked into the family room when Hubs is immersed in an episode.

Doug (it will keel) J., Wil (former Army Ranger) & David on Forged in Fire…

And Lastly:

C. Just as oddly, why do I totally love Forged in Fire? What’s up with that? I mean it’s about 4 competing blade smiths (vying for $10,000 prize money) making their own knives in 3 hours, usually out of materials that would not be their first choice. Love the host Wil Willis (I know his name is wacky but he’s appealing) and the judges, J. Neilson, David Baker, Doug Marcaida (“this knife will keel.” What a hoot) and sometimes Ben Abbott in place of Neilson. Ben’s a wiry little shit who’s amazingly strong. It shouldn’t appeal to me at all, yet I look forward to every episode. Can’t figure it out but I’m hooked…

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