Thursday, July 7, 2011

Recovery, part 4

Recovery, Part 4 Thursday 7-7-11

On Wednesday, 7-6-11 (day 23 since surgery), I drove myself to therapy with a backup plan (Ellen in the other seat) in case I couldn’t get that far (15 miles one-way). I made it, but I didn’t push it by driving home, too. The truck is still daunting: I still need to “heel-and-toe” the pedals, but that opportunity exists in most passenger cars. Getting in on the driver’s side is actually easier than the passenger side: I get to “lead” with the “bad” leg.

Therapy was brutal but effective: I got “over-the-top” for the first time on the bicycle exercise machine, and ended the session with 3-100 degrees motion in the knee (deep in the pain zone). 0 is straight out, the hardware limit is 140 degrees flexed. The weakest muscle group is the quads that kick out the lower leg. They’re still partly asleep from the anesthesia. The therapists are astonished at how fast I have come this far. The Chinese cuss words help when therapy gets really brutal, we are all laughing about that. I am pushing this as hard as I can.

At home, I haven’t used the walker for over a week, and I have been bathing without the shower chair for almost a week. No pain meds during the day, and for the last few days, only a half dose at nights to enable sleep. I still use the ice pack machine occasionally to control swelling in the evenings. But the swelling is now just in the knee itself: can’t yet see my kneecap.

Next therapy session is Friday 7-8-11 (day 25 since surgery). There will be no one available to drive me, so this one is “for real”: I have to drive myself two-way. After Wednesday’s experiment, I believe I can do it. Watch this space for updates. Not going to try climbing onto the Farmall until those sleepy quads wake up.

Walking range is well over 1000 yards cumulative in a day, maybe up to 200 yards in one trip. My stride is still a bit limited. Standing time is still kind of short: maybe an hour. Sitting up in a chair with feet on floor is still limited, too. In either scenario, the pain builds with time, until I have to relieve it by laying down or going feet-up in the recliner. I can sit up straight for only about an hour, yet. Not ready for classroom duties, not just yet.

If you haven’t yet heard, last Friday (7-1-11), we got “adopted” by a kitten about 2 months old. I think he was a “dumper” out here, a friend in McGregor got “adopted” by what looks like a sibling the very same morning. We named our little male “Kit T. Kat” (say it fast and see how that comes out), with the T. standing for “Thermonuclear”, since he is definitely atomic-powered in his playfulness. There’s a second layer to the nuclear joke: if you look at his given initials K. T., that’s the standard abbreviation for “kiloton”, another standard measure in atomic stuff. Getting the four grown cats to accept him as one of them is going to be a long, tricky, careful process. But he already has one of the two dogs scared of him.

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