Thanks to those of you who have wished me well and offered me moral support for my new knee. Here is a brief summary and advice from a knee replacement patient two days away from the one-month mark. Advice from a chronological perspective:
- Week One. If you are thinking about elective, full knee replacement surgery, do not do it. I don’t care how bad your knee hurts, it is not worth it. The opioids I take probably help and I do not know how bad I would feel without them. But still, we are talking real pain here. You do not even get an opium high and having any alcohol is forbidden. Is this torture or what? Plus forget about going to the bathroom. Who talked me into doing this? On the plus side I am getting visitors for tea and cookies in the afternoon, which Embry set up, daily events with friends which I attribute to my avoidance of a deliberate opioid overdose.
- Week Two. Fearful of opioid addiction and a subsequent unintended overdose, I trash the pill bottle, having consumed only about 20 of the 65 pills. Then I realize that I could have made a small fortune selling them on the internet or on the street. Pain has retreated a bit in week two, and I am getting physical therapy from a bearded Egyptian wearing a suit, who comes three times a week, has a PhD in PT, and is from an upper class family, who still lives in Cairo. He is terrific, and I feel I am starting to make small progress. I am still using a walker, and getting the stiffness out of the left quads is the big challenge. I am still wondering, however, what I must have been thinking when I elected to get a new knee. Afternoon tea and cookie visits with friends continue and keep me going.
- Week Three. First time out of the apartment. Visits to the doctor and downtown to the Kaiser office for PT. To my surprise, both doctor and physical therapists think I am making great progress. Lord have mercy, I think, how bad off must these other people be? The PT guy tells me to ditch the walker, which I do with some trepidation, only to discover that I can do fine with a cane. I am becoming ambivalent about whether or not the surgery was worth it.
- Week Four. Exercises are getting easier and strength is building up faster. I venture down to the fitness center in the basement of the K-W and am able to do the bicycle and a couple of leg machines. To my astonishment I find that I am now able to walk fairly easily without a cane. Hey, who said this was such a bad idea? Knee replacement? Everyone should get one!
More to follow…