I'm two weeks past having my right knee replaced. Still somewhat stiff and swollen but I'm walking, going up and down the stairs fairly easily, and doing a lot of exercises twice daily to make the whole thing work in the end. It seems only slightly crazy that my "good" knee, i.e., the one which I plan to replace two months from now, feels better than good, now.
The experience, on the whole, has been highly positive. The surgeon and the physical therapists have been great, as have been the home health nurse and the caretaker-in-chief, Eileen. Spending five days more in rehab was on the whole worth it for the more intensive physical therapy.
Either I could go
right home and people would come to my house with therapy and home health
care. Or I could go into what is called rehab for some days or weeks.
Rehab sounded like a good choice. It meant I would be taken to physical
therapy twice a day, and given some occupational therapy as well. The
rehab unit--the physical therapy part, that is, and although less needed
for my particular surgery, the occupational therapy--was excellent and
stretched my capacities as those needed to be.
from the therapy, however, I was in a nursing home. And that's
just what the contract for services that I signed said it was.
Ostensibly they have tried to combine the two functions, but when you
leave the therapy rooms, you are in a nursing home. This means reduced
levels of service from what you expect in a hospital and a reduced level of competence in basic skills.
that I know all too much about, like legal liability and corporate
structuring, help make this so. Example: if you are in one of these
units, and it is attached to a hospital, it may not have access to the
medical specialists that the hospital has available. It is a separate
structure, designed to keep costs down.
Because you might
fall, for liability reasons it struck me that no one encourages you to
begin learning to get around without a walker. The five nights I spent
in rehab were worthwhile because I began to get into the specific
routine of focused exercises. This was highly desirable, since our house
has lots of steps, with not all vital functions on the same floor.
This is also why I was eligible for rehab. But after five nights in this
unit, I began to see that the experience wasn't desirable for me psychologically.
So, yes, all appears to be working out for the best. This is also an experience that draws on what might not be my most outstanding virtue: patience. Yes, for this procedure to work, doing the exercises is critical, but results are cumulative and I have to keep reminding myself of that.