Week 2 Post Knee Replacement Surgery

Week 2 Post-Op

I won’t recount each day (because its all a blur of walking a little, icing a lot, and doing my PT exercises), but I’ll give you the highlights of WEEK #2 Post Op…

 1.  Outpatient Physical Therapy? YES or NO

If your doctor gives you the option to DO or NOT DO physical therapy, always choose DO.  My doctor, for whom I have great respect, always gives me that option (I wish he would urge ALL of his patients to go to PT).  Sure, I know a ton about appropriate exercises, but I am a bad judge of me.  I will always push it too hard and try things that perhaps I’m not ready for.

For my outpatient PT, that’s exactly what happened.  I am working with Ted Molasky at Fyzical Therapy and Balance Center.  Ted reminded me that he saw me after one of my surgeries 30 years ago and recommended that I get into bike riding.  Wow!  I totally had forgotten that I had seen Ted way back then (he must have been fresh out of PT school!)

Me and my husband (with his arm in a sling from shoulder surgery) on recumbent bikes on Thanksgiving.

Ted had wise advice that I think is probably appropriate for all knee replacement patients:  For the first 2 weeks, work on Range of Motion, not weight bearing – strength exercises.  It is most important to reduce swelling and increase movement.  (My MISTAKE -well, it was my in-home PT’s mistake – was to start me on strength exercises while I was still so swollen.  That wasn’t the best choice.  I was certainly strong enough to do them, but my body wasn’t ready for that yet.)

Anyway, the very exciting thing is that at the end of week 2, I have been allowed to ride a recumbent bike for 5 minutes!  It doesn’t sound like much, but that means I’m regaining my range of motion and getting closer to my beloved 2 wheels.

2.  An Unexpected Arrival: HEMATOMA

Since about day 3 post-op, I’ve had a lump below my knee to the medial side of my tibial tuberosity that has been pretty painful.  When I saw Dr. Thorpe on Friday (day 8 post-op) last week, he thought it was excess fluid.  I’ve got a red spot at the bottom of the incision that seems to be getting bigger and redder, and so I went to see him Monday (day 11 post-op).  He wasn’t so concerned about the red spot, saying that many people will see that at the bottom of the incision, but he was more interested in the lump.  He went to drain it and only blood came out.  So instead of it being excess swelling, it was identified as a hematoma.  The rest of my knee seems to be doing well – swelling is getting less – but this area of the hematoma is quite painful.

3.  DRUGS & SLEEP

My belly is rebelling against ibuprofen, so my 3X/day regiment of 800 mg + 1000 mg acetaminophen has to stop.  I can keep going with the acetaminophen (Tylenol), but it doesn’t quite give the same relief as the combo.

I pretty much only use the narcotic pain killers at night so that I can sleep a little better.  I usually wake up between 1 – 2am and pop another pain killer to get me through the rest of the night.  I sleep with a stack of pillows to elevate my knee (being careful to keep my leg straight, not bent) and a smaller pillow to put between my knees when I lie on my side.

I have no ethical problem with taking the right amount of medication to keep my pain levels at about a “3” on the scale of 1 – 10.  I’ll go for the heavier stuff when pain reaches above “5”.

ON THE WHOLE…

I’m feeling better every day and can do a little more.   My knee swelling is improving. I’m working hard to maintain the 0 degrees (straight) and to improve my flexion.  It is still slow and I don’t have my normal levels of energy.  I return to work half-time next week – wish me luck!

 

10 Comments

  • susan chichester says:

    You’re doing so well. You really are. And going back to work half time is great because it will fight depression and make you a part of things again. That isolation is the big con of staying home recuperating- isn’t it? So your half days will exhaust you and then you can nap and feel like a person again. Good job. My youngest daughter, Kendall, is on her final months of PA school. She will graduate in April and take the test. Right now she’s doing a clinical rotation at SCOI. Southern California Orthopedic Institute. I will show her your videos. 🤗 take care. ❤️

    • Robin Robertson says:

      Susan,
      Yes, we’ll see how smart returning to work will be! I’m quite an impatient patient and not very good at hanging out. I’m getting more active every day and that feels good. Congrats to your daughter! I hope she enjoys her work – so much good to be done to help people return to an active life.

  • Barbara Gilday says:

    You’re a trooper, Robin. Not a surprise, but no less a challenge. Hats off to you for your persistent, thoughtful work and for sharing your journey so that others can learn from your experience.
    Blessing’s and steady progress on your journeys!

  • Barbara says:

    Those of us who have been in the business or at least related to, often don’t know what is best for us. . . .me included. Posting your journey helps me to help others when they ask. Not too long ago we put clients on a CPM machine right after surgery. (Continuous passive motion). I think it was deamed too soon, so no longer done. Praying for you and your continued healing. Bobbi

    • Robin Robertson says:

      Bobbi,
      Yes, I used one of the CPM machines after surgery #3, the osteotomy. I loved that thing! It was very soothing. Now I have to move it myself. Thanks so much for your thoughts…Robin

  • Susan Willis says:

    Robin, Keep up your good work & attitude..I know you will!
    I had such a bad shoulder many years ago, due to delivering many babies & gardening ( Hauling many bags of compost & digging sod) that I never thought I could ever do anything again, , let alone, xcountry skiing ; & tennis ( as an older beginner ) however, I did a lot of wonderful P.T.( I love P.T.) & home exercises
    & I survived..and am an active person today.
    Cheers, susan willis

    • Robin Robertson says:

      Susan,
      Right now I have a love/hate relationship with my PT exercises. I know I need to do them, but most are SO uncomfortable. When recovering you need to keep your eye on the end game and do what needs to be done (in the right doses). I keep telling myself this!

    • Robin Robertson says:

      Susan,
      Right now I have a love/hate relationship with my PT exercises. I know I need to do them, but most are SO uncomfortable. When recovering you need to keep your eye on the end game and do what needs to be done (in the right doses). I keep telling myself this … as I faithfully do my exercises! Thanks for the view of the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Nickerson Helen says:

    I really like the office Ted Molasky works out if. Several of the PT “special” Agents as I call mine there have been very helpful in 10+ years of living in Bellingham. Good know that this can still be a small town with good people over lapping our lives at several points

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