Before I catch you up on the health news, please let me just say that I’m feeling exceptionally privileged. This blog has been selected again for Healthline’s Top 20 RA blogs. I often feel a lot like Groucho Marx who quipped, “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” But in this case, I somehow made it among the ranks of many who I feel represent the best of the best of RA bloggers. It’s certainly worth your time to visit the terrific group of bloggers who made the list. Thank you, Healthline, for the honor and for all the great information you provide.
So today was a follow-up with my knee surgeon. His normal schedule is a follow-up appointment at 30 days. Because of the excessive swelling I had, I saw him one week after the surgery and now again two weeks later.
I’ve always recovered well from surgery and felt like I was doing okay this time. I’m not quite where I’d like to be, but I put that down to being impatient. The doctor says I’m behind what’s considered normal, but I’m pretty much on track for a patient with rheumatoid arthritis. There’s still some swelling in the knee. I have good extension, but I’m only just past 90 degrees on flexing my knee. You need to be at about 125 degrees to get up and down out of a chair or out of a car comfortably, so I still have quite a bit of room for improvement. He prescribed some additional physical therapy, which will be outpatient (I go there) instead of home health (where the therapist came to see me). There’s a facility that I really like that has a therapy pool so I will go back there. The therapist also works with you the entire time of your appointment instead of some places I’ve been where they just sit you on an exercise machine and tell you how many reps to do then leave to go do something else.
Tomorrow I’m driving for the first time. I have a final check up with my back surgeon and my husband is not able to take me. I am much less nervous about driving than my husband is. Honestly I think I’ll be fine with the mechanics of operating a car (even in Dallas traffic). If I have any concerns at all, it’s that I still get quite tired with just a bit of exertion. Spending 2-3 hours getting dressed in “big girl clothes”, driving across town, getting an X-ray, then sitting around a doctor’s office will no doubt tucker me out. His office is close by the physical therapy facility so I had also planned on stopping by there after my doctor’s appointment to get my sessions set up.
And when I think about my knee recovery, I have to remember that I am still recovering from the back surgery I had just a few months ago. I’ve probably overtaxed my “recovery genes” to the point that I’m probably not as able to bounce back as quickly as I’d like.
I think the only other news is that I was surprised a couple of days ago when the medical equipment rental company called to tell me they were picking up my continuous passive motion (CPM) machine and ice system. Apparently the insurance company will only pay for three weeks of use. I was using the CPM four hours a day. Now I need to find some active exercise to replace what I’ll be missing. I did go ahead and bite the bullet for the ice system (although I found the exact same one on Overstock.com for $80 less ….).
I was feeling pretty abandoned because the day they took the CPM was also the last day of my home health physical therapy visits. So I guess it’s good that I have additional physical therapy ordered to help keep me on track.
Pain levels are good and I am walking around the house without a cane or other assistance so I am making progress. I started back on my Arava last week and had my first Orencia injection a few days ago, so that should help me feel better overall as well. Now it’s just a matter of time and work to get back to 100%.
I think that’s something to think about and a topic I thought about doing an entire post on. If you have other kinds of surgery — say you have your gall bladder or your tonsils out — you have the surgery then you kind of lay around and take it easy until you feel better. When you have a joint replaced, the surgery is the easy part. The real work starts after surgery because you have several weeks of dedicated exercise to make sure that you get the full benefit of the joint replacement. It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to have the surgery if you’re not willing to put in the work afterward.
So I’m doing well (at least for a Class-B RA patient …). I’m ready to be up and about and that counts for a lot.
Again, I appreciate the well wishes and warm thoughts. Thanks for checking in.