It seems as though every time I get time to blog, it’s because I’m healing from something. Really, that was not my intention, but let me bring everyone up to speed.
When I had my stroke last July, I’d already scheduled total knee replacement surgery for September 9th. Well, given the fact I had the unexpected medical issue, (they still can’t define the reason for the stroke) I had to postpone the knee surgery. After consulting with my neurologist, I was advised I could proceed six months after the stroke, if I didn’t have any further issues. Thankfully I didn’t, and I planned on having the surgery in March. Once it was all arranged, the date was determined to be April 10th.
OK, I have to add something here. It sounds like I am someone with a lot of medical issues, when in fact, it’s the exact opposite. I’ve always been very healthy and I’ve struggled with why this is all suddenly happening to me. Maybe it’s life telling me to slow down a bit. Believe me, I’ve had to be really slow the last few weeks and it’s driving me crazy!
In preparation for surgery, I had to attend two pre-op classes. One was at a physiotherapy clinic, and the other was at the hospital. As I looked around the session at the physiotherapy clinic, I noted that I was the youngest patient by a good number of years. I was also one of only three who didn’t have a ‘recovery coach’ attending with them. This was my choice, as I’m very independent and I knew I’d be dealing with a lot of this alone, so I needed to prepare myself for that. I’ve been told time and again that I’m too damn independent but a big part of it is I don’t want to inconvenience others when I know I can take care of it myself. The facilitator went through our booklets with us, the majority of it being the before and after exercises, but he also went into more detail about the actual surgery than I really needed to know. I mean, come on. I signed up to have my knee replaced. I have a very vivid imagination, and have no problem picturing what they are going to do once they knock me out, but I didn’t need to hear about the whole process in clear, step-by-step detail. Then of course he had to pass around the joint pieces, just in case we didn’t see the picture in our booklets. By the way, it’s damn heavy!
Fast forward to the day of surgery. My orthopedic surgeon advised me that when I woke up in recovery, he wanted me to lift my leg and bend my knee five times every hour. He said he would tell patients that in recovery but they quite often didn’t remember even seeing him, so he was telling me before I was knocked out. Sure enough, I woke up in recovery and I swear within a few minutes he was there saying, “Are you lifting your leg and bending your knee?” Come on! I can’t even keep my eyes open yet! LOL
I won’t drag on about my stay in the hospital. Everyone knows about the wonderful food found in any hospital, but I did get to see a lot of my floor. I was in for three nights and was moved to three different rooms. For the record, yes, they do have you up walking the day of surgery (just to the washroom and back), but you do have to walk to the physiotherapy room the next morning, and back again after your session. One of the physiotherapists follows you with a recliner on wheels, and you can certainly ‘ride’ if you feel you can’t make it. Stubborn me used the chair for the last 20 feet going to my first physio, and refused to use it any other time.
We have already determined that I’m “too damn independent”, so of course I’d stocked the cupboards and freezer before surgery. Luckily for me, I got home on Thursday of that week, and Friday was Good Friday, meaning that my partner and my son would be at my home for the weekend. This certainly made things easier and my son had also taken some vacation time and remained with me for 10 days.
This was my recovery zone. Because you have to elevate your leg a fair bit, as well as ice it, and a recliner is definitely a good idea. This was taken near the end of my recovery, so it’s a lot more tidy here, and all ‘recovery items’, have now returned to their normal locations.
I’m now six weeks out from surgery and things are going great (I actually started this post when I was four weeks out from surgery). I have a 115 degree bend in my knee, full range is 120 degrees. I see my surgeon tomorrow and I hope he’ll be happy with that as I’m told full range sometimes takes a bit as it can take up to six months for all of the swelling to disappear.
For those not familiar with these items, these were my daily ‘torture’ devices. You are provided with six home visits by a physiotherapist, and then you start attending the office of your physiotherapist three times a week. Meanwhile, you continue physiotherapy at home, at least two, preferably three, times per day. Those who choose not to maintain their physio schedule at home, will find their recovery is much longer and much more difficult. In my case, my physiotherapist called me ‘determined’, as I was frustrated with being stuck at a 110 degree bend for two weeks, and pushed myself to go up five degrees by the following week.
I truly hope this will be my last blog on health issues, although one never knows I guess. I also expect to be posting on a more regular basis again. Now that I’m getting back into a daily routine that doesn’t centre around my recovery, I plan to schedule regular blogging time, as well as time to take pictures that aren’t within the confines of my home.
Until next time…..