Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Great News!

Well despite the fact that I am absolutely exhausted and I caved and took one of two remaining Percocet that I had saved for days like today, I am psyched to share my progress!  Today at physio I finally reached 90 degree range of motion without assistance (95 degrees with assistance! But shhh don't tell the surgeon; he asked that I not go beyond 90).  In the image to the right you can see how it's measured (that's not me, but we do my physio and measurements and flexibility tests the same way).

As some of you remember from last Thursday, the PT also started me on attempts to start using my hamstring to begin working at lifting my leg with a roll behind my knee.  As you can see from the image to the left, it looks pretty simple.  Actually it's remarkable difficult as my patella (the meaty area just below your knee cap) is still very sore from the main incision, and attempting to flex that tendon and allowing my hamstring (the muscle along the back of your thigh) to tighten and flex is incredible hard still.  Well happily today, after 5 days of trying, I actually lifted my leg!!  Granted, I only lifted it about half an inch off the table, and my whole body was shaking from the effort, but I did it!  It was sort of funny having the other people there for their therapies cheering me on as they watched my progress.  When I finally managed to lift it and hold it up, I got a round of applause... it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life I have to say.  Those people know damned well how hard that was for me... so it was very cool getting that kind of support from them :)

I've also been working very hard at being able to flatten my leg to the table.  As you can see in the image to the right, this again looks pretty easy.  Remember, though, that the new tendon I have (thanks Hamstring, you're a pal) is like a brand new rubber band.  It's very inflexible and very tight.  So what ends up happening is it pulls my leg up into an arch and I have to work to stretch it enough that my leg will lay flat.  I also still have a lot of swelling, so that causes quite a bit of discomfort yet.  Well this week I've managed to flatten it from having what my PT measures 'two whole fingers' to 'just one finger!' (underneath my knee as I flatten it).  This is great progress, and I'm sure with working at it I'll have it comfortably stretched where it belongs in a few more weeks.

So that's about it so far!  I have my 6 week post-op appointment with the surgeon this coming Monday where I find out if I'm allowed to set fire to stop wearing the iron maiden zimmer splint, and I find out if the meniscus healed okay and the graft is doing well (via an xray I'm SUPER excited to see! pics to come I'm sure), and if I can start slowing bearing weight on my knee again.  After that the PT suspects I'll be on the crutches for another 4-6 weeks but just for support while I regain the use of my leg and learn to walk normally again.

After all is said and done, it will be a total of about 6 months of rebuilding all the muscle around my knee and in my leg before it's safe to use again for anything more than just walking.  But once I'm off the crutches I'll be able to exercise from home or from a gym (looks like a gym membership is in my future - anyone want to take the opportunity of me HAVING to go to whip into shape with me? hee hee)

Anyhoo, I'm sure I'll update after my post-op on Monday if not sooner.  CHEERS!

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