When I woke up Wednesday morning, I felt awesome. Nothing hurt and, sure, I couldn’t move my knee a whole lot because it was still pretty swollen, but I felt like a million bucks. So I went to class that afternoon. Where I then spent 3 hours trying to figure out how to sit up in a chair and still have my leg in a comfortable position. By the time I was on the way home, I was absolutely exhausted. Because I was one day out of surgery and heading off to class like nothing had happened.
That seems to be a theme that’s carried through until, well, today. I seem to be the only one who’s shocked by the fact that simply going through a day of classes wears me out, because I’m the only one that keeps forgetting I had surgery last week. Relatively minor surgery, sure, but I still had surgery. I sort of got the memo when I came home Thursday afternoon and took a 3-hour nap before having dinner and then going directly to bed. Friday was a little better, but an all-day training for Girls on the Run coaches on Saturday was enough to completely wear me out. I finally sort-of learned my lesson and spent Sunday camped out on the couch, only getting up and out for the one errand I had to get done.
Y’all, I’ve been sleeping for about 12 hours a night for the past few days. When I say that a regular day of classes wears me out, I am not kidding. Heck, yesterday I slept that much after a strenuous day of lying on the couch. It feels a little pathetic, is what I’m saying.
On the plus side, I do feel like the knee is improving, Sort of. Since all they had to do was clean up some torn-up cartilage inside the joint, my main recovery task is to get rid of the post-op swelling. Once that goes down, I should have my knee back. So if I’m at home, I’ve got the knee up and ice is on it for 20 minutes or so every two hours. I’m even sleeping with it elevated, partially because it keeps the swelling down and partially because it’s about the only way I can keep it comfortable. The worst part about that? I’m totally a stomach sleeper, which is a position that is pretty much unattainable (and only comfortable as long as I don’t move at all) in my current state.
I have busted into the big drugs a few times as I did get some pain from the incisional sites. Happily, one dose at bedtime has proven to be enough to let me get to sleep and to control the pain throughout the next day. (Also, I don’t really care as much if my knee hurts during the day, since I usually have something else to do or pay attention to that keeps me distracted from it.) As a result, I’ve had some really, really, really strange dreams.
How’s the swelling, you ask? Well, that really depends on when you ask me. For the most part, it’s down significantly. I probably have about 75% of my range of motion back, which is just enough to let me walk up stairs like a normal person, but not enough to let me go down stairs without having to step both feet down to the same stair before proceeding. I also can’t quite straighten my leg fully, which means I’m still walking a little funny and can’t really support my weight on that leg for any length of time. (The horrible, horrible downside to taking a gait analysis class right now: that’s ALL I THINK ABOUT when I’m hobbling around. ”Limited knee extension should result in forefoot contact. Why, yes, yes it does!”) I felt like it was making noticeable improvement on a daily basis for the first few days and now it’s just sort of hanging out at the same spot, which is a little annoying. So I keep elevating it and icing it and thinking nice, happy, anti-inflammatory thoughts.
The other annoying thing is that all of that progress vanishes in about five minutes in the shower. Thanks to my physical agents class this semester, I know exactly why that happens (dependent position of the leg + hot water/warm environment = super-swelling!), but it doesn’t make it any more comfortable. When I hopped out of the shower this morning, my knee was back to the state it was immediately post-op, which meant I couldn’t really move it at all. That was less than encouraging, even if it is motivating me to make my showering routine more efficient. (The good news is that if I sit down, elevate the leg and wrap it up with the ace bandage they gave me, the swelling goes down pretty quickly. But it’s still flaring up pretty good.)
I go back to the doctor tomorrow for my post-op checkup, and I’m guessing he’ll send me to PT where they’ll work on getting the inflammation gone for good. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll have my knee back by spring break (in 3 weeks) so I can actually get out and do something fun like snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, but we’ll see what happens.
Is it annoying to still be in a “can’t do much, waiting to see how it goes” state with the knee? A little, but the fact that I know it’s on an upswing helps greatly. It still sucks right now, but it’ll be back to normal before I know it.
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