Knee Update – Three Weeks Out

Three weeks ago I had full knee replacement surgery done. I continue to improve. Because I spent last week in the tiny house, then came back to the main house for the weekend, I have a good set of benchmarks against which to measure myself. And though I am occasionally discouraged–this weekend was difficult for a number of reasons–I do know that I’m doing really well.

Strength: I’m still walking too much. I’m still pushing too much. My brother had a knee replacement done a month before mine, and I’m trying to learn from him and his example. I was walking 5000 steps per day, and suffering as a result. Cutting my steps back to 3000 and not pushing as hard reduced my pain and my swelling. So though I feel strong enough to walk, I shouldn’t.

I need to be gentle, which isn’t always my forte.

Flexibility: Last week, during PT, I got my knee to bend 100 degrees. This is good. I need to get it between 110-120 before I can start using the pedal machine and bike. Once I get there, my recovery should greatly improve. For now, again, I need to be GENTLE. Consistently flexing and doing my exercises, but gently.

Swelling: My PT told me that I should be icing five times a day. That’s a lot. I generally make it to four times a day. I’m also wrapping my ankle at night. This has reduced the swelling.

My PT also told me that I could use heat on my upper thigh muscles, as long as I didn’t put any heat on the knee itself. After I heated, I would need to ice. This has helped a lot. Those thigh muscles really needed some love and some heat and are much happier.

Pain: The pain is a funny thing. It isn’t as consistent as one might think. And when I feel pain doesn’t always match up with where I am in terms of taking medication. For example, I’m taking pain meds once every six hours. One might think that I’d be having the most knee pain around hour five. One would be mistaken. Yesterday, when I was charting it, I found that I was in the most pain around hour two, only to have it fade by hour four, and be pretty neutral at hour six. I’m still having the doctor refill the heavy duty pain meds this week, and we’ll see where I am next week.

Sleep: I’m still napping during the day. I’m trying not to, so that I’ll sleep better at night. But I find I can’t keep my eyes open sometimes.

I slept a lot (A LOT) this weekend. I appeared to have needed that. I’m hoping that this next week I’ll be able to sleep more consistently at night, so I can nap less and possibly do more things.

Pain is part of the reason why I’m not sleeping great. So even though the pain meds don’t always do great things in terms of the pain, they do help me sleep. Sleeping more at night I think would be a good thing.

Brain: My creative brain has made an appearance , which means I’m writing fiction again! SO EXCITING. Last night I actually figured out the end of one of the short stories I’m writing, so I need to get back to that. Plus I have the mystery that’s due Nov 1st. Etc.

I still don’t have a tremendous amount of concentration. I find that I can work for maybe an hour and a half and then my brain is kind of done. I need a long break and down time before I can do anything more. I figure that’s due to a combination of things, like still recovering from surgery, not getting great sleep, and the pain meds.

But this morning I have caffeine and coffee, and life is better.

What exciting things are you looking forward to this week?

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