Whew! This post turned out to be a little longer than I thought it would be. I had lots of words :)
The knee surgery was 29 days ago. I think the recovery is going well. This week I had two sessions with Lovely Paul, the physical therapist. The bending goal is 125 degrees. On Wednesday I was at 105 degrees after extensive work by Lovely Paul.
Here's what out-patient physical therapy is like for a total knee replacement - at least for me:
I start off on a Total Gym machine. I lay on the bench with my feet on a solid surface, feet about shoulder-width apart and I bend my knees to the point where I can't bend them further, then I straighten my legs. I do that for ten minutes. It warms up the knees and gets the blood flowing through the joint. After that, I got to a room and lie on the table. Lovely Paul comes in, put some type of lotion on his hands and begins to massage my left knee. It starts out fine, but then he really starts digging into the soft tissue around my knee, working on the scar tissue that is building up in there, working on the knots that are forming as my tendons and muscles and whatever else is in there builds up to repair the knee and to help the muscles gain strength. I can assure you there are times when I get tears in my eyes. It can be very unpleasant. Then the bending begins. Lovely Paul puts his knee up on the table, puts my foot against his thigh and he press his thigh in to bend my knee while he continues to massage my knee and calf. He is gentle but firm and it doesn't feel that great until he measures the degree of bend and the number goes up each time. Hearing him say the bigger numbers does make me feel happy!
After the bending comes the straightening. There's more massaging and this time flexing of the knee. He'll hold my heel in one hand and press down right above my knee with the other hand, kind of hyper-extending the knee. The flexing part is going well this time around, so he doesn't spend too much time on that but enough that I can feel it.
Lovely Paul is done after that, then one of the techs, Katie, Andrew or Taylor, comes in to put me through my stretching and strengthening exercises. There are currently about seven different exercises that I do there with them, followed by ten minutes on a stationary bike. (New addition!) I haven't been able to get the full rotation on the bike, but it's coming. I've been working on my bike here at home too and I can feel it getting closer to going all the way around. I can do it backwards, but not forward.
When the exercises are complete, it's time to relax! I get back on the table and a bolster is put under my knee. An ice pack goes under the knee and another goes on top of the knee. Around the knee itself, there are four electrical stim pads that are put on my skin. The tech turns on the electrical current and a gentle pulse of electricity hits my leg in the four places around my knee to encourage blood flow and healing. Sounds kind of barbaric, but it feels wonderful. I'm always sad when that ten minutes is over.
Overall, I'm at the clinic between 75 and 90 minutes, depending on how much time Lovely Paul spends with me and how fast or slow I get through all the exercises.
Most of the exercises I do at the clinic I do at home. I do the majority of the exercises three times a day at home, except for a few that I only have to do twice a day. I don't have an electric stim machine, so I just put ice on my knee for twenty minutes after the stretches. It probably takes just under an hour or so to do the whole routine plus the ice. And I walk around the house of course. I'm thinking about going over to the gym next week to walk on the indoor track. I'll check with Lovely Paul first before I do that, though.
This week I drove for the first time since the surgery. That went well. I felt confident and free! It was nice to get out of the house. I also went to a movie at a movie theater! I chose a theater that has reclining seats. It was very nice. There was only one other person seeing the movie with me which is kind of strange but fine. I saw the Academy Award nominated film Moonlight.
It was unlike any other movie I've ever seen. It's a story about a young man, Chiron, growing up in the neighborhood of Liberty City in Miami. It's a story about drugs and bullying and a person trying to figure out who he is. The film doesn't romanticize any of that, but it does humanize it. In one scene the boy, Little, asks his mentor, Juan, if he sells drugs. When Juan says yes, Little asks if Juan sells drugs to his (Little's) mother. Juan again says yes, then begins to cry. It's an incredibly powerful scene. The story is told in three chapters: Chiron as a young boy called Little, Chiron's in high school, and when he is an adult known as Black.
I saw the movie yesterday afternoon and I've been thinking about it ever since. Another thing that made the movie different was that I don't think there was one white face in the movie. There was a lady with light skin, but I think she was Latina.
The movie probably isn't for everyone. It's not really a feel-good kind of picture, but it was well made and well told and well acted. Moonlight is definitely worthy of the attention and accolades it was been getting.
On a much lighter note, I also went out to the office today to meet up with my friends Kelsie and Nicole for lunch! It was very quiet around the office today, but I got to see a few people and it was fun to chat with them and of course go out for lunch my friends. I was happy to hear about their kids and what is going on with their lives. I'm not exactly sure when I'll be going back to work full time; I should know more after I meet with Dr. G on the 24th.
So the good news is that I'm getting out and about. I'm feeling good (though I have a lingering cold). The knee is mostly pain-free. I'm really happy with where I am in my recovery from the surgery. Tomorrow I'm going to weigh in at WW, so I'll let you know what's going on with that aspect of things in a couple of days.
Have a great weekend!