At this point in my recovery from having my left knee replaced, I’m not sure if I’m moving forward or backward. When I was in the nursing center, I had a physical therapist come by practically daily to assess my progress. Now that I’m home, I no longer have that daily visit to track my progress. In fact, I haven’t seen a PT since last Wednesday, and to be honest, I’ve felt like I’ve been regressing since his visit. My baseline pain level has gone up, and I’ve suffered from edema (swelling) that’s forced me to see my primary care doctor. (He doubled the Lasix diuretic I’ve been taking for chronic ankle swelling from 40mg to 80mg to treat it.) Walking has felt more painful, too, due (I think) to a gait adjustment the PT made to stop me from shuffling my feet – a good thing, but it hurts my left knee muscles.
Allow me to back up for a moment. Yes, you did read things correctly. I am in home health care. I had two nurse administrators confirm that I would be able to go from home health care into outpatient physical care as long as I had a doctor write a prescription for it. So, the last week has been a “getting to know you” week. I was discharged from the nursing facility on September 1st, spent the weekend re-acclimatizing myself to my home, then had a nurse and a PT come by on different days to assess my situation. They’re in the process of setting up appointments for next week and the weeks that follow.
Back to the present. If any of you reading this were in a corps-style marching band, you’re probably familiar with the concept of the “glide step.” It’s where you walk heel-to-toe, one foot after the other in a straight line. The PT that came by my house reintroduced me to the glide step and has me walking that way now so I won’t be dragging my feet and so the muscles in my leg will heal quicker. The only problem is that it hurts like hell when I’m trying to walk without my walker, to do things like move along the sofa or navigate the kitchen or restroom. I’m not ready to put 100% of my weight on my left knee yet unless I’ve got the support of my walker, hence the additional pain.
As for the edema, it hit me about the same time that the PT came by. He was mildly surprised when he saw it, but the edema hadn’t hit me in full just yet. The PT’s visit was at 1o:oo a.m. My visit with my primary care physician was at 3:30 p.m. the same day, giving the edema more than enough time to balloon up. Whereas the PT was only mildly surprised, the doctor was downright shocked. He had trouble getting my sock off of my left foot to see the extent of the swelling. Now you can see why he called for the doubling of my Lasix.
So, I’m now going to the bathroom twice as often as normal, which means I’m walking twice as much as before. Maybe the combination of Lasix and extra exercise will help with the pain. Stay tuned for more updates.