Patient, Heal Thyself!!!

Posted , 20 users are following.

I've done a lot of posting on this site, trying to overcome my own situation by encouraging people to be strong and do the work necessary to get well again.  Now it's my turn.  I expected something, it didn't happen and now I have to confront it.

I'm at 8 1/2 months.  ROM is 0 / +132, overcame some severe sciatica starting in week 5, got off all the meds and walking aids, hit the gym for the quads.  Thought I was done at 7+ months...boy was I wrong...

While looking for a new position in IT (45 years...Sr. Process/Solutions Architect), I thought I'd work P/T at the local Best Buy selling computers for the holidays.  Heck, I've built all my own machines for decades and know all the technology intimately.  This was an easy choice to get back into the working world.  So I stopped the gym and went to work.  Baaaaad idea...

Standing on my feet for between 5 and 8 1/2 hours a day, I've realized that my quads are still too weak to do the time.  Day starts off horribly but I get stronger over the day until I get home and just collapse.  I need to get back to the gym on my off days and do more quad work but I'm just really tired.  I thought that working and walking (7,000 to 10,000 steps a day on my FitBit) would rehab the quads.  WRONG!!!!  Gotta get back to the leg work.  There is really no alternative.  I had to learn the hard way and pay for my arrogance.

On top of that, I've re-developed sciatica on both sides...in my glutes...the sciatic knots.  This is very painful and radiates into my fused back.  So I've got pain in the back, butt and quads but have to work four days a week on my feet (including Black Friday this coming week...five days in a row).  Good thing...the knee is PERFECT!  Great ROM, zero pain.  It's everything else that has gone to hell.

Doc gave me some Tramadol that I take before work...helps a little bit. Will NOT go back to opioids. Need to go back to my chiroprator next week to see if she can straighten out my hips again to relieve the sciatica.

Lesson: You're not done until you're done.  Period.  I thought I could skip the end of the rehab and jump to the head of the employment line.  It doesn't work like that...and I should have known it.  Haven't joined a new band because I know that I can't haul all my bass equipment and do a 4+ hour gig without significant pain.  But I thought I could handle work.  Wrong.

A TKR is a very humbling experience.  If you think you can breeze right through this and ignore the brutal reality of it all, you're just as delusional as I've been these past few weeks.  You can convince yourself that you're done when you're really not.  Talked to my doctor cousin who ripped up a major leg tendon and was in a cast for 6 weeks.  Quads atrophied just like ours do.  Told me it will take a year to get them back...and I didn't listen. I thought his prediction did not apply to me...thought I was beyond it.  I'm not.  This is going to take the full year...period.

Take heart, my fellow TKRians...we will all be a lot better down the road but there are no shortcuts.  No excuses...do the work.  Me too...  

 

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  • Posted

    Another great post and appreciate your honesty.  I think age is the biggest barrier to bouncing back - just like most of us who used to, can't go out on a wild night and get up the next day and feel fine.  But how nice to hear your knee is good.  Those quads just do not come back very fast.   

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    • Posted

      I'll be 69 in February.  I thought I could cut corners and just bounce back like I alwys do...errr...DID!!!  I feel that I could handle the quad issue if it weren't for the sciatica.  The one-two punch is difficult to absorb and deal with...especially when I thought my recovery was all over.  Silly me...  It's a humbling lesson.

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    • Posted

      If you could try using an upside down chair to stretch out your back it might help the sciatic issue.  I bought one and it beats paying someone to work on me when all I need to do is hang from it a few times a day.
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  • Posted

    I read your post and have to laugh. I myself have had many crying and screaming fits where the words "I just want to be normal", I'm tired of this", It's not fair", to name a few. When all along, I know what my surgeon said about recovery time. What they don't mention is most of the setbacks that can and will happen along the way. I'm so happy to hear your knee is treating you well. I am getting there, just started hitting the gym again and getting back in the pool. Good luck to you, keep us posted.

    Michelle

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    • Posted

      Wish I had a pool...that would be so great.  I tell people that there are advances, setbacks and plateaus (which I think are the worst since you seem to stay in place for longer than you can stand it).  For me, the quads are a challenge but the sciatica is a setback.  Gotta have the chiro fix that quickly so I can get on with the rest of it.  Thanks for laughing...
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  • Posted

    Dear Chico,

    ?Like all your other posts, you touch our hearts and inform, inspire, and encourage us to stay strong and forge ahead armed with knowledge and comforted by the legions of other knee sufferers who pour out their pain here on the forum. Although I have not had the ultimate TKR yet, I have had to cope with years of knee joint disease balancing daily life and a host of appliances that support me when needed. It is true that it is up to us to do what we can to recover or cope with our infirmities, but at some point we reach the understanding that as we age, those opportunities to excell at any physical task will drain us and drag us down fighting. I so admire that at your age, you attempt to get out there in the job market and fit right in and keep up with the young folk. But seriously, your best bet is to be self-employed and work at your own speed between the gym and rest periods, etc. Your complete knowledge of computers and how they work from the tiniest little part on up, is a gold mine waiting to be explored. There are tons of people out there sitting in their home offices struggling with all the equipment that they don't know how to use. And with your writing skills (I've read all that your put on your links), I am sure there is a book out there waiting to be written for the average patient who needs to get a new knee or hip or whatever. With all the metal, etc. that you have in your body, you sure can relate to all that they need to know. Just put a different picture frame around your desire to get back into the job market.

    Read easy for now.  You know that you have to back away from that job reluctantly, because even if your latest replacement part is doing swell, you are a bionic man with many older injuries and bionic replacements. You are still a winner. For reasons other than your new knee, you still may not be able to carry weights and put in long days on your feet. I've seen my spinal Xrays in color and know that i will never be made new again. Nevermind whatever I do with my knees. 

    ?OK. unsolicited advice from a very old lady.  I wish you and your glutes and quads a healthy future, and hope that you take it easy.  You earned it by living a full life.

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    • Posted

      Bionic?  You should see the TSA at the airport!  I light up the metal detector and then they put me through the scanner.  I hear: "Yo, Frank.  Come over here.  Ya just gotta see THIS guy!"  Then my wife goes through with her brain aneurysm clip and IVC filter.  There's no end to the amazement.

      Just got a job that will let me do 90% of the work at home.  I felt like the heavens parted and I was standing in a ray of sunshine.  Now I just have to organize my schedule so it all works out...including the gym.

      Thanks for all the good thoughts...

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  • Posted

    I feel for you.truly. Standing is my nemesis and if I do it too long my knee screams at me to stop and sit. Being self employed I can stop at start at will usually and it has helped. My days of standing behind a retail counter are well gone and I gave up playing the bass because I has issues lugging the amp around lol. Anyway I am sure you will find a way through this eventually. I sympathise as my knee is doing really well apart from not straightening past the 3-5 mark and bending is around the 110 mark. It is enough to function reasonably well and I am now able to go for walks and do the shopping etc. I have issues with my hip being painfull and major issues with my feet as the hurt like mad when I stand up from being off them. I am trying accupuncture to see if it will ease this. I guess the rest of our bodies bear the strain of the recovery... Anyway there are worse things going on in the world and at home. We just had a major earthquake and my son has lost his home. Perspective. Be kind to yourself - please.
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    • Posted

      NEVER give up playing bass...EVER!!!  Switch to an Ampeg Micro VR head (200W and only NINE POUNDS) plus the matching SVT-210 cabinet (21 pounds).  Lightest, fullest sound on the planet.  I gave up on 75-pound bass amps a long time ago!

      I try not to "stand" but constantly walk around.  That helps with the pain as I seem to grow stronger as the day goes on.  But then I pay for it at night.  Will definitely decrease my hours after the holidays.

      Luckily, I just got hired by AT&T through a 3rd party to do a lot of process map work.  Have to drive into Dallas from a little west of Fort Worth ocassionally but do all the real work from home.  That will get me off my feet, give me a chance to go to the gym every day and dicatate my own work schedule...which is typically driven by the map images in my head.  When I see a solution, I draw it.  After 45 years in IT, you get good at this stuff.

      Thanks for the reply. Trade in your old stuff, get the Ampeg and gig your brains out!!!

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  • Posted

    First off-thank you, Chico, for inspiration and information. Your is sort of our go-to place for all things knees -especially the "newbies". We all know we get into this with very little recovery information. 

    I admit I have gotten away from the structured muscle building workouts and am paying for it. Knees are doing quite well but , oh those quads!

    Just a thought...do you Geek Squads in your area. I have had these computer gurus in a couple times and they have always been above and beyond....and they sit...

    Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Yes..."oh those quads!"  After my hip replacement in 2009 (you know they actually slice them off the bone in that op and stitch them back on), I got them completely back in six weeks after getting out of the hospital and rehab...but that was 5 hours a day, 6 days a week.  Not doing that now and it shows.  

      My personal trainer daughter has been on my back about this and I haven't listened since working again for the last month.  Gotta get to the gym on all my off days...minimum.

      The guys at Best Buy want me to run the Geek Squad but I'd rather sell right now.  We don't get commission but they track our numbers.  I'm waaaay over what I should be doing. Maybe it's because of my sales technique.  I tell a reluctant customer that, being Sicilian, I'm gonna call Vinny and Carmine and have them take him around back until he produces the damn credit card!  Works just fine...

      Don't feel like I'm an "inspire-er"...I just tell my story and hope it resonates with people who need some encouragement.  Thanks for the reply...

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  • Posted

    So you're not superman after all.  I'm disappointed.  Your posts are always right on, and your knowledge is incredibly helpful.  But now I see that you're human like the rest of us.  The world contiues to disappoint.

    Had my TKR on Aug. 2, and was feeling well on my way to recovery's end. So I, too, stopped exercising because I thought that just moving around--walking, climbing stairs, lifting, etc.--would be enough to get me back to normalcy.  Now I have a sore knee that is crunchy and somewhat swollen.  Don't know what my ROM is (was -1 and 134), but I'm assuming it's less than what it was.  I'm going to restart my exercises today.  It used to be that I would feel so much better after exercising.  I stopped because, well, it's exercise.

    Thanks, as always, for your post.  It's inspired me to get back to work.

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    • Posted

      Hung up the cape...long overdue decision.  Thought I was done...what an arrogant a$$...  Can't shortcut this.  I tried and fell on my face.  For you, the ROM is excellent.  We all have to hit the damn gym...there is really no alternative.  Some lessons are harder to learn than others.  This one is painful.  Hope the chiro can help with the sciatica so I only have to deal with the quads.  Thanks for the reply...

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