Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Looking Forward to Better Times

Surgery has been a really social event for me. Most of it has gone extremely well, and I've had a lot of good company at the hospital and now at home. I had a couple or three really bad hours the second day when the femoral nerve block faded and the pain took its place.

About two hours into that, my friends from Oregon called. Blake completed his second knee replacement in December. Blake and Jo Ann were both on the phone, and without even saying hello, Jo Ann told me,"Charlotte, we want you to know the pain never gets worse than this." And Blake agreed. They timed it perfectly, and I relaxed. An hour later, all was well.

The rehab hospital was everything I had hoped. Three hours a day, I had physical or occupational therapy. From the third day, I walked down two long halls to therapy, unassisted on my walker. I came home after a week because by the third day, I had reached 100 degrees of motion and could hold the knee down flat. And that is a tribute to the hours of therapy I put into prepapring for this. I didn't even need help dressing the second day!

In rehab, I saw many patients of other doctors. Some had the white compression stockings. I think some used the machine that straightens, then bends the knee automatically. I don't think it matters too much, so long as we exercise and get no infections.

Yeah, it's still sore. Since the surgery, though, I am standing differently and my lower back no longer hurts. I trundle the walker down the drive to pick up the paper, then again to get the mail. A therapist comes 3 times a week and the nurse comes twice a week. I run through exercises twice every day.

I see the doctor July 5 and hope then I will be able to drive and stop taking the damn coumadin. I am beginning to get hints of the change in my life that is coming. With only one knee repaired, I will be able to do so much more. When I do the second knee next summer, it will move my internal clock back years. Wow.

I suspect one reason so many older people are living quality lives so much longer today is due to knee and hip replacements. I know my orthopedist believes that.

Matt mentioned that it was a REALLY bad knee. I understand one can, if one wishes, see a knee replacement operation on YouTube. Now, I used to be a medical writer. Saw a bunch of operations and wrote about them. One of my doctor's operating staff wandered in the third day and said more than I really wanted to hear about extreme hammering and chiseling. I know the whole leg was black and blue, and my surgeon prides himself on not leaving much brusing.

Nope, I don't really need to know more.

I have a few things else I want to say, though, so I'll probably post a couple more times on knee replacements and me before getting on to something else.


clairz said...

Charlotte, it's so good to "hear" your voice and to know that you are of good cheer. You are so right--your life is about to improve 100%. I know mine did after my knee replacements.

We are lucky that we live in this time, because I would be very, very crabby if I had to continue with the awful knee pain I had before surgery.

Stay well!

charlotte g said...

Thanks, Clair. My knee had ossified so much there wasn't much pain before. The after is getting better every day 119 degrees of movement in knee yesterday!

phlegmfatale said...


I have been working 60 hour weeks this entire month, but that is not an adequate excuse for not having checked in on you before now. Matt has told me of your progress, and I'm delighted to read your accounting of what sounds like a rather smooth recovery. I'm also glad you've had a network of friends who can tell you about their own experiences with same. I know this does get better and that every day my mom is walking better and regaining indpendence of which she'd so long been robbed by the brutal pain of no cartilage in the knees.

I'm happy for you, and I'm thankful for your progress and your daily enriched live. Get out there and live, girl, because you've got some serious miles left on your bad self!