Maybe getting a new replacement is a little like having a baby…. You forget from one time to the next about a lot of little things. Things like….
- The bruising. The inside of my right upper leg is an impressive hodge-podge of purple. I am sure that in a few days it will be green and yellow and will have moved down into my calf. Too bad it is not short season; a bruise like that needs to be displayed with pride.
- The pain in the butt. Now I remember thinking back then that is was so odd that my butt ached when it was my knee that they cut. I had forgotten the butt ache until my butt started aching again. Have I mentioned that my butt hurts?
- The challenge it is to make oneself do physical therapy five times a day. Yea right… I am to do the stretches 5x’s daily and the muscle building exercises 3x’s daily. Not going to happen. Twice a day is good for me. (Five times a day would be better for me but…. )
- How bad it hurts to straighten one’s leg. I remember it being excruciating to lay on my back for 10 minutes with my heel raised 2 inches off the ground; letting gravity pull my knee down. I remember it as being so, so painful. But apparently painful memories fade with time because the pain this time seems to reach an entirely new level of agony.
There are things I remember correctly about having a knee replaced. Things like:
- Use frozen water bottles for the ice machine. It significantly reduces the amount of ice needed.
- Mountain West Surgical Center serves the patient and significant other Kneaders for lunch. The soup, sandwich, salad, and cinnamon roll lasted me three meals. YUMMY!
- Drugs are awesome!
- The nerve block inserted in the knee is truly miraculous. Once again it gave me 36 post-surgery, pain-free hours. My knee was replaced Monday morning and I came home Monday afternoon. Tuesday I corrected 40 research papers, read an entire book, wrote three letters, did physical therapy twice (!!!), graded several labs and quizzes, recorded scores, held 17 text conversations, read and marked 8 chapters in the Book of Mormon, and had Family Home Evening with Miles and Lance.. Amazing what one can do in a pain-free day from the couch.
- Opioids are awesome too. When the nerve block wore off I spend a pain free night in la la land. Every two hours I took either 2 tablets of generic Ultram or 2 tablets of generic Norco. Every cell in my body was happy and relaxed.
And there are some things that I learned that were new with this surgery. Things like:
- It does not do any good to tell the Relief Society (women’s organization for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) not to bring meals in. Meals come anyway. I cooked several meals ahead, Lance made a huge pot of his fabulous spaghetti sauce and we had leftovers from the church Christmas party. We did not need meals. Need did not matter. Meals appeared anyway. Lanae (darling niece) brought dinner Tuesday and Jerika (beloved YW president) brought dinner Wednesday. Sandy showed up with a box (big box) of fruits and vegetables (including blueberries!!!!) and 5 boxes of frozen dinners. I won’t have to cook for weeks.
- Maybe getting a knee replaced is more like pregnancy than I realized. The painkillers made me nauseous. NASTY!! But, thanks to a significant reduction in the intake of painkillers and the quick increase in the intake of another miracle drug (Zofran is my best friend!) the nausea did not last long. Nope, not a all like pregnancy!
- Getting a nerve block in the knee can give a person drop foot syndrome. I had to use crutches the first night (Oh, how mortifying! I was walking freely the first night with the first knee) because my entire right leg felt like one’s tongue feels when it has been numbed by the dentist. In fact, using my tongue to walk would have been just as effective as using my right leg at that point.
- Heating pads and electric blankets deserve a place in heaven. Something about running ice water 24/7 over a swollen knee in a drafty house with outside temperatures rarely making it above freezing makes a person cold so…..I wrap my feet in the electric blanket while sitting on the heating pad and then, on average, every cell in my body is happy…. even without opioids.
- I am not as young as I was six months ago (duh!!) when the first knee was replaced. Not sure if the new left knee is not as strong now as the old right knee was before it was replaced OR if I am simply remembering inaccurately (...what was I in this room for?...) but it seems like I am walking less gracefully and more slowly than I was after the left knee replacement. Imagine a cow on ice going uphill at the speed of cold molasses. That’s me.
That’s me! I went to a faculty Christmas party Friday night, a service project and a theater performance Saturday, and to Music and the Spoken Word today. Tomorrow I will return to the classroom but only for one day. Originally I scheduled a substitute teacher for the two weeks of school that sat between my surgery date and the beginning of Christmas break. Thinking I was stronger than I am, I cancelled next week’s substitute teacher. Realizing that I am not as strong (or as smart) as I thought I was, I reinstated the sub for the remainder of the week. Tuesday my Christmas vacation begins.