The monotony of recovery

Tomorrow will mark two weeks since I made the huge mistake had partial knee replacement surgery. If I had any idea what I was in for, I would’ve taken my pretty little pedicured feet out that hospital door and headed home. My PT says that there are stages of recovery similar to stages of grief. I’m still in the “why did I do this?” stage and will soon enter the “will it ever get better?” stage.

I saw Dr. Brotzman, my orthopedic surgeon, today for my post-op followup appointment. Overall he is pleased with my progress. I’m up to 90-degrees of flexion in sitting position and up to 95-degrees on the CPM machine. Curtis took this photo with his Blackberry while I was still in the hospital. The CPM bends my knee up and down; I input the degree of flexion. My goal is 120-degrees by next week. We call it The Rack or the torture device depending on how much I’m hurting. Last night while attempting 95-degrees, I could feel my incision tear open a little.

That blue thing on top of my knee with the hose is the ice pack. It’s attached to a cooler of ice and pumps cold water around my knee to help with swelling. I’m still on the CPM 6 hours a day at this point… it is so tedious. I do a chunk from 9-11, 1-3, and 7-9 but it feels like I’m on it all day. Anytime I’m in bed, I also have the ice pack on. Anytime I’m not in bed, I have the leg brace on. I’m not needing the walker as much this week as last, but I’m not confident without it yet either. I thought I had a lot of swelling still and it was preventing me from bending too much more and Brotzman agreed. So while I was there, he drained the knee in two places after taking out my stitches.

Can I just say that this was icky and leave it at that?

He said my mobility should improve with some of the fluid drained out. The swelling actually shuts down the quad muscle from contracting so I’m hoping to get more strength there soon. The PT puts an electrical impulse device on my quad during therapy; it’s pathetic how little strength is there now. My good leg is in the 300s, my left ranges between 20-40. Wow, right? I’ll try not to complain anymore, I promise. Doing all of my PT exercises at home and getting in the hours on the CPM feels like a full-time job. Sleep is elusive as is comfort. At least I’ll be allowed to shower now that the stitches are out!

I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for my husband, my daughter, and my mom. Curtis is working 12-16 hour days this week, making dinner for the family, taking the kids out on errands, and doing their bath and bedtime routines. He is exhausted. Oh and he is also filling up my polar ice machine 4 times a day which requires running out to the corner store for ice every other day. He has not complained one time. Jenny is doing our grocery shopping, household chores, errands, and taking care of Dominic. She’s also brought me treats and magazines and been super duper sweet. She starts back to school tomorrow for a crazy-intense schedule this spring of classes at two campuses and working too. My mom has been my nurse, my angel, and the one who takes care of everything else. She is helping the kids with their homework, taking me to PT (she is a great chauffeur!), freshening up my bedding, managing my medications, keeping the kids overnight or for a meal to give Curtis a break, and doing some of our household chores… all the while working full-time too. I feel so grateful and guilty too, everyone is so tired. It looks like it will be another few weeks of me being pretty dependent though I am making progress every day. I also want to thank Debbie, Serena, and Renee for dropping by for a visit and bringing treats. Your presence brightened my day so much!

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  • Kara - Oh geez, poor thing. I've heard this is one of the most painful recoveries. I'm so sorry you're having a rough time. Hang in there, and it'll be worth it in the end and I will say some extra prayers for you.ReplyCancel

  • Jeannette - I can so relate. When Deb had her knee replaced she also had a tough recovery and as her single friend of my single friend I did a lot of care for her. This whole process is worse the younger you are as the nerves are especially sensitive. It WILL be better eventually I promise and you will be glad that you did it as will everyone in the family. Sorry I am not there to help. Love you all.ReplyCancel

  • jenn33199 - Thinking of you dear Holly! Hope you are better sooner rather than later.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Askew - Oh my goodness – what an ordeal! Know that we're thinking of you. I wish I could come visit and bring you some treats as well. ((Hugs))ReplyCancel

  • Julie Anders - Hope you are recovered…or close to it 🙂ReplyCancel

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