some show-and-tell

Today’s rehab report along with some photos of my knee in progress.

Day 58 (7/18)

After being gung-ho about going back to work, I realized that I wasn’t ready, yet. The first night without pain medicine was less than stellar. I had the CPM machine going at 80 degrees till about 2 AM and then felt some stiffness/bruising so I took my knee out of it and applied the pressure bandage and went to sleep without a cold pack system since I couldn’t feasibly hook it up and apply it myself. I awoke at around 4 AM with the knee feeling pretty stiff and, more worryingly, with a need to go the bathroom.

The horizontal to vertical pain now firmly entrenched in my head, I cautiously swung my legs down over the bed. Immediately, I felt the blood rush down my knee and the extreme pain had to be endured again. The pain is almost down in the calf area, not the knee, slightly to the sides where all the bruising is (I have pictures later for the curious few). It lasts for about 3-4 minutes–lesser if I decide to brave it and get on my crutches and try to put weight on the leg. I’m not sure what it is, but it is not comfortable. I used the restroom and collapsed back in bed. The gratification to going back to a horizontal position is instantaneous as well, so at least I have that respite.

Unfortunately, the lack of pain medicine (or perhaps the mental lack of pain medicine) kept me awake for most of the next few hours. Thankfully, at some point, my parents woke up and were able to apply the cold therapy machine on my knee. However, they’re going to be gone in a couple of days so I need this pain to go away soon or figure out how to get that machine going myself, in a comfortable manner. The ice was nice but it again leads to stiffness and discomfort and I had to shift my weight around to feel comfortable for periods of about 8-10 minutes.

Since I couldn’t sleep, I decided to research my pain on that veritable resource of information–the Internet–and found several accounts of people claiming that they had lots of pain when standing up during the 5th-6th day after surgery that eventually just went away. I’m hoping my pain will follow a similar course. I also made the decision to take off work/work from home the rest of the week since it seems that going to work for those 2-3 hours (as well as the extra time spent throughout the day in a non-horizontal position) may have intensified the pain.

I did have to drive my dad to the airport but after I got back I had the cold therapy machine to look forward to. Most of the rest of the day was spent with the cold therapy machine and short naps as it allowed. I was able to get a little bit of work done remotely, as well. I gave the doc’s office a call in the afternoon and he said he would put me on weaker pain meds and that I could rely on Ibuprofen and Advil to manage any pain as necessary, as well. I was also able to crank my CPM machine up to 85 degrees and finally spent some time doing my exercises (conveniently before the PT appointment). Doing the physiotherapy exercises actually feels good, possibly because I have something to distract my mind from the pain or possibly because I’m causing my blood to go to a different place. Although it’s all probably because I’m back to being somewhat horizontal.

The visit to the PT office today continued to establish the positivity as I was able to chat with another ACL surgery patient who was about a week ahead of me. He told me he had many of the same pain symptoms in the first week that have all but gone away now. My physiotherapist also reassured me that the pain when standing up from a laying down position should be on its way out fairly soon and is primarily because the various systems in the body are trying to reestablish the routes for the blood (or at least, that’s how I envision it). Anyhow, she said a lot of patients complain about those symptoms and that I should bring it up with my follow-up meeting with the doc on Monday if it is persisting.

As for the activities during the rehab session, I once again started by stretching (bending and straightening) the knee joint with a band and then did the little session with the electro-stimulating thing. My unknown units number this time was 72–just a 5-unit increase from last time. I blame it on the fact that I had gone into the session having done about 40 minutes of my own electro-therapy about an hour prior. After that I did straight leg raises and then a knee-bending exercise with a foam roller below my knee. The PT was pleased with the straightening on both these exercises.

I then got off the bench and did a set of calf raises. These were pretty painful since they basically hit the bruises down the side of my leg. Apparently this exercise will get rid of the “standing up pain” if I do it regularly so I’ve put it on the docket. Next, it was over to the leg-press machine where I did a couple of sets of leg presses (both legs and single leg) and a set of calf raises. After that was done, I did a knee extension exercise with an elastic band where I basically bent the knee, straightened the knee and then lifted my ankle. After a set of about 30 of those, it was time to walk.

The PT said I was ready to walk with one crutch just on my right-hand. After fumbling around with the balance aspect of it, I was able to do 4 sets of cone walks (walking over 5 6″ cones back and forth equaling one set) with one crutch (no brace)! This was exciting because it now gives me a free hand to hold stuff. I can’t express how awesome it is to finally be able to hold something other than crutches. She recommended me wearing a brace if I was out in public but that I could do it without a brace at home.

Finally, there were a few more exercises with the elastic bands (quad extensions–I’ll touch on them in a later entry) and an exercise where I lay on my expanding belly and tried to bend my leg up backwards. It was hard. I had to use my right leg to do the bend for my left leg. After it was all said and done, I was at the PT for over an hour but I felt refreshed and not pained!

My mom and I went to H-E-B to pick up groceries after that, where all the standing took a toll and hence we cancelled a following stop at Target. I came back home and iced my knee for about an hour before taking a shower. It’s probably psychological, but the pain is slowly decreasing when I’m standing up. Or, rather, I’ve found that if I just go straight into walking instead of standing and waiting for the pain to engulf me, it only takes 2-3 steps for the pain to dissipate. I’m hoping for a good night’s sleep tonight and if I have pain, I filled a prescription for hydrocodone to help me through. I’m hoping I don’t need it, though, especially after talking with the PT about the “standing up pain” being expected.

I’m probably going to work from home again tomorrow just to be safe and so that I can spend my mom’s last day here with me. If the standing up pain decreases, I’ll consider going into work on Friday for a half-day or so.

Now, for the photos (not for the faint of heart)!!

If you felt like this entry was two-toned, you’re not hallucinating–it was. The first half was written before physical therapy and the second half after it. Before PT, I was very negative and kind of tired of the pain. After physical therapy, I felt refreshed and reenergized. I’m glad my recovery is unlike other accounts I’ve read where the physical therapy causes all sorts of pain. I, for one, am glad for the concretely measurable improvements I’m making and, of course, for the only exercise I’m getting.

chak de india(n) khana

And so I present to you my second food blog of the summer. The fine delicacies enjoyed this time were idli-sambar, rice and fish haldi-pani and, hold your breath, MANGOES! Yep. For the most part I’ve been too busy eating mangoes to be taking their photos, but I managed to break that trend sometime last week. So I present to you my first photos of mangoes. Unfortunately, they may be the last as well, seeing that mango season is ending quickly!

Idli-Sambar

Next up is some fish curry that my mom made. The preparation is called “Fish Haldi Pani“. Those familiar with Indian spices will know that haldi is something known as “turmeric”. The dish is basically a fish curry where the gravy is light, see-through, strongly haldi-flavoured and, of course, delicious.

Close up Fish Haldi Pani

And to end off this post (which I started a few hours back and then my computer died) I have some photos of the king of fruit: the MANGO. I’m so happy that this is the national fruit of India because it is quite definitely the most delicious fruit in existence.

Mangoes

More Mangoes

Even More Mangoes

So I went a little crazy with the number of photos here… unfortunately I just couldn’t narrow the photos I’d taken of mangoes down to just 1. Anyhow, I’m sure you’re not complaining, unless it’s from being extremely jealous. That’s all for now!

inefficient dizzle

I had great hopes that today would be a very productive day for me. I woke up at around 6.15am to get ready for my driving test, which I was hoping to take pretty early after getting to the DPS at around 7.30am. I was at the Zipcar by 7am and drove along with TGJ to the DPS only to find a pretty decent line outside already. Luckily we only had to chill for about 15 minutes and then were let in. I stood in the main line, not realizing that since I have my instruction permit, I don’t need to apply again for a driving license (apparently–this may still change, of course, because of the way bureaucracy works). After standing in that main line for about 15 more minutes I went up to the counter and was told I had to go to station 10 to schedule my road test and I did not actually have to apply for a DL.

So I went to that station and of course there were no spots available today. So I scheduled an appointment for tomorrow at 9am. On the way back there was a lot of traffic on main so I suppose in retrospect the result was good because I didn’t have to pay a late fee. Now I have one more day to worry about my road test! Humph. Came back today and could have started packing and stuff but instead I just bummed around on the internet, checking results from last night’s game (the Rockets won!!). By around lunch time I started feeling sick and coughing regularly. I hope I didn’t catch something at the DPS. 🙁 I was already a little sickly with coughs over the last couple of days. I decided to take a 30-minute nap after lunch to sleep it off but that ended up becoming more like a 90 minute nap. And I didn’t feel much better when I woke up either. So I popped another Alerid Cold (I had one in the morning) and decided to take off work and nap again.

Now I feel a bit better but still not 100%. I’m thinking of going and working out so that I don’t feel completely sedated. I may even catch a bit of the baseball game after that. Let’s see…

So something else interesting happened today. At around 11am there were huge roars of helicopters going around. I didn’t think much of it but then Paul came in and told me that apparently a shooting had happened on the Outer Loop (the jogging track that surrounds the Rice campus). At that point news was bare but it is a little clearer now. You can read up on various articles on Google News. The gist of it was that some guy with a knife attacked a woman at the Light Rail station across from Rice and that officers followed this man. They then attempted to taser him without much success and as he approached them with a knife, they started shooting at him. He was dead on the spot, but apparently a bullet went through/ricocheted off of him and hit a bystander. There is no news about the status of the other guys.

Yesterday, I had a pretty awesome day, as well. I woke up around 10.30am and bummed around till lunch. I then worked from 1-4pm and worked out afterwards till about 5.30pm. Then, Alice and I went to dark room at the Rice Gallery since I was interested in seeing how the process of developing photos is. It’s pretty intense. And dark. There was a glow-in-the-dark clock in the room that developers are supposed to use to count the time in the various different liquids. After about 5 minutes of staring at the clock, the numbers start disappearing… But it was a cool insight into how exactly that process works.

After that we had dinner at South Servery and then we went over to her place to celebrate our shared love for tiramisu. Yup, we tried to make it. I don’t know yet how it turned out since it had to be chilled, but it was definitely not the 25-minute preparation time that was speculated by the recipe off of Food Network! You live and you learn, I suppose, and I guess the next time either of us have to make tiramisu we will have learned something (don’t know what yet, though, haha). I then came back on campus and managed to catch the last quarter of the Rockets-Lakers game.

Everyone and their grandmom has written off the Rockets in this series but Houston played great basketball yesterday (with a brave game from Yao Ming) to “upset” the Lakers and wrest away homecourt advantage. Kobe drilled in 32 points but he took some very bad shots and was not at all in rhythm (at least in the fourth quarter). Let’s hope him and Gasol stay in that groove!

That’s all for now.