Monday, April 11, 2016

Trying Opposites

Life was pretty quiet the first few weeks after surgery. Then Paul came down to visit, and we began to go out and see the sights. His goal was to see the desert in bloom, and as much as possible during his two weeks, we did that.

Of course, it meant a bit of travel, riding in the car, riding on my scooter, knees bent back, things my body hadn't been used to in its recovery process. You won't be surprised to hear that it found new ways to hurt. By the end of the day at the end of the visit, both legs ached for hours. It got so that I couldn't stand to stay awake past 8 PM, with sleep being the only solace, and it being somewhat fitful, especially as I was working to wind down my painkiller usage.

I have a love-hate relationship with those things. I love not feeling the pain. After all, life hasn't been pain free since my first injure in 1985. I'm pretty lucky that ibuprofin came along at that time, because nothing else really worked. However, you know you're not really supposed to take it regularly over 30+ years. Nor anything even close. Aspirin and acetaminophin did nothing, not did any of the other almost-narcotics that were occasionally tried. It wasn't until my abdominal surgery a few years back that I found a real pain killer, Dilaudid. Since it's a close derivative of heroin, it was for very short term usage.

So the hate part of my love-hate relationship with painkillers is that the good ones have two major drawbacks. The body adjusts to them, rendering them less effective as time passes. And they lead to the possibility of addiction. For both reasons I've been working hard to decrease both the dosages I take of the good stuff and the frequency with which I take them. Meaning I'm still fighting pain.

I added ibuprofin back into the mix shortly after returning home after surgery. Much of my knee pain was from the inflamation that comes when they pull all the soft tissues apart to chop/saw out the old bones and cement in the new metal pieces, and ibuprofin addresses that. Somewhat. Percoset with acetaminophin didn't address it, and the two aspirin I was to take daily to prevent blood clots barely touched it either. Of course the resulting cocktail can be best described as everything all at once.

Also not the best idea, long term. Hence backing off, and aching legs. Both of them, replaced knee and yet-to-be-replaced still arthritic knee.

Moving was supposed to help, and as long as movement was modest, it did. Cold packs were prescribed as well. They worked fairly well at first, but by the end of Paul's vacation seemed to become useless. Something else needed to be tried.

First, of course, was a few days of very little moving. That was hard to do, with the little voice in the back of my head reminding me I was supposed to move, and whatever I did starting out as relatively pain-free. Of course I managed to over-do whatever I did, pool walking or pooper scooping. So, quit that, go back to lots of reading and TV catch-up. Eventually the deep aches went away, and I'm avoiding the temptation to go out there and be busy!

I also noted that on the days I had PT, when I preceded it with a nice hot shower, the knee tendons seemed to loosen up and there was less pain during and after the exercises. So the ice packs have stayed mostly in the freezer, and I try to start and end each day with a hot pack.

So far, meaning two whole days, it seems to be working, and yes, that's with continuing to decrease the percoset levels in my body. So I'm going to continue with that plan and see how it goes.

Friday I see the surgeon and ask to replace knee #2 ASAP. Wish me luck on all of it.

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