Monday, July 4, 2011

Post Op - The Agony & the Ecstasy

The Agony ~ This is a drag!  I do not do well with being out of control, and I'm out of control in a major way!  Every movement needs to be thoroughly thought out and planned out, ahead of time.  Going to the bathroom takes ten minutes, and that's the getting myself up part!  I did manage a shower today (it's been a stinking week!) and that was heavenly, but I had to sit and rest for quite awhile after.  I find that 10 minutes up on my feet with my trusty old lady walker is about all I can manage without serious discomfort. Fortunately I have a mesh bag attached to the front of the walker, so I can drag my meds, book, water bottle and other necessities with me where ever I may roam . . . which isn't far.  The highlight of my day is physical therapy, which is ironic as it's also the most agonizing hour of the day.  But, at least I get out of the house!

This morning I was crying, simply from the frustration of it all.  I went to the kitchen to get something, and then when I sat back down, realized I'd forgotten to refill my water bottle.  I got mad at David for not picking up the kitchen rugs fast enough, expecting him to know that he needs to do that.  They have been a problem, but I've only noticed when I was home alone.  I'd forget to mention it to him.  Poor guy has been at my beck and call since Wednesday afternoon, and never once has been impatient with me.  I am an impatient patient.

David set me up with the motion machine to watch tv this afternoon, and I decided to increase the range. I fell asleep repeatedly, so I pretty much missed the main idea of everything we watched.  When I realized after three hours I needed to use the bathroom, David helped me get out of the machine and I found when I took my first step that I had seriously overdosed on the machine.  I could hardly walk.  Now I'm back in my chair, with ice, so that hopefully I can manage my exercises in awhile.

My range of motion is better than it was at my first outpatient physical therapy, but not as great as I would have expected.  Progress is achingly slow.  My leg does not bend well, and of course, that is my goal.  I find myself very frustrated by how excruciatingly difficult it is to even manage a 90 degree angle.
I was more optimistic when I woke this morning than I am now, as it doesn't take any time at all to feel like I've lost all progress I've made.

The Ecstasy ~ I have acquired many new toys that please me greatly!  My most favorite is my grabber.  I have been amazed at all I can pick up with that thing!  I can even grab a couch pillow and drag it over.  It has a magnet on the end as well, although I haven't found anything on the floor to pick up as yet.  Another cool tool is my sock puller.  I hate the white socks, I truly do.  They are just ugly as can be.  However, I wear them faithfully, as they are to provide protection from forming blood clots, due to not moving around as much as normal. The  surprising thing is that they are made of some miracle material because they do not bug me.  I was very worried when I was told I'd have to wear these white knee sox for six weeks, as I knew they would be hot, miserable, make me itch and drive me crazy.  They don't do any of those things.  I don't know why. It is a complete miracle.  And, it's just kind of fun to use the sock puller to put them on.

 My physical therapist at the hospital gave me a wide woven belt sort of thing and taught me how to use it as a "leg lifter" and it is so useful!  Remember that my leg weighs about 100 pounds (or at least feels like it does, as it's totally dead weight!)  I can't make my muscles lift it, so I loop the end of the belt around my foot, pull, and my leg magically lifts so I can get it into bed!  It works in the reverse, too, so that I can control removing my leg from bed without it slamming to the floor.  Trust me, that isn't a pleasant experience!

I also have this long pole with various hooks and things that is good for retrieving items dropped, or just moving things around.  I haven't used it a lot yet,  but I can already imagine places where it will come in handy.  There is a nice back scrubber brush, and a super long shoehorn, and two pair of elastic shoelaces in my little bag of tricks. I must admit though, that my most appreciated item (on loan from our neighbors) is a raised toilet seat with grabber handles.  Several inches of height makes all the difference in the world when using the facilities, with confidence I will be able to arise on my own!

Once the words quit spinning around on the page, and I was able to stay awake longer than two minutes at a time, reading became my greatest non-guilty pleasure.  I am free to read to my hearts content. As I have no time constraints, with the exception of physical therapy appointments, I can read as late as I want, as early as I want, and all day if I want.

Computer work is still a problem, as I have physical constraints that I haven't managed to devise a clear plan yet to work around.  I asked David this morning to make me a simple lap desk with legs that I can use as a table while in one of the chairs.  I will need to keep my knee elevated until all swelling is gone, and I don't have a clue when that will be.  I can't put weight or pressure on my knee for obvious reasons, so my beanbag type lapdesk doesn't work.  Putting a board over the arms of the chair doesn't quite clear my knee. So, writing is in bits and pieces.  I have an interim plan to move my tea cart over between my chairs, as it has drop-leaf sides that I can pull up to create a table area.  I'll try that for tomorrow.

It's taken several hours to write what I have so far, and I can barely sit here to finish.  My knee is throbbing. I don't think I did any permanent damage by using the motion machine, but it sure made what muscle I have, really tight and hard to move.  I need to be done with this post for today. 

My physical goal for this summer is to heal well.  I have been a bit saddened to learn that it won't be as easy as I had expected, nor will it be as quick as I anticipated.  Major joint surgery is a pretty big deal. I have always bounced back pretty quickly from other procedures, but this isn't one that allows for that. I was shocked to be told last Friday that I can't walk any distance for a few weeks yet!  After today, I think I know why!  It sounds crazy, but I am determined to look forward to this adventure.  It isn't even remotely the type of adventure I would choose, yet it is mine.  As I heal, I want to be ever aware of what is going on, and immerse myself in the experience.   It isn't what I'd like to be doing, but it is necessary for me to get to that place where I am able to return to doing the things I like to be doing. 

Last night Kailyn and I were chatting and she was teasing me about having my personal attendants (her and her dad).  We laughed about it, but I am truly appreciative.  Kailyn and David have never once made me feel like I am demanding, or imposing, or that even the most wimpy request is too petty.  Every morning David makes me my little pot of green tea, brings me breakfast, and I feel pampered and loved. Kailyn has prepared some wonderful meals, and been helpful beyond my expectations.  I know that I will miss them both tomorrow when they return to work.  Part of the learning process this summer is going to be realizing what my priorities, limitations and potential is and/or will be.  I don't have to necessarily like what I'll be learning, but I owe it to myself to pay attention. 

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