Saturday, August 29, 2009

The first year of being Sixty-Total Knee Replacement-Ouch!

After I came back from surgery, my sister-in-law, Nancy, stayed with me.  My leg was all bandaged up,three times the normal size.  Plus they had a Demerol drip attached to my arm.  When I started feeling too much pain, just push a little button.  This is a wonderful device!  Of course, I only had it from 4:00 pm on Wednesday, till 9:00 am on Thursday.  I can see how people get addicted to Demerol, that is until it upset my stomach. I probably shouldn't have pushed the button so many times Thursday morning, but the nurse said, go ahead and use it.  Of course I know that the doses are set for ten minute intervals and wouldn't come out before that time.  Between the Demerol and Tylenol, my stomach was really upset!  I know, Tylenol is suppose to be easy on your stomach, but not me.  It makes me nauseated!  Plus they wanted to give me a pain shot that didn't work.  Finally, the night nurse came in and gave me a wonderful shot that helped with my pain. Those night nurses are wonderful.

When I first considered the Total Knee replacement, I had in my mind that I would take as little pain medicine as necessary.  You see, I had only had surgery one other time, that was when I had my complete hysterectomy in 1984, at the age of 36,  thirty-three years earlier.  Trust me, if I have another surgery, I will make use of pain medicine or if it's not working, push for something that will.  Because I now know, three days being in the hospital won't get me addicted to any of the medicine.  I won't try going it alone again. And it's not that I was in excruiseating pain, but an uncomfortable constant ache, just enough to make you irritable and well "uncomfortable".

Thursday morning, by nine o'clock, Physical Therapy was there to "help me walk".  It was a slow process moving my leg to the side of the bed, sitting there letting my stomach and head settle.  Physical Therapy had brought me a walker to use.  You wouldn't think one day could make a difference!  The day before I walked in, nervous, and a lot of leg pain, but at least I could take care of myself, but that Thursday, when I stood, I was weak as a newborn baby.  I stood holding onto the walker, literally shaking, hearing the Therapist urging me to take that first step, sweat popping out on my forehead.  But I did it!  I took my first step and thought I would pass out, hearing "try another step", thinking "yeah, right"!  But I did take another step and that's when I knew the surgery was worth it!  While the pulling of the stitches (which ended up being my worst pain) hurt, the placing of the foot on the floor and putting pressure on it, wasn't anything like before the surgery where when I took a step, I had to hold onto the wall to keep from falling.  I even took three more steps forward and four steps back to the bed.  By Friday, I was getting up by myself and walking and by Saturday, they had me walking the hallways and up and down steps, just two, but hey, it was progress!

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