SURGERY AND THE FIRST WEEK: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

Welp, it’s official. I no longer have a torn meniscus.

Surgery and the First Week: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

The surgery went really well and the doc said there was no other damage to my meniscus, other than the fact that it was torn completely off the post. He was able to reattach it without issue or having to make any additional repairs! YAY! So now, I’m just in the recovery and physical therapy phase and will spend at least the next 6 weeks on crutches. Ugh. Those crutches. The good news is I’m doing pretty well on them. No falls or major slips or trips, not even on the stairs!

And before you freak out about me going up and down the stairs, my house has 2 levels PLUS a basement. And, after my sailor goes back to the left coast next weekend, I’ll be the only one here besides the animals so it’s not like I have anyone around to ask to do something for me. In fact, the physical therapist wants me to practice the stairs while my sailor is here so I’m confident on them when he’s not.

And speaking of physical therapy, my schedule is 2 times a week. During the first four weeks, the goals are getting me to 90 degrees of flexion and achieve quadriceps control. I was at 65 degrees on the first day after surgery and 84 degrees on Friday!! Also, once the swelling went down and the nerve block wore off, I was much more able to control my quad. The therapist was pleased, to say the least. 🙂 Continuing to work out leading up to the surgery is definitely benefitting me in the recovery phase.

Pain has actually been pretty easy to manage. Doc prescribed me Percocet (1-2 every 4 hours) and I was only doing 1 pill every 4 hours. Stopped them and switched just to ibuprofen (800mg) on Friday. I’m so glad I’m not feeling a huge amount of pain! Also, when we took my wrap off, there was very little blood and drainage. My doc did a fantastic job!!

The Bad

Stairs. Well, at least the ones down to the basement, anywhere. Where the kitty litter box is. Where the cats eat dinner so the dogs don’t scarf their food. Those stairs are open on one side and don’t have a railing that goes the full distance. Those stairs are hard. I’ve been scooting down them on my butt and coming back up pretty much the same way in reverse. And then I’m a big sweaty mess. Haha.

This brace.

Surgery and the First Week: The good, the bad, and the ugly

I pretty much have to wear this brace ALL. THE. TIME. Rumor is I can take it off for sleeping after the first week (so that would be today!!) but I’m going to clarify with the physical therapist (also today) before I do that. It’s not the most comfortable thing in the world to be in anyway – it’s a little heavy and awkward – but trying to sleep in it is definitely a challenge for this girl who may or may not like to flop around like a fish in the middle of the night. This brace is going to get old reallllllyyyy fast. And yes, I’m thankful for the brace because it’s keeping my knee in the proper position for healing so don’t yell at me but still, it’s clunky, kinda heavy, and awkward.

I couldn’t shower until last Friday (gross) (thank goodness for baby wipes!) and I have to wear a big garbage bag over my leg when I do for two reasons: gotta keep the surgical incisions dry and keep the brace dry. Now, when was the last time you showered while balancing on one leg? Think about it. It’s definitely a workout! My right leg is going to be BEAST mode by the time this whole process is up. I’m doing okay with the getting in and out part but I’ve been using the stand-up shower upstairs that only has a little lip to get over. Yesterday was a disaster, though, as I knocked over the conditioner and my razor while I was just trying to get IN the shower and needed my sailor to come pick them up for me. #fail

Getting dressed is a major challenge. I’ve finally figured out how to put my clothes on by myself (don’t judge) but socks and shoes are still really difficult. I’ve got to really work hard on figuring those out because while it’s freakishly warm now, it’s technically still winter and going out without socks and shoes is probably not in my best interest.

Also, I HATE feeling limited. And asking for help with things I know I can do (if I had 2 working legs), i.e. feed the animals, bring my plate to the table, getting in and out of the house without having to take the long way around….. It’s going to be really fun when the help isn’t there for me to ask for. Guess I should enjoy it, huh?

In addition to feeling limited, I’m also not supposed to be “up and about” too much during the first 7 – 10 days to prevent swelling/knee pain, etc. Which translates to “I need to sit on my butt.” NOT something I do well for extended periods of time. I do notice that my foot turns a nice shade of purple if I DO spend a little to much time up and at ’em so I’m trying really, really, really hard to follow the instructions.

Made a grocery run with my sailor after Friday’s physical therapy. I rode in one of those motorized carts and he pushed a cart behind me that had my crutches (and the groceries) in it. While I can see and understand the benefit of those carts, it didn’t make me feel great, both mentally and physically, to ride in one. The stop and start motions were far from smooth and I got off it feeling like I’d been on a roller coaster. Also, I got some strange looks from people and I didn’t like them at all. I seriously cannot crutch through an entire grocery store right now! But, I felt like a slug loser riding around in it. God, I hope I’ve never given anyone riding around in one of those that feeling. I would just die if I had.

The Ugly

Surgery and the First Week: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Nope. Not saying that I’m ugly. Gosh! BUT, I was still pretty stoned when Thing 2 took this picture (that I asked her to take so I could put it on my instagram story). I’m not the biggest fan of anesthesia – it really messes with me – and while this one was easier to come out of, it still wasn’t great. When Thing 2 was finally able to come back, I think the first thing I said to her was (in a loud, secretive whisper, of course), “I feel like I’ve had 3 glasses of wine!” And I did!! It took me quite a few hours to snap out of that. And the resulting nausea. Ugh.

I also had a nerve block done on my leg. The nerve block was more for post-surgical pain management rather than anything during surgery. When I woke up, I literally could not feel my leg. I could touch it and feel it with my finger but my leg didn’t register that I was poking it at all. It was told the nerve block would wear off after about 15 hours or so…… it took 3 days, people!! 3 DAYS. It wasn’t until Friday that I could feel my ankle. It’s already difficult to do things – not being able to feel my leg only added to it.

So, general anestesia, nerve block, and percocet. You can only imagine what that did to my stomach. Um, going to warn you here, if you don’t want to hear about the resulting potty troubles, you might want to skip past this part. They gave me a stool softener to take because, apparently, all that junk and the stress of surgery can really cause constipation. I didn’t think I was going to have any issues here because, if anything, I’ve lived with the complete opposite for the past few years. Yeah. It was bad. And it certainly didn’t help with my nausea. 🙁  Nothing actually started even moving until Friday. That’s 3 days!!! (and apparently the magic day for things throughout this whole first week)  It wasn’t until Sunday that I actually had a successful trip to the bathroom that didn’t leave me uncomfortable and grouchy and nauseous and not wanting to do anything at all. I’ve never in my life experienced anything like that. And I’ve given birth twice!

All you ever wanted to know, and some stuff you didn't, about the Fit Nana's knee surgery!… Click To Tweet

I’m so thankful that this surgery is finally done and the healing process has begun and looks to be a smooth process so long as I follow instructions. I should be heading back to work in a few days and will try to figure out how to get in some workouts in addition to physical therapy. I know my shoulders are getting a good workout with the crutches but I need to good sweat and something fun to do. I’ve already figured out that I can do pushups (bad leg up in the air), planks, and straight leg sit ups. 🙂 I follow back up with my doctor on March 1st and I think I get the stitches out of my knee then. Maybe I can take a real shower then!!!

QUESTIONS:

  • Do pain meds and anesthesia mess up your tummy?
  • Have you ever had to use one of those motorized carts?
  • Want to come over every day and feed my cats and scoop the litter? 😀

6 COMMENTS

  1. Marsha Apsley | 22nd Feb 17

    Best wishes for speedy recovery! I thought I had torn meniscus last June but ended up being diagnosed with arthritis in my knee. At first I was grateful no surgery or anything, but I’m an avid runner, and this knee arthritis has been/was a nightmare. I basically didn’t run again until November. I’m now without pain and swelling but was told by docs I’d just have to learn to “manage” it from now til eternity. I’m thankful I also love to road bike, so it was great cross training and continues to be. But nothing can replace my love of running. Be careful on the stairs. I’m a bit too far away to help with the cats. lol!

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 22nd Feb 17

      Wow, that stinks! I’m so glad you’re without pain now, though. At least you know what it is and can identify when and why you might need to rest it! And I agree that nothing replaces running. I can’t wait to get back out there but I think my marathon days may be over. Oh well. I had a good run. (Pun intended. Ha!) Thanks for the kind words. I promise to be careful on the stairs. 🙂

  2. Chocolaterunsjudy | 21st Feb 17

    If I lived nearby I’d help out with the cats . . . unfortunately you’re a tad too far away. I’m pretty sure you’ll figure something out — and I’m sure it’s not going to be easy. But yes, this too shall pass, as Marcia said! And then you’ll feel so much better.

    It’s been decades since I had any anesthesia, thank goodness — last time was for my wisdom teeth (all four at once, several impacted). Not quite the same, I know. They were giving me instructions afterwards & my husband said I was nodding as if I understood . . I have no memory of that at all.

    So glad the surgery was a success! Here’s to a successful recovery!

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 21st Feb 17

      Thank you! Man, impacted wisdom teeth are the worst! I think that surgery is actually worse than this. That’s a whole different level of misery. I’m hoping you didn’t suffer from any dry sockets afterwards. Ugh! And LOL at you nodding during instructions. Pretty sure I did the same thing!

  3. Marcia | 21st Feb 17

    Oh wow. I’m glad the surgery is behind you and you’re on the mend. That has to be a huge relief. I had crutches once when I screwed up my knee skiing. I remember my armpits becoming SO so tired. Sounds you’re doing the stairs just fine and figuring out what you CAN do. Hang in there! This too shall pass!

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 21st Feb 17

      It is such a huge relief! The waiting game was long in getting to that point – so glad to actually be moving forward. My armpits are so tired, too! I wake up in the middle of the night and my shoulders ache. Ugh. Thanks so much for the kind words! I really appreciate it! *hugs*

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