Feels just like childbirth


Recovery after a knee replacement has been more difficult than I envisioned. Hubby, who had his knee done a month ago, seemed to be up and walking sooner than I am. Oh … I am walking … but moan and groan when doing so because it hurts too much! Trying to avoid opioid addiction, doctors (and Hubby) encouraged against prescriptions like Oxycontin and Vicodin, but Tylenol alone is just not working for me. My position for the day is to sit in the recliner with ice on my knee, a painless place to “veg” out watching weird shows on television. My interest had never before been piqued to view “Stranger Things,” “The Handmaids Tail,” “Orange is the New Black” and “Ozark” or the even stranger “real” life tales of “Dr. Phil” or “The Jerry Springer Show.” When one is chair bound for the day, television choices seem much more eclectic.

I should be up and doing my physical therapy exercises. Called a “rock star” in the hospital, I demonstrated an innate ability to maneuver around the hallways with my walker, get back and forth to the bathroom independently, and climb stairs. With a smile on my face, my mobility skills were awesome! Of course, the pain blocker from the knee replacement surgery was still doing its job, enabling me to move around sans pain. At home, with only Tylenol in my system, it is a different story. How can I practice PT exercises when just getting to the bathroom is such a chore? (Thank God for the raised toilet seat or I would be unable to rise from the toilet and forever be relegated to eat my meals in the bathroom and sleep against the countertop with a few pillows.)

I had my first physical therapy appointment the other day. Hobbling into the office, I was directed to go into an evaluation room. (That is, a regular room with a door rather than being exposed to others in the large PT communal room.) My PT looked to be about 18 years old, like she could be my granddaughter. She sat across from me with her computer between us and proceeded to ask the many questions associated with doing an assessment. I could tell she was relatively new at this because she rarely looked up from her computer to make eye contact or to even acknowledge me as an individual person. She asked if could manage to use the toilet, independently? Yes, with a raised toilet seat. Take a shower? Yes, with a tub transfer bench and a handheld shower. Brush my teeth? Of course, how would a knee surgery prevent me from brushing my teeth? Even were I bedridden, I would still find a way to brush my teeth! Was I able to reach up and use deodorant? Able to put on my make-up? What? Make-up? The sweet, young PT was asking me about make-up. All she had to do was look at me and she would know I do not wear makeup. Unless she thought I don’t wear it because I can’t do it? I wonder if she asks the men if they can do THEIR make-up?

She questioned if I had been practicing the exercises to strengthen my leg muscles. My complaint that I had not done so because of extreme pain resulted in a typical answer from a young person whose only pain in life had probably been from a skinned knee while roller blading. She told me I had to still practice through the pain. She also glibly commented that she has been told the pain from knee replacement resembles the pain from childbirth. Only if childbirth were three weeks long!

Feeling chastised by someone one quarter of my age, the rest of the evaluation was uneventful. I went home with a list of practice exercises to facilitate the use of my new knee. It will come in handy once I can get out of the recliner.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here