A week ago I had a full knee replacement done. Normally on random Mondays, I do an accountability post. Doesn’t really make sense at this point, as what I was holding myself accountable for has radically changed. Eventually I might get back there, but for now, I figure I’ll just chat about what’s happening with the knee.
I will try not to ever be too graphic about any of these, but feel free to skip if this kind of stuff squicks you out.
I had a nerve block for the first several days after surgery. I figure that really helped with the pain. I couldn’t feel anything along the top of my leg.
At this point, parts of the top of my leg are still numb, particularly down around my ankle. Other parts are completely “live” as it were. I will check with my doctor if that numbness will ever go away or if I’m going to be stuck with it. I’m assuming that it will fade, it’s just taking some time.
This weekend, after we removed the nerve block apparatus, we also removed the compression bandage. My entire leg promptly swelled up to 2-3x the size of the other one. The bruises all bloomed as well, and my leg turned pretty much every color in the rainbow.
I’ve been taking the pain management aspects of this surgery very seriously, basically, “nuke it from orbit.” I am not in pain, then trying to take something to deal with it. No, instead, I am for the most part without pain, and not allowing myself to ever be in a lot of pain. I am staying on top of the pain, instead of chasing after it.
Everyone I talked with said it was important to do that, to not try to tough this out. There are consequences, both good and bad, to such an approach.
On the one hand, I see steady, incremental improvements to my knee strength and flexibility. I’m willing to do my exercises more often, and I’m willing to push some, because a small bit of pain when I do is nothing. I’m not in pain all the time.
Taking so many drugs means I’m sleeping all the damned time. I know, I know. I heal when I sleep. I take medication once every three hours. So basically, one hour out of every three, I’m sleeping. It means though I’ve been on my ass not doing much for a week, I’m not too bored yet. I figure that will change this week.
However, taking so much medication also means I’m constipated. I’ve reached out to my doctor to figure out what the next steps are for this. (No advice please.)
The other problem is that the opioids act as an appetite suppressant. I didn’t realize that at first. I wouldn’t be hungry for most of the day, and it wasn’t until the next morning when I was STARVING that I figured out what was going on. I’m trying to eat more calories regardless of whether or not I’m hungry.
Because of where I live, I opted for crutches instead of a walker and cane. There are no sidewalks out here on the property, nothing paved. Crutches made a lot more sense getting from the main house to either of the tiny houses.
Yesterday, I felt as though I regained my balance. I can now hobble along on my feet and not need any support to walk. I continue to use a single crutch as a cane. I’m not completely steady.
I remain very thankful that I had good strength and flexibility prior to surgery. It means I can sit and touch my toes, put on my own socks, etc. I can stand on one leg and reach down and pick something up from the floor. After I sit down on the couch, I am able to lift my injured leg up. Etc.
I sent out a couple of important emails yesterday. I still have more to do today. I only have so much brain though. Am trying to parcel out the work for when I can think.
The main thing on my plate, though, is healing. I do believe that by the end of the month I’ll be in pretty good shape, and back to mostly healed by the end of the year. It’s strange for me to have a focus other than writing, but honestly, that’s where I’m at.
What are you focused on from now until the end of the year? Any one big single thing?