11 June 2009

On Physical Therapy and Knee Replacement

You have to go into it knowing you won't get back on a surfboard unless you face down the pain. I've given my physical therapist carte blanche to bring as much pain as I can stand. When she knows I'm at my limit, wanting her to stop, she'll say, "You want to get back on that surfboard, don't you?" Works every single time.

At the beginning of the physical therapy aspect of this knee replacement process, everything was difficult. Doing leg extensions while seated was impossible. I'd sit there willing my foot to lift, exhorting my quads to get to work. Nothing. I'd get my foot to move maybe an inch or two. That was it. Now, I do them easily on the machine with about 25 pounds.

There's no law that says you have to follow your physical therapist's directions to the letter. Now, I don't mean you throw caution to the wind. I'm reminded, instead, of El Hefe telling me to listen to what my therapist said and then do a little more. I followed his advice. In fact, I probably would have done that anyway, but El Hefe's words allowed me to do push the envelope without feeling guilty about it. In the end, if you listen closely to your body, you'll recognize your limitations.

The best thing about being almost eight weeks removed from surgery is that I can now return to my Woman Cave.

I had to make changes prior to surgery: take all of the surfboards out, move the bicycle and stationery trainer in. The squat rack will probably be sold. I don't know that I'm supposed to be doing squats with a prosthetic knee. I stopped putting heavy weight on the bar years ago as the knee got progressively worse. Of late, I used the squat rack for shallow squats with lighter weight as well as for calf raises. The rowing machine, which was bought for Soul Brother #2 (who, of course, ignores it entirely), is something I cannot use at this point. I don't have enough bend in my knee to comfortably row. However, it did occur to me that I could use it for flexibility. I simply sit on the seat, going forward and back, trying to push the knee a little each time I go forward. The Bowflex allows me to work everything. I started using it again two weeks after surgery in order to maintain my upper body strength. Now I use it for both upper and lower body.

The pool is your friend no matter what joint you have replaced (except your shoulder). I feel little to no pain in the pool. I'm not a great swimmer by any means. I didn't learn to swim until I was in my 20's. I'm not particularly fast. I'm not exactly slow. I just swim.

It's not like I got in the pool and started swimming the first day the doctor told me I could get the incision wet. The thing people need to understand is how much work your body does to repair itself. The first few weeks after knee replacement are not easy; you won't want to do much other than physical therapy. I think this is the first week that I've actually felt like myself, like the person I was prior to surgery: athletic, energetic and happy all at the same time. Yesterday I swam in the morning and lifted weights later in the day. By last night, I was in a world of hurt. The knee ached enough to make me consider taking something for the pain. All I did was consider. I ended up being so tired from the double workouts that I fell asleep on the pain. Mindful of what I put my body through yesterday, I did nothing today but allow my body to rest. My body spoke. I listened.

I'll be back in the pool tomorrow.


At 6/12/09, 6:54 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Hi Sis,
it IS nice to "actually feel like yourself" isn't it. Im glad you are getting there.

surf on...

At 6/12/09, 10:25 AM, Blogger 6ftnperfect said...

I can't believe you're hiding that new hull in a board sock - chicken!

Glad to hear you are rebounding so fast. Keep at it.

At 6/12/09, 2:11 PM, Blogger Surfsister said...

Wrong! The She-Hull is literally hiding in plain sight. The other boards—those in the picture—are in the garage. The She-Hull doesn't have a bag. She's literally sitting there for the world to see. But no one ever comes out there to bust me! ;-)

At 6/14/09, 9:38 PM, Blogger Whiffleboy said...

Wow...that's like a dude room. You scored.

At 6/15/09, 7:33 AM, Blogger Surfsister said...

Whiff, that's why I call it a Woman Cave. Most people would probably think men are the only ones who have weight equipment at home. But this is my favorite place to be at our place because it's the only place where I can generally get some peace and quiet.

Soul Brother #1's Man Cave is the garage, the home of his motorcycle. I only go in there to grab a surfboard (if it's not stored in my gym)

At 6/18/09, 7:14 AM, Blogger Jamie Watson said...

How cool is your fan!?!


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