Sunday, April 07, 2013

Knee Surgery

I had knee surgery March 19, 2013.This is a long boring post about my memories of the event. This will be very long and boring to anyone else. But I find that I enjoy reading about things that happened to me or my family. So this is my journal of my lastest life changing event.

This is my weight loss before picture. It is also a good knee replacement before photo! My right foot turns out, and the leg is just bent wrong!

This is 7 months later, 36 lb lost, and after knee surgery. My right foot still turns out, but my knee does not cross over the left.

The day of the surgery was a nice Tuesday morning, the day before the first day of spring! I was a little sad when I realized I would be recovering from the surgery during the start of the spring season! Spring is my favorite time of year! The daffodils, tulips, red bud trees, dogwoods, azaleas and more bloom. For a garden lover, this is the best time of the year! I was very aware that I might not fully enjoy spring!

The first week after surgery, I probably wasn't too concerned about spring. But now find that I have time to check the daily progress of the blooming because I can't do outdoor chores.

Back to the surgery, I would have to say that this knee surgery was the most painful and traumatic event of my life. The doctors warned me of the pain. Everyone that I knew that had the surgery warned me. Ivy Panzer and IvaNell Adams, both had the surgery and said it was painful, but the relief from the arthritis pain made it worth it and they were glad to have had the surgery. So I was expecting the pain. And my knee hurt almost constantly anyway, so I didn't know how much worse it could be. It was as bad as they said.

Before surgery, I was  a little anxious, but everyone took such good care of me, I felt better. When I was wheeled into the operating room, it was cold and I was talking a mile a minute, no one was really listening though. I saw my ex rays by the table and was looking at them, more blabbering, next thing I know I woke up in recovery!

When I woke up I didn't know if I was finished with surgery or not. I woke agitated at the nurses because I heard them talking about their personal life and they were not attending to me. I wanted that mask off and I wanted to know if I had surgery and if the surgery was successful! I am still a little angry at those two! Arkansas Surgery Hospital is a doctor owned hospital. I really wanted to report those two for talking when I had a major life changing experience. I was trying to sit up because I wanted to know if my leg was straight!

When I got in the room, that is the first thing I looked for! I took a picture of my leg before surgery and after surgery!

This is the right leg, prior to surgery! Pretty awkward looking.

                          Both legs before surgery, the spider and varicose veins are not related to the knocked knee problem, so do not be alarmed.

After surgery! I can't really tell a big difference by the pictures. When I walked before surgery, my right knee turned in every step, now it does not.

I guess I should add that my leg had become very knock kneed! It was an obvious turn in my leg. My knee cap was off center. My muscles were not working right. The inflammation above my knee never decreased. The trouble had started in October 2011. I had gone to the ortho doctor because of pain in my knee, and he said the patellae tendon was off. Soon after that visit, on the way to see Shrek, The Musical, at the Robinson with all the grand kids, I tore my meniscus. That was actually the most painful thing that had ever happened to me! Even with surgery for the torn meniscus and physical therapy, I had a year and a half with constant concern over my walking!

When I got back to the room, they had me move myself up in the bed. I thought I was on a water bed mattress. I realized it was my bottom. It was numb, totally. I had an epidural for the surgery. There was no pain! They placed a soft diet tray in front of me. I gobbled it down. A few minutes later, a lunch tray, also gobbled it down. Still no pain.

Physical Therapy came and had me do some exercises and walk a few steps. No problem. I was pretty shocked at how easy it all was. I had told the kids not to come see me the first couple of days because I didn't want to upset them if I was in pain. But I felt fine!

The next day was still great. Thursday, the took out the epidural and the catheter. The feeling started to come back. It was later in the afternoon before I had to go potty. And when I have to potty, I may have to go every hour. And I had to drink lots of water. I would say Thursday was my worst day. I could walk without too much pain. When I did PT, she helped me lift my leg. There was no connection between my thigh muscle and my brain. I could not use it to lift my leg. When I tried to lift my leg, the pain was intense. That is the pain they referred to. It felt like I was going to rip my leg apart to lift it. The PT would pick it up for me to get back in bed.

The nurses asked my pain level at almost every visit. They asked my pain level when I was resting comfortable in bed, without moving. So the pain level was at maybe a 2-3. When I had to lift my leg, the pain level was a 6-7! As a reference, I considered childbirth to be a 6-7.

One nurse thought it was her duty to make me lift my leg back into the bad, so she didn't help me after one of my hourly trips to potty. ARGH! I told her it hurt. She was training another nurse I guess.
The PT said I could use a belt or something to help. After that I didn't call the nurses to help me go potty, even thought I was supposed to have someone help when I got up. I decided I was better off alone. And I would stay up and sit in the chair rather than get back in bed.

I made a great discovery when I got home. I used a rubber stretch band that is for exercising to help lift my leg. I placed it under my arch and kept my leg stiff and straight and could lift my leg into bed, or the CPM machine, the van, without pain! It gave me independence. Otherwise, I had to have someone lift my leg into bed, the car, up on the couch, into or out of the CPM.

The first week was pretty much eat, sleep, have the CPM bend my knee. I started PT at Carson PT on Friday after the surgery.  In the hospital, with the epidural, I bent my knee to 102, next day to 90, by Friday it was 80. The second week, still had PT 3 times a week. The goal it to bend to 120, straighten to 0. I have been able to straighten pretty much every time. The bend has been a little more difficult. It really hurts! I compare the bend to childbirth labor. They make me bend a little more and a little more. It reminds me of having contractions! They get stronger and stronger! I have discovered a little trick to the process. Drugs! If I take an extra hydrocodone, I can tolerate the process. It still hurts like crazy, but I can let them force the bend without fighting it. That is why it reminds me of contractions. They hurt worse when you fight them! If you can get on top of the pain and breath through it, the pain is less intense. Without the extra pain pill, I fight against the PT trying to bend my knee.
This week I went from 80 on Monday to 100 on Friday! Very excited!

I came home from the hospital with a walker. Very old lady ish! But I was grateful to have the assistance. Two weeks after surgery, I advanced to a cane! I can walk without the cane, but PT said I am more likely to walk correctly with the cane.

This experience has been eye opening considering the possibility of retirement. I have been unable to work in the yard, but even if I could, I do not think I am ready for retirement.  Or more precise, I do not want to be incapacitated! I realized how hard it would be to be dependant on others for my shopping and errands, housework and cooking. I love my independence.

Speaking of cooking, we were so blessed to have have friends and family bring us food.
The first day home, Stan and Markeeta brought us dinner, a full dinner, entree, salad and dessert. Paula had cleaned that day and made us chili for lunch! Saturday morning, Josh and Amanda cooked us breakfast. On Saturday, Carol Hix brought us dinner, taco salad and another dessert! Sunday, after church, Phyllis Richey brought us lunch from herself, Christi Warner and Ivy Panzer, a "homemade" Olive Garden meal, lasagna, salad, bread and banana pudding! Monday, Amanda brought us dinner, taco ring. Someone was scheduled for Tuesday night, but forgot. I am still wondering what delicious dinner we missed.

Paula bought us chicken and rice another day. Andrea and Steve brought us groceries and cooked a delicious Easter dinner on the Saturday before Easter. The second Saturday, Carol brought us soup again. We have been blessed with so many people caring for us! Flowers, cards and calls, it all makes me feel very loved.

I was especially moved by the flowers sent or brought. Everyone that knows me knows I love the garden, living plants. So I received lovely living plants. Pink Hydrangea, orchid, mixed basket of petunia, geraniums and another mixed basket of ornamental cabbage, zinnia and petunias.

I pray that this surgery will allow me to walk and work and do all the things that I want to do without pain or fear. I have been limited in the past year in how far I can walk. Shopping has become a chore. Vacation activities have been limited in how much I want to do. They tell me it takes  6 months to a year to feel "normal"! I have a full schedule of activities planned, so I hope my knee is up and running soon!

Between the weight loss and my new knee, I want to travel to Hawaii, zip line, hike and go bird watching! I need to be healthy enough to keep up with those grand kids! And work in my garden! I really love to share what I grow with the grand kids too. Tucker wanted to know when the blueberries would be ready. Evie loves to help in the garden and really wants to grow some okra. Violet loves gardening and has planted bluebonnets this year!

The first week after surgery, I told Ron to NOT have this surgery. He has arthritis in his knee also. I told him it was not worth it. Two and a half weeks after surgery,even though I still have pain, I do believe it is worth is.