05 May 2009

Did He Just Tell Me to Shut the F@$% Up?

That's how I took it, but in the best way. Someone has put me in touch with a surfer who went through the knee replacement journey years ago. We've exchanged a few emails. This one said it all:

What you need to do is be patient. Its been a few weeks, that' s all. You had a double amputation, so to speak. I surf my 7-10 and my 9' LB My replacement is my front leg. THat helps I think. When it comes to PT, listen and do what they say. They want you to succeed. Movement will come. I used my total gym to keep my upper body in shape but I also used it when the platform comes down and I kept going further w/it.
Don't be frustrated.

I'm not so much frustrated as I am bored to the point of extreme impatience with the entire process. This is the email I needed to read. Now I'll adjust my attitude. That includes shutting the fuck up.


At 5/6/09, 12:02 PM, Blogger El Hefe said...

I'm 38 and had a hip replacemnt 11 years ago. Any replacement sucks, but once you're active again, you'll forget all about the shitty times and incredible boredom. My suggestion would be to take as few drugs as possible though. I love those things, but they really fuck up the system that's already trying to repair itself. I also agree with the PT. You gotta do it ALL THE TIME,wether you're into it or not. It's the best way to recover. Biking, swimming, walking in the pool, whatever gets the knee moving and blood pumpin. It also keeps the cabeza focused on something other than how shitty recovery is. Lastly, lots of Calcium, Vitamin D, MSM, Silica, and tons of Vitamin C. There may be other suppliments, but I can't remember what else I took. Bueno suerte.

At 5/6/09, 12:22 PM, Blogger Surfsister said...

Thanks, El Hefe. I gave up on the drugs about a week ago. I truly believe they inhibit one's recovery.

I haven't started the hardcore physical therapy yet, but I've been good about doing exercises even on the days when the in-home physical therapist doesn't come.

I'm totally focused on my recovery. My bike is already set up on a trainer. I'm already a swimmer so I'm just waiting for the go-ahead to get back in the pool. My mat will get me back in the ocean when the time comes. That will be perfect because using those fins will strengthen my quads while making the knee work like hell.

It's just that, as you know, the days are very long and very boring, particularly when you can't get comfortable in one spot.

Shall I assume that you're able to do most of the things, if not all of the things, you did before your hip replacement?

At 5/6/09, 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you gave up on the drugs, bring em down to the beach..I could use them...

At 5/6/09, 5:53 PM, Blogger Jamie Watson said...

ooo I can totally see you walking in the pool. That seems like a good therapy to do - with some good music in your iPod! I know what you mean about being bored. I have had some rotator cuff issues in my left shoulder for the past 5 years, and I finally decided to go to a doctor a month ago. I bet subliminally you had something to do with it. Because when we are in pain, something is wrong and we should not have to live with it!! Anway, I am doing physical therapy now and it is getting boring but I know I need to just work hard at it, even when my appointments are over. That letter from the surfer helped me, too. Thanks and here's to a zen mind for us both! (-:

At 5/7/09, 12:19 PM, Blogger tres_arboles said...

Hi sis'--Haven't been able to check out the internets much over the last couple weeks. But flu has me in bed today (no, not THAT flu) and I just enjoyed each of your post-op installments. Couple observations:

1) interesting nearly unanimous opinion (that I don't share) on pain meds! I recently read an article that stated that Americans have a cultural intolerance for pain medication (even as they are the most recreationally abused prescription drugs). Half of that comes from people who get sick from (or fear getting sick from) them. The other half is a sort of, "I should be able to handle this" mentality even when the "this" is a fully interventionist surgery ("violent" is your word) like full joint resurfacing or replacement.

2--The attitude of your physician and attendants toward pushing the activity level as soon post op as possible. I love this. As far as I am concerned, you do just enough to protect the surgery and get aggressive with the recovery! My experience with two ACL surgeries, six years apart is my basis for saying so. After the first one in 1991, doc had me on my back for 10 days, on crutches with no toe touching for four weeks, and still in the brace after two months! My recovery took well over a year and it was two years before I played rugby again. Second surgery was in 1997 went home six hours after surgery, one crutch and walking to the bathroom that night, brace off and walking after 10 days. I was playing rugby again the following season.

3--I would be interested in the links to the web fora your reading, the prosthetic you got, and definitely check in with the minutiae progress, especially as you get back in the pool.

All the best,


At 5/10/09, 6:01 PM, Blogger El Hefe said...

Sorry about the delay, lots going on up here in SB...fires and fun surf.

To answer your question, YES, you can get back to damm near anything you did before. With the exception of things like running, basketball, tennis. Too much pounding in these sports takes away from the lifespan of the knee/hip, so those things probably aren't good. I lived in the mtns of Idaho and snowboarded 120 days a winter before and after. Some days I'd get off the mtn and realize that I shouldn't have hit a few of the bigger jumps, but oh well. I used to hang out with other hard core shredders who were in their 60's and 70's and they rode harder than I did. I think I agree with David about the docs. Push your recovery a little more than the doc says but listen to your body. Most of those docs don't care if you sit around for a year or two. They just don't want their work to look bad if you over do it. Push things a bit to get your muscles firing and create a little muscle failure/fatigue, but back it off if you feel real pain. I lifted embarrassingly light weights with lots of reps. The way the bone recovers is from weight bearing exercise. It takes about 2 weeks for the bone to start getting solid, then it just gets harder and harder around the prosthesis. So work some walking, hiking into the program. Biking and swimming help the range of motion.

I've got a couple more things that I would suggest. The first you've probably heard...focus on correct posture and stride. If you limp, the wrong muscles will overcompensate and you'll have more problems. Also, once you're on the road to recovery, stretch or do yoga. Even if it doesn't feel like you're getting deep, it'll add up over time. Before you know it, your bad knee will be the same as your good one.

Jeez, that's a lot of writing. Sorry about that. Just my ramblings as they were popping into my head.


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