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Knee Replacement Surgery-The continuation

Posted Feb 07 2014 12:38pm

Let's be clear-I may have mentioned this in my previous post, but I'll mention it again. I've been through MANY a-surgery. I've experienced various amounts of pain, and have concluded that I am pretty good at handling it. That said-this knee replacement IS the most PAINFUL thing I've ever experienced. When the nerve blocks wore off (one in my back and one in my thigh), no amount of pain medication absolutely resolved my pain like it has in the past for other types of pain. My hope would have been that these pain meds would have completely resolved the pain I was in, but perhaps that is an unrealistic expectation. That being the case, I can honestly say that most time, my pain meds didn't even manage to take the edge off, let alone completely resolve my pain 100%.

When I began physiotherapy after my knee replacement, I learned that I was in store for a whole new level of pain. I took my pain medication a decent amount of time before therapy: 45 minutes to an hour. But this meant very little, especially since the simple walk from the house to the car, then from the car to the actual physiotherapy area of the clinic was already a battle in my eyes.

The things that we (and I) consider so...simple, were such big battles for me. I  began my physio at the end of January, and I am only now just beginning to be able to lie down on my back and straighten my leg all the way so that it's flat on the bed with my toes pointing up. My knee wants to remain a little bit bent-that's how it's more comfortable. One exercise we did was put a roll (the clinic uses a large coffee can covered with a soft cloth) under my knee while I'm lying down, and me straightening my leg from the knee down. This was one of those weird things where my mind was telling my body to do something...but it wasn't listening. Eyes squeezed shut, teeth clenched, beaded sweat dripping down my temples...but no. It wouldn't move. The next exercise involved removing the coffee can and just trying to lift my straightened leg up in the air, hold, then released. Couldn't do it. At this point, my tears came not strictly from pain, but from frustration. All I could hear were the words of my surgeon echoing through my head, telling me that if I didn't really hit the physio hard, my knee would "freeze", as in, develop scar tissue I suppose, and I wouldn't be able to move my knee properly at all. I definitely don't want that.

This week, what should have happened was that I should have been in the group physiotherapy class. However, based on my level of discomfort and difficulty in doing some of the exercises, we stuck to one on one treatment. I think I have really benefited from this and have seen great improvement as well.

One of the things causing a lot of pain for me was, of course, the staples. Another exercise, which involved lying on my back and bending the operated knee up as much as possible while keeping the sole of my feet on the bed, always seemed even more difficult, as I felt that staples were just ripping at my skin with every bend. I mean, of course- a swollen joint is more difficult to use. But, on top of that, imagine a swollen joint that has like 34-35 staples in it. No bueno.



After the staples were removed, my personal ER nurse applied a plethora of steri-strips to my wound. We certainly don't want or need a re-enactment of "stomachgate", where my stomach popped open like a squeezed bag of potato chips, when a doctor ordered my stomach staples out too early and the nurse obliged.  In this instance, my ER nurse checked my knee thoroughly before removing the staples. No re-enactments today.


Before and After

This is me, shoes on, cane in hand, and ready to face physio yesterday.


Physiotherapy yesterday went really well. My tears were minimal and I was able to do much more than I was in previous days. My physio Alma commended me, and that felt good. This felt good because I was beginning to get scared about my progress, and felt that I was perhaps falling behind. I'm glad that I'm not.

The other day, I got a special delivery from my office-lovely flowers! It's nice when your team thinks of you. This definitely lifted my spirits.
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