Sunday, July 9, 2023

The long slog

In three days it will be six weeks since I had my left knee replaced. I have a final appointment with my ortho surgeon that day. Here are the questions I'll ask him: Can I go to the dentist, give blood, get Hep C and covid vaccines, ride a bicycle, do water exercise, fly on a plane?

I have finished up the antibiotics and assorted other meds prescribed for me immediately after the surgery. All the PT exercises given to me in the first month are easy now; most of the ones given in the last two weeks are hard. That's how it should be. My range of motion was 0 to 124 degrees four weeks after surgery, which is pretty good.  

In consultation with my physical therapist over the last month, I put away my walker, skipped the using-a-cane phase, started using trekking polls inside and on short walks outside, started sleeping on my side and stomach again, and resumed driving. Yesterday I picked raspberries in my yard and was able to set the trekking polls by the raised garden beds and stand among the canes to pick the berries.

Just in the last couple of weeks I've accepted invitations for lunch with friends. A group brunch and a concert at my church are coming up on my calendar in the next couple of weeks, and it's likely that I will really go. I've got increased energy now, and an actual interest in getting out there again as I'm able.

I've learned that recovering from the surgery is not a straight and upward line. It's more like a shallow, wavy one. Some days I feel like I'm coming along pretty well physically, but on others it seems I've regressed just a little with regard to pain or strength. 

And I hadn't expected the emotional and mental wave that's happened.  Part of that, I think, may be the amount of time I've spent at home, with just my husband Art or with no one. Everyone else is out in the world and I am not. I'm sure that's not the case, but in my moments of discouragement it seems like it.

One advantage of the increased time on my hands is that I've been able to spend chunks of time on things I've put off for months: revising our trust, getting our medical reimbursements taken care of, modifying our long-term care policies. This past week I sent a small check to pay off our mortgage. I may not be moving forward physically as much as I'd like, but it feels good to be more caught up on other things in life.

We are scheduled to fly to Budapest in three and a half months for a two-week river cruise. I'm hoping to have the stamina and strength to do that, rather than postponing the trip until next spring. 

Here's to a summer of recovery!