Recovering

Surgery day was a blur. I have discovered this week that my reaction to opiates is to go to sleep. And maybe throw up. Surgery day I spent quite a bit of the time asleep, and ate very little.

Bionic knee
Bionic knee

Yesterday was a more painful day. I was tired of being asleep and not eating, so I opted not to take my big time pain meds. I called the doctor in the morning to get an alternate medication, and leaned on the unflinching rock of Ibuprofin to see me through. I didn’t get the new pain meds until nearly 5, however. Being up on important scientific findings, I supplemented the Ibuprofin with some “Zelda: Twilight Princess” for Wii. The fishing was a royal pain in the hienie and I resorted to a technique I try never to use (aka: asking my husband for help), but eventually I managed to conquer the first level.

My mother in law is here, and full of plans. So far we’ve deconstructed the kitchen table and chairs. For our combined birthday presents, she is paying to have them reupholstered. Also, she is spray painting the metal. This is ideal, since it’s really an awesome table and bench set from the 70s that is perfect for our kitchen, but whose stuffing is emerging. Then this weekend they’re planning on redoing the floor and fixtures in our bathroom – having demolished the floor last trip. I’m glad they’re keeping their plans modest this time.

Pictures from the knee scope
Pictures from the knee scope - I think these are the meniscus tears

How am I recovering from the ACL reconstruction and meniscus tears? Let’s see. I’m in this astonishing articulated brace, which I have to wear 24/7 for at least another day. Tomorrow I can take the brace and dressing off to bathe. I have to sleep in it, which is a bit of a challenge. The pain fluctuates more than I expected. When properly managed, there is less pain I had with the initial injury. This might be partially because I didn’t have prescription pain medication when I busted it the first time. I have some decent range of motion – better than I was expecting – going from fully extended to maybe 35 degrees. The brace, not the knee, seems to be the limiting factor. I’ve been doing some preliminary PT, and can do leg lifts. I finally figured out how to go up and down my stairs on crutches. Although I can bear weight on the knee without much additional pain, it does not seem stable or reliable, so I have to have crutches for all movement. It turns out that all the techniques I’d been using with my sore knee all summer long are the same ones that I need with my recovering knee.
Ice water circulation system
Ice water circulation system

I have this amazing cold pack system going on. There’s a reservoir of ice water that I connect to two ports on my brace. The ice water is circulated under my metal brace around me knee. A sensor shows when the water has gotten too warm. I swear this is the most effective of the pain mitigations, although it requires me to be pretty stationary. Also, I was unprepared for needing bags and bags of ice, so my caretakers have had to make several runs to the corner store. Finally, I can’t really change the ice pack myself — carrying things is hard on crutches and this is awkward and heavy. So I really do need people around me. And as I can tell by a certain rambliness in even this writing … I’m not 100% sharp.

I’m feeling very lucky in my supportive community. My biggest challenge will be the stir-craziness, I think. I am ok in my limited context with the pain meds and ice packs, but I am probably not up for much adventuring. On the other hand, I’m constitutionally ill-suited to sitting still and not doing much. We’ll see which one of these imperatives has the most energy behind it!

My office sent flowers!!!
My office sent flowers!!!

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5 thoughts on “Recovering

  1. I’ve been thinking good thoughts your way. You’re doing amazingly well given how recently you’re post-op. Sound like me in ditching the woozy, nausea-inducing meds…HANG IN THERE!

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  2. “My mother in law is here, and full of plans. So far we’ve deconstructed the kitchen table and chairs. ”

    You know, a few weeks ago when you first mentioned needing surgery and how complicated that was going to make your ordinary daily life I thought “I bet her mother-in-law comes, and we all know what that means…”

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    1. This one is a little more serious than usual – we have a complete bathroom redo. Well, ok, not the walls or the bath tub, but the sink, toilet and floor are all removed. My patient, thorough husband is currently down there attempting to put in sub floor heating. Yum.

      Still, it makes it hard for me to ask for help when the reason I need it is tiling-related….

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    2. Both. You will be given some bandages and wraps and pobissly a brace but you are encouraged to go buy what you think you’ll need from a store.A knee brace (not the fabric type sold in stores) would be ordered by your doctor and covered by insurance. PT doesn’t give you things like that.

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