Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Knee Report Card

Husband and I drove to Nashville today for my three-month checkup at the doctor's. We went with a certain amount of trepidation because we didn't know what would happen based on the progress I have made in rehabilitation since my surgery on April 10.

At six weeks the doctor threatened to put me back into the hospital, sedate me, and physically manipulate my right knee to break up scar tissue which had formed and was causing tremendous pain during therapy. This scar tissue was also preventing me from flexing my knee as much as the doctor wanted (at least 120 degrees). If this procedure was performed, I would have to start physical therapy all over again. I instead opted to continue physical therapy five times a week and concentrate on exercises to increase flexion. This has been very difficult to say the least. To date I have only been able to flex my knee to 105 degrees and I was very worried that the doctor would insist on performing the manipulation.

We were very surprised, therefore, when we were told that they were extremely satisfied with my progress to date. The nurse practitioner said that at three months past surgery I was exactly where I should be. She ordered therapy to continue three times a week for the next three months and then I would come back for another checkup. She told me that normal recuperation from this type of surgery is typically a year. Here I thought I wasn't doing as well as they wanted and now both husband and I are satisfied that things are going better than we expected.

All of this is good news. I have worked very hard to get over this major surgery. I had my doubts about replacing my knee because this is a permanent deal. For the rest of my life I must take antibiotics prior to any dental procedure and any other medical procedure. For the rest of my life I must visit the doctor once a year to ensure that my body is not rejecting this prosthetic or that I have not acquired an infection that could threaten my knee or that it had not worn out or that it had not loosened because of use or abuse. For the rest of my life I will not be able to jump or do anything that could damage my knee. For the rest of my life I may not be able to kneel, do the twist, or bowl. For the rest of my life I will have to show a little card when I go through airport security to explain why all the buzzers are going off.

I thought I would be able to handle this surgery with no problem because I was a superwoman who had two kids with practically no medication. How bad could this procedure be? I found, much to my astonishment, that I had three months of surprising pain. I couldn't believe that I was such a crybaby dependent upon a lot of pain pills to dull the torture of therapy.

Today I am not in pain like I was before and I'm learning that I can walk again like a normal person. Hopefully one of these days I will forget that I have stainless steel and plastic implanted where real bone and cartilage once resided. Hopefully one of these days I will not think twice about going for an extended walk and worrying whether I will be able to make it back to the house or car without crawling or crying. Hopefully one of these days I won't feel like an old invalid.

Considering all I have been through, was it worth it? I would have to say yes. Would I have my left knee done? I would have to say maybe not. But, I will cross that stream when I come to it. After all, tomorrow is another day.

12 Comments:

At July 18, 2006 11:34 PM, Blogger Sue said...

That certainly sounds like a positive report card! It's really been a tough 3 months for you. I hope it starts to get easier as time goes by.
((hugs))

 
At July 18, 2006 11:41 PM, Blogger Motherkitty said...

Thanks so much, Sue. You have really been true blue and always encouraging. You don't know how much your comments, and those of my other wonderful blogpals, have meant to me. It's what has kept my spirits up and has encouraged me to try harder.

 
At July 19, 2006 5:39 AM, Blogger susan said...

Way to Go MK!!! I bet you always aced your tests and was the teacher's pet. Your drive and determination got you where you are, keep up the good work!

 
At July 19, 2006 8:32 AM, Blogger Franny said...

Congrats on making it this far. You are not a cry baby! I can't even imagine how much that must hurt. But you've got the determination and the drive and the faith to do it.
*HUGS* to you!

 
At July 19, 2006 12:00 PM, Blogger TUFFENUF said...

I know that it has been a tough road for you. A friend of mine broke her knee in a car accident a couple of years ago. She was so frustrated because knee injuries are the most painful. After all, all your body weight has to be supported by your knees. Having had knee problems, I had to tell my friend to be patient, knees take a long time to heal. It took two years to heal, and even now she still has some problems. Please don't get discouraged, I know that the physical therapy is painful, but push through, you will feel better soon. All your blog friends are pulling for you - you are always in our thoughts!!!

 
At July 19, 2006 2:00 PM, Blogger Alipurr said...

Mom, I am so glad the doctor gave you a good report! I knew you were doing your best the whole time! I am sorry we haven't been able to come as often lately, but we sure have missed you and dad. This has really been a busy summer for all of us. Hopefully we will be able to visit again before Dancer Girl's birthday.

 
At July 19, 2006 3:15 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

So glad to hear the good report! It does take time..painful time..but it should get easier as time goes by.

 
At July 19, 2006 8:12 PM, Blogger Neo said...

Kitty - Great to hear that your progress is coming along. The range of motion is a real pain to regain (no pun intended) after that kind of thing.

When I broke my arm last year I kind of put off working my arm to get it back in shape. Man in the winter I paid for it.

Hope all is going good, and its nice to see your doing better.

:)

Peace & Hugs,

- Neo

 
At July 19, 2006 10:20 PM, Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I bet you felt like jumping up and down with joy when the doctor told you that you were right on schedule. That was sure great news to get especially after your last visit. I know that you have worked really hard with your PT in order to make such remarkable progress...good for you.

Things can only get better.
Love you,
Sandy :)

 
At July 21, 2006 12:44 AM, Blogger Cathy said...

This is the post I was looking for. MK that is wonderful news. I have been wondering all week how your appt. went. It should be much smoother sailing from now on.

You will still pick up a few more degrees as time goes on. When the pain becomes less it is so much easier to get the bend than when fighting that terrible pain. I'm so happy for you!

PS. you are progressing at about the exact rate I did. I felt like I was doing terrible but I think this is normal for what we have been through. Like you, I'm not sure about having it done on my left knee. I'am suppose to do that now in a few months. I just don't know!

 
At July 22, 2006 4:57 PM, Blogger Alice said...

Wonderful news to learn that you have made such good progress. Hopefully, as time goes by you will almost forget that you have an artificial knee as it will have become so natural for you. Congratulations on your perseverance and courage despite the pain.

 
At July 22, 2006 10:52 PM, Blogger Kerri said...

I'm so happy to hear your good report MK! With your determination I knew you could get through it. I'm sorry you've had to endure such pain, but, on the positive side, think of all the character you've developed. Trials, and how we deal with them, are what shape us. And think how much more you can empathize with others who have to deal with pain. Good on you! Keep up the good work.

 

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