Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Knee Surgery: Pics and What You Need for Rehab

Night before surgery: my right knee is marked by the surgeon at the pre-surgery appointment.
At home, I had a sterile gauze over the incision with this fish-net stocking to keep the gauze in place.
Twenty-five staples held my 6-inch incision closed.
 I have really thick calves and knees so I was surprised the incision wasn't larger.

My mode of transportation for about two weeks was the walker.
  Actually, it held me up and my legs did the transporting.
Ultram, Extra-Strength Tylenol and Oxycodone were on board for pain during the first two weeks at home.
TEDS stockings to prevent blood clots.
I wear these every day and take them off at night.
Another preventive measure against blood clots is Fragmin (medication). I was not forewarned that I would be giving myself injections of this medication for 12 days. If Kidlet Three can give himself insulin shots in his belly every day, I can give myself a shot for 12 days. It hurt and my belly looked like a bruised battleground at the end of the deal.
We kept my meds and instructions in a container on the cupboard.
My mom stayed for two weeks and was so good at keeping track of my meds and giving them to me on schedule.
I have to say that I really didn't have a whole lot of pain and I believe it was the good nursing care I had!
This is a physical therapy belt.
The first couple of times I went up and down our 14 stairs,
this was tied around my chest and The Husband
held me from behind to prevent a fall.
  I also use the belt to lift my foot when getting into the car
(and for the first 2 weeks, to lift my leg in and out of bed).
This is a wonderful aid when your leg doesn't lift by itself!
Ice packs. Two of these nifty ice packs were sent home from the hospital with me.
They slide into the blue cloth bag pictured under the pack.
I continue to ice several times a day even one month after surgery.
Two wonderful-I-can't-live-without aids in the bathroom:
 an elevated toilet seat and a shower chair.
Flowers, cards, phone calls, emails, text messages,
and meals mean so much during the rehab after surgery.
Here is my 'thick' leg one-month after surgery.
 The staples were removed at two weeks and steri-strips
were placed over the incision. Only one strip has fallen off.

 I'm to leave them alone and let them fall off as they get loose.

It was extremely hard for me to look at my leg with the staples in.
 It made me queasy for some reason!
Now that the staples are out, it isn't so bad to look at.
After surgery, the knee doesn't want to bend.
The whole rehab process is forcing the knee to bend (ouch, ouch, ouch).
 One of the exercises I've started is sitting in the glider rocker
with my feet on the ground and I rock....
forcing the glider to bend my knee.

I also sit at the edge of our bed and let the knee
and lower leg dangle. This really causes a stretch.
 After a couple of minutes I try kicking the leg a little.

Laying on my back with legs straight, I try to bring
my heel to my butt. It only moves a couple of inches now.
You know the has to bend more!

There are other exercises, too.
For about a week and a half I've been using just one crutch.
 I walk, walk, walk around the house with the crutch.
In the kitchen I have set the crutch aside and
 use the counter for support as I do dishes or cook.
  I don't want to lose my balance so I keep the crutch close by.
I also continue to elevate my knee higher than my heart.
 All pillows in the house are stacked on my bed and
 I pull my leg up onto the stack. I lay back with no pillow under my head.
 If there is any swelling in my foot or knee, it all goes away after this procedure.
There you have a one-month look into total knee surgery rehab for me.  I know other people may be further along or behind where I am in my bending, but this is what is up with me.  In another month I'll be returning to work so I have a lot of exercises and bending to do to be able to even drive.

Happy New Year!
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