April 26, 2012

Four Weeks - Knee Replacement

Wow...4 weeks today!!  I just can't believe it has gone by this quickly and has gone so smoothly.  I am VERY grateful that it has gone so well.

Today's PT was more of the new regimen.  The step-ups were easier than on Monday and the weighted exercises were pretty okay too.  The best part...105 degrees on my own and 115 degrees with help from the physical therapist.  Woo!!  With very little effort my knee is at 90 degrees when I let my leg dangle down off the table.  Everything is becoming a little easier each day.

I must say I am very happy with my new knee and recovery at this point.  Here is a picture of my incision/scar that I took on Monday.  All steri-strips finally came off and the incision has healed enough that I can start using cream and massage to help the scar fade and not be too tight.   I think it looks pretty good.  Corey says it definitely looks better than when the staples were in it (LOL).  The kids both just think "Ick!"  

April 24, 2012

Week 3 of PT

Started week 3 of PT on Monday and it was great...exhausting but great!  I can now bend my left knee 101 degrees on my own and 110 degrees with help!  I'm so stoked.  The 110 was NOT comfortable at all...but my knee can do it.  The rest of my regimen was bumped up a level.  I did a new machine for bending my knee and working my hamstring.  I also started doing step-ups...stepping up using my left leg without pulling myself up with my arms...man, those are HARD right now.  All of my other exercises are the same but now involve ankle weights.  I was sore by the end of it but it was a "feels good" sore...you know you worked it and earned it.  I'm doing great with the cane as well.

Monday was a tough day for me, I over did it.  :-/   I drove Morgan to her mother's helper job which is about 30-35 minutes away.  Shortly after returning home I drove to PT and did that for an hour.  Then a couple hours later drove back to pick up Morgan.  By the time we got home I was very uncomfortable and needed to have my leg elevated and have ice on it.  It took a while for things to calm back down but they did.  Corey had to go to the office in Brentwood today and tomorrow so Monday night I didn't set an alarm for my usual "middle of the night" pain pill.  I just took it when he got up at 5:30...that worked out just fine.  

Today was better with the knee.  I took Morgan to the dentist and then to her job.  However, we made arrangements for the mom to bring her back to town for dance.  I'm so thankful that she has been willing to pick up and drop off Morgan while I had surgery and am going through recovery.  I took Alex to fencing and then we relaxed the rest of the afternoon at home.  Corey was at the office so I went back out to pick up Morgan from dance but it wasn't until 7:30 so had plenty of relaxing time.  Unfortunately, today was emotionally exhausting.  I found out this afternoon that a friend of 14 years lost her 22 year old son unexpectedly.  My heart is breaking for her and the entire family.  I wish there was something I could do to make this better, easier for her, but I know there isn't.  I can be here as a friend and that is it.  If you are inclined, please keep my friend in your thoughts and prayers.  I know she will need them.  

April 23, 2012

Week 3 weekend

Friday I graduated to using the cane instead of the walker so this weekend was all about getting around with the cane...and learning how to get out of the chair without using the walker.  That was fun to figure out.  LOL!  On Saturday we all decided that we would try going out to lunch again.  I was hoping that I had made enough progress and had "turned the corner" so that the outing would be relatively easy.  It was.  We went to Applebee's because it is close and I wouldn't have to spend a lot of time in the car.  We had a small wait for food and a nice leisurely lunch.  We had to make a Walmart trip also but they brought me home first.  I knew I wasn't up for that kind of outing.  My leg felt really good after lunch so I was thrilled.  While Corey and the kids were gone to Walmart, I did some things around the house...unload & reload the dishwasher, get together a load of clothes & got them in the washer, and washed up the few pots & pans that were soaking.  Not bad!  Oh, and I also figured out how to get out of my recliner without using the walker.  It takes a bit of work but it is doable.  Yay me!   I also figured out that if I sit on the couch I can bend my left knee enough that I can get on my own socks and shoes.  Man, things are coming back together.  It truly is the little things in life that can make you happy.    By Saturday night my knee was a little swollen & achy...I did a lot on Saturday so that's all it was.  So on Sunday I went a little easier on it.  I'm also finding that there are times I can stretch the period between pain pills...found this out by just forgetting to take them and my knee feeling fine.  LOL!  I also noticed that I don't need ice all the time...after PT or exercising or using it a lot but not all the time like in the beginning.  Progress! 

Today marks the beginning of my 3rd week of PT.  Ashley, my physical therapist, told me that we will be adding stuff to my plan today and working on doing more stairs.  She said she'll be pushing me but it isn't anything she doesn't feel I'm not ready for.  She also warned me that I'll be sore!  Sooo...time to take my pain pill and head to PT.  

April 19, 2012

Three Weeks - Knee Replacement

Today is three weeks since my knee replacement surgery.  Recovery is going very well, better than I expected.  Today at PT I bumped up my time on the Nustep by 2 minutes (total 10 minutes) on level 3 and we moved the seat closer 1 notch which means my knee bends a little more.  I can bend my knee 96 degrees on my own and...get this... 106 degrees with assistance!!  Crazy and Wonderful I tell ya!  :-)   I talked my physical therapist about transitioning to a cane and we are going to start working on that.  It won't be overnight but every step is a step in the right direction.

As easy as my recovery has been and as well as it has gone.  I'm incredibly blessed...and I know it.  What people need to understand is that "easy" doesn't mean there are no issues, no pain or discomfort, no problems.  It just means that considering everything that was done to my knee and everything that I've gone through, my recovery period has gone very smoothly & very easily.  Some people have a much harder time and a lot of problems.  Recovery from something like this is still work.  I haven't had pain but I have had discomfort.  Now, compared to the burning pain I was having in my knee before surgery this is nothing really. But being uncomfortable for hours on end or off & on all day gets old and tiring very quickly.  Not being able to do much is hard to handle.   Keeping your leg elevated and iced a good bit of the time (continuously in the beginning) is very hard.  Sleeping on your back in one position with ice and an elevated leg is rough and often ends up in very little sleep...especially when you aren't one that normally sleeps on your back.  As your leg starts the reawakening process you get serious stinging "pins & needles" feelings throughout your leg (above and below the surgical site).   Your incision site is numb, the area directly around it is numb and often other areas are numb too.  For me it is the top of my left foot...it feels very weird if I touch it or scratch it.  There is also some weakness when flexing my foot.  I think all of that will resolve itself.  Fingers crossed!  At first the exercises are hard and they hurt.  Walking with your walker hurts.  But you have to do it all so you will improve.  Surgery itself wipes you out.  Not being able to move around much or do anything takes a toll on your stamina so you have to build that back up.  Pain pills often knock you out or make you sleepy so that doesn't help either.  Riding in the car is difficult because it is hard to get in and then when you do it hurts because your knee is bent and it feels stiff and throbbing since it is "hanging down".

All of that is NORMAL after the surgery.  All of this (and more) is to be expected.  All of this makes for an easy recovery.  It is other stuff that makes your recovery harder.  I am so thankful that my recovery has been easy!

My stamina is increasing.  I am getting up and down more at home.  I am able to do more.  Yesterday,  I made pancakes and was able to mix everything up and cook several before I needed a break to sit down.  I've washed dishes at the sink, have loaded the dishwasher (can't really unload yet).  I manage to use the walker and carry some simple things (my covered cup, an ice pack,etc).  I am VERY ready for a good night of sleep, where I can just curl up in bed (NOT on my back) and go to sleep like normal.  I'm looking forward to being able to go out for lunch or dinner without wincing and being all twitchy in my seat because my leg & knee hurt.  I'm looking forward to being able to do car rides or driving for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. I know it will all come with time.  I am trying to be patient.  

April 16, 2012

95 degrees!

One of the first big goals you have in physical therapy after a total knee replacement is bending your knee 90 degrees.  You have exercises that you must do a few times a day plus your physical therapy sessions which all help you get there.  It isn't easy, you have to work for it.  But, I want to get back to normal.  I want to have the most function out of my new knee possible.  And the *only* way that is going to happen is by taking my pain pills so I can do all of my exercises and work hard during physical therapy.  Friday, was my 2 weeks + 2 days mark and I was at 89 degrees by myself  and 94 degrees with help.  I had a nice weekend (good sleep at night...really helps) and today I was at 95 degrees by myself!!  I'm so excited!  I love physical therapy!  It actually feels good to work my knee and my therapist is great!

They don't work on extension as much because from the beginning they have your leg straight most of the time. When you elevate your leg or just have it stretched out (which is almost all of the time), your leg is straight.  Ice also feels fabulous on your knee because that prevents swelling. Swelling is not good because it causes pain and tightness!  Trust me, you don't want this.  If you keep your leg bent, dangle your leg down a lot or anything like that, then your extension will suffer.  You need a good extension for good, smooth walking ability.  Right now my extension is perfect (0 degrees) and as long as it remains that way we don't have to do much with it.  If I ever have an issue with it...then we will have to add stretching exercises specifically for that. And the therapist made a face when she said it...so I don't think we want to go there.  LOL!

The next goal for bending my knee is 100 degrees.  I also am hoping for a cane soon.  They haven't brought it up and I haven't asked about it.  Part of me feels ready for one but there is still a part that feels I'm not quite there yet.  When I'm tired or my leg is uncomfortable, I really lean on & use the walker.  When I'm feeling good I just barely hold on to it.  Sooo, I know I'll get it when the time is right for me to have it.

April 11, 2012

Two Weeks - Knee Replacement

Two weeks today!  I can't believe it has already been 2 weeks since my total knee replacement surgery.  I still tire very easily and it still surprises me.  Although, you would think I'd be used to it by now.  I have been more active around the house and I get admonished not to push it every day from my mom, Corey and the kids.  Morgan is very big on "Did your Dr. say you could do that?  Does your Physical Therapist know you are doing that?".  LOL!  Gotta love all my care takers and how seriously they take their task.  :-)  

Today was my "big outing" day. My mom and Morgan took me to physical therapy this morning and then we all headed out to try out a new little pie place in downtown Columbia, Pie Sensations.  I was pretty wiped out after physical therapy so it was a pretty big deal for me to go anywhere other than HOME afterwards.  The ride home was a little uncomfortable but I managed okay.  Home meant leg elevated, ice gel pack on and a pain pill in but all was good.  I took a nice nap later in the afternoon.  Then after dinner, I had my next outing of the day...I went up to Columbia Dance Academy to watch Morgan's intensive dance class.  Millie was surprised to see me there and we chatted a bit.  I felt really good for that outing and didn't need to rush home or anything.  We planned it a bit better and brought ice with us so I think that helped a bit.  I think more outings could be in my near future as long as I plan them out good first.

I've been a little daring and have taken a few baby steps without using my walker (but with the walker right there).  I'm hoping that by the end of this week I'll be able to transition over to the cane.  But if the physical therapist doesn't feel I'm quite ready then I'm preparing myself to be PATIENT...not my strong suit!  Keep your fingers crossed that I'm ready.

April 8, 2012


Friday afternoon Morgan asked if she could go to a movie with a friend and have her friend sleep over.  I wasn't sure at first because I had had a rough night Thursday night and part of Friday morning. But then I decided that it would be good for her to spend some time with a friend and I'd be fine having someone over.  So, Corey took Morgan up to the movie theatre to meet her friend and then hit up Wal-mart and Kroger to take care of our shopping needs.  He decided to pick up pizza for dinner on the way home to make everything nice & easy for when the girls were done at the movies.  Well, the girls got out of the movie and the friend's mom dropped them off at our house.  Corey got the pizza & texted me that he was heading home.  Well, a few minutes later I get another text that the car won't start and he'll have to wait about 10 minutes to try it again (this anti-theft thing in the steering column of the car).  So, time passes on and I get texts from him that the car still isn't starting.  Our options are either me try to drive to pick him up OR contact someone else that could do it.  See, I'm not cleared to drive yet and I had just taken a pain pill (not a good thing).  So, I called my mom and she headed out to get him.  Our worry at this point was that the groceries were going to go bad.  Ugh!  He finally got home an hour after getting the pizza.  *Phew*  He also had talked to the manager to make sure he could leave the car there overnight & get it on Saturday.   The kids were all great Friday night...we watched movies & had pizza...just had a good time.  Saturday the girls just hung out listening to music, watching movies on dvd and being silly.  They went to see another movie Saturday afternoon before Laura went home.  I think they are trying to make plans again for this coming weekend too.  It has been a while since they've hung out and I think they realize just how much they've missed it.  On Saturday afternoon I sent Alex with Corey to run some errands.  Alex has been great about staying with me when Corey has to run Morgan places and I wanted him to get out of the house some.  I think both of my guys were nervous about leaving me home all alone for the first time since surgery.  It went just fine.  LOL!  Mainly, I read, played online, and crashed out in my recliner thanks to a pain pill.

Happy Easter to you and your family.  This year I decided that I was going to make up baskets for the kids but also one for my mom and brother.  I figure it has been years since anyone has made them a basket for Easter.  So yesterday, Alex helped me get out the baskets and all the candy.  Everyone got a solid chocolate bunny, some peanut butter eggs, Cadbury cream eggs, and cookies & cream bunnies.  Then we took all of our plastic eggs and filled them with jelly beans, mini Cadbury chocolate eggs, and M&M's.  My mom got a special giant egg filled with jordan almonds (since she can't eat the peanut butter eggs).  Then we added a little something for each person...Morgan got a special soda, Alex a game, Mom some flower seeds, and my brother a bottle of beer and a Nashville Sounds baseball schedule.  The kids got to have their baskets this morning and my mom & brother got their basket when they came over for dinner today.  For dinner we had ham slices (from our CSA). potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, and desserts.   I was too stuffed from dinner so I haven't had dessert yet.

Today is day 12 with my new knee.  Everything is going well.  I'm doing more repetitions when I do my exercises, I'm good about getting out of the recliner on my own, getting myself dressed & ready.  My biggest issue is not being able to do stuff because of the walker...so I need someone to get stuff for me all of the time. I'll be glad when I don't have to do that anymore.

April 5, 2012

Kelly's Surgery - Total Knee Replacement - Day 9

Week 1 went very well.  Yesterday I went to see my ortho, Dr. M.  I was x-rayed and everything looks just right...nice and straight.  He examined my knee and said everything seems to be going fine. We discussed the poor excuse of home PT that I had on Monday and we wrote an order for outpatient PT after I said that I was more than willing & able to get out of the house for it.  Then his nurse came in to remove the staples from my incision...all 50 of them.  Alex took a picture of my staples right before they were removed. 

I don't have to go back to see the ortho for 6 weeks.  Unless, of course, something is going on.

Today I went for my first outpatient PT session.  I just have to say that I *love* my new physical therapist!  PT was work, I won't tell you it wasn't.  But it was very much worth it and actually felt good.  My physical therapist said I was doing great & am ahead of where someone would typically be at 1 week out.  My extensive is a perfect 0 degrees (straight leg) and on my own I can bend my knee to 78 degrees and can get to 86 degrees with help.  The goal this week is to continue all of my daily exercises and to be able to bend my knee to 90 degrees on my own.   I really enjoyed the machine I got to use for 5 minutes (goal was 3).  Next week  I'll have PT on Mon, Wed, and Fri.

I haven't stayed on top of my pain pills this evening so tonight I've had a hard time keeping my knee/leg comfortable.  I took a pain pill and walked around the house with my walker.  I look forward to the day I won't be using that...and graduate to a cane.  :-)

April 3, 2012

Kelly's Surgery - Total Knee Replacement

Last Wednesday, March 28th,  I had a left total knee replacement.  Since I had to be at the hospital at 5:30am, Alex spent the night with GC.  Morgan was getting picked up for her mother's helper job so she stayed home.  So the 28th started early as I showered and grabbed my bags to head up to the hospital.  I was taken back to surgical holding around 6:10am.  While hanging out I got a warm air blanket (pretty neat), my IV, talked to my surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and the nurse anesthetist.  My knee started bothering me during the wait and once I had talked to everyone the nurse anesthetist gave me some medication in my IV to help the pain.  I remember being taken to the OR, scooting over to the other table and getting settled.  I was asked again what procedure I was having done and which leg.  Someone in the room brought up that I was a doula and I got to talk about being a doula for a few minutes.  Then they were ready and they mentioned calling the anesthesiologist and they switched from the nasal cannula to the oxygen mask.  That is the last thing I remember.  lol    The next thing I know I'm coming to in the recovery room.  The clock on the wall said 10:28am and my nurse was Don.  I had ice chips, kept getting encouraged to wake up, wiggle my toes & cough.  I remember hearing them call Corey to tell him what room they would be taking me to but I don't remember the ride or transfer to the regular room.  Corey and I had planned for him to go home for a while and take care of the dogs.  He came into my room as the nurses were taking care of me and getting me all settled.  I was very nauseous from the anesthesia but otherwise felt great.  The Physical Therapist came by and they got me up out of bed in the mid-afternoon.  It was only about 10 steps right next to the bed, but still it was wonderful.  Morgan was brought up to the hospital about 7pm and they brought food for Corey since he hadn't eaten.  My mom and Alex got there about 7:30pm.  Corey then took the kids home about 8pm.  Mom was staying the night with me.  My nighttime nurse had a great personality and took great care of me.  He was fun to joke around with but was right there with my meds & ice when needed.  The biggest thing I didn't like about the hospital is that they woke me up at 4am to change my dressing, help me bathe & get up into the chair before breakfast.  Egads!! I did some sleeping in that chair.  ;-)  Mom went home for some sleep Thursday morning and my brother came up to hang out.  He did lots of reading but also got me some chocolate.  PT got me up twice on Thursday and I walked around the halls.  Friday we had a repeat of Thursday but I got discharged Friday afternoon.  The ride home wasn't fun (is it ever?) but coming up the steps at home was nice.

I take my meds when I'm supposed to and I'm doing my exercises.  So far everything seems to be going well for me.  I had home PT come out on Monday but I don't care for the PT or how the company is dealing with things.  I go see my Orthopedic Surgeon tomorrow and I'm asking him if I can just switch out to outpatient PT and skip the whole "in home" thing.   Today, I was dying to get out of the house so Corey helped me step out on the deck and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine for a little while.

Nursing & Tech Staff: Whitney & Penny (Wed), Kyle & Rachel (Wed night), Whitney and Bob & Mandy (Thu), April & Kirrell (Thu night), Whitney and Bob & Mandy (Fri) -- They were all wonderful!!  My plan is to take them a little something next week.