Here is a very important lesson. You MUST stay ahead of the pain by taking your pain medicine BEFORE you are in pain. Once you’re in pain, it’s too late and you’re going to be miserable. That was my night last night. I think I may have slept for a total of 1-2 hours (and subsequently my girlfriend slept even less). Last night was easily the most pain I have experienced in my life. Let me reiterate — set an alarm and stay ahead of the pain! I am not a huge fan of pain meds in general, but trust me, you’ll need them.
Lesson #2: It’s all about the supporting cast. Before you have surgery make sure you have a really good parents, girlfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband, someone/anyone who is going to take care of you. My parents who would love nothing more than to pamper me unfortunately live about 800 miles away, and I opted for a pretty quick surgery so they aren’t here to take care of me. Needless to say, this time around was pretty scary. Without my amazing girlfriend (and her supporting cast) I would not be surviving! If you don’t have a good supporting cast, before surgery is the time to acquire one.
So, day 2 after the surgery my pain meds from last night finally kicked in. Now I’m dizzy. Apparently I just can’t win! This is exactly why I’m not a huge fan of pain meds. Physical therapy lasted about an hour and a half today. More of the same drills (leg lifts, stretching, stem/stim) and some new exercises. The worst of the day was either the leg lifts combined with the stim/stem (electrical stimulation), or the hamstring stretching. This time I lie on the table face down with my legs hanging off the end of the table right above the knees and let gravity begin work on my tight hamstring. Painful yes, but that’s not it. Try adding a weight to the ankle (2lbs, but trust me it’s enough). Bring on the pain. Lesson #3: Get a good physical therapist! Thankfully I hit the PT jackpot after my shoulder surgery, and I’m back on her rotation. A little bit of pain can be a good thing and a good physical therapist will push you right to the correct threshold.
The rest of the day is more of the same — walking with the assistance of the crutches (b/c there was minor meniscus damage I am able to be weight bearing already), lots of recliner & tv time, and lots of pain medicine assisted naps. The other thing I forgot to mention that has been added to the regimen is the CPM. The CPM is a great machine that is used to get my flexion back (extension is usually easier). The goal is to get to 90 degrees. I feel a little ahead of schedule since the CPM rep told me to start at 30 degrees, and today I was able to hit 80 degrees. Tomorrow hopefully I’ll push it to 85 or 90 degrees. I’ll upload pictures soon. For now, more tv and hopefully I’ll actually get some sleep tonight. I’m ahead of the pain with the medicine this time!