My physical therapist told me that by 3 months I should be able to do whatever I want to do. So, let's analyze that. What did I want to be able to do:
- Do an entire grocery shopping trip without having to sit down - CHECK
- Hike a trail at my favorite park - CHECK
- Do necessary shopping at a mall or clothing store - CHECK
- Play 9 holes of golf (with a cart) - haven't tried that yet (too busy)
- Be able to go up and down steps as necessary - CHECK (sort of - as long as there is a handrail)
- Be able to sleep through the night without aching legs waking me up - Not exactly
- Be able to forget I had knee surgery - Not quite there yet
In general, I would say that it is true that I can do pretty much what I want to do now.
I am confident that I could play golf if I tried. Ironically, I think the process of getting in and out of the cart would be more of an issue than actually playing or walking. Although it would be best for me to drive the cart so I am entering on the left side, thus pulling Bessie in after I'm seated as I do in a car.
Bessie still has swelling which leads to stiffness. When I get up from sitting, if I've been sitting for more than about 10 minutes, she is very stiff, and I have to get her going by walking. If I sit for an hour (at a meeting at school, for example) then it takes several minutes of walking to get the stiffness out. I have gotten in the habit of working her under the table when I'm sitting for long periods. That helps.
If I walk a lot (like at the park) then there is a different sensation. It isn't stiffness, but it is a tiredness. So, there is a sweet-spot in between being stiff from lack of use and being sore from over-use. That sweet-spot is fairly small at this point. My understanding and my expectation is that as time goes on the sweet-spot will grow, and the opposite ends of the spectrum will shrink.
Yesterday, Hubs and I tried a new hike at the park. We walked a gravel trail rather than a paved trail. We went through the the woods. I haven't walked that trail for YEARS - we never attempted it with the wheelchair. He was concerned about my slipping on the gravel or tripping over tree roots - I did neither. I actually walked very well and felt confident on the trail. Even with slight inclines, I was fine. Granted, we didn't go fast - we weren't power-walking, but we didn't creep along either. I felt we walked at a very comfortable pace. This was the shorter of the 2 woods trails. Next time we will try the longer one which is partially boardwalk and may be partially wood chips rather than gravel.
At night, I still deal with aching at times. It seems that any position I choose gets achy after an hour or two at the most. Bessie also gets achy when I try to nap in the recliner with my legs up. It helps to put a pillow under her, but even with that, 30 minutes is about the limit of having my legs up/out in the recliner. I don't really understand why that is different than lying in bed, but it is.
So that's my 3 month update. Yes, I can mostly do what I want to do now - many things that I couldn't or wouldn't do before surgery. The 6th month mark is supposed to be when I can forget I had surgery. Stay tuned for the December 11 update!!
Thanks for hanging with me through all of this! I'll talk to you again soon.