Monday, July 2, 2012

Released! Total Knee Replacement Update

   I am skipping. Okay, my legs aren't skipping, but my head and heart are. I finished up my physical therapy regimen at Southern Joint Replacement Institute, met with my surgeon, Dr. Hodrick, and passed with flying colors. He didn't tell me that exactly. But I told myself that. Yippee. Hooray. Now I just have two pages of exercises that I need to do at least three times per week on my own. And believe it or not, I have already started! Woo Hoo!
   I want to give a shout out to the wonderful therapists at SJRI -- Che Che, in particular. She helped me so much. She is the one who got me through my first two days of therapy when I cried like a baby on one of them. Che Che also massaged the softball sized knot on the back of my knee after I fell in week two. I thought I was going to die then, but, alas, I somehow survived. Che is just the right mix of encouraging and firm. She is a good motivator and gives explicit directions. I also learned from watching her work on other people with IT Band issues that you certainly want to follow ALL of your physical therapist's directions. No going out on a limb. You cannot walk too early or too much, you cannot run, you cannot kick on a paddle board in the swimming pool and you cannot do water aerobics or work out with weights...YET. That is the operative word. Everything has to get stronger. Everything has to work together in tandem. You cannot strengthen just one set of muscles. You have to help them all get stronger.
   This next phase of my recovery should be interesting. I have bona fide jello legs. Not pretty at any age. I have not had any operative quad muscles thanks to those bad knees for soooo long. I wear a lot of pants and long skirts. I no longer wear shorts and avoid bathing suits as much as possible these days. I don't know if I will ever really get over my jello legs that quiver and quake whenever I move, but I am so very thankful for a knee that DOES NOT HURT. It is the best. Honestly, the first two weeks were really hard. Lots of pain. Lots of frustration. Lots of nasty pain meds. But I am beginning to reap the rewards now.
    And by the way, I have 0 degree flexion and 129 extension. I had 10 degrees flexion before surgery and 108 I have already come a long way.
     So it's hi ho, hi ho, off to the "Y" I go!

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