I really appreciate everyone that was willing and able to fast for me yesterday. It was a peaceful day full of prayer and reflection about the past seven weeks of recovery. I had asked you to keep me in your prayers so I would receive direction as to what I should do concerning the possiblity of having my knee manipulated to break up the scar tissue or if I should just let nature take it's course. This morning as I went to work, I thought my decision was made to see if I could talk the surgeon into letting me wait a couple of months to see how my knee would do with continued physical therapy. That would also allow me to build up some more time. I felt pretty good about that decision. I checked to see how many hours I had left of sick/vacation time and was surprised to find that I still have 76 hours of vacation time that I have not had to take. That put my mind at ease a little more.
At 2:30 this afternoon, Jim and I went in to see Dr. Wallentine to talk to him about the knee. Unfortunately, he did not want me to wait and felt that I definitely needed to have the procedure done this week. I asked him if we could wait but he said the maximum time for best results is between 6-9 weeks after surgery. I am now in my 8th week of recovery. We talked quite a long time about the cause of the scar tissue build-up, how to avoid it after the manipulation and what the protocol would be concerning work, missed days, drugs and recovery time. It has been decided that I will have it done Friday morning and then go to physical therapy Friday afternoon and every day (except Sunday for the next week). They will be able to give me a shot for numbing in my leg and simply use a mask to put me to sleep rather than to risk intubation. We did not want to do the spinal because I would have to stay in the hospital for a longer period of time. The doctor will bend my knee back as far as it is physically meant to bend and will then work with the knee to break the scar tissue free. It takes about five minutes.
When we got home, I called my boss and talked to him at length. He is very supportive and told me to go ahead and get it done. We chose Friday because Monday is a holiday, giving me four days for recovery. Most people are pretty good after a couple of days.
I have no illusions about the simpleness of this situation. I am sad that I have to do it but am hopeful that it will speed up the recovery and lessen the physical therapy visits in the next month or so. Dr. Wallentine said that no two knees respond the same way and no person responds the same way. There are several contributing factors to the build-up of the scar tissue:
1. Excessive bleeding (which I did have) can be a large contributor.
2. A body simply builds up scar tissue quickly.
3. I lost two days of much manipulation when my leg was numb while in ICU.
4. I have had difficulty with narcotics and found that I was more comfortable using Tylenol than the hard drugs. That may have contributed to my inability to withstand excessive pain during therapy.
5. I'm a boob.
I tend to think reasons #1 and #5 have everything to do with this recovery. Oh well. Don't I have a sign in my house that says, "It is what it is" ? Yeah, I think I do.
I believe that if we find I cannot get to work the following week, I might be allowed to work from home and may be able to get one of the programs set up on our computer so I can do it. I certainly would like to be able to do that because work is pretty messy right now. As it is, it will probably take me a month to dig out of the problems that arose while I was gone. It feels good to be at work. It feels good to have my mind fixed on something else and someone else. I dread going backward. I hope that doesn't happen.
Once again, thank you for your prayers. I felt strength all day yesterday and while I feel sad about this decision, I feel it is right and feel a sense of peace for the overall recovery process.
(Don't ever get your knees replaced, folks. Six months from now I'll see if I still say this.)