On January 20th I had right knee replacement surgery. Now the incision has healed. The bruised black and blue tissue from the ankle to my upper thigh looks well and healthy. All the bruising came four days after surgery. What is that all about? The ache remains in the muscle and tissue seemingly affected by the steel and titanium replacing my knee but not where the bruising and incision were located.
I used the walker for a week after surgery and a cane for one day. Since then, I have been using both legs together and alone. Prior to surgery I would often wake up with muscle cramps in either leg from my ankle to my thigh. Since surgery I have not one cramp. Personally, I think that I have scared the living crap out of them. That has also been useful because the pain medication given, Norco, leads to very serious constipation. It became a time of lock down city…three days, four days…until my daughter came up with something called Green Tea.
I have been advised to take my time. One person told me to expect a 12-month period of healing. The doctor told me to stick with physiotherapy for another month, not because I need it but because I need the encouragement to slow down. I was told if it hurts while we are doing physio, that is ok, but if you are hurting afterward, then we have done too much. They are incredibly careful, always asking if it hurts. It never does and I could not tell these beautiful young ladies otherwise. It usually does not hurt while I am there, but boy do I feel it later in the day.
The surgeon told me that pre-COVID-19 it was standard procedure for 80% of knee replacement patients to spend a night in the hospital. Now, eighty percent of knee replacement surgeries are outpatients. I was up at 4:00 A.M. and home by 4:00 P.M. in the afternoon. This was after I had to walk fifty yards down the hall and up and down several steps less than four hours after surgery.
I was scared of permanent scarring and the inability to have a full range of motion after healing. While still in the hospital I thought I should test my range of motion. The knee worked fine, just as good as the other one, no pain at all, but suddenly I found I was squeezing blood through the bandages. Just another example of doing a little too much too soon.