5 Weeks And Counting

It’s been five weeks since my surgery.  I can feel my knee getting a little stronger every day.  Mom came to Potsdam on Saturday and I asked her to bring the shower seat Dad was using before he went to Meadowbrook.  I showered for the first time in 5 weeks!  It was glorious.  (Which is not to say I haven’t been cleaning myself for over a month–’cause EWW!) 

I had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon on Monday.  He’s hard to read, but seemed skeptical about the brace.  (You may recall that his preference was that I remain in a full cast for at least 6 weeks.)  I was hoping that he’d prescribe some form of formal strength-building regimen or refer me to physical therapy; but no–a few more weeks of just walking.  And he admonished me to keep the brace locked/straight whenever I walk.  I’m allowed to let the knee bend and stretch a little while sitting, but that’s it.

That was a little disappointing.  I’ve seen a few videos online of people with (apparently) my same injury.  Some of them were not as far along as I am.  One or two were way ahead of me, doing exercises and stretches and all sorts of things that only made me wince.  I just keep telling myself that every body is different and that even if those people did have my same injury, they may not have had the same repair procedure done.  My doctor is an expert and has done and been through this before.  I am not and have not.  So I’ll do as he says.  “I don’t want to screw this up,” I told him.

Looking ahead to Summer, I can’t see how I’ll be terribly inconvenienced by my recovery.  As long as I can manage to swing my foot up onto the porch rail at Camp, everything else will be fine!

Driving Strength

This coming Monday marks 5 weeks since my accident.  I will see the doctor who performed my surgery that afternoon.  I hope to get some specific direction on strength building and exercise.

My knee continues to grow stronger.  I notice differences every day.  I was instructed to leave the brace set at 30º and I have done so.  My leg can now flex that full amount with no pain.  That was not true even a week ago.  The 30º angle has allowed me to sit normally in a chair which has been great.  Last week I tried again to get into the driver’s seat of a car.  I managed to figure out how, but it was painful and involved me manually lifting my leg with my hand.  This morning I tried again and was able to slide in with minimal difficulty and no assistance from my hand.  I can drive again if I need to!  Yesterday I started walking cautiously with the brace unlocked (still set at 30º).  It’s been a little liberating, but I know I have a long way to go.

3 Down, 3 To Go

Today marks 3 weeks since my knee surgery–1 week with the leg brace.  I went to see the Nurse Practitioner again today.  It was more of a check-in with me to make sure I had taken to the brace OK.  You’ll recall that it was the surgeon’s preference that I remain in a full cast for 6 whole weeks, but that last week I opted (in his absence) for the brace.  They had tried to get ahold of him while I was there, but could not.  Well, he called back and re-stated his preference for a cast, but the NP and the aide convinced him that I was OK with the brace.  It turns out that he and I have something in common: years of dealing with people who don’t follow instructions!  🙂  In his experience he can’t trust patients to keep the leg as straight as possible, so he doesn’t give them any option.  I’ve demonstrated that I can follow instructions and he was convinced of this and so approved of my keeping the brace.  (It’s ultimately my decision anyhow, but it was nice to hear.)

I have permission to continue slightly stretching the tendon by bending the knee, but no more than 30 degrees.  I have tried and still cannot get into the front seat of the two cars I currently have at my disposal.  Our 3rd is in the shop and is a larger car–I may have better luck with that.

My next appointment is on Monday, April 18th–5 weeks to the day after my fall.  It will be here before I know it!  I’m hoping he’ll authorize some kind of physical therapy at that point.  

Bracing For Travel

It’s been almost 3 weeks since my accident. I’ve gotten used to the brace and am walking as normally as possible. Things take a little longer, but I’m rarely in a hurry anyhow.

Amanda and I are on our way to Vermont to help a friend celebrate his birthday. We are having dinner at the Trapp Family Lodge and spending the night in a hotel in Burlington. Tomorrow we will stop in Keeseville to see Mom on our way home.

Amanda found some activewear khaki pants that are baggy enough to fit over the brace and have the bonus feature of zippers on the legs just above the knee that let you remove the lower leg and turn them into shorts. This means I can adjust/reposition the brace without having to take off the pants!

Next week I will get instructions on how to start stretching and exercising the muscle I damaged. I am looking forward to the recovery process, but know I will probably limp on and favor that leg for at least the rest of the year. And who knows? Maybe I’ll be one of those folks who can predict the weather with my “trick knee”!