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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Inauspicious Beginning

Like many others, I like to do something symbolic around New Year's Day to suggest a change for the better. Today I did not do much of anything, and certainly nothing symbolic. I tried to talk myself into going to the gym but did not get there. In my defense, I am still recovering from a cold and I have three cold sores on my lips, which does not make me persona grata anywhere I can think of.

But here it is, January 2012 and I need to take a look at myself. Look back at 2011, see where I've been and where I am headed.

Not a great pic but it's current, taken today. You can see that my legs are straight, meaning no longer knock-kneed. In April of 2011 my left knee was replaced. In October my right knee was replaced. So it was the Year of the Knees. My focus for the whole year was on my knees. Not much else got done, frankly. And I am still at it.

Some signs of progress: It doesn't hurt to drive any more. It still hurts to get in and out of a car. My left knee generally does not hurt. Every now and then there is a bit of pain at night but mostly it is just stiff. Very nice. I feel discomfort when I have to stand for any length of time. My legs both feel a kind of tension, and uncomfortable tension, and often my right knee or my right hip will hurt as well.

I do time in physical therapy three days a week. I bike fifteen minutes, isokinetic. Then step (on a sitting-step machine) fifteen minutes, at level four. Then leg press: four sets of twelve with both legs, then four sets of twelve with one leg, 3.5 lbs for both, 2 lbs for one leg. Then the isokinetic leg kicks, 8 sets of ten, followed by curls- four sets of twelve, then extensions, four sets of twelve, and finally a seven minute stretch of both knees, all at 12.5lbs. Finally I land on the table, where Chuck, the therapist, pushes and pushes both knees. We're gradually softening the muscle, working to get the legs to zero extension. What a dream! Will this spring be the time it happens??

When I am not sick, I also go to Aqua classes three days a week. I am considering doing more work in the gym either on the Aqua days or the therapy days, focusing on arms and aerobic activity for now.

I am no longer taking pain meds. I was taking one vicodin per night but when I ran out the PA at the surgeon's office left a message that they don't normally continue addictive substances longer than I've been on it, that I should go to OTC NSAIDs. Never mind that I can't take NSAIDs. I get tired of having to remind them of that little detail. So I'm off all pain meds unless I take a bit of tylenol now and then. I am still waking up with my right leg in pain for hours, but not every night. Fortunately. I seem to be sleeping more hours between wakeups.

Not much of a report but I think it will be helpful to review later, when some of the remaining issues have been resolved.


oldladytina said...

You are my hero! It only gets better from here..2012-this is judith's year to have less pain, do physical activities that bring you joy, and kick butt in general!

Judith Lautner said...

Tina, I really really hope this is the year it all changes for the better - for both of us!