One of the most important things that is going to be done after surgery that will contribute to the success of the TKR is going to be physical therapy (PT). Beginning rehab after surgery is something that is going to happen, whether you feel like doing it or not, so having the mind set of doing everything possible to get better will help you succeed. PT is going to happen while you’re in the hospital until you go home. Since I’ve gotten home, I have had a visiting therapist come to the house as well.
I remember my first session of PT was great…I got out of bed and walked over to the chair in my hospital bed, with the use of a walker. Session over. What? Huh? That’s it?
Yeah that’s it, my therapist said. Don’t worry, I’ll be back later, he said, and we will try to take some steps down the hall. Plus, we still have to get back into bed. That made me laugh.
Oh great, I can’t wait. I was thinking this is going to be great.
So after lunch my therapist came back to see if I was ready to take those steps down the hall. I said sure, let’s do this. As I got up and began to take a few steps, I realized that this was going to be a challenge. And it was. But we were able to walk down the hall and make it to the doorway of the next room. When we got back to the room, I was able to get back into the bed to finish day 1. Wow.
After day 1, the progression while still in the hospital was steady. I improved on walking, getting out of a chair, handling stairs, and other basic movements. Stretching and range of motion exercises, as well as simple strength exercises have been challenging. I remember my doctor asking me to do a quad set, which is flexing your quad for 3-5 seconds while keeping your leg straigh. It was like I had to pull out the owners manual on my body again. But I have been able to flex the quad again, and I have been able to do some basic exercises as well. Challenging but successful.
Everyday has brought to me a new challenge that has been humbling too. I’m not going to say that frustration doesn’t knock on the door every once in a while, but I try to focus on accomplishing my task. Whether it is a quad set, hamstring stretch, or straight leg raise, I treat them all as a challenge and I do not look at them as just a simple exercise.
More to come on the challenges in PT…stay tuned…