Saturday, November 14, 2009

The post-surgery rehab experience

So rehab is now underway. I went to my first rehab session on Thursday. The night before, I found the courage to get up on the ROM machine and do the lower body workout. Much to my shock and joy, I performed extremely well. The knee felt as good or better than it did before the surgery. My performance was strong. I didn't try to push it hard, but the results were good. I did 1 minute, 2 minutes and 1 minute. The resistance was my normal 220 pounds.

Words cannot express how relieved I was when the workout was over, and the knee didn't turn into a radio active H-bomb of pain. I was so stoked up that I got up on the Elliptical and did 5 minutes. I found myself pressing much harder with the right, even leading with my right leg. This is something I have never done before... at least not since the day I bought the machine some 15 months ago. This suggests that the knee is coming back, and it will be much better than it was before my last injury. That is exciting.

Not surprisingly, I went to my first rehab session with a little inflammation. This may have had something to do with the fact that I had taken no pain killers or anti-inflammatories all day. My first rehab session yielded good results. The PT was surprised that I showed 105 degrees of flexibility in my right knee. He was expecting 90. My left only shows 117. I am within 12 degrees of my other 'normal' knee. That left knee has seen plenty of damage also. It may be the next contestant for Arthroscopic surgery.

The exercises I did were a doodle. I doubt they helped. However, the PTs performed Ultra Sound and Electro-stim work on me. This was very good. I believe this was the primary factor that led to my good results. This morning I was walking almost completely normally. I was able to stand up a bit quicker than before, and move down a flight of stairs more rapidly that any time after the surgery. Standing up from a seated position seems to be the most persistent source of pain. I look forward to the days when that will end.

Speaking of pain, I have become something of an authority on painkillers since my surgery. I wanted to know and understand every agent they gave me, from liquid injectable Demerol &Toradol, to Ketorolac, to Hydrocodone + Acetaminophen.

What can I tell you about these things?
  1. Demerol works like hell. Kills pain dead
  2. Toradol works when injected, but only to reduce inflammation. I don't think it kills pain well at all.
  3. Ketorolac sucks shit. It did nothing but upset my stomach. I have most of the prescription left. I won't use it. It is good for nothing.
  4. Acetaminophen by itself is for the birds. It is better than Toradol insofar as it has fewer side effects, but it still sucks. I get very little relief from Acetaminophen.
  5. When combined with Hydrocode, Acetaminophen works fairly well. However, I did not find this combo to be particularly powerful. It took the pain down about 50%, but that still left me with 50% of the pain. I still suffered a lot of pain, despite this stuff. I gutted it out because I have balls. Call me Emmit jr.
If the Doc does my left knee, I am going to ask him to prescribe Combunox for me. I have spoken at length with several people who have had these surgeries, including one dude at rehab. To the last man, they all say Combunox rocks. It is the best painkiller money can buy.

So what is Combunox? It is the dreaded oxycodone + Ibuprofen. The difference between oxycodone and hydrocodone is obviously hydrogen vs oxygen. Oxygen works better. I don't know what you think, but I think Ibuprofen absolutely kills acetaminaphen in all phases of the game. For these reasons I suspect Combunox is the way to go next time.