This is part 4 of the story of my meniscal knee repair surgery and recovery process. In all its raw and real glory, my best account of the journey I have been on. To those who may be facing this road, you can do this! Enjoy my meniscus surgery journey!
I am officially 4 weeks in.
Well, we have officially made it to 4 weeks of the 12 week journey! Actually at the time of writing this, it’s almost 5 weeks fully braced with zero weight bearing on my left leg! I am so tired of hopping.
A TYPICAL DAY
I wake up around 8am and desperately hop my way to the bathroom before it’s too late. We laugh because Wade says “can’t you just hold it, why are you in such a rush”? I say “it doesn’t work like that!! When I have to go, it’s look out”! Once that’s completed, I sometimes come back to bed and just sleep again for a couple hours. Our good friend Janice tells me “sleep is silent medicine”. I think at this stage I know that I just have to let this process happen. To allow my knee to heal properly. Rushing it, risking it is just not worth injuring it.
IS IT GETTING EASIER?
I shower every day, using the shower stool, but I’ve progressed to solo showers! Wadey gets me set up with the stool in the shower and my brace off, then I can do everything else myself. I sit on the closed toilet seat, take off my pjs and my glasses, then stand on one foot, turn myself around, then sit back down onto the stool in the shower. Then I use my arms to lift my left leg over and into the shower, then swing my right one in after. Grab the shower wand and I begin!
When I am finished, I sit and towel off, then do the entire process in reverse, then get standing and hop back to the bed, where Wadey comes in to get my brace back on and velcroed. We’ve come a long way from him having to hold me up on the stool with one hand while the other gets the conditioner out of my hair!
I’m still getting as much work done in a day as I can, from my bed desk. Thank you again to patient partners for understanding this is all temporary.
Food is still amazing, although I’ve encouraged Wadey that carrot sticks and ichiban noodles are JUST as acceptable as the gourmet delights. He’s not convinced but I’m trying.
SWEET GAV + SWEET OLLIE
Ollie is still very much a part of my every move, and Gav has been instrumental in helping me reach phone chargers, refill water bottles, prop pillows and knead foot cramps out. God bless my family, I would be lost without them.
We also just had our first follow up with the surgeon.
Let’s break that down.
Internal dialogue: If I am going to the doctor, I have to get down the stairs, into the garage and into the car.
This was another first for me, but actually turns out all the advance worrying was for nothing, because when Wade turned his head I steadied myself using the railings and hopped, hopped, hopped down to the landing. DONE!
Then Wade brought my crazy cutches and wanda walker down and I somehow hopped/crutched into the garage and around to the car. I will admit by this point, my right leg felt like it was going to buckle and I think my voice went up a full octave as I gently shrieked to Wadey “babe, babe, hurry, get the door open before I fall”! Then I got myself turned around and fell back into the seat in a sweaty heap.
I will NEVER take walking for granted ever again, for as long as I shall LIVE!
Once I got in the car and my breathing regulated, we were off. Guys, I think it was 3 degrees outside but I rolled down my window all the way and if I could have stuck my head out like a dog, I would have! This was the first time I left the house in 3 weeks!! SUNSHINE on my face, cool air, it was just glorious. Then I got dizzy. Can you be dizzy after not being in a moving vehicle for that long? I just chalked it all up to everything being a mess right now.
We made our way to the ortho clinic and pulled up into a parking spot that was wide enough for us to open the door and get out my trusty wheelchair. I got out of the car and again somehow we got me into the chair and my leg propped up.
THANK YOU LENDING CUPBOARD!
Not a day goes by where I do not thank The Lending Cupboard in Red Deer for loaning us this equipment that has just made getting around the house and to the doctor easier. We wheeled me in and checked into the front desk with reception and probably waited for about 10 minutes to be seen. I could’ve waited an hour I was just so happy to be out of the house and looking around and laughing with Wade knowing we were one step closer to this crazy journey finishing.
The next step was to be seen by the tech who initially fit me for the brace. Not only did he want to check how the brace was working but he gave Wadey and I a little lesson on how to make sure that it stays on and it’s tight enough etc. It was a short lesson though because quite frankly Wade Anderson had that thing mastered the first day.
The next step was having my stitches removed. I asked “will this hurt”? He said “well, it feels like maybe the pinch of a mosquito bite”. Not really sure why he said this because that’s not what it felt like. It did hurt but it was over quickly, so quickly actually I didn’t have time to get dramatic.
He then applied some pressure and four criss-cross steri strips and told us to leave them on until they fell off, but that I could shower in the next couple of days. Oh great, I had to go back to skipping showers one more time.
We then waited for the surgeon to come in and when he arrived he was very chatty and friendly and brought with him my actual images of what he had done September 16. They were a little hard to read seeing how we are not surgeons, but it was interesting to see all the areas where he tried to smooth it out or clean it up, then the actual separated meniscus. Yikes.
When you looked closely at the images you could see how he actually added internal anchors so the two pieces would have time to fuse back together. Sorry, I know. UGH. Actual little anchors and a lot of sutures.
Then he gave us some cool news that we were not expecting.
He said that he was now going to unlock my brace to 90° because the goal between this appointment and our next visit would be to start to regain range of motion. We couldn’t believe it! I was actually going to start to bend again!
Naturally, I asked him 120 questions because it wouldn’t be me unless I did, including:
1. When I’m brushing my teeth or standing at the sink, is it OK if I at least rest my toe down on the ground? Yes. He even said when I stand I can put my left foot on the ground, for balance, just don’t ever engage the quad of that leg. (ps this is impossible, so I don’t risk it).
2. When I am sleeping is it OK if I roll over onto my side and put a memory foam pillow between my legs just so I can have a break from sleeping on my back? Yes. (but I don’t think he was thrilled with this one, so I only do it for a few mins at a time, just to have a break).
3. Can I let my legs dangle over the side of the bed as a way to help gain motion? Yes.
4. Will I ever walk again? “Yes”, he said laughing.
EVERYONE IS SO KIND
He was very kind and patient and answered all of my questions and then told us that he was going to send in a physiotherapist to show me a couple of small exercises that I can get started on before my next appointment on November 1.
By the way, in this next appointment, we will begin to put a little bit of weight on my leg. We will start with 25%, then 50%, then 75%, then 100% with everything wrapping up December 16.
A really nice physiotherapist then joined us and began to show me two or three exercises that he wants me to concentrate on in an attempt an effort to get the knee moving again carefully and safely.
- I lay on my back, both legs straight, then a slow up and down leg lift. This will strengthen the quad. 100-200 per day if I can (not at all once).
- I lay on my back and slowly slide/pull my heel up towards my bum, in an attempt to get it to bend. I am told I need to do this one as many times as I can throughout the day, but sadly this one makes me nauseous almost as soon as I start doing them. I just don’t bend right now, even 10-20 degrees feels like a rubber band that’s about to SNAP! BUT. I am doing them, throughout the day, every day. Then sometimes I elevate, ice, and ibuprofen.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
Overall, where I am struggling is learning the difference between “this is sore” and “am I doing damage”? I really don’t know the difference at this point, so I am just trying to take it day by day and have to believe that it will continue to get easier as the weeks go on.
Well, there it is. My one month update of my knee surgery journey. Talk to you soon!Meg xo