Bee’s Knees

bees-knees

 

No, I don’t think bees have knees but I do – and one of them was hurting a lot.  Mine started, I think, the day after DH’s heart attack – January 28, 2013.

Fast forward to January 2016.

I fell in the bathroom in the middle of the night and hit my left knee on the tub. I used a brace for a few days and it seemed better.

Around January 27-28, I was in Walmart and had to get a produce bag that was way over my head.  I had to stand on tiptoe…and my knee felt like something ripped.  Thankfully, I had a cart available to use as a temporary crutch.

Got home, used the brace, took Tylenol but the pain got worse.

Thursday, I drove home from choir at church.  My car is a manual so the act of using the clutch, extending my foot that way, made everything worse again.

Friday, we went to the Limp-In Clinic in Greenbriar.   That doctor was going to prescribe Cortef or NSAIDs but I couldn’t take either due to my history of Cushing’s (Cortef) and kidney cancer (NSAIDs).  He prescribed Vicodin and sent me for an x-ray.

January 31, I got very itchy, presumably from Vicodin so I stopped that and started taking Benadryl for the itchiness.

February 2, I went back to the clinic for the results of x-rays and  I mentioned the itchiness.  Since I have very limited meds available to me, he recommended an Orthopedist.  I called him when I got home and he didn’t take my insurance.  I tried another doctor who supposedly took my insurance but they didn’t.

February 7, I really needed the sleep so I took half a Vicodin.  No pain and no itching.  HOORAY!

LCL-tearFebruary 8, I saw my regular doctor.   She thinks it’s a possible “lateral collateral ligament vs meniscus tear”.  https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001079.htm

I was surprised that she thought my knee was swollen but one of my therapists showed me later that it was.

She referred me to Physical Therapy (PT) and prescribed Ultram http://www.drugs.com/ultram.html.  As of this writing, I haven’t used that yet.

February 11, 8:30 am  My first appointment with PT.  Since my blood pressure was high, we mostly did assessments.  I had a main therapist and a student. They had to use 3 types of BP machine to do this.

I bent my knee and they took measurements with a caliper.  I lay on my front and they manipulated my knee to see what happened. They also concluded that it was a lateral collateral ligament.

A suggestion – to rest my foot on the walker without the brace and see if gravity helps my knee straighten out.

After this, there was more pain than before but I know this is the right thing to do.

February 13.  My leg feels a bit better.  I had the brace off last night and almost straightened my knee out.

Somewhere in this period, I learned how to manually move my knee cap (patella) around.  I saw my day 1 therapist again and he said my knee was angry.  Swollen, angry, whatever.  I just want a normal non-hurting knee!

One of the therapists had me doing a stretching exercise and my hip was out of kilter (everything is attached!) since I’ve been walking with my knee bent.  So she manipulated that back into alignment.

vastus-medFebruary 22, A new-to-me therapist had me do an exercise with a basketball under my knee, pointing my toe to the left.  I didn’t remember doing that before but she said I had.  Hmmm…

That hurt too much so we moved to a foam roll under my knee.  It was still uncomfortable but I did it, a bit too much, apparently.

Turns out this exercise hurt my “VMO”, which is short for Vastus Medialis Oblique.

“This is the most important quad muscle and arguably the most responsible muscle for knee stability. The VMO’s main function is to control knee extension…” Read more at  http://sportskneetherapy.com/the-best-vmo-exercises/

February 25,  My VMO pain still hurt.  I told my regular therapist about it and she worked on it some.  She concurred that my knee was swollen.

February 26,  I went all day with no brace at all!!  A bit of pain but manageable.

Today is February 28 and I haven’t worn the brace since the 27th. I still need assistance to get up from sitting but I can see huge improvement.

I still have 6 more PT sessions, finishing on March 16, but I’m really impressed with what they’ve done for me.  I still have twinges of pain and I don’t plan on stepping on tiptoe anytime soon but I can tell I’m on the right track.

If there are any significant changes (I sure hope not!), I’ll post an update.  When I’m done – and have approval – I intend to keep exercising, walking, climbing stairs, riding the bike.  I never, ever want to go through this kind of pain again.

I’ve learned a lot from PT – lots of new exercises, stretching, how to move manually my knee cap, all kinds of muscle names, that the lateral collateral ligament is attached to my ankle, that ice is better than heat for this kind of thing.

 

no-pain

 

 

 

 

 

Monday – Five Weeks Post-op

day-mon

Today went pretty well.  DH did some computer work with an employee.  After about 2 hours, DH rested his eyes for a bit while the other guy finished up.

I took the opportunity to go out to do some grocery shopping.  Exciting stuff!

A few phone calls, then DH napped some more – a bit of computer and you know the rest!

Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies

Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometime before this adventure started, DH had ordered 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

Those arrived this evening and DH said he’d have “just one”.

I didn’t check how many he had but I saw that 4 (the typical serving size for Thin Mints) is 125 mg of sodium.  Possible trouble looming.

Maybe I’ll have to sacrifice myself and eat them all first 🙂

day-tues

Today was a pretty good day.  DH actually did some more work got a testimony ready to file, then some napping.  He went out with a friend to meet some others and actually had half a cup of coffee for the first time since surgery.

While he was out, I went to bell rehearsal to sub for someone else.  A very odd feeling to be subbing in my own group but they’re getting ready for a festival and someone has to ring my position – and it can’t be me.  I won’t be able to be away overnight for a while.

It was nice to be back, even briefly 🙂

day-wed

Up early in the morning for the stress test on the treadmill at the cardiologist.  I dropped DH off at the front door.  By the time I’d parked and gotten upstairs, he was already hooked up to the monitors but they wouldn’t let me go in.

Apparently, he passed with flying colors, all the way up to a 7% grade so he can start cardiac rehab as soon as we can get it set up!

On the way home, we saw my mom out walking so pulled over to say hello.  She was on her way to the library.  She had an appointment with her oncologist next Wednesday and she had been dithering about changing that in case DH’s rehab was on Wednesday mornings.  I told her not to change it – she might change TO the rehab date.  As it turned out, the oncologist had cancelled her.  Problem solved.

We decided to be brave and went to Bob Evans for breakfast.  DH did fairly ok with veggie omelet, egg beaters, fruit plate and dry whole wheat toast.  Another step in getting out into the real world again…

day-thurs

Last night didn’t go well.  I tossed and turned all night.  DH started trying to sleep in our room and went to the recliner about 1:00am, then back to the room about 4:00am.  About 8:00am he was in the recliner again so I guess he didn’t sleep well, either.

The day was like most days – a lot of napping and working.

DH called rehab and he can’t start for 2 weeks.  A bit disappointing 😦

I cleaned out our pantry and got rid of all the canned foods with sodium in them.  I took some to my mom, then took the rest to church to send to Western Fairfax Christian Ministries.

I went to church choir.  They’re getting ready for Holy Week and Easter so there’s lots of new music to learn.  I’m starting to feel less mole-like.

day-fri

Another lazy day.  We were going to go to the mall to walk but work and naps got in the way.

DH is sitting in his recliner listening to some app that will teach him Spanish.

Our son came home and DH actually went with me to Union Station to pick him up from the train.  I parked as close as I could so it was a short walk to the escalator, then another walk, another escalator and a longer walk.

DH was hungry so we went to get some Jamba Juice.  Even though the store was open, they said that they were cleaning up and closed.  DH went into Starbucks against my better judgement and got some kind of strawberry muffin thing.

On the way home, he wanted to go to McDonalds so I went through the drive-through and got 3 shamrock shakes, a grilled chicken sandwich for DH and a quarter pounder, no cheese for me.

Going out into the world is going to wreck all my careful food planning over the last 4 weeks!

day-sat
I woke up at 4:00am with a raging headache, possibly from that shamrock shake.  I’m not used to all that sugar any more 😦  It’s too bad – that’s about the only thing I really like(d) at Mickey D’s.  Oh, well.

At 11 we had our first Mended Hearts meeting.  That went pretty well.  I actually talked some – DH, of course, talked more.  I found it ironic that the snacks included no coffee but the raffle gift was a coffee cup.  HMMM…

It was good listening to other patients and caregivers talking about some of the issues we’ve gone through.

day-sun

 

Today was a take-it-easy day, a bit of TV, napping and playing piano duets with our son.  At night, we took him back to the train station.  Later, DH said that his chest was hurting a bit, probably from so much walking in the train today and Friday and the walking through the parking garage and hospital on Saturday.

Hopefully, a little Tylenol will help.

Next report next Monday…