I did it, I had knee replacement surgery and am finally on he mend and able to sit for long periods a my computer.
Before I had the surgery everyone was saying “the first 2 weeks are the worst”, or “I wish I’d had it done sooner”. Having gone through it I can honestly say the first 2 weeks were the worst but I also said What have I done to myself.
Since they gave me a spinal I couldn’t feel anything below my waist after surgery. They kept telling me to wiggle my toes and flex my feet and I was really trying but couldn’t feel anything happening. The nurses all told me I was doing a good job and my toes and feet were indeed moving but I still had my doubts. Eventually the feeling started returning to my toes and moving up my leg until I could feel the pain in my knee. My butt on the other hand was still numb and that was a strange feeling.
I didn’t do much but sleep the rest of the day but the next morning Physical Therapy came in and got me up and walking in the hall with a walker. That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was and actually felt pretty good to be moving though the toughest part was the exercises they had me doing first in a chair and then in bed where I had to bend my knee as much as I could. Whenever I was in bed they propped a pillow under my calf with strict orders it was NOT to go under my knee as my leg was not to be bent while I was resting. One nurse told me it prevents blood clots but another explanation I’d heard which is the one I believe was that they didn’t want my knee to get locked in a bent position of have the muscles tighten and me not be able to straighten my leg. The reason I believe this reason was the Therapist told me that we focus on how much my knee bends but the thing they’re more concerned with was that I can straighten it.
On the 4th day I was on my way home with a walker and to be honest, sitting in the car was very uncomfortable so thankfully it wasn’t too long of a drive. PT came out the next morning along with the home care nurse and everything looked fine. I had exercises I needed to do while sitting in a chair or laying in bed and my incision looked fine.
My second day home was a different story though. I developed a bright red circle about the size of a baseball on my lower shin that wasn’t only painful but also hot to touch. Of course I called the nurse who came out and called the doctor’s office. I was told to elevate and ice the area and keep an eye on it. Two days later my knee hurt like the dickens and the next afternoon when the therapist came out he looked at it and quickly called the nurse and sent her a picture. His words were “it looks angry”. The nurse was there within 30 minutes and I was quickly on my way to the ER with an infection in my incision. To say I was scared would be an understatement, I was in tears the entire time the nurse was talking to me. I know Don was more than a little concerned too. You see, his mom had a knee replacement in 2002 and it got infected. She was in and out of the hospital for years with an infection that went to the bone and they couldn’t get it under control. She lost her knee then lost her leg above the knee. Four years later she needed a heart valve replacement and they couldn’t do surgery until she was infection free so they were talking about amputating to the hip in hopes they can get rid of it for good. She lost her life before that decision could be made. With that in the back of Don’s and my mind any mention of infection was devastating news.
Well, an antibiotic IV and home with a script for oral antibiotics and I was on my way to recovery. The therapist reassured me that this was just a setback and I was going to be fine. Exactly two weeks after surgery and I was promoted from a walker to a cane and I was given more exercises to do. These I have to do standing at the sink and they’re actually fun but tiring at the same time. As someone who’s physically out of shape standing and marching in place, bending my knees back and trying to kick my butt, kicking my legs out to the sides and doing squats are hard work. One thing in my favor is the Fabio Viviani Comfort Mat I got to review.
Since Don is the main dish washer I put it in front of the sink and while he complains that he doesn’t like having to step up to get to the sink he’s getting use to it and does say it’s very comfortable.
Two weeks after beginning with the cane i was released from using any assistive devices at all. The therapist and I took a nice 2 block walk outside and he said my left leg is moving as it should but my right let (old, original knee) was lagging behind when I walked. Another great thing was my extension of my knee was 0 degrees which is what they want, that means my knee goes completely straight where my right knee has a slight bend and I can’t straighten it completely no matter how hard I try. I was discharged from home therapy and waiting to hear from the outpatient therapy facility that they’ve received the order from my doc. I guess once I start there I’ll be riding a bicycle and doing other great things to get my knee to bend to 100-120 degrees. Right now it’s at 95 degrees which is much better than the 82 degrees it was the first day the therapist came to my house.
As far as the looks of the incision, it’s getting smoother and I’m working on keeping scar tissue to a minimum with the help of Avon. The nurse told me to use vitamin E oil but my sister-in-law gave me a bottle of Skin So Soft Signature Silk Oil to try and when I showed it to the nurse she read the ingredients and said it was perfect.
I’m still waiting for that time when I’ll be saying I don’t know why I waited so long to have it done.