It’s been a week since my surgery, happy times!
It has been a week of not doing much, but doing a lot at the same time, so this is just a short blog entry going over my accomplishments and what I have learned this week.
My pain has been incredibly small and I am so happy to report that I have always been able to regulate my pain-relief and take below the dosages prescribed to me. Today marks the first day where I have managed through the entire day without taking any pain medication at all and I am hoping this might last into the night.
I’ve been progressing well with the four exercises I’ve been given. The pain isn’t there so much and the stiffness has decreased, before I sometimes felt as if there was a metal bar pressing across my knee when I tried to move and exercise and that feeling is no longer there. I’m able to bend my knee to about 90 degrees and walk a little more like a human, though I am still relying heavily on my crutches. Stairs remain the biggest challenge right now, especially going upstairs when transferring weight. My banister has become my greatest nemesis, the width is a little too large for my hand to grip properly and put my weight against. On the plus side, my arm muscles are starting to get better!
I sleep on my side, something I thought would be a nightmare after surgery as I was told I’d have to sleep on my back with my leg straight. My physio told me at once that if I could sleep on my side, then that was fine, just as long as I wasn’t putting weight on the operated leg. I can sleep as I always do in bed! Turning over is hard but not impossible and I sleep with an extra pillow right up against my back to support my spine and easily stretch. I also have to rest my leg on the pillow when sleeping on my left side in order to be pain free though and I’m finally back to getting about eight hours sleep a night. There has only been one night so far when I have had to call in my mum, I do this by literally calling her phone as she has it on the highest and loudest ringtone which wakes her up. This was on the third night when I had a spike of pain in the middle of the night when trying to ween myself off the Codine. After taking it I was right back to sleep though.
Another tricky challenge. While I can have a shower and I’m allowed to get my dressings wet (they’re waterproof) but I can’t climb into the bath to HAVE a shower. The temporary solution we have is for me to sit on the edge of the bath and for my mum to get in and wash my hair for me, while I keep my feet on the ground and a towel covering me. It’s like a half shower/half sponge bath, but it’s SO QUICK and the best compromise we have until I can swing my operated leg into the bath.
Dressing and changing clothes
(Might get a little personal)
I have to have a helper, but I can take my clothes off my body on my own and pull them back up. It’s more having someone to fetch them for me and I have to be sitting down, but I can put on long pyjama pants which cover my knee dressings without any pain. I’m nowhere near wearing jeans or anything tight yet and I haven’t worn shoes or a bra in about a week which is SUPER WEIRD though! I also have stopped needing to wear my support stockings. I went through a couple different pairs and struggled to wear them in bed, but I was loyal to them for the first five days and now I have little to no swelling and some more freedom!
As I mentioned before, having friends and a big support network is so important. My immediate family and my friends have been absolutely wonderful and I am so thankful for every message, text, card and gift that has been sent to me. I was lucky enough to have one of my best friend’s stay with me for a few days, we kept each other busy by playing games and just hanging out together. I think this had the biggest effect on me, practically forgetting about my pain and being able to move about and sit at the table was lovely, along with making my days a little sunnier. Thank you Mimo!
What I’ve learned
- A difference in routine is so important, this is one of the biggest things I have learned. It’s easy to get sucked into doing the same things and just slobbing about watching TV. While I still can’t do a lot, working from my laptop at the table, lying on the sofa and being able to raid the kitchen on my crutches are little things I am relishing.
- Down-time and relaxation. I’m one of those people who always like to keep their mind and their hands busy. I’m always writing, working, creating or SOMETHING and find it hard to completely relax and let my mind go. I’m taking moments in my day now to just close my eyes for five minutes and just do nothing, let my thoughts stream where they want to. To watch something and not be multi-tasking and give my full focus to one task. It sounds preachy maybe, but it’s something not to be taken for granted. Shut off and take some time for gratitude, to celebrate all that is good in your life and to focus on your achievements.
- Don’t be afraid to voice your achievements out loud. You’ve come a long way and it’s okay to be proud and take note of all you can do, even if it’s only something simple like remembering to do all your exercises or taking a lesser dose of Paracetamol.
- Don’t forget to say thank you to those who are helping you. My mum has done an incredible amount for me this week alone. She’s worked from home while balancing all my needs, helping me up and down the stairs and cooking all the meals in the house. It has given me such insight into those who are full-time carers for family members, so don’t forget to tell them how grateful you are for everything they have done for you. Thank you mum!
I have my first physio session at Spire Hospital tomorrow where they will check my knee, work with me and give me a new set of exercises. I think it’s going to be a little tough as it’s my first one, but I’m ready to be able to give 110% and really commit to being able to move even more. My mum’s also going to work for the first time since my surgery, so it’ll be my first day with Team Grandparents helping me. Wish them luck!