Post-op Day 3 – Progress

Three full days out from surgery and I think I am starting to make a bit of progress. The left knee is still quite swollen, but I am able to walk without crutches for short stretches. Which is better than it has been. 

Bennie sleeping with his nose sticking out of the covers is how I felt a few times during the day

There is a little disconnect between my brain and my left leg. It doesn’t seem to “remember” what it is supposed to do as quickly as the right leg. That little lag in response before it goes “oh yeah, I gotta do this to move the leg” It is getting better the more I exercise it and walk on it, but at first it was such a weird sensation.

Yeah, I know I am probably doing a little too much too quickly, but at the same time, the instructions say to do what I can. So, that is what I will keep doing as much as I can without being too stoopid. I still get tired quite quickly, which is a self-limiter, and don’t attempt to do much once that happens. I go sit down or take a quick snooze. 

I finished re-reading The Comeback Quotient by Matt Fitzgerald and it helped motivate me to keep pushing forward. Although I had a difficult time with one of the stories he provided because it hit so close to a lot of similar things that happened to me growing up. Not all my memories growing up were pleasant ones from the ’60s and ‘70s. I certainly didn’t have a silver spoon upbringing and some of the shit I went through and saw I wouldn’t want anyone to deal with. Yeah, I’m still battling the demons that were created back then, but now I might have the upper hand a bit more often than I used to.

Then I put together a little matrix of light exercises to keep me moving around and to remind me of post-op exercises that I need to keep on top of. That having a plan to provide some structure to keep me from coloring outside the lines too often. Something that I learned I needed as a runner and during this post-op time.

This is the one area where I felt VA Togus could have done a better job is the post-op expectations, follow-up, and recommended plan of exercises. Their follow-up was: within 48 hours a phone call and then 17 days later an in-person appointment (which was just slightly beyond the 14-day recommended follow-up) to see how the knee is progressing and remove stitches, without PT scheduled. I questioned this arrangement at my last pre-op appointment and didn’t really get much of an answer, but I also didn’t want to rock the boat too much either. Although not having an in-person appointment to check on the progress of the surgical wounds and change the dressing at the 48-hour point was a little disconcerting, but I have a feeling that with staffing levels being what they are, it is understandable, just not ideal. Neither my wife nor I are medical professionals and the idea that we might miss something at that point that one would see and take care of, versus relying on amateurs to see a potential problem and maybe miss it…well it just didn’t give me a case of the warm and fuzzies.

However, I seem to have done okay and while changing the dressing was “interesting”, everything appears to be going well.

During the 48-hour phone call, I asked about my requested PT referral which I figured hadn’t gone through since PT hadn’t contacted me to schedule anything before surgery, but I was too frazzled to worry about it before then. After the call, I sent an email to the PT clinic and they hadn’t gotten a referral. I was told they would look into it, and within a few hours, I had an appointment scheduled for next week.

Although I did go online and researched what a post-op arthroscopic knee surgery structure should look like for the first week after surgery. I put together a plan that should work for me until I get to my PT appointment next Wednesday, and see what they recommend. As long as I do my stuff at least three to five times a day, things should be fine. This plan gives me plenty of flexibility to get things done, keep the body moving as much as it needs/is willing, and reminds me that I can’t just sit on my arse and hope that I feel better.

I think that half the problem after surgery is that sometimes, we aren’t proactive in our efforts to push through the discomfort that will allow us to get back to our lives sooner. Because it definitely is not a fun time, but to get to the other side you gotta do the work.

Yes, I also know that after surgery we need to let things heal and rest, but I also know that I need to keep moving and get back to doing what I can as soon as you can. I am not going to simply sit and be waited on by my wife and watch her do everything around the house. It isn’t fair to her or myself.

Anyways I am one day closer to getting back to running and the active life that I want.

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