Friday, August 31, 2012

There is something sick and sadistic that I must inflict such torturous pain on myself in order to heal and get well. But here we are, every hour or two, I must engage in three different exercises to bend my knee. It is the last thing I want to do, but ever so necessary. It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about doing it, let alone when I engage in self-torture. As if the pain at physical therapy isn't enough, I get to do more of it at home to myself.
Every week, there is something new. I endured a new procedure with a metal tool rubbed on my thigh to break up scar tissue. Today, I got to try the step machine again and with slight help, brought the left step down. And with careful control of the right leg, brought the left leg up but not all the way, yet.
On Wednesday, I graduated to a neoprene knee brace with a hinge that wraps around the knee - above and below it. It weighs about 1/2 lb and is far more comfortable than the 3/4 leg brace that weighed 10 lbs. ( abit of exaggeration, I know, but that's what it felt like)
When I asked the Doc if I was where I should be, his answer was there was a fine line between bending and retearing. But, if by the end of Sept. I was not far along enough, I would be facing being put to sleep and having a manipulation - bending the knee all the way and every way to break through scar tissue. I don't want to go there.
So, PT has stepped up and here I am, facing a long weekend of extra painful exercises. What fun!!! Not.
But I will do what I have to do and pray that God will give me the strength and ability to endure.
I will be using a dog leash to do this painful exercise. The handle wraps around my left foot and while lying on my stomach, I pull the leash over my opposite shoulder bending the knee until it is stretched as far as I can and hold it for 30 seconds. I get to repeat it three times and ought to do it every two hours. Pure and utter agony!
Who knew that Jett's old leash would become my tool for torture. Perhaps, his spirit and presence will be with me, encouraging me as I use it. I pray that will be so.
One day at a time, one week at a time, one exercise at a time. And with God's help and grace and power, I will see this through and will have full use of my knee again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Seven Weeks And Counting-
Into my 7th week since surgery and with help, my knee is bending at near 90 degrees.
Progress, slow progress. I still cannot do a full revolution on the bike. On Monday, I had a long, hard workout. I was on the leg press for 5 minutes and had to stop 10 seconds shy of the full 5, because my leg had no more to give and I couldn't hardly keep it up on the metal board. I still have trouble with the little hurdles going right foot first and then bringing the left over them. Sigh. The best part of therapy is the massage to break up scar tissue and even the bending, though somewhat painful, is ok. They have given me electro-stimulation after a workout. That has been relaxing -after the more than ice cold electrodes are placed on either side of the knee. You can just lay there and the let the current flow to the knee. I used the time to rest in God's care and healing power. I felt so much better going home Friday after that. In fact, I even talked LH into taking me to a dept. store nearby. He helped me out of the car while parked in front of the entrance. I found 2 pairs of dress slacks that I sorely needed since losing weight. ( I also found a shirt and knit top). I can't believe how good it was to be somewhere besides the doctor's office and PT gym!!!
I was thoroughly worn out Friday evening and slept good that night.
I am trying to get some things accomplished - like shortening a dress. (actually I have three that need shortening) So far, I have marked the hem line and cut line on one. Today, I will tackle cutting and serging the hem. And if I am up to it, pinning it to the hem line. Since I can't sit all that long at a time, I have to do everything in measured doses, thus it takes me longer to do things. I also don't have the stamina and energy I had before surgery. This, of course, is frustrating, but part of the healing process. I have to remind myself that my body is still healing and knitting back together - tissues, muscle, nerve endings. And that on a cellular level my body is still very, very busy and that a nap a day is good and helpful to the healing process. It' just hard not to feel guilty about taking a nap or not getting as much in a day as I would like.
I have a possible interim position with a church in another denomintation. They have two services on Sunday and the drive is about an hour. I am contemplating how I will be able to handle that by mid-Sept. without falling asleep on the ride home - totally wrung out and exhausted, with a throbbing, aching, hurting knee. I can probably put the knee up for 20 minutes or so between services, even if it is unladylike.
That, too, will last a few months beyond the end of therapy. Putting the knee up for 20 minutes when it is tired and achy. I had kinda forgotten about that, but such memories are slowly returning.
Trying to stay motivated and not get too discouraged by the slow progess. I always do a couple more repitetions than required and even used 4 lbs on the one machine rather than 3 lbs which would've been easier. So, I am working it!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

First Therapy Session -
Let the training begin!!! I was pleased to discover that I was actually bending the knee at 48 degrees surpassing what my surgeon was asking for! The massage felt good for the most part. I still can't lift the leg though not for lack of trying. It will happen one of these days. I was doing about 90 knee slides a day and they increased it to 100. I am tired after 30. So now I am doing 3 sets of 35.
I can't believe they made me get up onto the leg press. The PT had to hold me left leg in place. My back was sore afterwards.
I get to do this all over again tomorrow. I was the only there wearing apparatus and look for the day when I can shed the leg brace which slips down throughout the day and has to be readjusted for exercises and just from gravity. I have learned that PTs are not great at putting on ace bandages and adjusting the leg brace. I do it better myself!
I was delighted to find out that I lost another 10 lbs since surgery. Yippee!!! The downside is that few of my clothes fit anymore. I will have to have more items taken in. I also have to replace dress pants and of course, regular twill pants. Sigh. And I am just not quite up to going to a store and trying on pants taking the leg brace on and off and walking through the store. One of these days, I will make the attempt.
In the meantime, I have discovered some old dresses that fit again. Like running into a long lost friend that you haven't seen in years and delighting in the reunion. It also is heartwrenching to not be able to wear some items (especially linen) that are now too big. Hopefully, those can be taken in. I fear for my fall/winter wardrobe and will have to retry some items in a couple of weeks. I'm thinking that with the therapy workouts three times a week, I will be shedding several more pounds. I have a couple of tribal print skirts for fall that I will have taken in and a floral one, since I wear them alot and love 'em.
Ordinarily, the thought of adding new pieces to my wardrobe does excite me, but I am less than thrilled with the patterns, polyester and short dresses and skirts that are being shown. I hope to find some decent items on sale - eventually. Too bad, I can't go with my sister who I won't be seeing this year. Our vacation to the Lake was postponed by the knee injury and I have a possible new position on the horizon. I will be lucky to get time off for our 25th anniversary cruise the beginning of December. I won't even have any clothes that fit for that either.
One day at a time, one week at time, and one accomplishment at a time. God will provide all that I need for God's grace is sufficient for each day.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Happy 1st of August to all my Swiss family!!!
Well, to my surprise, I will be starting therapy - 3 times a week. Have to get it set up. This is sooner than 7 years ago, since it's only a month since my surgery. I have to work on lifting my leg. I tried a few times this morning and will keep trying until I can lift it off the bed if even a fraction of an inch!
It struck me again today when I went to the premier orthopaedic center in this region, that having a sloped entryway is just not helpful to people who can't walk well. The slight slope makes it hard to walk up into the doors and hard to walk down when leaving and getting to your car. I know that those in wheelchairs have the same problem along with those of us on canes, walkers, or foot/leg boots. Whatever were they thinking?
Did I mention that getting to the MRI involved a walk to an elevator, down one story, exit the elevator down a hallway, left turn and down another extremely long hallway and then a right into the MRI lobby. This is a premier orthopaedic center. Most of the patients aren't able to walk well - knee, leg, hip, spine, etc. problems and they have to go so far to get to the MRI. There isn't even an outside entrance - like drive up, enter the lobby and then into the MRI room.
One really has to wonder about the architects and engineers who obviously never had an orthopaedic injury to take into account. I am not a brilliant person, but I would have designed it much differently.
This injury and surgery gives me a greater appreciation for those who cannot easily get around and the obstacles they face daily. At least my immobility is temporary.
It just makes you wonder and ask where were the surgeons and doctors and did they not have any input or were they simply not thinking when the place was built?
So, my summer vacation - since I am between calls at the moment - will be the Olympic trials of therapy and rehab. I will be working out like an injured athlete. Oh joy!!! I could think of a thousand ways I'd rather be spending my summer vacation. But here we go and maybe by the end of August I will be able to actually sit normally!!!!