Post Surgery Day 4: Another tough one!

(Feb. 14)

Sleeping in my bed was better on my back and neck, but it was still tough not to be able to move my legs. My mood had sunken back down again. I felt very tired and couldn’t find a reason to get out of bed. I seemed to be settling into a pattern of feeling good (or bad) every other day. When I finally got up and tested my ability to bear weight on my surgery leg, I noticed that my calf hurt a lot! I probably strained it by trying to see what I could do on it when it was still too swollen. One of the indications for a blood clot is tenderness in the calf. I was supposed to keep an eye on that (as well as my body temperature) and call the hospital if I noticed anything. I was pretty sure the strain was caused by me, though.
I managed to do my physical therapy sets (I hate having to do them three times per day instead of all at once!), but spent most of the day sleeping. I did not feel good!
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Post Surgery Day 3: The Reveal

Despite not sleeping much due to loud trucks removing some of the snow in the streets all night long in preparation for the next big storm, I woke up in a surprisingly good mood! This rarely happens, and when it does, I often have no idea why, but I feel thankful. It was another uncomfortable night on the couch, but my knee wasn’t in too much pain, so I only took Tylenol for pain medicine, along with the aspirin for blood clots. I wasn’t sure if Tylenol helped to reduce the swelling or not, so I decided to rotate it with ibruprofen. My better spirits allowed me to try putting weight on my surgery leg today. It felt better than yesterday!
After breakfast, it was time to unwrap the bundle and finally see what it looked like underneath! Wendy said I could do this in the afternoon. I figured that 1pm was a perfectly fine time.
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I hadn’t realized that my entire leg was wrapped with ace bandages! It was a good thing that this thing was coming off because flexing my foot was causing the bandage to dig into the skin of my heel.
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My ice pack (which only keeps it cool at best).
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Why are my legs such different colors?
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My surgery leg was locked in a semi-bent state due to the swelling. This made it very difficult to attempt to walk!
I took my first shower since the surgery, and it went very smoothly!
Then, I looked at the exercises I was supposed to do. No one told me when I was supposed to start them, but I figured that now that the bandages were removed, it was a good time to do so! I noticed that I still smelled like iodine! (Erik told me that I would smell like the hospital for a long time!)
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They only gave me these few simple exercises to do for the next 2 weeks (before I saw my surgeon for a check in). My knee was so swollen and stiff that I didn’t know how I was possibly going to be able to bend and straighten my leg! (my paperwork said it should be bending normally within 3-5 days!) I started with very small movements. They told me that I was going to lose a lot of strength after the surgery, but I couldn’t really understand why. I was only incapacitated for a few days. I tried the leg raises and my injured leg shook so much. How had it gotten so weak?!
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On the floor, tightening my quads.
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By the end of the night, I was able to do this! I felt proud! I decided to see what else I could do… Chair pose, check! Chair pose with a twist, check! Lunge, check! Wide straddle forward fold, check! Stand on my injured leg and raise my good leg into the air (kind of!). I felt satisfied. I decided to bring my couch pillows to my bed and sleep there for the first time. It was a good decision!

Post-Surgery Day 2: Much Tougher than Day 1!

I sleep on my side and have been sleeping with my knees curled all the way up into my chest since the end of the PCT. Sleeping on my back with my legs elevated and straight on my couch was extremely uncomfortable! My neck hurt from trying to turn it the little bit it could from side to side. My mood was much more somber the next morning. All of the fanfare of being in the hospital and receiving well wishes from people who responded to my post on Facebook was over. I was now left to myself and the void felt huge. Sometime after 11, I decided to try to stand up. This time, I didn’t feel like I could bear weight on my injured knee. It had swollen up overnight and was very uncomfortable. I looked down at the other end of my apartment and saw my crutches next to the door where I had left them yesterday. What in the world were they doing all the way down there??! How was I going to be able to get to them now? I tried hopping, but quickly realized that wasn’t going to go so well. I ended up clutching every wall surface and piece of furniture that I could until I finally got to the crutches. Since I ended up next to the kitchen, I decided I might as well make breakfast. Preparing it wasn’t too difficult, but bringing it to the couch was an entirely different matter! It’s simply not possible to be self-sufficient when you can’t use three of your limbs! I tried putting both crutches under one arm and carrying a cup in another, but I was confused about which arm to put them under. Then, I had to return to the kitchen for my plate… A few steps turn into an eternity when needing to travel this way. If I couldn’t bear weight at all, I don’t know how I would have managed this. I also needed to dump out the water in my “beer cooler” and refill it to ice my knee. I’m not sure how, but I managed to do it!

It’s funny how everyone quickly disappears the day after a big happening. Once people offer their few words at a time of loss or tragedy, they seem to forget that you exist at all and may be needing some words of comfort more than ever. I took another pain pill, along with my aspirin and tylenol and looked over the instructions I brought home from the hospital. I noticed that it said someone should stay with you during the first 24 hours of surgery. That certainly didn’t happen! Every hour, I was supposed to flex and point my foot about 10 times. I looked at the other exercises and wondered when I was supposed to start doing those.
Later in the day, someone posted on my Facebook page, “Let the rehab begin!”.
I wanted to shout, “No…! There will be no rehab beginning anytime soon! Look at my leg!”
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The whole bundle was visibly much bigger than yesterday! I regretted posting that I was doing great after coming home. That was the easy part.
It was becoming more burdensome to always have to lie on my couch the same way so I could elevate my leg. It wasn’t easy to eat like that, look at my computer, or do anything.

My neighbor Joyce stopped by around 4. She couldn’t stay because she was going to the movies with her sister, but she brought me some cookies she made. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have them because of the gluten. She didn’t have any experience with gluten intolerance and asked me if this was something recent for me. Just since the PCT! She asked me if I needed anything at that moment. I told her I was having trouble bringing my food over to my couch, but that I was okay for now. She said she could stay longer the next day, but that I could call her husband when it was time for dinner. She said he is very good at taking care of people. I decided that it was easiest if I just did it myself.

Later in the evening, after a nap, I got hot and decided to get up and get something to eat. As soon as I stood up, I felt faint. By the time I made it to the kitchen, I felt like everything was becoming black, and a feeling of nausea swept over me. I quickly hobbled to the bathroom. Not this again! I couldn’t believe this was happening! I stood in front of the toilet, but nothing immediately happened. I decided I would lie on my bed for a few minutes. My ears were ringing loudly and wouldn’t stop. After a long while, I decided to stand back up and make my way over to the couch. Fortunately, the wave passed. Had I vomited, I would have had to call someone for help. Being sick and being on crutches is a bad combination!

I spent another uncomfortable night on the couch.