Annie’s New Knee: Final Installment—Yea!

My new knee and I have just celebrated our five-month anniversary together. Time didn’t exactly fly, but we’ve made quite a good adjustment. Physical therapy has drawn to an end, though in my last session, I was given two new exercises to further strengthen the walking-down-the-stairs muscles (technical term).

I’m continuing to do a series of other exercises as well. I won’t bore you with any more detail about them–except to say that I follow them by icing the knee with the handy-dandy icing gizmo that has now seen me through replacements of both knees–seven years apart.

I realize I’m making a huge leap in assuming that any of you are at all interested in the accoutrements of my healing regimen, but I know you’re curious about many things. In addition, some of these items may be useful for other conditions.

So I’m bidding a fond farewell to my inanimate helpers. I no longer need them because, as my clever orthopedist friend remarked, “The good news is: You’re out of knees.”

Three of them will be wrapped in something or other and placed in a corner of our garage until we figure out a person or organization that might use them. The fourth was “of the moment” and gone after doing its job.

Please note that although my goodhearted spouse took most of the photos herein, I took the first one. And I figured out how to get them all from my phone to my computer to my blog (with only one significant daughterly assist because WordPress initially rejected the photos: it wanted jpegs when my photos were in heic…picky picky).

My non-techie self is simply bursting with pride at this evidence of personal development. All you photojournalists: make way!

My handy-dandy icing gizmo

My Handy-Dandy Icing Gizmo

Icing is a huge part of knee replacement recovery, and for a while I was doing it seven to nine times a day.

The ice bucket (kinda looks like an owlish creature, doesn’t it?) is filled with cold water and ice cubes.

A little flip top device on the cap opens and closes–allowing water to move through the blue hose into the cuff that fits around the knee. This process is abetted by the ever-reliable forces of gravity when the bucket is held higher than the knee. Awe-inspiring complexity of design, don’t you think?

The yellow nozzle is removed from the blue cuff for the twenty minutes or so of icing. The process is then reversed to empty the cuff until the next time.

Hopeless anthropomorphizer that I am, I’ve grown extremely fond of my handy-dandy icing gizmo. (The serious name is AIRCAST Cryo/Cuff Cooler.)

Heel pillows–of all things…

Heel Pillows–I Have Two

This weirdly shaped soft heel pillow was something I didn’t have or need with knee number one. For reasons unknown, my heels became extremely painful early on, possibly because of hypersensitivity caused by the opioids, which I’ve described here.

Sleep was very difficult, so these odd little cushions, held in place by fabric strips affixed across the ankle by Velcro (surely one of humans’ great inventions), were a terrific find.

Elevating Leg Wedge

Elevating Leg Wedge

I bought this fabric-covered wedge after my physical therapist introduced me to a similar one during treatment. It was a comfort to a fatigued knee that I couldn’t straighten at that point and was happier being elevated. These designers knew what they were doing.

In the photo, the wedge is standing upright on the floor. In reality, it was placed on the couch where I potato-ized much of my recovery time–and it followed me upstairs to my bed at night.

The wedge is probably also useful for people with circulatory problems, fatigue from over-exercising, etc. There are many different types available on the Web.

Magic (Kinesiology) Tape

Magic Kinesiology Tape

Some folks have asked me if I was athletic because many people receiving knee replacements wore out their joints on the field or running marathons.

Alas, I was not. Nor was I ever overweight, which is another reason for knee replacements. I’ve no explanation for my fragile skeleton, but the X-rays taken before my knee surgery showed my hips are also quite arthritic. However, I’m sufficiently bionic at this point to put that bit of data way back in my mind, thank you very much!

I’ve long been intrigued by the strips of tape on athlete’s bodies, which I first became aware of watching the bikini-clad beach volleyball players during the summer Olympics years ago.

This taping is the closest I’ve come to feeling like an athlete. (I wasn’t adept at volleyball, and I’ve had the good sense to eschew bikinis for decades.) In the early months, there was considerable swelling from above the knee to the foot. The physical therapist wrapped this magical kinesiology tape around my leg and sent me off.

Voila! With luck, it stayed in place for several days, and the swelling was significantly reduced.

In truth, I’d been skeptical, but the tape does increase blood flow and help the lymphatic system clear the fluid from the area.

More recently, the therapist wrapped it around my knee to reduce the residual swelling. There’s an art to doing it so that it lies flat and doesn’t pull away.

K-tape, as it’s called, also reportedly improves athletic performance. I didn’t try it at home.

So there you have it, my patient readers. I’m extremely grateful for the fine surgeon and competent, caring physical therapists–and I don’t for a minute take for granted my access to this care and ability to augment it with the above items.

I continue to hope/wish many more people could have such access and good results in their health-related journeys.

And I thank you for the support you’ve given me as I’ve documented my recovery.

I also hope you’re all getting vaccinated, getting boosted if you’re already vaccinated, wearing masks in places where you don’t know people’s status, and encouraging everyone you know to do the same.

Annie

PS: If you clicked on this post when it was published earlier and then saw zilch, the reason was that the WP gremlins were at it again. I may–or may not–describe that saga at a later date. It was the first time I had no history to refer back to, so I’ve reinserted my last-minute changes from faulty memory.

I wonder what will happen to the “likes” and delightful comments I received before the post self-destructed. Sure hope they’re intact.

26 thoughts on “Annie’s New Knee: Final Installment—Yea!

  1. Kneat knews! I hope the knew knee will continue to meet your kneeds for decades to come. Thanks for the update.

    For reasons unknown, my heels became extremely painful early on

    Prolonged time without walking can cause weird pain in the feet. Oddly enough, walking more makes it go away.

    as my clever orthopedist friend observed–“The good news is: You’ve run out of knees

    I felt the same after the second hip replacement. No more than two to a customer. Thank goodness we evolved from apes and not centipedes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m very happy to learn that your knee replacement’s turned out well, after much hard work by your doctors, physical therapists, and you! Hope the New Year goes well for you, and all of us, really!
    All my best, George

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Annie, we are so glad that the documented journey we took of your hard and painful recovery is at an end. Heal well is always the goal. The information about the issues with the opioids was eye opening and was good for you to have a doctor with some tough love directing you. On our own in unfamiliar territory we all can get lost in our individual circumstances and a few wrong dicisions could change a good hard fought out come to a longer and more complicated recovery. Thanks for all of this information and congrats on recovery.

    To the many devices needed for such a journey, we are not unfamiliar with the pads, cold and hot, the braces, partial and of larger support, the creams, lotions, topical pain and internal relief needed and the various contraptions to help you from bed, into bed, on to the commode and of course remove ones body so as not to exacerbate the injuries sustained.

    At some point when a relative will need to do a somewhat archeological dig through our closets and the various storage locations, where some of these contraptions now partially disassembled and ready if needed for the next fall from grace of our bodies, they might look curiously at the steel tubes, nuts/bolts, and assorted hardware with no directions as to there need or use. Then maybe 10 years into the future if one of those unwitting members has a fall or a surgical strike to the failing part of their body, the light will go off. Oh! Thanks why aunt Carolyn and uncle Charles had those/that contraptions.

    Happy and healthy new year. stay strong. Love, Peace and Happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Charles. I am very grateful that my saga was time-limited, and most empathetic to Aunt Carolyn and others whose travails are ongoing.

      Sending love, peace, and happiness back to y’all—and to us all!

      Like

    1. Thank you, Matthew. Good to hear from you!
      I’m glad you found my ramblings fascinating. I was worried this post would interest a teensy audience of those facing knee replacements.

      All good wishes to you and your family for a joyous holiday. I look forward to your next artistic story or Haiku or whatever you choose.

      Like

  4. Congrats to arrive, at last, at the near end of this particular challenge. What an experience (was tempted to say “ordeal” but you’re always so curious about whatever happens that “experience” is a better fit). Wishing you strong walking days ahead and a joyful holiday season. Two knees — and done. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations, Annie.. I can’t believe it has been five months! All the best to you and the family in the New Year! When people asked about what sports you played did you forget to tell them that you were a Drum Majorette? 🥁💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Fred—and all good wishes to you and your family too!

      Hmmm, does being the drum majorette qualify as athleticism? Maybe all that marching wreaked havoc on my young cartilage…

      Like

  6. It’s so nice to read a post that elicits a sigh of relief. Good to know that your recovery is moving in the right direction, Annie. Here’s hoping you’ll be hopping around in 2022 and beyond.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, Gail. On my last day of PT, I had to fill out a form assessing my ability to do various tasks and movements. I’ll never get a perfect score, which would require me to run fast and then make a sharp turn. But I don’t think I ever could do that! I’m happy walking pretty fast—unassisted.

      All good wishes to you and family for a safe and healthy New Year—in a country that’s regained its moorings.

      Like

  7. Thanks for sharing Annie! The icing gizmo sounds interesting. My friend said it was the only thing that gave her relief during a bad bout of knee pain – she borrowed it from her brother who had used it post-knee surgery. It was $300 but money well spent. My knees are okay, but I’m anxiously waiting for the results of a recent Bone Density Scan as I know it wasn’t good six years ago. I was happy when the x-ray tech told me it wouldn’t be reported until after Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joni. I don’t remember how much the gizmo cost seven years ago, but now it ranges from $115-174, depending on the bells and whistles. (Gravity is free…)

      As to your bone density, I can tell you not to worry, but I don’t know if it will help. I’ve been receiving treatment for osteoporosis for many years with only benefits and no ill effects. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

      And happy holidays to you and your mom!

      Liked by 1 person

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