Pain level - three
This week has been more about exercise, re-strengthening my knee, recovery and re-learning how to walk. There are weird sensations that occur; muscle spasms, tinglings, nerves begin to fire, skin begins to heal and itching!
OMG, the itching…
You know that feeling when your foot falls asleep and it just kind of tingles, sort of hurts, and you feel your skin crawling? It is a very strange sensation with the new knee.
That’s what my knee feels like.
The knee is heavier so it throws off your balance. Basically, you feel like you’re walking weird. I’ve been so used to my bad knee for the past 10 years that while it feels like I’m walking weird, I’m actually learning to re-walk properly.
One of the things I did when I first got home as I would massage my legs due to the massive amount of bruising that was on the back of my leg from the surgery my leg just ached. It’s not a normal hurt-pain it’s like your entire leg is one giant bruise and to touch it, sit on it, lay on it, it aches.
The only way I found to make that pain be less was by massaging my upper leg and my calf. The doctors do not want any massaging on the surgical area, the scar or the bandage because that’s supposed be left alone for at least four to six weeks. I can’t clean the knee. I can’t apply vitamin E oil to help reduce the sign of the scar. I have to let my body do what it supposed to which is heal itself.
I do constantly ice. I purchased these reusable ice packs off of Amazon and they have been a lifesaver. They stay cold really long but don’t actually freeze. You’re able to manipulate and bend them to fit a knee perfectly.
I have found that sitting for one hour I tend to get stiff and I need to walk around. Standing on it, walking on it helps eliminate a lot of the stiffness. However, because my muscles are not yet back to their standard strength I get tired really quickly so I then have to sit and then an hour later I get back up. It’s a constant cycle and my glutes are feelin’ it!!
As the muscles begin to re-strengthen and communicate the way they’re supposed to, the muscle spasms which causes it to hurt. It’s a very quick intense pain. You don’t really get used to it. (I’m told this will at some point stop). The side of my knee and the top are still numb, most of this will come back but I may have some continued numbness.
Time has a really weird way of reacting when you were off work and healing. I have a hard time keeping track of days, my sleep schedule is all screwed. I still tend to go to bed around 11 o’clock at night but I’m waking up around two or three in the morning. Unable to get back to sleep I usually end up moving out to the living room and sleeping on the couch or the chair. Naps happen often, I’ll be sitting the chair and will just doze off. I make sure that I get out and walk laps around my complex multiple times a day.
Once PT began and I first began walking, It was like a peg leg, I kept my knee straight instead of bending it. It took a few times of being corrected by Chelsea, but now I know when I’m not walking properly. I had to actually concentrate on lifting the leg properly, so I could feel the thigh muscle tighten slightly.
Weirdly enough I do enjoy physical therapy, and I think it’s more for the fact that I see the progression in my knee recovery much easier through the eyes of a physical therapist. I’m hoping when I move to outpatient therapy I can stay with Chelsea as we tend to work well together.
She lets me know if I’m not doing things correctly. Making sure I understand how to walk, get around and continually work on strengthening the muscles and the new knee.
I can see how, if you were older, how hard it could be. It takes a lot of energy, mental strength, and determination to make sure you do the exercises, knowing that the pain you feel is only temporary and will eventually go away. I know for a fact that in my 20s, I would have healed faster, handled the pain differently. I also know that if I would have waited another 10 years, I would not have handled what I’ve gone through the same way. I’m in my late 40s and my energy level is nowhere near what it was when I was 20, can’t imagine what it would be if I were 56.
Realizing that I was able to get through this, survived and am slowly getting better day by day, my excitement level increases, knowing that soon, I will walk a mile. That soon, I will be able to hike many of the trails here in LA without fear, without pain
It’s very easy to fall into laziness. Binge watching shows. Wasting time on Facebook, Pinterest etc. Catching up on movies you haven’t seen. There are a lot of time wasters that can easily suck you into distractions
Keeping your head in reality is very important. I try and go to bed at a normal time. I have an alarm set for 8 am. Typically I wake by 4 am. (which has been my normal time of waking for work) There are nights I can’t sleep so I just get up. I know that later I’ll nap or rest, but I make sure I do the exercises, I make sure I take the time to heal, rest when my body tells me to.
I’ve created a basic daily routine, up no later than 8 am, make coffee, shower every other day. I’m able to stand longer and longer each day. I now walk around my apartment with a cane, when walking outside I use the walker for stability. The day after PT, my body aches and feels stiff, but I still force myself to get moving.
I tend to sing a song in my head as walk.