I had right knee replacement surgery on Friday, July 19 at the University of Virginia Medical Center. This is the latest in a series of posts detailing my observations on the process. Each person recovers from surgery at her own pace so my experiences should not be taken as what your or anyone else’s experiences may be.
- Pain Management (Sort of). Many of you know that pain management has been the least successful part of my recovery. I am finally making progress. The worst pain (which seems to manifest itself at night when I’d really like to sleep) has lessened from a 9-10 to a 7-8. It is no longer all consuming but still way too prevalent for my preference.
- Pool Therapy may be Overated. I began pool therapy a week ago last Friday morning. I was able to to all of the exercises in both the shallow and deep ends. (I’m the only person I know that can float vertically without moving arms or legs.) After getting out of the pool, I was sore for the rest of the day. I tried most of the shallow end exercises at the gym pool on Sunday with the same results. Doing exercises in warm water is supposed to be easier on the joints. Wish it had been easier on mine.
- Back to the Machines. I’ve been using my reclining bike at home for about 4 weeks and had gotten up to 10 minutes. I decided to go to the gym this morning and add weights to my abbreviated exercise routine. I pedalled 15 minutes on the reclining bike, then moved to a core muscle weight machine, leg press, hip abductor and adductor, and several arm machines. I selected lighter weights than I did before surgery as I had not been to the gym since July 18. I finished up with some stretches and leg lifts on the floor. I’m not as sore as I expected and at least now if something hurts I’ve given it a reason.
- Medical Residents May Need Supervision. Last Thursday I had my 6 week check up with my surgeon. He was very pleased with the results and said the pain might last up to 6 months but he did not expect my pain to last that long (heavy sigh). Before I saw him, I was seen by a resident. The resident asked me to lay back on the examining table so he could access my knee’s range of motion. Extending the knee so that the back of the knee touched the table was no problem. As I was drawing my knee back towards my shoulder, he grabbed my right foot and knee, shoving it back to the shoulder, making me yelp in pain. He mumbled an apology. At the time, I did not think anything of it, but that night I had my last 9-10 pain level. I called the joint replacement office to report what had happened. We all agree that manhandling a patient is not a preferred medical technique. Residents can be like some puppies and require extra training.
- New leg hair growing near the surgery site. This last one a surprise. As a woman of a certain age, leg hair is no longer something I am usually concerned about. After looking at my leg in the bright sunshine, I realize some leg grooming may be in order.