Post Surgery Day 6: A knee starts to appear and my sickness returns

(Monday, February 16)

It was -3 degrees in the morning, with a -30 degree wind chill- the coldest day in a decade! I had no desire to get out of bed and was glad I had chosen to have my surgery during the most brutal month of the year. I doubt many people would have come out to my talks on the 12th and 17th anyway. Reports of collapsing roofs took over the news. Most people had leaks in their homes. And it was being reported that it would take another month before public transportation would be restored.
My knee was still locked in a semi-bend and I felt like a prancing horse whenever I tried to gingerly walk on it. Before my surgery, I had asked for exercises to strengthen my quads. One of them was a wall sit. The nurse said I should do 10 reps of 30 seconds each, with a 15 second rest, 2 times a day! Given that I had only 6 days before surgery, that would mean I had time to do a total of one hour of wall sits! I actually ended up only doing it twice. I wondered how many people actually did those! I didn’t think the instructions were all that smart. They didn’t leave any resting time!
Since I was growing bored with sitting on the floor, tightening my quads 90 times and holding for 5 seconds each, I decided I would rather up the intensity and get my “exercise” over with faster. I decided to try a wall sit. I don’t know why I didn’t take my socks off first, but I managed to stay for 2 minutes before sliding down onto my bum and resting on the floor for a bit. I thought that was pretty good for not even a week after my surgery!
My intestines started to hurt in the afternoon and I did not feel up to doing any more of my exercises. I spent the remainder of the day on the couch.
By midnight, I saw a knee starting to appear, however! Signs of progress! I could see the kneecap bruising turning yellow.


My intestines never calmed down, however. At 2 and 3 in the morning, I was still awake in my bed, unable to sleep because of the pain. Just before 4, I got up out of my bed as quickly as I could and vomited. Ugh! Not again! Fortunately, I didn’t feel as weakened as when this happened in early January. I felt thankful for that! I returned to my bed and tried to rest. Two hours later, I vomited twice more. It was now 6am and I had not yet gone to sleep. I’ve been having a really rough go of it these last several months!!


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!”
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.