Browsing all articles from February, 2013

Knee Surgery – Backwards, Then Forward Again

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Well, after so many days of success I guess I should’ve expected at least One day of regression. Day 28. It was an achy day; all day. Woke up several times during the night with an achy knee and nothing changed throughout the day. Found when I exited the shower that the knee does NOT like bending to the inside, that is, the same side as the parts mechanism is on. Found that out a couple more times today as well. Getting in the car was ugly, getting out was worse. The knee just seemed to ache all the day. Even after taking some pain medication.

Probably tomorrow will be a better day though. It will be Day 29, and the follow-up doctor’s appointment after surgery. Perhaps the surgeon will be helpful in this new interior ache of the knee. We’ll discuss how much longer I should take pain meds, and if other meds would help like Ibuprofen or Aspirin. We’ll discuss how much longer the ache will be going on as well. And also when should I consider a partial replacement of the right knee. Just a few questions easy to answer I’d say, at least easy for the surgeon.
Later tomorrow, I’ll have another therapy session. I’ll expect the therapists will be able to assist with this new ache from bending on the inside of the knee.
This post will be continued tomorrow evening with more reports.

Day 29 – Went to see the surgeon who did my surgery today. Unlike yesterday, it was a fine day. The surgeon, Dr. Fricka, advised I am healing well. My scar is squishing back into my skin so it won’t be seem soon. Or at least not seen much. He advised for therapy for the remainder of the month. Also advised that I could return to the gym daily and promoted exercises such as stationary bike, elliptical machine and leg press. He renewed a couple medications, non-narcotic and advised a new appointment of May. We discussed the other knee for surgery and he advised anytime. I expect that to happen in early April. I advised Dr. Fricka that I thanked him not only as a surgeon but for also having the finest looking troupe of female assistants, nurses, receptionists and general help that I have EVER had the pleasure of looking at in a doctor’s office!!

Later in the day, I went to therapy. More exercises, painful exercises. Ugh. But very good for making my knee heal well. Newest exercise was a left legged leg press. The leg press is to lie on a down slanted board, press my feet on a broad plate, bend my knees as far as I can stand the pain of the bend, and push. The board is pushed away from the plate. I am pushing my body weight away from the plate. After doing both legs on the press for 30 repetitions, Jorge decided that I should do 15 reps of ONE legged presses. OMG IT WAS SERIOUS ACHY!!! Got through it but it took nearly 5 minutes!!

Day 31 – New therapy day. Today Liz decided I should simply do 15 one legged press in the first place. And this was a prime example of how fast the therapy & exercise work to strengthen the leg muscles. Liz was busy so I simply did one legged presses till she advised me to do something else. By that time I had completed 50 of the presses!! On this same day, I was also able to completely circle the stationary bicycle forward and backward with the seat lowered more than usual. Overall, it was a very fine day for forward working exercise.

Knee Surgery – More Days

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This is the continuing story of recovery from partial knee replacement surgery.

The last part of my saga ended in the a.m. of Day 21. Day 21 therapy was a good day, and was in the afternoon part of the day. Upon arrival, and examination, Jorge decided I should now walk with a cane rather than any crutches. A happy day! My bend angle of my leg is nearly as acute as my uncorrected knee. On the bicycle I twirled the knee completely around from the beginning of the time frame. Indeed, it was too easy, so I lowered the seat about an inch. Wasn’t quite so easy then, but I still managed to do mostly complete circles, both forward and reverse. I advised Jorge of my kneeling exercise. He was enthused and told me this series of elementary steps I used to kneel was the same method used in the therapy. He believed I would eventually not have any issues kneeling. I discussed kneeling on a bare floor with my new granddaughter and crawling around after her. Jorge said plain out that the reason people with knee replacements cannot do this type of kneeling was because they were not doing their exercises based on their therapy. And, they did not have the willpower to do the exercises continuous. It was good to hear that. Based on my own exercise routine for therapy, I’ll expect to be able to kneel eventually.

Day 22. The first night I did not wake up from the ache of the knee. I’d like to give complete credit to healing of the knee. However, for dinner I had about a half glass of red wine. Red wine nearly always helps me sleep more sound, so perhaps it was the wine, not the healing knee. Either way, I slept the night away, never waking once to a knee ache. Upon arising, I completed exercises. Then I completed my kneeling pillow exercises as well.

Day 23. I guess it could’ve been the wine that helped me sleep as stated in the last paragraph. Sleeplessness returned last night and I woke up several times with an achy knee in the bent position, of simply in one place too long. Jorge had told me that when I woke up and stayed awake to do the bent knee exercise as well as the leg straightening exercises while I remained awake. I tried that. It took hardly any time before that straightening exercise was nearly too painful to continue. I figured it must really be helping. I continued this for a considerable length of time and finally went back to sleep. I woke up a few more times but not long enough for exercises, just long enough to realize I was in pain and make some movements to ease that ache.

When I talk about pain in these comments, it isn’t a sharp pain; it’s simply a hard ache. Pain has never been felt even when the surgery was first over. It’s always been an ache. The therapists are also very careful about pain. A sharp pain means to them that the exercise is over working the joint. So the exercise is eased up until there is a small ache or less.

Day 24. I advised Liz in therapy that even though Jorge had told me to begin using the cane, I came to realize very soon that I had forgotten how to use a cane. Liz quickly showed me and I used the cane to walk around the therapy room a few times to get used to it. The technique returned quickly. It seemed like I’ve used the cane many times. Indeed….I’ve had the crutches for nearly 30 years from the first knee trauma and the cane over 20 years as well. At the rate I’m going between knees, ankles and hips, I really could become the first bionic man!! Anyway, now I remember the cane walking method.

The night of the 24th was also the best night I’ve had for sleeping, including the previous night with the red wine. I never woke up once! Yay!

Day 25. Another good day. I walked around the house with my cane a good while. Then went outside, found a relatively level place and walked around outside as well. Went to the library and walked around there as well. The only ache felt was, unfortunately, on my unfixed knee. Guess that’s next. This is the longest I have walked since the surgery.

Day 26 – The wife wanted to go shop in an outlet mall. So we did. A very cold day snowed some as well. I expected we walked about a half mile. That doesn’t seem like much, does it? It is when one leg is screwy, even when it’s supposed to be fixed now. In walking with a cane, I had time to analyze my gait, length of stride, and straightness of walk. Gait means speed of steps and amount of unnecessary wiggle of my hips, and other knee. Length of stride is how long my step is. Straightness is whether I’m walking straight or going toward one side or the other. I noticed my left hip was aching with the walking after a short while. I lengthened my stride with my left leg, and slowed my pace some and my hip ceased to ache immediately. I noticed that I seemed to be drifting to my right, but when I put my wife on my left I stopped walking off to the right much then. I’d like to blame the drifting on the wife as long as she didn’t find out! She stopped to shop in a store and I sat down. After about 5 minutes, both knees were really sore, so I got up and proceeded to simply walk in a short square pattern around the store location my wife was in. My wife returned and we walked around some more. Whatever the earlier problem was with the gait & straightness seemed to have worked itself out. I guess it was just getting used to walking naturally even though a cane was involved.

Day 27 – Very cold day. I was hoping this wouldn’t have a detrimental effect on my knee. Did the bent knee exercise many times today. Seemed like it would just get cramped if it stayed still too long. If/when I get another knee surgery I may attempt to obtain a device that continuously moves the knee. If I could sleep through the movements I feel this would increase my sleeping as well as having more exercise of the knee.

Upon removing myself from the shower this morning, I noted my knee ached when I bent it sideways, like inward. That has happened previously but I laid it to being fresher from the surgery at that time. Have to ask the therapist about this.

The wife and I went for a drive this morning, and later this afternoon. My knee gets a bit cramped in sedans but not near as much ache nor as quickly if I am in our SUV. Still have difficulty entering vehicles as the knee aches when bending it enough to get it into the driver’s door.

I walked a great deal today without the cane. I didn’t feel like I had to compensate with my hip to walk naturally with no cane. Yesterday I had emptied the freezer to defrost it. Today I refilled the freezer with the food. There was no strain in the back, arms, etc. lifting the coolers up to empty them while refilling the freezer.

A great thing about today was resighting my pellet rifle in. In standing position. I had placed a red dot sight on the rifle as the standard target sights with concentric sighting circles simply did not have enough contrast when shooting squirrels on tree branches to make them stay away from my bird feeders. A red dot sight is much better as it has a geometric triangle with a point that I could use to sight in with. My point (no pun intended) in this is that I was able to get into my target standing position easily, and sight the rifle in, in four rounds. I was easily able to lock my left knee so the rifle could be held still enough for sighting in. The return to standing position was one of the main reasons I got the surgery. It is working well.

Knee Surgery – Days Counting

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This is the continuing saga of surgery and recovery from a partial left knee replacement.

Day 13 is Monday. It is actually 2 weeks since the surgery, but I started the blog on the day after and called it Day 1 after the surgery. Don’t be confused. I’ll take of that for the both of us!

Getting better is a wonderful feeling. I was told from the beginning that if I do my exercises and therapy that things would progress faster. Today I felt the benefit of that when I was able to go for short house walks without any crutch. Getting around on one crutch is quite easy now.
Day 14. I am able to begun to walk occasionally with just one crutch! Not walking far though. I have not used 2 crutches since Day 13. I am doing therapy exercises about twice a day. Therapy is down to Tuesday & Thursday. Also on Day 14, therapy increased to include leg locks by placing a rolled up towel under my heel raising it up about two inches. Then the quad muscles around the knee were tensed to force the knee into locked position, essentially bending it backwards for 5 counts. I had 10 reps of this. Next therapy increase was to increase bending by step-ups. First the step was 4 inches, now its 6 inches. The therapist is attempting to get my knee up to walking up stairs. I did 20 reps of this. The leg up and forcing knee down causes my knee to be painful when I lie down at night. Just one of those things I expect, that will go away after awhile.

Day 16, therapy increased to 10 minutes on a bike, rocking back and forth. Hallelujah, I actually was able, after some minutes, to run the pedal all the way backwards around the circle. After a couple more ‘rocks’, I was also able to turn the pedal all the way around, going forward. The forward was most difficult and I was not able to do this more than 3 times. My knee would ache at the pressure points of severe bending, but as soon as the pressure was released the ache would stop immediately.

The therapy is almost like a competition with one’s self. To do more than the mind is saying the body can do. It’s’ a good feeling; to go past the barriers that the mind sets up.

Over the weekend, I was able to let go of my one crutch and walk with no crutch. Although in doing that, there was a limp in the left and my hip began to ache as it would take up the slack where the knee quads were not doing the job of walking that they were supposed to do. However, also over the weekend, my right knee began to ache. That’s really too bad. I thought/hoped that wouldn’t happen again for a long time, or never. Mostly that right knee ached when I was walking without a crutch. So perhaps that ache will stop when the left knee is 100%. I surely hope so.

On Day 19, I attended church again. This time in church, I found a place I could extend my leg outside the pew. But then I determined I didn’t need to do that much as my leg could bend some without ache now. What I could not do, however, was kneel on the kneeler during mass. This had to be fixed. Once back from church, I placed a pillow on the floor and attempted to kneel on it. Two problems immediately – One was that my left knee refused to bend to that position. The other was that the surgical scar was not ready for weight yet. There had to be a way to overcome this.

Later on Day 19, I went to a movie. The seats were standard theatre seats, but still, I was able to sit with my left foot in the aisle which, like church, was comfortable enough. Yet, I figured if this seating was possible, then how was it that the kneeling was not possible. The kneeling needed to be investigated further.

On my return from the theatre, I again placed a pillow on the floor. I knelt until my knee would not bend further, and then caught myself on my hands on the chair arms. From there, I pushed my feet back some so I could kneel further without bending my leg further. Continuing on until my knees were all the way down but holding my weight on my hands in kind of a bent over push-up position. V E R Y uncomfortable! After a short time of holding my weight up, I slowly let my weight down onto my knees and released my hands from my push-up position until all the weight was on my knees. Success!! I stayed there about 10 seconds and pushed my weight off my knees and stood up. I’ve practiced every day since then. An additional benefit is teaching myself how to do kind of odd push-ups so I’m not totally without any exercise.

This day is Day 21. It’s been 22 days since my surgery. Things are progressing well. My knee continues to ache some. I’m still having little sleep from the aching while the knee is held in one place when in bed, or bending and holding in one place. Getting not very much sleep due to the aching.

Knee Surgery – Day 12

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This is the continuing sage of the surgery and subsequent recovery from partial knee replacement of the left knee.

Every day is better. I’ve read this a lot, both before and after surgery and nearly every article says exactly that. I can now understand that, and add it to my article as well.

Yesterday my wife & I went to church. I had some difficulty with standing. My knee ached more than usual with or without the crutch to assist. I believe it was caused by the kneelers at the rear of each pew. This removed about 10 inches of space behind the seat, and therefore in front of the pew I sat on. To compensate for this, I had to cast my foot to the left and not have my toe pointed forward. This may have caused the ache because the rest of the time, my foot is directly under my knee. So there may have been undue pressure. At one point in the service I was unable to stand. But, as usual, when it was time to walk, the ache went away.

Today, taking a shower was a fine experience. I was able to stay in the shower for my usual time frame. Also, I managed to get my leg locked twice during the shower, without any ache. I was able to shave as well, and complete the shower. This is important, because previously, I was unable to stay in without my knee aching, and shaving was impossible due to some twisting that needed to be done in the shower. I was able to do it all today. A good day.

Later, some squirrels were getting into our bird feeders and my wife wanted them to cease. I got my pellet rifle out, but it seemed to not be sighted in. I took the rifle to the basement with the crutch in the other hand. I was able to balance between the two and make my way downstairs. I set up a pellet backstop and re-sighted the rifle in. I took the pellet rifle back up and opened the window. The squirrels weren’t there. I went outside with one crutch and set up some smaller than squirrel sized targets. On returning, I opened the window and used the top of the my crutch to sight on one of tiny targets. Took it out, which means I can tell a squirrel to get away from my bird feeder.

A reader to this might say ‘so what?’ with the business about the squirrels. I might agree except, that the return to quality shooting was one of the main reasons for getting this surgery in the first place. Taking the rifle to the basement with the crutch means I can walk up and down the stairs with a rifle in hand. Setting up the backstop and sighting the rifle in means I can stand on both feet to shoot, though I can’t yet stand with my legs locked, but from my shower this morning I know that is coming. And shooting off the top of my crutch means that I am close to being able to be back to my accurate shooting self, before knee issues. Yippee!! Things are going well!

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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