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Slow Going

January 23, 2010

It’s not quite 2 weeks since surgery, but I thought it was time for an update.  Things have been going as expected … slowly.

Tuesday morning we saw the surgeon (a day earlier than scheduled due to the ER visits) to get evaluated.  Everything is going really well with my knee.  Just getting from the car to the doctor’s office was the worst part of the trip – I had to go probably 300-400 feet on my crutches.  That’s a long way to go for someone in pain.

They took all of the staples that were holding together the incision – about 20 of them.  This was a bit uncomfortable because a few had started to have my skin grow over them, but it wasn’t too bad.  Most I didn’t feel, and the ones that were the worst just felt like someone was pinching you really hard.

After the staples were out I had a few X-rays taken so the doc could see what’s up.  It was weird being outside of the brace and standing up (with my crutches).  Definitely unnerving and scary.  But it went well and everything is healing inside just fine.  In fact I’ve been very surprised with how well my knee is doing after surgery.  I think if I didn’t have the hematoma causing all the pain and swelling in my lower leg that I’d be absolutely fantastic, and probably back at work.

Unfortunately, I DO have that damn hematoma, and it’s been the source of 80% of my pain and issues.  As long as I’m sitting with my leg up I’m okay.  But as soon as I have to get my foot below my hip-level to stand or sit in the car or whatever, I can literally feel my lower leg swell and it turns into a huge source of pain and discomfort.  The doc said he wasn’t too worried about the hematoma, and that physical therapy (massage, stretching, etc.) will help alleviate that.  That being said, it’s going to add 2-3 weeks onto my recovery.

Because of this extended recovery period it’s going to be a lot longer than expected for me to become independent (I can’t really move without help).  My wife Alicea has been absolutely awesome, but I know she’s had to make a lot of sacrifices for her work and personal time, plus take care of our daughter.  Thankfully my folks are going to be able to come out and stay with us and help out.  They should be here middle of next week (they have a trip to Myrtle Beach this week).  It will be great to see them and have the extra help around the house.  Shhh – don’t tell Kaitlyn.  🙂

I had hoped to be working from home a lot this week, but that didn’t materialize.  My team has been reluctant to task me up with anything, and frankly I’ve been too doped up to be really useful anyway.  I did get a chance to start working through the hundreds of emails that I got and started to make some small contributions though.  Maybe this next week will be better.

Friday (yesterday) was a long day.  It seemed like my pain was worse than it had been and the frustration of my situation really bore down on me.  I missed a dose of pain meds overnight and that just made everything worse.  Mentally it was a very hard day for me and I broke down before Alicea had to go to work.  In the evening me leg was super-itchy and we decided to do some brace-off time to let things air out.  Alicea also gave my leg a massage and put some lotion on to help the dry skin.  In hind sight we probably should be doing that more often to help with the skin and itchiness.

By the time Friday night rolled around we decided to try to get me upstairs.  After 11 nights (and 12 days) on the couch I REALLY wanted to lay down in a real bed.  The problem is that our bedrooms are all upstairs and our stairs have a few steps that are very shallow (tough to maneuver on crutches).  We figured out a solution, though.  I sat on my rear at the bottom of the stairs and Alicea held my bad leg up.  I used my arms to lift me up to the next step up, sat, moved up, sat, etc.  We had to stop a few times because I got so tired, but we finally made it.  Then I had to stand up, but couldn’t figure out how.  I ended up just scooting over to the bed and using the bed frame to get me up.  Not pretty, but effective!

Lying down for the first time in the bed (we have a Tempurpedic mattress) was like being in heaven.  I even got to cuddle with my beautiful bride for a little bit.  Wow, had I missed her.  She’s been so busy and I’ve been in so much pain and out of it that we really haven’t had too many chances to talk or have some “us” time for the past couple weeks.  It was great.

In the morning we figured out how to get me into the tub (we got a shower bench for me to use) and I took a shower.  Ahhhhhhhhhh.

That’s about all there is for now.  Physical therapy starts on Tuesday morning and my parents fly in from North Carolina on Wednesday evening.

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