Although technically not correct, I like to think of myself as a cyborg now. Turns out that my left knee quit working this winter. I was surprised to learn that I needed to have the whole thing replaced. Not exactly high on my list of things that I wanted to have to do in 2022. Oh well. I’m one month into the recovery now and it still pretty much hurts like a bitch.
Here’s what happens: A incision is made about 8-inch long on the very top of your leg and then opened up to reveal the knee. Next, some of the elements of the knee that are in the way are removed to expose the bottom of the upper leg and the top of the lower leg. They use a high-tech machine to figure out how to cut these bones to accept the metal components. The cuts are then made. The metal replacement parts are then cemented onto the bones. The top part is rounded. The bottom part is flat with a stem that goes down into the knee. Between the two a plastic spacer is added. The knee is then sewn back up.
And just like that, you have a new knee. And oh by the way it hurts like a son of a bitch. The most painful procedure that I’ve done so far. But the results are good, after a month I can walk pretty well but the range of motion, especially trying to bend my knee, is still rather limited.
I had the bandage removed about a week ago. The knee is healing up fine. You can almost see my kneecap again. I can walk a mile now without stopping. it still takes a couple of strides before I can get my gait right. I can bend the knee about 90° now. A bit disappointed that I’ll not ever be able to get all the range back. Most patients can achieve 0–110 degrees according to Wikipedia. Normal range is 135°. The knee will extend to nearly a straight position. Still doing physical therapy for one hour twice a week including every day at home a couple of times during the day. Pain is pretty minimal now.
6 Weeks – COVID Time!
Yes – as an added bonus to my recovery I finally caught COVID 🦠 – likely from Physical Therapy. Symptoms included low fever (100.5F max), upper and lower respiratory gunk with coughing and sneezing, fatigue & muscle pain (I guess – hard to tell with everything else). I recovered mostly in 24 hours other than the congestion.
The good news is the knee is doing really well now. I can now generally walk without having to ramp up my gait. The back is much, much less sore. I can almost see my left kneecap again. Yippie!
I added the latest x-ray at the top of the post. I can currently bend my knee 104 degrees – Dr says I should get 110 – 115 (120 is considered normal gait). Very little pain walking now – I can do 1 1/2 miles with no problem.