Monday, September 26, 2016

*Dusts off blog, walks into cobweb, becomes a ninja*

This is a perfect post about chronic pain. I haven't been updating here since before my knee surgery because everyone who follows my blog is also on my Facebook and I didn't see the point in updating the blog with the same thing. My updates there were usually short and faire-related. (I know, you're as shocked as I am, I can tell). Plus, after two days of faire and three to four days of photo processing/uploading/etc, I was exhausted, both mentally and physically. And on two weeks, I didn't get any days off between because of "real life" and the whole "being a functioning adult" thing took time out of the photo processing time. I also didn't upload any faire photos to my Flickr, but I've finally started doing it and the progress thus far can be seen here. (I hope to finish up by this weekend). But I digress... let me try an update.
As most of you know, my knee recovery was a freakin' dream compared to the first one (which, for the record, was seven and a half years ago). Last time- I was in bed, on my back, with a catheter, a nerve block in my leg (with a button that gave me a dose straight into the surgical leg), and an IV. On the fourth day, I stood up and physical therapy began. My surgeon also said I'd benefit from in-house physical therapy and had me stay another ten days in the PT rehab wing (which was literally down the hall). I even had an IV dose of morphine one of those first four nights because I couldn't sleep through the pain. After my release from the hospital, I spent two weeks at my parents' fully handicapped-accessible house and I had outpatient physical therapy three times a week. And at five weeks, I had a manipulation under anesthesia (MUA- which is when they knock your ass out and bend your knee to break up adhesions, which are like scar tissue). THIS time, however...
I was on my feet within four hours of surgery. There was no catheter. No nerve block. I did have an IV, which they removed once I was on my feet, but they left the IV- uh, what is it? An adapter? They left the IV adapter in for whatever medial reasons they have for that (you know, in case there's an emergency and whatnot). On the fourth day, they sent me home. Oh, I didn't come home though, I still live in a house with one bathroom and that bathroom is upstairs. Since my parents are now frolicking on a farm with other parents their age, chasing rabbits and catching Frisbees in their mouths- wait, I may be mis-remembering what happens after people die... anyway, I stayed with my eldest child. We called it "The Dungeon" and this is the view.
That's horrifying! Along with a 47-inch TV, AppleTV, Netflix, a small kitchen, a private bathroom with a walk-in shower, and a plush set of furniture that was the right amount of plush with firmness so I could get up and sit down on my own. There are also two bedrooms, a game-room area (with a pool table that I did not use), and the area with that above view was all open, no clutter and no rugs- just flat flooring. It was fantastic. Also, this was my daytime nurse. He was very polite. I had seven and a half weeks to recover enough to make it to Bristol and if you're reading this, odds are that you know I made it (here's the link to my "19 Days of Faire" and it is all of my Bristol 365s together). I set a new goal to walk without my cane by closing weekend and I crushed that goal three weeks early. So, this total knee replacement was a complete opposite of the last one. I still have some discomfort and some swelling, but I'm already wearing jeans again (I couldn't wear jeans last time for MONTHS because they were too uncomfortable). I walk without a cane almost all of the time. (I still use one if I'm not sure how long/far I have to stand/walk). The problem with the pain now is that even though I KNOW that it isn't arthritis pain, my brain interprets the pain surrounding my knee as that kind of pain. The tissue surrounding my knee still aches and sometimes, it hurts severe enough to make me stop what I'm doing.
I keep forgetting that any pain I'm having from the surgery isn't "normal". "Normal" in the sense that everything I feel is exacerbated by my screwed up nerve endings that keep dialing things up to eleven. I feel like I've been complaining on Facebook more than usual about it, which in turn makes me feel bad because I don't like to endlessly whine about the pain.
The worst part of this is that the Disabled Guy doesn't think I'm in as much pain as I am. When I got out of bed last night, after three hours of staring at the ceiling, then the wall, then the other wall, the TV, then my phone, then covering my head with my pillow, turning music on, turning it off, covering and uncovering my feet... I asked if he remembered my first knee replacement, 7 1/2 years ago. He doesn't. He said it was "too long ago". I reminded him that the first TKR caused a year-long fibro episode that was so severe that even my doctor couldn't deny it anymore. I was diagnosed with fibro a year and three months after my first total knee replacement.
So, while this recovery has been leaps and bounds above and beyond anything I ever expected, I still have issues. I've only had a few flareups of fibro pain since the surgery (which was four months and ten days ago), but I'd really like the pain in the squishy human bits around my robot knee to stop. I can walk mostly normal (there's only a slight hitch in my giddy-up, but if I try to walk faster, I outright limp). I can wear real clothes again, just like a real human. I've got a faire this weekend (Stronghold Olde English Faire- photos here) and one next weekend (A Gathering of Rogues & Ruffians- photos here), so I'm going to have some awesome friend-therapy. Honestly, the best part of having my total knee replacement recovery during the Bristol season was how many people I love and adore who made sure I was okay and asked me how I was doing. It was an amazing feeling, to know that people who weren't created with my genes actually cared. (also- my kids were so awesome while I was recovering. Kat and Tyler letting me stay with them, Christine going out of her way to come visit, and Jason- who still lives at home- helped out on a day to day basis).
And, because I shared links to the others- here's the Janesville Faire photos (in May) and the Teslacon photos (which I have in November!).