The day after the surgery was the worst of it. When the 24-hour pain block wore off, Tylenol did little to dull the persistent ache that lingered endlessly. Imagine if you will, a non-stop Charlie-Horse in your leg and nothing you did eased the pain. All you could do was endure.
The hardest part was getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom came in a close second, getting up from bed or a chair was in the running in 3rd place. I stayed in bed most of the day with a pillow under my knee and tried to sleep. They had me on Oxy-something and I had to take a stool softener once a day to ensure that I didn’t get stopped up. I didn’t but I will tell you that for the first week I was trying to push bricks through my rectum. Not pleasant.
I had to use a walker for the first 3-days. I couldn’t go anywhere in the house without it. Including the shower. I was allowed to get the bandage wet but I had to removed the ace bandage and of course the damned compression socks. I hated those things, but I had to wear them for two weeks post surgery. After each shower I had to re-apply the ace bandage and compression socks, shuffle my way to the bed or the sofa, put my leg up, with difficulty and sit there.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday were adapting days. This would be my routine for the next 6 to 8 weeks. Well, for at least the first two weeks until I went to the surgeons office and they assessed my recovery and directed me further. But until then, it was the walker, shuffling and no sleep.
I did finally figure out that if I used my right foot to lift my left leg I could swing it into the bed or lift it onto the sofa and that reduced any discomfort I would feel in performing that act. I had to figure something out because though the long Memorial Day weekend was upon us, I had to return to work (in my home office) where I would sit for 8-hours with my leg up on a stool under the desk.
By Sunday night, as I got into bed, I made the decision to relegate the walker to the garage and the Cat Cane would be my new friend. I gave it a try in the afternoon and I found that I could move about much easier with the cane and with little or no pain. Not only that, I could use the cane to lift my leg or manipulate it around if I need to.
One thing you will notice about your leg after knee replacement surgery is that for the first few weeks, it is a useless appendage. You cannot lift it by itself, you can barely move it, there is no strength in it and and most of the knee is numb. If not for the hip and thigh, you’d be just dragging it behind you. Speaking of my thigh, though there was little strength in the leg, it did help with support and movement to an extent. It also provided a myriad of colors as black, blue, greens and yellows presented themselves over the first week or so. Lovely.