Seven days ago I had knee surgery. I thought it might be fun to go over my last week with all its ups and downs.
My check-in time was 5:30 am, so bedtime was early Sunday night. Unfortunately, I slept ridiculously bad. The knee was back to throbbing even when I elevated and iced it. I’m sure I only got a few hours of shut eye. Of course, I knew I was in for plenty the rest of the week.
I limped into Carle Foundation Hospital. The nurses called my name and away I went. From pre-op to chatting with my surgeon to wheeling into surgery and waking up to some tasty peanuts and M&Ms, I was met with smiling faces, helpful nurses and a feeling I was in good hands.
After my jaunt to the hospital, I was driven home just a few hours after the surgery was over. With the last vestiges of the anesthesia still in me and plenty of pain meds, I had the most restful sleep ever.
Woke up, made breakfast (bacon, oatmeal, juice) and relaxed on the couch. I felt way better than I expected. The dressing on my leg and knee allowed me to walk pretty well. My meds were working, but made me incredibly drowsy. I told my boss, who came over with a wonderful card and care package from work, I’d easily be able to come in to work on Thursday.
In the late afternoon, I removed my wrappings and dressing and took my first shower since Sunday. Inspecting the two small incisions, everything looked good. I was just thinking about what I’d make for supper, when my knee started swelling. Very quickly, I went from feeling confident I could return in a few short days to wondering if I would even make it in on Friday.
Immediately, I was laying down, elevating my knee and icing it every 20 minutes off and on. My calf muscles were extremely tight just above the knee and I could do little to relax them. I slept barely a few hours and only because my pain meds would kick in.
Before hump day, I thought there was no way I’d need my crutches. All morning, I couldn’t move without some cane-like support. My range of motion was negligible and I couldn’t put much weight on the leg. All morning I simply laid on the couch while my Dad, who kindly came up to see me, brought me McDonald’s breakfast and ran a few errands for me.
He left around noon and I settled in on resting/elevating/icing my knee. I remember eating a sandwich for lunch and then I was out for the next six hours. My body was trying to catch me up on sleep. I needed it, but I also knew the meds were knocking me out.
I called my boss and said there was no way, I was going to make it on Thursday, but I’d shoot for Friday. That evening I ate a little, watched The Hurt Locker and decided I would see if I could go with Aleve instead of the prescription drugs on Thursday.
My goal Thursday was threefold. Continue to rest/elevate/ice my knee and stay off it most of the day, walk down (and back up) my third floor steps without hurting myself and drive to my part-time job and get some work done (and get out of the apartment for a bit).
Amazingly, all my goals were met. Since I came out of surgery, I really didn’t have much in the way of knee pain. Pain and weakness associated with a swollen knee, of course, but everything else was good. The Aleve took the edge off just enough to function, but I continued to be exhausted and run down.
Still, getting out of the apartment after being stuck inside for three days was a good change of scenery. Fresh air will do wonders for you, kids.
I dutifully headed into my real job bright and shiny at 8 am. I’d been using a single crutch as a cane and that helped steady me as I came through the door. I plowed through about 30 emails and tried to accomplish something in my half-day of work.
After putting a big project to bed, I went home and promptly crashed. I was exhausted. I work in a cubicle and I was just wiped out when I came home at lunchtime. My knee felt better than yesterday which was better than the day before, but my body was still in recovery.
In the evening I had planned on getting my kiddo, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open and canceled on her. I fell asleep on the couch (again) and crawled into my bed early.
I was amazed at how my knee went from screaming agony and swollen redness on Tuesday to me walking fairly normal by Sunday. I was still operating at about 85%, but that was a marked improvement from just Friday. The bad part was I developed turf toe from standing awkwardly on the ball of my foot.
Overall, I don’t think I could have asked for a better post surgery than what I went through. People are still amazed that I’m walking already without a cane or crutches. Honestly, I’m a little surprised myself.