Tuesday, May 21, 2013

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

It was four weeks ago yesterday that I went in for my first arthroscopy and lateral release. As I recorded in a few previous posts, the days and weeks that followed were simply about healing and resting. Recovery was moving rapidly and I was feeling like Superwoman. But that was then...

And this is now... I had the arthroscopy and lateral release done on my opposite leg 6 days ago. Even though the surgery was smooth and predictable like before, recovery has been much different this time around. The change began almost as soon as I was awake and coherent out of anesthesia. My assigned nurse started rattling off my post-op orders, which unexpectedly included "no weight bearing" on my operated leg until my follow-up appointment ten days later. If I asked her once, I asked her a million times to confirm. Are you SURE??!, I whined. She never could tell me the reasons why, but only that those were the orthopedic surgeon's instructions.

Since then I've been bearing full weight with the help of crutches on my 4-week-post-surgery knee that is still very tender and sore. And that means that this recovery week has been so very sloooooooooooow and frustrating, completely opposite of my first experience. And to add insult to injury (literally), yesterday I severely strained my IT band (iliotibial band, which is the tissue that is "released" in the procedure) while trying to stand up from a motorized cart after grocery shopping. The pain I felt in that moment was on a scale that I'm not sure I've ever experienced in my life until this point. Absolutely excruciating. That injury-- combined with non-weight-bearing orders on my left leg-- has pretty much left me sentenced to stay in bed. Five feet to the bathroom is as ambitious as it gets until Friday morning.

*insert a really sad, depressing song here for background music* 

I've also been paranoid about taking Oxycodone this time around after a scary spell of having my blood pressure plummet when getting out of bed too quickly (which can be a side effect of the drug). Another terrible episode that I don't ever desire to experience again! But the otc meds unfortunately don't mask the pain the way narcotics do, so I'm having to cautiously continue them for now.

So, I sit...
and wait...
and sleep...
and binge on Netflix and Pinterest...
and ice...
and medicate...
and elevate...
rinse and repeat...
all the while praying that the longterm outcomes of these two surgeries will be worth the present difficulties.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back (2 Weeks Post-Op)

It has already been two weeks since my arthroscopy and lateral release knee surgery. I'm glad to report that recovery is still going incredibly well. After coming off of crutches last week, some soreness and minor swelling set back in so I had to go back to relying on one crutch and Oxycodone for a few more days. That was a tad bit discouraging when I had been pulling off a rockstar status at physical therapy. We've also had a lot of rain and humidity in our area of the world this month, so I'm convinced that I am a total granny it has been contributing to the achiness. But good news is that I was able to go back to full weight bearing without crutches (and a little Advil) yesterday and have been doing great since.

At the end of each day, my knee continues to be pretty sore and stiff. I imagine that will be the case for a while since the lateral retinaculum that was cut is a delicate tissue that takes a good while to heal. I'm trying to find a healthy balance between not doing too much (cleaning, standing, lifting, driving, etc) and pushing my knee a little more each day in order to prepare for my next surgery in 8 days. My currently-operated leg will then have to bear full weight for several days, which ain't gonna be easy! (Eight more days... WOW!)

On Friday I'll be seeing my orthopedic surgeon once more before he does the same procedure on my other knee next Wednesday. Hopefully healing will continue to go smoothly and consistently until then.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Time For a Checkup (Post-op Day 10)

It's so hard to believe that a week and a half has already flown by and it was time for my post-op appointment with my orthopedic surgeon. This whole experience thus far has been relatively comfortable and quick... Which is completely opposite of what I read beforehand during late-night google sessions... And which also tells me one thing that must be told to everyone:

Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

I know, I KNOW!!! Shocking, right??!

Anyway, nothing but great strides took place today in my recovery process:

• The doctor says I'm healing incredibly well and fast and is impressed with both the minimal amount of swelling and strength of my leg already.
• He declared me finished with the leg immobilizer (brace) and mostly finished with the ace bandage wrap. Will keep it on hand in case swelling increases. This step also officially cleared me to drive again!
• Stiches came out and steri-strips were placed for the next few days.
• I was able to come off the crutches completely this morning.
• Biggest take away from this morning's appointment: Knee #2 is on the books for an arthroscopy and lateral release in TWO weeks. So glad we'll get this in right before my kids get out for summer break!

Tomorrow will include another session of some physical therapy to keep rehabilitating these leg muscles to keep my knee cap in the right place. Hopefully each day will continue to bring a little less soreness and swelling.