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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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