17 June 2009

Knee Replacement: Two Months and Two Days Later

I saw my orthopedist yesterday for my two month check-up. He assured me that all is well with the knee. When I brought up my concerns about range of motion, he explained that the soft tissue around my knee will probably recover more slowly than that of someone who hadn't had previous knee surgeries. My knee has been operated on twice before. Therefore, there's already scar tissue around the joint. This surgery has added to that. So, he believes my recovery plateau may take a few more months. That makes perfect sense to me. I see improvements each week. I cannot deny that. However, there is still a good amount of swelling and heat at the joint. I still can't turn the pedals over on my road bike. Once I can do that, I will stop worrying about every little thing. I realize I'm now only 10 degrees shy of the flexion (i.e., bend) I had prior to surgery.

What can I do? Well, I surprised myself a few days ago when I broke out in a spontaneous dance party for one. There was surgical pain. There was no osteoarthritis pain at all. The surgical pain was minimal. It appears that I can start compiling a list of things I'm able to do (as opposed to my pre-surgery ever-growing list of things I was no longer able to do). I swim with abandon now. I feel great while I'm doing it. I'm still doing mainly freestyle. I've found that, of the strokes I'm able to do, backstroke taxes the knee the most. I think it's the fact that one must really straighten the knee if the kick is going to have any power behind it. At this point, I don't worry about the pain it causes. I can tell that swimming is helping. My limp is almost gone now. I thank the swimming for forcing the knee to loosen up.

Look what I got for my birthday? Bet you can't guess what this is?

No, it's not a little pocket defibrillator. It's a sweet little waterproof MP3 player. Score!! Swimming is much more enjoyable with music. The thing doesn't even go in your ears. You simply rest it on your cheekbones. Somehow, the music is conducted to your ears. I love this gadget. It works so well that I actually had to turn it down today; the music was way too loud. Truly amazing!

I was tempted to swim to the buoy at the home break on Sunday. I'm more than fit enough for that swim. I said my goal was to do it at the end of the month. Well, I'm ready to do it now. Luckily, I know I'm still nursing a joint that's not ready to fight the shorepound. There's no way my knee could have withstood the shorepound out there on Sunday. One tends to forget that the ocean is not a pool. You don't just jump in and swim. You fight the waves, the current, the water temperature, what have you. I'll be ready at the end of the month, but I've decided not to do the swim unless it's flat. Then the only work my knee has to do is swim.

When do I think I'll be back on a surfboard? Probably August if things continue to improve at their current rate.

5 Comments:

At 6/17/09, 1:28 PM, Anonymous tg said...

good news!

please use the buddy system for your ocean swim...

 
At 6/17/09, 2:53 PM, Blogger Surfsister said...

Don't worry, tg. I've already alerted one of my surf/swim buddies to get ready to swim out to the buoy.

 
At 6/18/09, 7:13 AM, Blogger Jamie Watson said...

August on a surfboard!!! I love how your news keeps getting better and better. I know you've been through a lot and I am happy for you.

 
At 6/18/09, 7:36 AM, Blogger pabs said...

Yeah...use a buddy and be sure to not swim with the seals as this tends to highten your chances of meeting the "man in the grey suit".

 
At 6/18/09, 2:52 PM, Blogger SlowPolk said...

Happy b-day

 

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