“Walk. Ice. Drugs. Repeat.” ~ someone’s orthopedic surgeon somewhere
So it’s been four weeks since my knee was replaced and I’ve yet to go stir crazy. I have read, I have walked. I was in the CPM machine for two hours at a time 2-3 times a day. I slept. I iced. I medicated. I have done stretches and exercises and tried to be as independently functioning as possible.
Week 1 – I was walking without the walker by the end of the week but rather stiff-legged still. I used the ace wrap during the day, the polar care ice machine at night and walked the dog around one block 3 times a day. I would walk and stretch for 10 minutes at a time then ice for about 30 minutes. After my shower each morning, I would combine coconut oil and PanAway oil and massage the quadriceps muscles in each leg, but especially the operative side to help it relax.
Week 2 – I was able to remove the dressing. Still using the ace wrap during the day, the polar care at night, and walking the dog, but I increased the distance to 2 blocks, three times a day. I was able to be up on my feet longer with frequent rests between activities. I also made myself sit up in the chair for 15-20 minutes at a time to work on getting the knee to bend as well as continuing with stretches and exercises such as calf raises, marching in place, and heel slides. I also started bending the knee while sleeping. I started attempting to go up the stairs one foot at a time.
Week 3 – The staples out and steri-strips in place, I only use the ace wrap if I’m going to be up for long periods of time such as walking the dog. Up to three blocks, three times a day which was our usual pre-surgery walk. I also have walked the 5 blocks to the post office with the same amount in the return trip, sometimes stopping at the coffee shop for a drink. I also walked to the salon for a haircut with my daughter. I started outpatient PT and they were pleasantly surprised at my mobility and range of motion. I am able to go upstairs one foot at a time with no problem.
Now here we are at week 4. I rarely use the ace wrap unless I notice it seems to be swelling or getting stiff. Some of the steri-strips are starting to come off and I rub coconut oil on the incision. I continue with the daily massages of the quadriceps muscles and effleurage during the day. I am able to go downstairs one foot at a time if I am angled as my knee still does not have the bend required to go straight down the steps. I was able to get on my bike on the trainer and pedal, not around and around, but rocking the pedal back and forth until I felt a stretch – this went on for 5-10 minutes and then I iced it for a good 30 minutes. I still do exercises but increase the bend and then stretch it out each time.
Altho it sounds active, I still have quite a bit of downtime when I am icing, or just resting. I have to remind myself that my body is still healing and will be for many months to come. The incision may heal, but it will take many months, almost a year, for the muscles, tendons and ligaments to stretch while the knee attains it’s full motion. At the moment I am extremely restless while sleeping. For quite some time I slept in the reclining chair or on the floor because of the amount of pain I was having in my back and shoulder. Now, I am able to sleep in the bed but have to change positions frequently and am all over the place. Sometimes it’s muscle stiffness, others it’s the sensation of the sheets pressing or rubbing against the incision.
In the meantime, I have begun exploring an idea for a business in an area for which I am passionate. It uses my skills, my love of history, my teaching experience, my love of puzzles and putting things together — all in one fantastically niche market. I’ve gone over business steps, logos, legal issues, and networking and am taking the steps to put everything in place. I have had an opportunity to speak with acquaintances who have now become friends and encouragers. Research is key to developing a good business plan and knowing how to market your skill, so I’ve happily been doing research into techniques, design styles and supplies used. Not to be mysterious, but I am not quite ready to unveil the business. As soon as I am, you will find a link to it on my page.
And now to bed . . . to rehab this knee some more tomorrow.