These weeks after my total knee replacement were the hard weeks. I wondered if there would ever be light at the end of the tunnel. After my holiday, there was still no improvement in the amount I could bend my knee despite the fact that I did my exercises punctiliously and had been swimming every day. My knee was still stuck at 90 degrees of movement. I had pain in the back of my heel when I walked, muscle pain in my hips and back when I sat down for a while, and a ‘sciatica type’ pain up my leg when I had to sat in a confined space.
It was time for a change of tack. I had a chat with my physiotherapists and we agreed that instead of my emphasis on being busy and keeping active, I would rest more. As my friend L said to me, ‘this is not a holiday; your job is to recuperate and concentrate on rehabilitation.’ Point taken. But when would it improve?
WHAT I DID
-I went to the hydrotherapy self help sessions and to see my physiotherapist each week.
-I did my exercises
-I went on the exercise bike each day and I graduated from my brother’s exercise bike to mine as I could now pedal it all the way round.
-I lay on my bed and read books and relished the fact that I had time to do so
-I sorted out and edited all the photos on my laptop as it was a sedentary activity.
-I walked less and saved the main exertion for the weekend
-I cooked my way through Ottolenghi’s book, ‘Simple’ which was nothing of the sort
I did one freelance job which took an enormous amount of physical and mental effort. In retrospect, it was too early to have committed myself to some work.
And then at last, there was progress. My foreshortened muscles stretched which meant that I could then bend my knee more. By the end of the five weeks, I was pronounced to have a fully functioning knee with an acceptable ROM for everyday activities.
WHAT I LEARNED
-I realised that rehabilitation is a long term project and that it’s not over in three or four months. The work has to continue. The mental effort in keeping going with all the exercises was as hard as the physical challenges but I was determined