Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1st Post-Op Follow up (Day 12)

Milestone 2 (walking without the splint): check!

I had the first follow up appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Zarnett, today.  Well, the good news are that I can start walking without the Zimmer splint, the incisions are healing nicely and don't need to be covered up anymore, and last but not least - I can start driving as soon as I feel up for it.  And the bad news?  There are none!  The next check up is in four weeks.

While waiting in the hospital room, I sneaked a peak at the operative report that the nurse pulled up on the screen (it was right there on the wall in front of me, I almost didn't have to lean over).  Not that I would ever want to have it again, but arthroscopic surgery is so cool!  The report talked about what happened during mine.  Apparently, they put some morphine into the knee, which might explain my rather mellow disposition afterwards.  Other than talking about funky drugs, it also said that all the other parts of the joint were examined and they were good and stable.  

At physio two days ago my ROM (range of motion) was at 99 degrees.  With this joyful piece of news I also got a bunch of homework:

  • Balancing on the leg with eyes closed - trying to work up to 30 seconds
  • Heel raises on one foot
  • Leg lifts with theraband: inside, outside, backwards, forwards
  • Seated hamstring curl with band
  • Glute bridges (lying down with knees slightly bent raise bum squeezing glutes)
  • Bicycle pendulums (sitting on a bike, use the good leg to spin the pedals slowly flexing up the operative leg - work to get through the whole revolution)

All of these were hard to do at first, but got a lot easier by next time. Today I was at 25 seconds for balancing with eyes closed, and at 20 bike revolutions.  I've been doing a lot of stretching as well - it helps relieve the tension that accumulates with flexing and with walking.  Stretching out the hamstring also helps to activate the quad, which is getting used to doing its work.  However, the muscles in the leg are still very weak.  My right thigh (i.e. the operative leg) is noticeably smaller.  Its the first time in my life when I'm not happy about loosing weight, but I think the muscles will come back soon.   Exercising is causing the knee to swell up a bit more, and it gets numb and very tense in the patella area.  It helps to ice it and give it some rest.

I'm still seeing lots of progress every day, and its encouraging.  I started keeping track of the exercises, so I should have some metrics soon.  And I still have another milestone to reach by the end of the week: 110 degrees
P.S. They sure do give you good advice at the hospital.  Good thing I didn't have a cast, who knows what would end up in there?...

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