Friday, June 18, 2004
Or, for short, PT (which can also stand for "physical torture").
Anyway, I went the day after surgery and was so out of it mentally that all I remember for sure is that my physical therapist was asking me to do things that I know I couldn't do. But, for a quick rundown, after session one, I was supposed to be attempting, on a daily basis:
1. Quad extensions.
2. Straight leg raises.
3. knee flexions, a.k.a. heel slides.
Just for reference, during my pre-op PT, I was doing, daily, 100 of number one, 3 sets of 20 of number two, and 50 of number three, along with eight other exercises in an attempt to get my muscles in shape before the surgery so that they'd recover more quickly afterwards.
On Day 1, Post-Op, I did 20 of number one, 3 sets of 10 of number two, and 20 of number three. Impressive? Hardly. First of all, because of the femoral block still numbing my entire leg, I was actually unable to do quad extensions on my own. This meant my physical therapist had to put my on the "e-stim" machine. That's "electrical stimulation." Yayy! Electroshock therapy!
Not only that, but I was also unable to do the straight leg raises without someone actually lifting up on my foot. So the only thing I did on my own were the heel slides. The only other thing I was instructed to do was to keep my leg as straight as possible several times a day so that the bone they'd shaved off of my knee to make a tunnel for my new ACL wouldn't grow back, thus preventing me from ever regaining full extension. Pleasant thought, eh?
So, day 1 Post-op was thankfully not as bad as I'd feared, since I couldn't feel anything, but it left me kind of frustrated.
Cut to four days later. This Tuesday, after both regaining feeling in my leg and doing the recommended exercises, I returned to PT. I had to do the above three exercises (and this time, with a non-numbed leg, the e-stim machine HURT), and I added several more:
4. Hip abduction.
5. Hip adduction (note, to avoid confusing the two, physical therapists often spell them out, saying "A-B-Duction" or "A-D-Duction").
6. Hip extension.
7. Hamstring flexion.
Unlike the previous time, I WAS able to do all of these exercises at this session. However, again comparing to pre-op numbers:
|1||100 reps||20 reps
|2||3 sets of 20||3 sets of 10
|3||50 reps||30 reps
|4||3 sets of 20||3 sets of 10
|5||3 sets of 20||3 sets of 10
|6||3 sets of 20||3 sets of 10
|7||50 reps||30 reps
I should also be noted that I did the pre-op exercises casually while watching TV, whereas the post-op exercises are a struggle. In fact, I'm not really doing number seven. I can't raise do hamstring flexion yet, so I have to tie a rope to my ankle to pull my leg up. None of this is unexpected, it's just weird to think how much I was doing last week compared to how little I can do this week.
Also in PT on Tuesday, I took my first steps without crutches. It wasn't my idea. My physical therapist said I was going to sit on the exercise cycle across the room, and that I was going to have to walk over there to get to it. So, I took tiny, tiny steps (maybe four inches long), but I made it.
Then I got to sit on the bike and... uh... well, not do much of anything. My range of motion won't let me get all the way around yet, so I basically rocked the pedals back and forth for five minutes, pushing myself a little bit further on each half-circle, but never even coming close to getting all the way around. I'm told there's a possiblity that I might make it all the way around on Friday's session, but not to really expect that until next week.
Updated at 1:02 AM
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Heyyyy.... arthroscopic knee surgery? A great big knee brace? Heh...it looks like Britney and I have more in common now than just a birthday.
Updated at 10:43 PM
Monday, June 14, 2004
So, for tomorrow...
I revisit physical therapy. I haven't told you about the first visit yet, mainly because the oxycodone made me so loopy that I couldn't write. Hopefully, I'll even have some pictures posted of the exercises they're having me do, as well as the bulbous knee itself. Heck, maybe I'll even have a new cartoon posted sometime tomorrow. Don't count on it, but it's always a possibility.
Updated at 3:48 PM
HYGIENE, PART 2.
You, my fellow human being, are a filthy, filthy animal. And no, I haven't been snooping into what web sites you've been surfing, although I'm sure that doesn't make it any better. The plain fact is, that after a few days of not showering, you don't smell good. Even if the extent of your activity is, say, reading and watching TV, you smell BAD. Why don't you go take a shower?
Oh yeah... that leg thing.
So, how DO you take a shower if you can't walk on one of your legs? It's not easy. But seriously, I can smell you from over here. You really need to wash up. Recommendations:
First of all, don't be a hero and try to stand up in the shower. No one's going to be impressed with your manliness if they have to pick your wet, crying body out of the tub because you've fallen and you can't get up. You're going to need to sit on something and that something has to fit in your tub. In four days now, I've taken two showers (because I really, really had to...you wouldn't have wanted to be near me). For one I used a step stool, and for the other I used this big Rubbermaid container that was solid enough to hold a full-grown adult male. The stool worked slightly better, just because it was a little higher and had better drainage, but both worked fine.
Secondly, you'll need a showerhead on a hose. If you're sitting, you can't move to the showerhead, so the showerhead is going to have to move to you. You can get one pretty cheap at your local hardware mega-store for about $20, and if you don't want to stink everybody out of the house, that will be a $20 well spent.
Third, it's going to take some time. I would estimate double the amount of time it usually takes you to shower, just from the lack of mobility. Take advantage of this! No one's going to pressure you about being punctual ("Oh, excuse me! I just have to function on one leg, thankyouverymuch!"), so don't rush things. Rushing just makes you more likely to injure yourself. You ARE on a smooth, wet surface, after all.
Finally, don't drop the soap. This is not a prison joke. It's just very, very hard to pick up things that are down near your feet. You'll thank me later.
Updated at 3:29 PM
HYGIENE, PART 1.
Supposedly, the number one question astronauts are asked (after "why did they fake the moon landings," of course) is how do you go to the bathroom in space? After all, there are no trees to go behind. This is also a legitimate question in the ACL repair world, as well. The best answer I can give you is "painfully."
Now, this isn't to say that the act itself is painful. The operation doesn't effect any part of that particular anatomy. However, it does change how you stand in front of, or sit on, the toilet. This is not pretty.
For guys, here's your chance to finally get back at your wife, mother, sister, girlfriend, etc. Because the act of bending over to raise the seat is not only painful but--in the case of a numbed leg--downright dangerous, you must insist that the seat be left UP. Be sure to complain about this at every opportunity, because I guarantee you that your female companion of choice will NEVER do it. If you're consistent about it, you can make up for years of being berated for not leaving the seat down in a single weekend. And because you're the injured one, they'll never call you on it. Although I'm four days post-surgery now and can raise the seat fairly easily, I plan on milking this one as long as I can.
Now, as for when sitting is necessary, well, I pity you. There is NO comfortable way to sit on a toilet when one of your legs is fully immobilized in an extended position. Maybe THIS is what the Percocet is actually for. I don't know what to tell you, here. I'm sure there are lots of methods that are possible, but the one I've been utilizing, while my bad leg sticks out at an awkward angle, involves a lot of screaming in agony. Do whatever works best for you.
Updated at 3:04 PM
For some reason, this seems to be one of the first things that everyone asks about. As in, "Well, dude, I'm sure it hurts, but at least you get some pretty good drugs, right?"
Well, Spicoli, the truth is, it doesn't hurt that bad, and the drugs suck. As surgeons get more experience with ACL reconstruction, they've become more aggressive with the pain treatment. Yes, I did get oxycodone (generic Percocet), but only three days worth (supposedly) which I'm a day or so past, now. But the truth is, I stopped using it before I used up my supply.
No, I'm not going to sell you the remainder.
To combat the pain, the doctors did something a little more extreme than Percocet--they deadened my whole leg. I literally could not feel ANYTHING in my leg for the first two days. I was taking the recommended two oxycodone tablets per day for the first two days, but as far as I could tell, it really only did two things:
1. It made me sleepy.
2. It made me stupid.
Now, there's a good chance that the first result was desired, but the second one was really starting to bug me, and that's why I stopped taking it. My mom, who's been taking care of me since the surgery (again, thanks Mom!), keeps coming up to me and saying things like, "Remember what I said yesterday?" Uh...well, actually, no. I don't remember what you said yesterday. Or what HE said yesterday, or what THAT GUY said yesterday, or what the physical therapist who was giving me explicit instructions on what to do or not to do with my leg said yesterday...
I think you can see how this might become a problem.
How do people who get hooked on this stuff live? On Percocet, I'm dizzy, sleepy, forgetful, and I can't type or form coherent sentences. Who is it that starts taking this and thinking "Yeaahhhh!! This is the way to GO!"
So, drugs are bad, you shouldn't do drugs, mmkay?
Updated at 2:07 PM
Allllllrighty then. It's been a few days since I posted anything--mainly because I've been so out of it that it didn't seem feasible-- but now I've got a couple of things to share. Ready? Of course you are...
Updated at 2:06 PM