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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Therapy Progress


Things are improving, although still kind of rough.  My ribs felt better each day over the weekend.  I figured out last week that wearing a bra was one thing that would set off the pain.  So I went all week without wearing one (wore a cami to help with modesty – thank goodness for the breast reduction a few years back or there would be no way I could do that!).  Monday morning I went to therapy and then on to work.  I figured, by then, I should be able to wear a bra again.  I got to work and started feeling the discomfort.  I was just wearing one of those “Genie” bras, so I cut a slit at each side, through the elastic, to allow myself some “breathing” room.  That seemed to help.  However, I got to the car after work Monday evening and I was starting to have that sharp pain when I take a deep breath, like I was before.  So…no bra this week either.  I just want to give it time to heal enough where that doesn’t hurt.  I am still quite swollen, so that will let me know when – when the swelling has gone down substantially.

I did get word that no ribs were fractured, although there could be some small tears in connective tissue.  I just have to give it time to heal.

I still feel very tired.  I think it is partly the muscle relaxants I am taking as a result of the injuries from the fall.  I am also still not sleeping that well.  But there are times during the day when I have difficulty staying awake!

I felt like I crossed a bridge at therapy on Monday.  Things felt easier than they had thus far, and walking felt closer to normal than it has since the surgery.  (The biggest problem there has been “tightness” in the ligaments, etc. going over and around the knee, as well as quad weakness.)  There is still one exercise that is pretty difficult – a straight leg raise on the left leg.  As I got through the exercise on Monday, it started to feel a little easier.  They did my ROM measurements and they were much improved.  They gave me two new exercises, which pleased me because it meant my knees were ready for more.  One is a mini squat with a big ball between my back and the wall.  The other was an exercise where I am standing perpendicular to a step and put one foot on the step.  I hold on for balance, but not for anything else.  I am to raise my body with that leg whose foot is on the step, letting my quad, etc. do the work.  Then I slowly lower my other foot back to the floor next to the step, using my quad muscle to lower it down.  It was tough and at first my mind told me I could not do it on the left leg.  But I did it – no problem on the right leg (which was scoped for the meniscus tear), but pretty tough on the left leg (which had the total knee replacement).  That quad is very weak.  However challenging it was, I just felt good because I was moving forward.  I’m getting there!

As I went through the day yesterday, I was so sore!  My buttocks was really sore from that last exercise, plus my quads.  But I did them again last night at home (or rather at the fitness center in my apartments).  I also did a little warmup on the recumbent bike and did some leg presses.

I think people watching me, when I get up from sitting, probably wonder if the surgery did that much good, because I am still slow and careful and there is obvious pain at first.  Some of it is the stiffness from still reduced ROM from the surgery.  That will improve over time.  And, I am still having pain, it’s just a different kind of pain.  I think a lot of it is soreness from therapy, like yesterday.  But I definitely have pain when getting up in the morning or after sitting a while at my desk or at home.  It is not the bone on bone pain I was having and the other knee pain that led to the surgery.  I am not sure how much of it is still recovery pain, and how much is related to my back or from being in poor condition.  One problem I have is that hamstrings and backs of my calves are always extremely tight.  Also there is some pain in my hips.  That makes me walk very stiffly when I first get up.  I have read that those are symptoms of spondylolisthesis – pain in the back of the legs, as well as the hip pain – which is one of the issues with my back.  What I don’t know is that as I get in better shape through the therapy for my knees, and do some more exercises for my back, if that will get better over time.  I know I still have significant back issues.  I hope that the stronger my body gets, as well as the more weight I lose, the more that pain will improve.

I did one smart thing this weekend.  My daughter, who is trying to eat grain-free, etc. like I am, is a very good cook.  She is also trying to save money to help her and her husband get out of debt.  I told her that I would buy the groceries if she would cook the week’s meals for us, and we would split the food.  That way she saves money on groceries and all I have to do during the week is warm up my food for my meals.  Cuts down not only on cooking, but also on clean-up.  And it helps her save money and helps both of us stay on track with our eating.  I am trying to reduce whatever responsibilities I have so I can focus on therapy, and can little by little get settled at the new place.  I know I will feel much better once all that is done.

My thoughts when I first started this post were about pain issues.  There is still more pain than I would like there to be.  In some ways, pain is up from what it had been in the last few months except for specific things, like the knee issues.  But all-over pain is up the last couple of weeks.  The reason for that?  My eating has not been as stellar as it was.  I have made a few too many compromises lately (although never wheat).  Most of my compromises have involved sugar.  I was “comforting” myself after the fall.  I was emotionally weak.  The thing is, every time I had a mini-binge on sugar, it was almost immediately followed by being achy all over.  I had not been feeling that way for a while, I don’t think.  So it seems “comfort food” is not really very comforting.  I also ate much more carbs than I usually do for a couple of days.  It came in the form of corn products when I ate Mexican food with my daughter and some potatoes.  Anyway, I am tightening up on things this week because I know once I do, I will feel better.  I hate this all-over achy feeling.  To me, it is worse than my back hurting when I stand up – because I am hurting all the time, no matter what I am doing.  Some mornings, I just do not feel like doing much until I get that pain under control.  I feel almost desperate to feel better.  I try to take as little medicine as possible, but sometimes it takes a lot of “effort” to get that under control.  It is much better to prevent it with eating the way I should.  (A hot bath would be nice, too, but I’m still not able to do that.)

I bought some products from a website called Wheat Free Market (www.wheatfreemarket.com).  More than the products, I like the recipes they have on the website.  I have been making some of the dessert recipes.  It helps me to have them around so when I do have those sweet cravings, I can have something that does not have adverse consequences on my body.  Need to replenish my supply so I don’t give in to a sweet craving again, in the wrong kind of way.

So, the best way to keep myself on track with my eating, and therefore my health, is to prepare ahead of time.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Empty Cup


I’ve been “journaling” too much on FB again.  I do that because I often do not have anyone to talk to and I need to vent.  But then I remembered, I had this outlet.

 

It has been a rough 2-1/2 months.  I shared in my last post that I had had double knee surgery, including a knee replacement.  Things were/are moving along with that.  I am still doing therapy twice a week, plus the exercises I have to do at home.

 

I spent a lot of my “recovery” with the move, doing things I shouldn’t do, and then this:

 

I did not share that my daughter also had double knee surgery in December. Hers was worse than mine, in some ways, although she is now much further along to being back to normal than I am, I think.  (Oh to be young again.)  I spent time nursing her when I should have been recovering myself.  She hasn’t been able to drive, so she has been staying with my cousins since the first of January, who live on the way to work for a couple of her co-workers.  That way they can stop and pick her up and get her to work.  If I had to take her to work every day – it is the opposite direction – it would just be too much.

 

Her being gone means I have not had to nurse her, but I also have no help at home.  So things have been a little challenging.
 

Getting settled is going slowly in the new place.  In fact, it has stalled.  I had just been back to work a week at the time of my last post.  I began to feel extremely exhausted along that time.  I was barely making it through my workdays.  So I had to do only what I had the energy to do, and that left nothing for getting settled.  I remembered they were giving me iron while I was in the hospital, and I read my medical records and discovered it was for acute anemia from blood loss.  I was supposed to follow up with my primary care doctor after I left the hospital, but I didn’t.  (I know, that is bad.)  Anyway, I started taking iron.  I also started taking this other supplement a friend recommended, so I don’t know which one helped (or both), but I am slowly starting to regain energy.  Or I was….  More about that in a bit.

 

The other thing that happened in December is my son had a significant auto accident.  He and his girlfriend were pretty banged up (though not hospitalized) and it took them three weeks to get to feeling well enough to go back to work.  The accident was not his fault, but right now it is a he said/she said swearing match.  Anyway, there has been that to deal with and, of course, I have been worried about my son and his girlfriend (who lives with him, so pretty much is like my daughter-in-law).

 

If that wasn’t enough, here is the tough part.  A week ago yesterday morning, I did one of my therapy exercises and then took a shower.  I had gotten out of the shower and lifted my strong leg up to a chair to dry it off.  My weak leg gave out and I fell.  I spun around trying to catch myself and landed hard on my ribs on the side of the bathtub.  I was sore, but thought I was okay (my knees were fine).  I ended up going to the doctor Friday just to make sure, since you have to have seen a doctor within 72 hours for AFLAC to fully cover the accident, and my upper back was bothering me a little, so I wanted to get that done in case anything cropped up.  They didn’t take x-rays, since I felt I wasn’t hurt that bad at the time.  The following Monday, the ribs took a turn for the worse.  I missed Monday and Tuesday at work and ended up having to go have x-rays.  I am waiting for the results of the x-rays.  The fall was traumatic – quite scary – and I have been avoiding things, skiddish, etc. since then.  It feels like PTSD (I think a build-up of things over the last months).  My doctor’s office sent a note to my employer that I was excused from work through Tuesday.

With all the things I have been through in the past several years, my own health issues, my daughter’s issues, etc., etc., I have felt really alone.  It has been a lot to handle and I have had to pretty much take care of myself.  I want so much, first, to get stronger and completely back on my feet.  But I also want to find that certain someone to go through life with.  Someone that not only can I enjoy being with, and vice versa, but also someone to fall back on during times like this, and he would have the same in me.  As soon as I get a little further along in my recovery, I plan to get out there and give myself more opportunities to meet someone.

My eating has not been great the last few days.  Never wheat, but I’ve been eating sugar.  It makes me achy all over, so I need to get my act together.  I haven’t felt well enough to do a lot of cooking, but I need to have things ready that are healthy for me and I can enjoy.  I also know I have been using food for comfort.  I have to stop that.  Just the immediate achiness I feel when I am not eating right should be enough to show me.  Let’s see if I get it together now.

Just had to let all that out.  I need to get my hope built up again.  Hope for a better life, and hope that I will find someone to enjoy life with.  And I need to finish this journey.