Knee Replacement: Between Two and Three Months Later
El Hefe and others were right. The changes begin to occur at a rapid pace around the two month mark. I'm still unable to surf or ride the mat . . . but I'm close. August continues to be a good bet for my return to the lineups of overcrowded L.A. County.
Things I can do now:
-Swim without pain
-Climb stairs (albeit a bit slowly)
-Lift my child
-Walk the dog a bit. (Still can't give him a 60 minute walk.)
-A light frog kick (i.e., the breaststroke)
-Get out of the bed without groaning
-Cook a meal without having to sit down every five minutes.
Of course, these are mundane things that I could do prior to surgery. They are things that most people do without a second thought. After receiving a new joint, every regained movement of the joint is significant.
What about the pain? Yeah, that. (Pregnant pause) Let's just say, I went ahead and got my medical marijuana recommendation. This will now allow me to obtain my pain medication of choice without having to make a phone call, sneak around, etc. At this point, I'm letting the pain be my guide. More specifically, the pain I feel when I step out of the car is what I'm using to determine when I'll be back in the water. Early last week, I'd emerge from the car having to hold onto the door and gritting my teeth. The reason for that was (1) the leg was still too weak to easily support my body weight and (2) it hurt. For the last few days, getting out of the car has been much easier. There's more strength in the leg and less pain in the joint. When I can jump out of the car like I used to (planting my foot, pivoting and then walking away in a few quick movements), I think I'll be ready for my mat and surfboards again.
The pain is what it is. Many knee replacement patients are still on prescription meds at two months out. Many are still on the stuff at six months out. I have no time for that. Pain is pain. You can't play hard if you're afraid of pain (whether you've had a joint replaced or not). I want another 15 years to play as hard as I please. So I suck up this pain, which is at its worst when I'm trying to sleep, and look ahead to bionic future.
I know quite a few people find this blog after doing a search regarding knee replacement. Now I'm speaking to all of you: there's no reason to live with bone-on-bone pain when there is a way to make it go away. I know this surgery is frightening. It seems like some kind of twisted method of torture, doesn't it? Well, it's not. The surgery, the thing that scares people the most, is the easy part. You get your ass kicked during recovery. That's where you find out how much of a bad ass you are. And, in my opinion, anyone who has a joint replaced is a bad ass, whether you take the pain meds or not. Once you get past the first couple of months, the world looks completely different. I'm no longer filled with doubt or fear. I'm finally at the place where I can breathe a sigh of relief. My osteoarthritis pain was worse than what I'm experiencing at this point in my recovery. So, you see, it's good to keep it all in perspective. Yes, there is lingering pain. However, it will eventually go away. Bone-on-bone pain does not go away.
The sun is out. The water looks warm. My mat and my boards miss me. I'm now thinking it's time to move the boards back into the Woman Cave. I'm counting down the days until I can be back on a wave. Do you know what that means?
Dance party at Surfsister's house!!