We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Friday, January 7, 2011

After Fate Bene Fratelli- Report from home

I've been home from the rehabilitation center for almost 3 weeks now.  I can tell you it has been a pretty scary time. While I have been more than delighted to be in my own environment, it isn't easy to handle the pain and  frustration of recuperating from knee replacement surgery sans the comfort of doctors and nurses close at hand.  Fate Bene Fratelli spoiled me in that regard.

Mike has been fabulous, handling the homefront for us. He does all the cooking and groceries,and other miscellaneous errands. I've been able to manage taking care of myself- bathing, dressing etc., and my designated main focus has been my therapy.  I walk every day and also do exercises, I massage my knee in a warm water bath twice a day, and while I am in the tub, I take advantage of how big the tub is and get in some bicycle exercises in the water. Those have been so helpful. Still, progress has been slow, slow slow.  And, there is alot of pain still. 

As for a Venice Experience, I get to recover here in Venice.  We walked outside for the first week and a half. Usually we'd go to Campo Santa Margharita, stop for lunch or a cup of tea, and then make the return trip home.  Despite the weather, Mike would go out with me for a 30 min or so walk every day.  We walked in snow. We walked in high water (Aqua Alta).  We walked. And what a heavenly place to have to walk in. We walked, until one day I was feeling really good and decided to keep walking. We walked for almost an hour and a half, and I could barely get home in one piece. I had overstepped my limits and completely wore myself out. I had no stamina left. 

A few days after that, I came down with some horrendous stomach/intenstinal bug that lasted a week and a half.  Some of those days it was all I could do to get out of the bed and walk around the inside of the apartment, but I knew I had to keep walking, keep the knee moving, so I did it.  It became a very funny routine, because my dog Sam would follow me step by step around the house every time I did my circuit.  Just the other night, I noticed both dogs were trailing behind me. I felt like we were doing the Baby Elephant walk from the movie Hatari, remember that? Come on, babies, come on. 

Despite the exercises and walking, my knee has made only slow progress. I've wondered at times if the surgery is worth it, considering how bad my knee feels now. Sleep is difficult. Every time something rubs across the incision, like the sheets, or pajamas, it feels uncomfortable.  The skin surrounding the incision feels different, not like my own skin.  The knee itself is swollen and heavy, and tight, like it's not my knee at all. But, I've been told that in time, everything will feel better, so I religiously keep up the walking and exercises.

For the last two days the stomach bug has been finally on it's way out, I've felt alot better, so I've kicked up my walking.  I've also been working hard to be able to sit at the table for meals with my knee at 90 degrees. For any length of time, that is a killer. I can do it for a few minutes, then have to move my leg so it's more inclined.  I also just got a phone call from Fate Bene Fratelli letting me know that my out patient rehab will begin on January 10. I am excited, because I really feel like I am ready for the next step, and also scared, because Blagha will be on my case about my knee not doing better, I think.

Last night I spent alot of extra time exercising my knee, working on that 90 degree bending, which hurts so much.  After I got done exercising, I noticed my knee moving much much better, with less pain, and commented to Mike about it. Hummm.. something is going on.

Also, last nite I got some decent sleep for a change. I woke up with a very "unswollen "knee, looking very much like an ordinary knee. During the night the scar did not bother me when clothing touched against it,and today my knee feels like an ordinary knee, not like I have some foreign object in it that isn't part of me. Even the skin around the incision feels much better.  Glory hallelujeah, there has been another breakthrough!!!!  This is good, very good.  Very funny thing about my two breakthroughs- one the day my knee was bending without having the socks on, and today, when I have almost no pain and my knee feels and is acting like my own knee, finally. Both of these events happened on Feste days.  First it was after Feast of the Immaculate Conception and now, Feast of the Epiphany, which is when we celebrate the three Wise Men arriving at the manger bearing their gifts.  I feel like I got my gift today. Thank you!!!!

Now I am excited for the next phase of recovery, and whatever comes with it ( possibly throwing the crutches away??? being able to actually get down on my knees again ?  or sit crosslegged on the floor?  or run a little ways slowly???? or dance??  ) 

Fate Bene Fratelli, I'll see you again on Monday!


Yvonne said...

Very best of luck on Monday, Karen. Those festa days have been magic for you, it seems. When is the next one due?

karen said...

I think April 25- Liberation Day and May 1-Labor Day are the next big holidays. I'm still looking for Festes, I'll let you know if I find anything else :) I think the day you arrive should be one, what do you think?

Michelle said...

Anytime Yvonne arrives is a true Feste Day! I just have to convince her to be there in December 2012 for my next visit too!
Ah, Karen, so glad you are doing so much better. Hope you are dancing through Piazza San Marco soon. Hmmm, Liberation Day sounds like a good time...I'll send a little prayer to Florian's to strike up the band.

karen said...

Grazie, Michelle. Everyone who has had surgery knows how I feel about the swelling and tightening and then one day finally starting to feel like yourself again.
I've already got your arrival dates on my calendar. Feste's are in the forecast!!!!

Dianne said...

Yes Karen anyone who has had surgery knows how you feel. I had to have both my hands operated on for trigger finger. For a whole weekend, I could not wash my hands nor put on my contact lenses because of the pressure bandages I had on my hands. Then there were hand exercises and careful bandaging for many weeks afterwards -- nothing as uncomfortable as your knee surgery but boy was it great when I was back to normal. Good luck on Monday.