Five weeks after my total knee replacement, the milestone of not having to wear TED socks is such a relief that the hardest bit is over. I can already feel that my knee is stronger and sturdier and I can walk without pain. Although I am occasionally taking over the counter painkillers, I am no longer taking the stronger prescription painkillers that I was taking before the operation.
-I still feel tired a lot of the time
-My ROM isn’t where it should be at this stage
WHAT I FOUND HELPFUL
-to realise that any pain I feel is healing pain as the knee isn’t going to get any worse now. The operation has made things better.
– to realise that I will only get out of my recovery what I put in by doing my exercises, resting, eating well and looking after myself
-to remember that this too will pass
-to encourage myself all the time and congratulate myself on every tiny piece of progress. If I’d gone downstairs without someone in front of me, carried a cup of tea from the kitchen to the living room, had a shower on my own, gone to a neighbour’s for coffee, they were real wins to be acknowledged and celebrated.
-to stay in my own lane and not compare myself with anyone else
-to ask for any help that I need and to to gratefully accept any help offered
-to take the painkillers as prescribed and advised by the hospital if in pain and not to suffer in silence (and then in liaison with your GP. We are in the twenty first century now and there are medicines that can help.
-to assess risk and have a go at something like walking around the garden or down the street or out in the car. Everyone does these things at their own pace and it won’t be the same for everybody.
VULNERABILITY AND DEPENDENCE
I found feeling vulnerable and dependent on others difficult, as I was just used to getting on and doing things on my own. I had to learn that it was perfectly natural to feel anxious and uncertain and frustrated. Things that wouldn’t have upset me normally could make me tearful and upset.
POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE (PMA)
I knew that it would be best to keep a positive mental attitude and I think I did achieve that but it was important to really acknowledge that
-I was sometimes in pain
-I found it difficult to sleep
-I felt more emotional and fragile
-It was hard to get out the house
-anything I tried to do was slow and took emotional effort.
My husband might have chided me, where’s your PMA gone and I might have politely or not so politely told him where to go.
I had time
-to look at the view when sitting down on a bench to rest
-to read those really long books that I never got into
-to binge on a box set
-to fiddle around online for as long as I wanted without feeling guilty