It’s hard to imagine that that was only 11 days ago. So much has happened between then and now, so many first, and so many beginnings.
Let’s go back to the start of it all. My orthopedic surgeon said that when he opened up my knees he just stood there and looked in awe. He said he was amazed that I was even walking on them, let alone doing so without any assistive devices or the use of narcotic drugs. He said once they got the trash out everything went well and they had no complications. All I remember is waking up after surgery and not really feeling anything (thank god for nerve blocks).
I only had one rough spot over the first night when my nerve block decided to wear off suddenly at 6am rather than a gradual release like it normally does. The nurses worked to get my pain back under control but we spent most of day two chasing the pain trying different drug combinations before we finally found something that worked. The only problem is that what ended up working, Dilaudid, caused me to be sick. Which we didn’t figure out was the reason behind me being sick until halfway through day four.
Although we were chasing the pain and nausea physical therapy (PT) did get in to see me with me simply standing up in my room on day two and some gentle stretching and then going for a 70 foot walk on day three before moving over to the second hospital. Day four was the first day I worked with occupational therapy (OT). They got me into the shower, and boy was that the best shower I have ever taken. That warm water running over my body felt so good, especially since I was feeling so sick due to the pain meds. Physical therapy was pretty gentle on me because of the nausea but we worked on some gentle stretching along with some short walking.
Day five was the first day that I felt somewhat normal, no nausea and not chasing pain, so that was the first day that I made it to the PT room to work on the tables. I’m amazed at how much they had me doing and how well my range of motion (ROM) numbers were already. I got another shower that afternoon, which would become my routine over the next week, and even went up one step (trust me that was enough).
Over the next few days the PT and OT staff worked me pretty hard but didn’t push me further than my body would accept. The entire staff was really encouraging and it definitely showed in my numbers by day nine when I was able to escape and go home.
By the time I left my ROM numbers were: Flexion: 115 (L) 114 (R) and Extension: -4 (L) -3 (R). Both of these numbers were far beyond where they want a patient to be at before sending them home with the end goal to be beyond a flex of 120 and have an extension of 0. I was also doing full rotations on the exercise bike.
I have now been home for two nights and although I have had some difficulties getting comfortable it is definitely great to be home. I am able to sleep throughout the night and I don’t get woken up at all times for labs or vitals. I am also able to get up and move around without having to call for a nurse or tech to be in the room for safety reasons.
I start outpatient rehab on Monday, where I will be going three times a week for the next three weeks. After that I am not sure what the plan is, but I know that I am going to do everything that I am supposed to while listening to my body so that I will get everything that I am able to out of these new knees.
My new lease on life is just beginning and I can’t wait to see what is to come.