The Long and Winding Road

Recovery–I’m finding its a long and winding road, with lots of unexpected twists and turns in it. My knee hurts… haha. I guess that’s how its supposed to be. But with those amazing pain meds, I was deceived into thinking that I ALONE was going to have THE MOST AMAZING PAIN-FREE RECOVERY from knee replacement surgery.

Anyway, here’s some of the unexpected things I’ve discovered along the way. One day a few weeks ago, my knee started hurting. So I touched it. It was WARM! My other knee was cool to the touch. I went a whole night tossing and turning, thinking there was an infection starting. In the morning I consulted Dr. Google. Oh. That’s how its supposed to be–the red cells are in there working to repair everything. As a nurse, I probably should have known this. And I am still wondering–was that the first time I touched my knee????

Here’s another weird, but good side effect. My tastes are changing. I don’t like my coffee as strong, so I started using the thrift store Mr. Coffee to make my morning coffee–just right. And I don’t want coffee in the afternoon at all anymore. Along with that, I don’t like the taste of my protein bars any more. This is good, because its a habit I’ve been trying to break for a while. I found this old recipe for Banana Split Bars, and I do love it–all natural foods. If I’m really hungry in the afternoon, I’ll have one. I also like them for breakfast. I follow the recipe exactly (I know, unusual for me.) But I can see how it would be easy to vary the add-ins. I do cut them into 12 bars instead of 16, which makes them 190 calories.

I went back to physical therapy, to a different therapist. What a difference! And they are giving me quite a workout. Although I only have to do the exercises once a day, instead of three times a day. I was having trouble with what I thought might be my hamstrings. When I went for my check-up, the doctor called it tendonitis, and said to just wait, it might resolve of its own accord. When I went back to physical therapy, I talked to him about this. I had started to have an inkling that it might be more related to my back problems. He agreed with me, and he altered some of the exercises to be easier on my back.

After the surgery I had to take a big aspirin for 40 days to prevent blood clots. And during those 40 days I couldn’t take my meloxicam, which really seems to work for my arthritis. A week ago I got to start taking my meloxicam again, and it really does help with so many of my aches and pains. Even my back has calmed down a bit.

Then one day over a week ago, my heel started hurting. I mean, REALLY HURTING. I had plantar fasciitis 26 years ago, and it was MISERABLE, and I was afraid that this is what had happened to my heel. My heel still hurts, but I don’t think its plantar fasciitis (thank goodness!) and my PT agrees with me. But if I stepped on a rock and bruised my bone, it will take a while to get over. (Oh, and have I complained about how long it takes anything to heal at my age??) Its my right heel, so that makes walking just hunky dory with my knee and my heel hurting on the same side.

Another thing that’s different? I feel like I am doing remedial exercise. When I think about what I used to do before the surgery, and what I do now? Its just pitiful. But on the other hand, I am doing those darn knee exercises every single day, and adding in a short walk, or going to the gym to get on the bike (no resistance) for 10 minutes, and getting in the pool for 10-15 minutes. I am still doing my same upper body weight machine exercises.

You can see why I was avoiding talking about my knee and recovery. This is just one long complaint-fest. But maybe it’ll help someone else who has had or is contemplating knee surgery.

13 thoughts on “The Long and Winding Road

  1. I think what you really need to do is give yourself some credit and some grace! Even though knee surgeries are done all the time now, it’s still SURGERY. And it’s going to take time and patience to get back to 100%. So don’t worry about how you aren’t working out as much as before – you’ll get there eventually. For now just focus on healing. 🙂 You are doing great – keep going!

    And I really loved this: “I was deceived into thinking that I ALONE was going to have THE MOST AMAZING PAIN-FREE RECOVERY from knee replacement surgery.” LOL!!! 🙂

  2. I am so glad you are blogging about this – the good and the not-so-good. Damn those pain meds for their deception, LOL! Shows you how effective they are, though.

    In reading about how you feel you’re doing remedial exercise, you remind me of all the runners I know who’ve had injuries and had to start back at the beginning – it’s hard when you know you used to be able to do more, but you’ll get back there soon enough. And like Robin said, MAJOR CARPENTRY. You didn’t just pull a hammy, you had part of your joint replaced!

    Also, when you talk about your heel hurting and worrying about PF, I had flashbacks to every time something hurts now that caused me injury in the past – I instantly GO THERE. Maybe we are just more on guard now? It sounds like your new PT is really good, though – I love how he’s helping you with everything, not just your knee. And only having to do the exercises once a day is great, especially with all the other exercise (again, amazing) that you are doing.

    • Misery loves company, right? Its good to hear that runners feel the same. And yes, I agree–more on guard now is a good way to put it.

  3. Forgot to add, interesting about your tastes changing! Wonder if you’re developing an aversion to stevia since you don’t like your old protein bars (they were Quest, right?).

    • Its actually the Oh Yeah bars that I don’t like any more. And yes, I think they might have changed to Stevia. I don’t like stevia at all. I just got bored with the Quest bars. I still like the raspberry white chocolate one once in a while. Fortunately, they carry small boxes of them at Walmart.

  4. I agree. Huge difference in physical therapists. There are the ones who are concerned about the basics (on and off the toilet, in and out of car/bed/chair, etc). And then there are the ones who might be an athlete themselves and are interested in so much more.

    In this whole process, has anyone looked at your feet? My knee and back issues started with my feet. I have been in custom inserts for many, many years now. Thru a doctor. Huge difference.

    Very good that you have kept up your upper body. Easy to forget when you are concentrating on healing lower body.

    My sewing room is an utter mess right now. And I need to just get in there every day and sort of sew my way thru it.

    I stayed with a friend who had knee surgery in August. (She only had me come because the nurses insisted.) She thought she was going to magically be The One who just snaps back instantly. And I ended up there for a week. And then helping for several more weeks. And she really needed me.

    • The first physical therapist I went to was just a slackard. He truly spent less than 20 minutes with me, and looked at the paper I brought and said, yeah, that’s good. I went there because they are in my gym, and they use the pool for physical therapy and I thought that would be good. I went back to the physical therapist that I had gone to 4 years ago. He is excellent.

      Haha, glad I’m not the only one who thought I was going to be THE ONE 🙂

  5. Remedial – you just had major surgery, so you are doing really well IMHO. I’m sorry about the pain. At least THE ONE isn’t the person who actually experiences pain while others don’t, so maybe take comfort in you not being that ONE. 😀

    I’m so sad about you wanting weaker coffee, LOL

    • LOL. I never thought about someone being sad that I want weaker coffee. I do hope that my good coffee taste will return someday 🙂 And yes, that is a very good thought about pain. I’ll try to keep that in mind while I’m limping around 🙂

  6. I can completely understand why this is all so frustrating to you and wanting to be better faster. But once again, I wish you could meet my friend Karen. I swear, when she first had her knee surgery and was back out and about she probably came into my office every day to cry about the residual pain and how disappointed she was that she couldn’t exercise properly, and why was everything so hard, etc. etc. She’s a couple years out at this point but I swear, she does everything that she did before, except she does it better. Including running – she just spoke with me the other day for treadmill recommendations because she wants to be able to run through our crappy winter. If you had asked her a few years ago she was saying, “I’ll probably never run again and I need to make peace with that.”

    Anyway, I said all that to say hang in there. I think you’re doing great!

  7. I’m glad you changed therapists. Makes a big difference! A few years ago my tastes all changed too. ( Prior to knee surgery.) I’ve loved coffee since I was a kid. Often teased at work for drinking so much coffee. Now I rarely drink it. I sort of miss the relationship.
    My surgery knee is one of the few places where I have no pain. You will get there.
    It’s kind of amazing that when one part of your body changes, it affects other parts that you didn’t realize were connected. As this group of experts has decreed, I think you’re doing great. Easy does it, Barb

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