I went for therapy this morning, then later to my surgeon's office for a recheck. The therapist measured my range of motion: flex is at 125 degrees, extension is about 14 degrees from zero. The extension is the major concern, of course, but the therapist, Chuck, is confident that we will get there with both knees. He said that my bent legs make it harder for me to walk straight and tire me out sooner. With straight legs I will go further and with less pain.
He himself has a bad knee, he said, and he noted that it too is bent and that he can't straighten it because it is too painful. He has not yet scheduled the surgery because the recovery time is so great. In his favor, of course, is the fact that he can get as much therapy as he wants and needs as long as he likes. I would expect that after the first couple of weeks he could be back at work and on the machines himself from time to time.
I took the info on my range of motion to the doctor. He continues to be concerned about getting my leg straight and mentioned the Dyna-splint again - I nixed that one, saying I simply could not tolerate it the last time. Then he said there was the option of using progressive casts, holding the leg in one position for a while, then moving to a straighter cast. I simply could not abide the idea, frankly, especially because the therapist is confident that we can get me there. I would much rather get there by going to therapy three days a week, stretching both legs as part of that experience, than by walking around with a cast on. If he had said we could try a special brace that might relieve the pain you're having I'd have gone for it. But no, that was not in the picture. The pain doesn't seem to register with him the way it does with me. He's out for the straight leg, period. We agreed that I would continue to see the therapist and he, the doc, will be happy to extend the prescription for therapy to give me the time I need to get this done. He did not say to return for a recheck and when I checked at the counter the person there said that if he did not give me a recheck time then I do not need to come back. Well, that's fine if I can just keep up with therapy.
This isn't the way I envisioned it, of course. I thought I might swim through this second surgery, and initially I really did. But things like these tight legs, which have been tight for so many years, cannot be corrected so easily.