Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Knee? What knee?

Knee-plus-12 weeks, 22-Dec-04, Wednesday:
I am now to where I do not think about my knee. Somedays, not at all. There is no pain. I am not even taking ibuprofen unless I’ve been on my feet for a long time and my legs feel tired. Range of motion is good: I can routinely walk up and down three flights of stairs. Right-leg ROM is almost as good as the left. Right-leg extension IS as good, maybe better, than the left. Certainly, my hamstrings are more flexible with my right than my left.

We visited relatives last weekend --- a 3+ hour drive. My wife and I shared driving duties going out, but because of the weather, I drove the entire trip home. No problems at all, although my thigh muscles felt a little tired.

It’s the holiday season. Two weekends ago, I stood and schmoozed at our Christmas party for more than three hours without pain. I’ve been up and down ladders hanging ornaments on the tree. I sat cross-legged on the floor for an hour putting together a stereo system.

My brother and I took a long walk yesterday. I realized that he was half a step behind me and was watching my stride. I said “What are you doing?” His response was “You really are walking normally”. Duh. We were only out for half an hour, but I walked hard, uphill and down. Yes, I was showing off, but I could do it comfortably.

12 weeks post-surgery, I am thrilled with the results of my TKR. I have much better ROM than I’ve had in 20 years. I can do things that I’ve been unable to do for more than a decade. I can ride a bike again --- we are actually planning bike trips for next summer. I felt so good this AM that I actually skipped across the parking lot at work!

There is still a long way to go in terms of rebuilding strength. I recognize that, too.

But there is NO pain. Yes, the quads and hams get tired, and can ache when they do. But there is no joint pain at all. I could not have asked for a more positive experience re my TKR.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! I feel 20 years younger.

Did I wait too long? I actually don’t think so. I took three months to prepare mentally and physically for my TKR. These were important. I am convinced that the physical prep made rehab go faster and easier. Equally important, the mental preparation --- both in terms of what to expect as well as what my limitations had been pre-surgery --- makes me all the more appreciative of how successful my TKR has been.