Saturday, July 28, 2012
Caution: Knee surgery results, therapy not for squeamish
It's Day Five since my knee replacement. I've been to the grocery store (briefly), had lunch at a pizzeria and helped straighten up my home office.
I've also had some fitful nights when pain woke me up, an upset stomach from not eating enough while on pain medicine and frustration from being so darned bored. In other words, I'm recuperating about as planned, even better.
I'm one of the lucky ones. I had a knee replacement done about eight years ago and thought I knew what to expect. Truthfully, this one is going far better than the last. Sure, there is still pain, just not as severe; my hospital stay was short and while my range of motion is restricted, I'm able to walk with the aid of just a cane rather than a walker (the kind with neon yellow tennis balls stuck on the front legs) a lot sooner than before. Now that benefit is a little risky because it makes me cocky, feeling I can rush things along - which I can't.
I'm also lucky because I waited too long for the surgery. I was in such great pain before the surgery, the recovery is less painful and at least now I know this is an end.
And there's the real answer to when you should have your own knee replaced - when you don't have another choice. Now I will suggest you evaluate that situation very carefully.
In today's world of instant gratification, some people want the option of replacing a knee because they feel discomfort maybe because the cartilage is worn or you tore a meniscus. But brother, it's not like popping in a new battery into your iPhone and on you go. There is no "on you go."
In this case, you have to be marathoner not a sprinter
And you need to be less self-conscious about how your legs look in shorts (see photo above - that's going to leave a nasty scar.)
Replacing a knee is not for the squeamish. But pain is minimized, and therapy - if done right - is purposely long to ensure the recuperative effect lasts. But understand that, at least in my case, the end justifies the means. Contrary to what my wife believes, I am not a big fan of pain.
Some researchers have found four overarching themes why some people put off their decisions.
One conclusion was people needed more education and support about total knee replacement which is one of the reasons I am writing this blog.
You really can return to a normal life like walking the dog, gardening or doing housework with very few restrictions.
My goals are returning to snow shoeing this winter, bicycling to work in the spring and taking long walks with my wife at night. I'm more than halfway there now that I took that leap of faith.
I learned early on that delays and excuses will not make the situation better; only action can take care of that.
The next phase is therapy which will be tough because of the scar tissue and the massive swelling of the leg that will come down but only over time. See you on the back side.