18 August 2009

Knee Replacement: Four Months Later

I went back to see Dr. Ehrhart for a follow-up visit today. When all was said and done, he cleared me to do whatever I damn well please. As he said, the knee is solid. Does that mean I'm going to throw caution to the wind, start skating pools again and take up motocross racing? Not even. Yeah, the knee is solid. I can attest to that. However, the muscles in the leg aren't yet strong enough to stand up to the abuse I put my body through when I'm completely healthy. While I do appreciate being told I can do whatever I want, I know enough to listen to my body. The doctor was happily surprised to hear that I'm surfing and able to ride my bike even though I've got limited range of motion. It's not that he didn't believe I could do these things. The impression I got was that he was impressed by my willingness to do my thing in spite of what many might consider limitations. Dr. Ehrhart said that ultimately the attitude of the patient determines the outcome of the surgery. Apparently, I'm one of those with a good attitude. I would agree with that, I suppose. I didn't go into this looking for a miracle. I just wanted a knee that didn't hurt, one that would allow me to do what I do. Once I got to the point where the knee functioned enough for me to surf, I was happy. Frankly, that was good enough for me.

Do I still have pain? Yes, quite a bit of pain. I listen closely to that pain too. I ignore most of it. The thing I have to be careful about is ensuring I don't injure something else other than the knee. The issue for me since surgery has been hip pain. As that abated, it became clear to me that my IT band was a problem. It's the pain from my IT band which prevents me from walking long distances. I've paid close attention to this problem. I've rested it properly. I've stretched it regularly. I've got people who attack it with massage. The IT band problem is much better. However, I'm still mindful when I do things that might exacerbate it.

My knee hurts as I type this. I surfed this morning and lifted later. My knee is not happy. I know, nonetheless, that I've done no damage to the joint. This is part of the recovery process. From the beginning, my approach was to face down the pain. I truly believe that one's ability to deal with pain plays a large role in how one recovers. I still take nothing for pain during the day. At night, I smoke a little collie weed—Classic OG Kush from one of my local dispensaries—to help me sleep.

There are sites on the internet that are filled with people telling their horror stories about knee replacement. There are also sites, like BoneSmart.org, where people give each other support throughout the process. If you're thinking about a knee replacement, stay away from the negativity. All it does is scare you away from something that, barring complications, will improve your quality of life in ways you didn't know possible.

What's next for me? Riding my mat!


At 8/19/09, 9:47 AM, Blogger Retro hack said...

"Dr. Ehrhart said that ultimately the attitude of the patient determines the outcome of the surgery."

Dr. Surf Sistah said that ultimately the attitude of the Human determines the outcome of the Life.


A mat, eh? Hmmm...
A friend just got one up here, don't know that we have the spots for one but I might borrow his for a day or two.

Cool pics too but where are ya?
And that kid, took me back...way back.

At 8/19/09, 10:18 AM, Blogger Phishdoggie said...

Great post. I will be getting my TKR surgery Sept 23. I am getting myself physically and mentally ready. You are so right, stay away from the negativtive vibes. I started my own blog it seems like great therapy. As far as the hip pain, I have a THR and I can see where it effects the knees. In my case it's the left hip (I'm regular foot) and the right knee. I'm hoping post op I will level out making all the joints work smooth. Only thing living in NJ wish we had the local dispensary for the pain. I'm not a big fan of the opium base pain killer. Keep on keepin on!

At 8/19/09, 10:20 AM, Blogger Phishdoggie said...

Here is my blog if you want to check it out. Thanks

At 8/19/09, 10:27 AM, Blogger Surfsister said...

The pics are from the home break—OP in SM.

At 8/19/09, 11:41 AM, Blogger El Hefe said...

Welcome back. Sounds like everything's coming together nicely for ya. All this makes for a stronger cabeza, too.

At 8/20/09, 12:22 PM, Blogger dgm said...

Your strength is showing! Good on ya.

Lately I've been standing on one leg on the bosu ball and it's done wonders for those little supporting muscles and ligaments in my legs, at the ankles, knees, and especially at the hips. As I continue to improve, I make it a little harder by starting to kick my leg back or just closing my eyes (it's harder to balance without a visual point of reference). Anyway, just thought it might help with your overall healing and leg strength.

Keep it up!

At 5/13/13, 5:55 AM, Anonymous Benenden Hospital said...

Such a great article by someone who has been through the process. We often see blogs of people ready to go through the process or stat based blogs but you've come out the other side. very inspiring


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