Sunday, December 27, 2009


I drove! First time in over 5 weeks! Felt a little odd at first, but I got the hang of it quickly. It doesn't hurt at all. Just a little slow getting in and out of the car is all. Yay :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Maybe I Just Worry Too Much...

I'm kinda having a down day. I almost feel like I felt better a week ago than I have the past few days. I read and participate in a knee replacement support bulletin board, and a lot of people have said they had similar experiences, but it doesn't make me feel much better. People talk about plateaus during the recovery process. Sometimes you feel like you're healing in leaps and bounds, and then other times you feel stagnant. I'm in a stagnant period. Plus my shoulder is still bugging me, which is making me feel worse than I would otherwise.

I am also feeling a bit apprehensive about returning to work. I'm sure a lot of my worries are unfounded, but I'm not sure how to deal with them. I think if I were feeling better, I would be more gung ho about going back. I'm not sure I'll be up to being cane-less. And my stamina and energy are still real low. I'm still having sleeping issues too. I don't go to bed late, but I wake up a few times during the night and have been sleeping til about 9 most mornings. Some people on the message board said not to rush back to work, but I feel guilty already about the time I've been out. I could technically take another week or two if I really needed to. I miss my kids and I miss the people I work with though. I'm torn and I can't figure out what to do.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry 5 Week Birthday, Knee!

Well today is not only special because it is Christmas. It is also special because 5 weeks ago, I was just coming out of surgery at this time with my brand new knee. I can't believe it's been 5 weeks already. I feel both like time has gone by super fast, but also like I've been through a ton in the past 5 weeks. I wonder if I am where I should be for 5 weeks post-op. My knee is feeling pretty good, bending well, not sore much anymore. I'm still using my cane about 50% of the time for walking. In a little over a week, I'll be back at school teaching. I can't believe it! It's my goal to be cane-free when I go back. I hope I can be at that point. I also feel like I have a lot to cram in to this last week. I need to get sleeping back on a regular pattern. I need to get my energy level up. And I need to get my shoulder pain under control. I'm going to try and get a massage next week I think. I'm kinda nervous about going back. I hope I'm ready!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

If It Isn't One Thing, It's Another

So a few things have been happening the past few days that are new. The knee is doing fine, my range of motion continues to get better at PT. However, since I've been walking a lot more, my ankle has been bugging me. I am sure this is due to the new alignment of my knee. My ankle isn't used to being walked on at a "normal" angle, so it's going to take some getting used to. I just hope it's not something that bugs me for awhile. I also had some back pain over the weekend, but that seems to have subsided. The biggest thing causing me pain right now is my right shoulder...

I'm not exactly sure why, but my PT thinks I tweaked it when I was using two crutches. It bugs me the most on days I'm really active - like last week when I wrapped presents for 4 hours, or last Friday or yesterday when I walked a lot. So maybe it's trying to heal up from being tweaked and when I'm active it flares up again. It feels like it's mainly muscle spasms. I've tried heat on it, but ice actually seems to be working better right now. It can get pretty painful when it's at its worst. Yesterday was especially rough. I'm trying to take it easy today -- not moving around as much and just relaxing. Watching Prince Caspian right now in fact.

I am thankful that my knee is doing well, but I just wish that I could be at the point where I'm not hurting somewhere. I'm hoping that all of this is just part of the recovery process and that in a month or so I'll be relatively pain-free.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm Rambo!

Well not quite, Rambo... yet. Saw my surgeon today for my 4 week check up. He was very happy with my progress. He told me my knee was quite a challenge to replace, and I told him that I had to keep him on his toes and give him a challenge. He laughed at that. He is an EXCELLENT surgeon, I'm beyond pleased with him. He's very funny and personable too. He wants me to really push to get as much range of motion back as I can and strengthen the muscles around my knee. He told me I need to get Rambo muscles and that right now I'm only at Tinkerbell status. He gave me the OK to go back to work after the New Year. I also can start driving next week probably. I'll see him again in 7 weeks.

Went to PT this afternoon as well, so a busy day! My ROM numbers were better than last time: I was at -3 degrees on flexion (improved from 4 degrees on Monday) and at 105 degrees bending (improved from 90 degrees on Monday). My therapist was very happy also with my progress. He wants me to focus on trying to walk as normal as possible, maybe even use a cane instead of a crutch.

So overall, a very good day!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Physical Therapy, FINALLY

Well today was my first visit to PT, finally. Sheesh! I'm already at 3+ weeks, stupid HMO. But it was good to go in. I like my therapist; he really seems to know what he is doing. He was impressed by my quad strength, so he decided the thing to really focus on is improving my range of motion (ROM). He said he wants me only using one crutch to walk around, which is nice because I feel much more mobile. So the walker is being put AWAY! He gave me a set of exercises to do twice a day, and I'll be going in twice a week for the next three weeks. Next visit this week will be on Thursday. Thursday should be a busy day because I see my doctor for my 4 week check up that morning, then have PT in the afternoon.

After PT, Mom and I had lunch and then went to Target. I walked more at Target than I have since the surgery and I pushed the cart around too. I was tired afterward but it felt good to walk that much. I need to get my endurance up. Slowly but surely, however, I'm starting to feel back to normal :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Getting Back to Normal...

Yesterday and today did a lot to make me feel like things are getting back to normal.

Yesterday my mom, sister, and I had a nice Thai lunch out. Then Mom and I went and saw New Moon. My first movie since the surgery! I did have to take a pain pill because I got a bit uncomfortable, but I think I did pretty well. We got there early so I could get a good seat.

Today, I had a visit from D, who works with me. It was really nice to see her. She brought me some stuff from school and we caught up. She even took a look at my incision.

Tomorrow we're probably going to take a trip up to my apartment and meet my other sister for lunch in Walnut Creek. It'll be nice to see it all decorated up for the holidays. It will probably be crowded, but that might be a bit fun too.

Monday starts my time at physical therapy. Hopefully it goes smoothly. Almost all my surgi-tape has come off, so I can nearly see all of my incision. Some parts of it are coming along nicely, while other parts are still a big gnarly.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Joys of Won Ton Soup

Had my first meal out today. Mom and I had to go up to my place to get the mail and get some clothes, so we decided to try lunch out afterward. Went to this good Chinese place we like (Uncle Yu's) and I managed ok through the meal. The knee got a little uncomfortable towards the end, but nothing major. I had a big bowl of Won Ton soup, which I couldn't finish. My appetite is still low, although I seem to be feeling hungriest around dinner time lately. It was nice to go out and feel almost normal. Bad idea to wear breathable pants today though... it's chilly willy outside!

Made my first appointment for physical therapy. They can't see me until next Monday though, so that's a pisser. I wish my insurance hadn't taken so long to get it all approved. My insurance is a pain in the butt sometimes to deal with.

After we drove back down we stopped at JoAnne's Fabrics and got two wreaths for the house and some yarn for me for a project I'm going to start. Excited to make what I'm planning!

My school's Christmas Party is this Friday. I am thinking of going for a bit depending on how I feel. My mom will have to come along, since I can't drive. But that will be fun. Have to see how I'm feeling tomorrow or Thursday before I decide for sure though.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Took my second shower today, boy is that nice! Granted, I have to use a shower chair, but running water is far superior over a sponge bath. I also went through the full getting ready routine today for the first time since the surgery - make up, hair, the boot. All to just go to the doctor. But hey, it felt nice to feel nearly normal again.

I am set to start PT this week. Tried to call in today but it kept going to voicemail... so I will have to try again tomorrow.

Might be taking another drive up to my place tomorrow to get the mail and maybe try and shop a teeny bit with my mom. We'll see how that goes. Anything to get off the boring sofa! I can only watch TV, play on my computer, and read so much!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Staples Be Gone!

Well that is a relief! Went in to the doc this morning for a 2 week check up and to get my staples removed. It didn't really hurt much. A few of them pinched. The alcohol they rubbed on the incision afterward probably hurt more.

The physician's assistant measured my range of motion. I'm almost to 90 degrees bending and almost to 0 degrees at full extension. She said I'm ahead of the game compared to where many others are at this point and was really happy with my measurements. She also said that my incision looked very good and will heal up well. I didn't want to look at it really yet. But I don't have to cover it any more and it's much more comfortable with the staples out. I have surgi-tape over it that will gradually come off over the next few days.

Tomorrow I can take my first shower since the surgery. Hurrah! I have to wait until tomorrow, otherwise I'd be in there today.

Physical therapy should start up next week if my stupid HMO could get their butts in gear. Things are looking up! Not a bad way to spend my 2 week new knee birthday! :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Percocet is Both My Friend & Enemy

Today was rough, not gunna lie. And not because of pain in my knee really. In fact, I feel like I'm putting almost all my weight on my right leg when I'm walking now. I'm still using the walker mainly for balance purposes. I'll switch to crutches in the next day or two I think.

When I came home from the hospital my doc prescribed a duo of pain meds -- Oxycontin for long term relief and Percocet for short term relief. I took the Oxycontin twice a day until they ran out yesterday. The doctor said to only take that for the number of pills prescribed. So today was my first day with just the Percocet. And honestly I didn't need it that much. The knee isn't hurting as much and the calf pain is nearly gone. I'm feeling some twinges up around the staples mainly, although I have felt one or two deeper aches, but nothing major. I'm glad to be off the Oxy too, because there's such a negative connotation associated with that medication.

Now for the down side, the Percocet has a lot of side effects. I've really only dealt with some itchy skin and then the dreaded side effect that no one wants to mention -- constipation. Sure, it's embarassing, but this blog is supposed to be a true account of my experiences so I just gotta lay it out there. It's been probably the roughest part aside from the actual knee. I was warned by people to take fiber, drink a lot of water, and all that. I felt like I have been. But I've still had trouble with it. Today was pretty rough and I felt pretty bad. But, without getting in to details, I'm feeling better now. I need to be more aggressive with it from this point until I'm done taking the meds. I don't want to end up feeling again like I felt today.

Tomorrow I will most likely be going in to the hair dresser to get a really good hair wash and style, since I've been having to wash my hair in the sink since I've been home. Staples come out on Friday, so full showering can commence after that. I can't wait!