Knee Surgery – Day 9

Posted Posted by DetectiveEstes in Detective Estes' Corner     Comments No comments

This is the continuing story of recovery from partial knee surgery. The last installment was Day 7.

Day 7 was Tuesday. 8 days after my surgery. I am learning to sleep in a bed again, though it is difficult. The previous explanation was that my heels would hit the bed and force my knee to bend which was achy. So I tried putting my heels over the bottom edge of the bed. That didn’t work because the bottom is wood and very hard on the Achilles tendon. The newer way was to place a towel, rolled up lengthways and lay it over the wood. That worked. Much better. But then it didn’t. I think the explanation is more complicated than originally believed.

My knee seems to need some kind of constant motion. As soon as motion stops, the knee begins to stiffen. When it stiffens, it aches. So about every 5-15 minutes, depending, I think on what part of the knee is stretched, some further motion is needed. Day 8 was the most learned to get close to a fix of this problem. In one motion, I lay on my left side. I put a hard foam pillow under my right leg and bent it close to 90 degrees. I laid my left leg in front of the pillow so the knee was not lying on the pillow. I bent the knee close to 90 degrees as well. I was able to sleep for about an hour before I awakened with an achy knee. I tried that another part of the night. Only slept about a half hour, but either one is far better than 5 minute increments of sleep.

Day 7 was a tough night for sleeping and I got very little sleep. I used most of the night for doing my exercises. Indeed, I did exercise most all of the night time hours. During Day 8 I continued my exercises a lot of the day. When my wife got home she drove me to therapy. By the time bedtime arrived, I was exhausted. This was a deliberate act because I was so restless in sleep the previous night.

Day 8 was the most difficult day of therapy yet. Jorge was my therapist and he was a slave driver. First after checking my leg out and asking a few questions, he put heat on the knee. I should’ve figured this was the calm before the storm. After the heat, he measured my maximum knee bend which was far better than Day 1. I did some exercises and confessed that the knee hurt so badly that yesterday and today I did few exercises. I think Jorge decided today was make-up day for those I didn’t do yesterday.

After the exercises on the cot, we then did some walking assisted with the crutch. First it was with two, then one and Jorge made suggestions. I was told to walk with one crutch inside the house and two outside the house. I thought that was good because there is little room in the house to maneuver two crutches. Then we got into serious exercises. The first one involved an elastic strap around a pole. I had to pull the strap back till it was taut, and then bend my knee. Then I was to straighten the knee using only my knee quads, not my butt, and hold for 5 seconds each. I did 20. It hurt to do these, and I hardly got through them all. We then did step-ups which actually felt good.

Last, I did rocking motions on a stationary upright bicycle. The seat was high. I could hardly get on the bike due to my foot being weak. Finally I was up. What I had to do was roll my left leg around going one way until the leg wouldn’t go further, then rock the leg going back the other way, until it the leg wouldn’t go anymore that way. I had to do that for 6 minutes. I thought it was going to kill me! The forward motion of the leg was far more painful as well as far less motion than the backward motion. At my question on why this was, Jorge explained how the muscles of the leg were laid out. The muscles on top of the leg run from hip to past the knee. The muscles on bottom of the leg, run from hip to above the knee. Forward motion is done by the top muscles so they can’t go as far due to lack of development right now. Rearward motion is the under muscles which don’t come down as far and is easier, even development problems from the surgery.

When I was done with the bike I could hardly move. I hobbled back to the cot on my one crutch and lay down and got ice the rest of the time for about 10 minutes. When it was time to leave, I could hardly leave the cot. Or move. No pain, just a lot of achiness from the therapy. By the time I got home, it was truly time for some numbing pills. No more exercise this night, except walking around the house! I’m not sure I could have exercised even if I had wanted to.

Finally, it was time for bed! I decided to try the new things with the hard foam pillow and lying on my left side. Indeed, it did work and I got about 90 minutes or so extra sleep. But still, 90 minutes extra during a sleeping time of about 7 hours, isn’t really very much if the rest of the time one is turning, or trying to turn, or getting out of bed to redo the towel over the bed, etc. In short, I STILL didn’t get a good night’s sleep!

What I do before bed since this sleep issue has been with me, is just before I climb into bed I get all my calm down, pain numbing pills taken right up till it’s time to climb in. I leave the pills at the bedside and when I wake up, if the timing is right, I take another pill. Conceivably then, my body is numbed from pain as far as its going to get, and if I can get the right position I should have no problem sleeping. This should give the reader an understanding of this aggravation of aching and not sleeping. Because, usually, I never have an issue of sleep. Except now.

Day 9 has been a good day. I have exercised at the appropriate times. Due to learning about the crutches yesterday in therapy, I’ve been diligent with the single crutch in the house. I took a walk outside, though it’s clearly winter again in this area. I used two crutches outside and walked up and down the driveway several times before heading back in. I didn’t go back in until I had a small ache in my knee that wouldn’t go away. On returning, I iced the knee, and read until the ice warmed up.

I contacted the office of my doctor. They had been supposed to send me an appointment with the doctor after surgery but had not. I got that date from them. I found that I had to continue wearing my compression sox until the doctor advised different when he saw me in the next appointment. I was told I could take the bandage off at any time, or I could allow my therapist to remove it. I was happy about the therapist as I’m not sure I want to be the first one to look at the stitches from this surgery. I’m hoping that once the bandage is removed, there won’t be so much stretching of the knee and so much pain and achiness at the site of the incision when I do exercises and therapy. The last part of the conversation with the nurse was the best – She advised I could stop taking the narcotic medication anytime I wanted to!! When I stop taking that, I can begin driving again!! Woohooooo!!!

Again, my intent is to continue this blog until I have returned to 100% in my opinion. Although I’m gaining on that goal every day, it is not yet close.

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About Detective Estes

Detective EstesMr. Estes has lived in the DC Metropolitan area for most of his life. His father’s influence and expertise in firearms resulted in Mr. Estes beginning to rifle shoot at a young age and eventually shooting on the Washington-Lee High School rifle team in Arlington, VA.

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