I had my second surgery in mid-September. I wasn’t looking forward to it at all; feeling sickly and unable for even longer was the last thing I wanted. But given the major work to repair my knee was already performed, my second hospital stay was nowhere near as bad.
After I woke from surgery, the doctor told me there was “scar tissue up to my ears” – the total explanation as to why I had such restricted range of motion. He also showed me my post operation photographs – one with my knee completely straight and one with my knee as bent as it was ever going to get, which by memory was 140 degrees. It was such a vast improvement upon my pre-operative state, and I remember just thinking “Thank god, finally!”
Despite the fact I was administered strong painkillers, I wasn’t in anywhere near the amount of pain as the first surgery. But I did remain reasonably stressed; I had regained so much movement, but my worry was maintaining it. The last thing I wanted was to lose any range of motion.
I was put on a CPM machine that would continuously keep my knee moving. It was a vast contributor to retaining my movement, although it would not allow me to get my knee fully straight and wouldn’t flex my knee past 120 degrees. I was particularly concerned about the lack of total straightness, because I didn’t want to remain on crutches for much longer – I wanted to be walking and I needed a straight leg to walk.
I mentioned in my previous article my hatred for needles. Well, the blood-thinning needles returned; I would have to take another twenty to prevent complications in the healing process. This time round, I was able to administer the injections myself, as I was actually alert enough to pay attention to the nurse’s instructions.
My need to keep my knee constantly moving kept me in hospital longer than my first stay. I left after two days, and worked constantly on retaining my knee movement when I got home. It quickly became stiffer and sorer after coming off the CPM. As you can see from trying to exercise in the video, I would be in pain when bending it, and this wasn’t the case while I was in hospital. I also lost 20 degrees of flexion temporarily, and needed to fight through the pain to get it back. It took me a while, but I eventually got it back and it no longer hurts to bend.
I was quite confident at this point that it would only be a matter of time before my leg would straighten and I’d be able to walk again.