Sunday, October 30, 2011

Power's On

Twenty Four Hours Later

Thank goodness the traffic lights were out on my road's major intersections, because I am not at all sure there was any other incentive for the power company to get us up and running before Wednesday.  Apparently, there are a lot of homeowners still waiting for electricity while we are finally back on the grid.

I had already called the police to ask if there was any way I might be able to get water for my horses if the outage continued into the week.  I figured I could make it through Tuesday morning, but that might have been it. As it was, the Boys were drinking rainwater stored over the last month or so--not exactly the freshest.

I used part of my household emergency stock to wash my hair and take a sponge bath so I'd be presentable for church this morning. Blessedly, I have a gas stove, so I was able to heat the water first.  I also have the gas fireplace in the living room and took good advantage of it to stay warm through the long night.

Of course, non of my animals had any idea we were in an energy crisis. I do think the horses are a bit put off by my headlamp--my nighttime chores' illumination--but other than that,  they all expected total care on my part.

But I did skip part of the job.  Tucker has an abscess in his right hind hoof and should have been soaked in hot water and rewrapped with Icthamol.  Since his wrap from Friday was still intact, and he was nearly sound, the darkness, cold, snow, and miserable conditions put me off on that task.  Fortunately, he was quite sound today when I heated some water up on the stove--before the power was back on--soaked him while I cleaned his stall, and then wrapped his foot up again. One missed day didn't seem to cause any problem for him. Could be that my vet got the abscess opened up enough that it burst out through the hole relieving the pain.  Since I am a little limited in how much thorough hoof examination I can do--the knees don't quite last too long holding up a hoof--I did not really explore the bottom of his hoof before I wrapped it back up.

Poor Chance is desperate to get out. Dr. Klayman says he looks fine but wanted him on limited turnout for the week.  I don't have a small paddock for that at the moment, so the compromise was for me to start lunging him.  One day was fine, but then came the snow.  It is now sloppy, wet, and slippery out there. I think in a day or so the afternoon temperatures will warm enough to melt the horrid white stuff and all I'll be left with is wet, so I'll probably be able to get Chance out soon. In the meantime, he is just going to have to be content with strolls in the rather short aisle of the barn (30 or so feet) as I don't want to risk him out in the yucky mess outside.

Toby has a sore spot on his back and I have some DMSO/Cortisone to rub on it. Dr. Klayman thinks it's from some kind of trauma. Either he rolled on something or....somebody's hoof might have hit him there.  X-rays are an option but for now "wait and see" is a far better approach.

It was such a relief when the power came back on. Out here, when I lose electricity, I lose water as my pumps do not work. How nice it was to fill the Boys' buckets with fresh, clean water!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Power's Out


Much to report, actually, but it will have to wait until I have proper power. I need to conserve energy.

Chance is recovered on limited exercise and Tucker has a hoof abscess,

Snow has downed power lines somewhere and we can't get any info from the power company. The roads are quite slippery and a number of cars have ended up in the ditches.

Not a pretty prelude to winter, I fear.

Back when electricity and perhaps Internet is on again??????? Working on not very charged batteries.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rollicking Good Time

Not Exactly What the Doctor Ordered

I was supposed to walk Chance in had for a while every day.  I've done so, but not as long as would be ideal.  He'd been in his stall for about two weeks now and, on the surface, appears quite settled about it.

So, I took him out on the lunge line yesterday just to let him graze and walk a bit.


Something set him off and before I knew it, he bolted.  Now, my knees are pretty good, but not yet good enough to either set against the power of a bolting horse or to run with a bolting horse in hopes of being able to stop him.  The line slid through my gloved hands and off he went, galloping through the arena gate and out to the pasture.

Then he came galloping back through the paddocks, around, back out to the pasture, around....well, you get the picture. I'm not sure which was more appalling; waiting for the trailing lunge line to trip him, or wondering what kind of damage he might be doing to his possibly injured ankle.

There was no way to either corner or capture my wild man until he decided to settle down a bit and munch some grass.  At that point, I got a bucket of feed. managed to get a hold of the line and walk him back into the barn.

He was quite pleased with himself.  Fortunately, his leg looked none the worse for wear and shows no sign of any real heat or swelling.  I can only hope the exercise didn't do him any harm.

Dr. Klayman is coming tomorrow morning and I will let Chance wander around in the barn aisle for his exercise session. No point in repeating the same mistake. *sigh*

Meanwhile, Tucker is back out and so far looks OK.  He stayed in for about three days with his foot wrapped and seems to be OK. Toby looks OK too, but I haven't done much testing of his back to see how that is. I'd really rather have the vet look at it.

So much for my "bedside manner."  Not exactly what the doctor ordered. *G*

Friday, October 21, 2011

Time to Buy a Lottery Ticket

What are the Odds?

I own three horses. You'd think, on a day when everything else was just right to try a short ride with my new knees, that the odds would be with me.  Stacie was on her way home from a saddle fitting and my house was in between, so she arrived to help supervise.  The weather was lovely with a slight breeze and cool, perfect riding temperatures.  There were essentially no flies.

Chance was, of course, out of the equation as he is still not quite sound from whatever lameness he has.  That left two options: Toby and Tucker.

I opted first for Toby as he is the best trained of the three and usually pretty reliable. We brought him in but as we groomed him, Stacie found a bit of a bump on his back. At first that's all it seemed to be, but as we tested around it, he flinched and sank down.  Since the saddle could put some pressure there, I decided not to take a chance.

That left Tucker. We brought him in and as he came through the barn door, he was a little hesitant stepping along.  There was some mud there, so at first I thought he may have slipped a little. But as we were grooming him on the crossties, Stacie told me he just didn't look right in one hind leg when he moved.  We took him out to walk him and, sure enough, he was "off" on his right hind.  The lameness was slight, but definitely there. That ended his riding afternoon, and mine.

I've called the vet--no emergency in this case.  Dr. Klayman will be coming back on Thursday anyhow to look at Chance, so unless something more severe shows up in the other two, I will just wait and see.  I did notice some bit of ragged frog in Tucker's foot and Debbie, my horsesitter, thinks there was heat there. So I have put some Icthamol on it and a light wrap.

Toby is on his own for now. He looks just fine on all four legs and was leaping and bucking quite happily when I took Chance out to hand walk him so he certainly isn't in any significant pain. It could be just a skin thing or something simple.  No biggie as long as he's happy.

So, I did not manage to get into the saddle.  I am a bit disappointed as I really did want to see how it felt, but it's OK.  Fate was not smiling on me this time.

However, my horsesitter had far better luck. She has been looking for a driving pony for her son for a while now.  Just the other day, I was able to talk to a good friend who has driving ponies and from her, got the name and address of a reliable pony guy out in Pennsylvania.  Debbie was preparing to get in touch with him when.....

An adorable little Haflinger gelding showed up at the local horse sale: Camelot Sales (They are involved with dozens of rescues around the country and save dozens of horses each week from the "kill pens")  Bob, the Haffie, was advertised to ride and drive and had even been used to mow lawns by pulling a mower.  I saw him on the Camelot Facebook page and figured he'd be a super prospect for Debbie. Fortunately, Debbie happened to go on the Facebook page early Thursday morning herself and, in short order, called in, staked a claim on Bob and withing a few hours had him trailered home with her!!

From all the evidence, Bob--renamed Blazer by her son--is going to be a star! She long lined him yesterday and said he was a good as gold. I should think if he was pulling a lawnmower for the Mennonites that he is a solid driving pony with a good mind--perfect for a young driver who hopes someday to do combined driving.

Fate is a strange lady.  The stars lined up just perfectly for Bob, that's for sure.

Maybe Fate had an ulterior motive in  mind for me too. I just wasn't supposed to ride today.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

An Answer for Stephanie and Everyone

When to "Do" the Knees

I hurt my right knee when I was about 14 and my left knee some 40 years later.  I did not know until I hurt the left knee that my ACL was blown in the right knee.  That fact made my doctor and I decide I could cope with no ACL in my left knee as well since my right knee had been pretty functional for all those years.

So, I ended up having arthroscopic surgery on both knees within the last 10 years and various alternative treatments--prolotherapy and PRP (platelet rich plasma injections) that allowed me to continue on at a pretty good functional level.

My knees ached and there were many things I could not do. Climbing stairs could be hard on a bad day, and walking long distances was not always comfortable. I could not do anything that required movements similar to running or jumping, but I could ride my horses. I might be sore afterwards, but I was able to ride and train three horses in dressage, managing to train two of them to the FEI level.

But last year, a PRP treatment had minimal effect, and I was finding myself riding less and less.  Finally, this Spring, I took a short trail ride and the next day, I could hardly walk. My knees hurt and I was miserable.

THAT was my benchmark moment. I had long ago decided that when I could no longer ride, it would be time to consider knee replacements. I am now 62, so my age suits the profile as well. Generally knee replacements do have a lifespan themselves and it's better to wait until you are a little older to have one in hopes you will not have to repeat the surgery in the future. (I may be on the borderline there....)  However, I would not discourage anyone younger as long as they had reached the moment in their lives when coping with the pain, discomfort, and general disability of bad knees was no longer tolerable.

I had already evaluated the situation and knew what was going to trigger my decision. So, looking back and saying, "Gee, I should have done this sooner," as many people do, is not part of my thinking. Once my knees are 100% better--still in recovery phase--I may think that, but I honestly will have no regrets about waiting. My surgical decision was planned out well in advance and, as I noted, I did have treatment options that were keeping me relatively sound despite everything.

All that being said, my surgeon told me my knees were "really bad," which does add to the equation. Perhaps I am more tolerant of pain or better able to cope with physical problems and limits than other people.

As you all know, I also spent the summer swimming nearly every day, building up my cardio system and body fitness in preparation for the surgery.  Since I could not do much in the way of good leg exercises on land, being in the water allowed me to use my leg muscles to build them up as well.  Swimming also helped build my upper body strength, which was also a plus in my recovery, as I was easily able to push or lift myself with my hands and arms to get out of chairs or use walking assist devices.

I will not tell anyone that my recovery was pain free. The surgical incisions cut through muscles as well as skin and the new joints are inserted into my bones.  For the first couple weeks, my thigh muscles ached and burned in various places and with varied intensity.  Again, I may be more tolerant then some people are regarding pain.  Pain meds in the hospital certainly helped but they did not make me pain free.  My level rarely went below a 4-5 on my pain scale.  However, to be honest, most of the time, it was no worse than the aches and pains I suffered in my old knees after a day of too much exercise.

I was determined to have a fast recovery.  According to all the professional around me, I have.  I spent four days in the hospital immediately after surgery--the standard for two knees--and then less than a week in the rehab center.  In rehab, I only had four days of physical therapy before they decided I was well able to cope at home on my own.

The key? I was fit before the surgery. I already had learned skills to "coddle" my bad knees, so sore new ones were not a problem. And, above all, I kept a positive, cheerful attitude about the whole thing. So many people in rehab were depressed and obvious about their pain. I found that laughing and trying to lighten everyone's spirits was some of the best medicine I could take--and offer.

If you need replacement surgery yourself, here's my advice:  First, set some kind of benchmark for yourself so you will know when it's truly time. Second, DO NOT wait until you can't walk or function anymore. That will only make recovery much harder. Third, research to find the right doctor. I ended up with only two consultations but was so blown away with the attitude and approach of the surgeon I selected that there was no question in my mind at all. Fourth, prepare yourself. Get your body into as good shape as possible. Eat right and exercise as well as you can within your limits. Do not neglect cardio vascular fitness either as heart and lungs are an important part of a good recovery. And do upper body exercise to build strength there. Fifth, plan ahead as much as possible for your hospital time so you will not be worried about what is going on at home with family and pets while you are gone. You will need to be selfish while you are recovering and totally consumed with yourself and not other problems. Sixth, learn all you can about your own care, medications, etc. so that while you are in the hospital, you can watch out for yourself. If you have a close family member who will be your care advocate, that's great, but if not, you will need to be ready to speak out on your own behalf if there are any issues regarding your care or treatment. Seventh, keep a positive attitude. The whole idea of replacement surgery is to make your life better. The road to recovery may have a lot of potholes and rough spots, but the end is well worth the struggle. Keep that in mind and learn to smile through the difficulties.

Yesterday, as I was walking in from the barn, for about five strides, all the stiffness in my knees vanished and I felt what it's going to be like an a few more months when I am further along in my recovery. All I can say is "Wow! That's what good knees feel like!!"  It was more than enough to put a brand new smile on my face.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Slow Go, But Soon

Now, The Weather

I hope to get on a horse before the end of the week but two things have to come together.

First is the weather. Rain is predicted on Wednesday, which was the first choice day on my list.

Second is that I need a fellow horseperson here to help out. I'm pretty confident all will go well, but one more person here to hold my horse and just be there "in case," is important.

Chris who has been helping me with Chance's hoof will be going on an endurance ride at the end of the week, so she will not be here. Stacie, is, thankfully, pretty busy with her saddle fittings and sales, so I am not sure she can help out.  I have another option left, but I'll wait to see how the weather changes play out.

My right knee is still moderately swollen and does get more stiff after I exercise, so I am not quite ready to leap into the saddle, but at the same time I am eager to see how it all feels after so long.

Chance is still a bit lame but so much better. We've had no clear evidence that an abscess has popped, but as I recall from the last time he had a sore hoof--front one--it was never quite clear where it finally resolved itself.  I was hoping to ride him first, but Toby may get the questionable "honor."  Tucker would actually be the easiest to get on as the new mounting block suits his height--kind of just a "step into the saddle on a 17 h horse."  But he is not the most reliable mount for "beginners" like me. *lol*

Chris's wonderful husband, Larry, put new fence rails at the end of my riding arena where Tucker smashed everything.  Now, I have to go out and poo pick, cut the grass that's grown up in there since I haven't ridden in so long, and then drag the sand.  I discovered that the Kubota tractor is not quite as high a step up as I thought and with just a little extra effort, I'm pretty sure I can get on and off it enough to do some quality work with it.  To tell the truth, that tractor has turned out to be one the best investments I ever made for my little farm.

My car? Two bad ignition coils and many hundreds of dollars later cleared one of the "check engine codes."  The other one, a bad thermostat, needs to wait. The bank account could not handle the full repair estimate.

Then, in a fit of genius, I headed over to the school where I taught to see the auto mechanics teacher about the whole situation. Good news, bad news. His students can and will change the thermostat and flush my cooling system. It will only cost the price of parts. The bad? They could have changed the coils as well, saving me at least half of what I paid--no labor charge, just parts. *sigh*

The only reason I went to the professional garage first is that last time I had a "check engine" light the school shop tried to fix it, but their diagnostics found an issue too complex for them to deal with at that point. Now, I'm kind of kicking myself for not going there first.

Then again, there is the plus that the coil work has a warranty on it and it's kind of a big ignition deal, so that might be worth it.  I will drive the truck for now for most of my errands, just to be safe since the car might overheat, and take the car to school next week.

Strange how after being retired for just over two years now, I had already forgotten the huge benefits of working in a vocational school where I could get so many jobs done for so little money. I have to reconnect my brain to the whole situation.

I did have a nice visit at the school with a few old friends, but already, most of the rooms I passed had new teachers and I only saw one student who knew who I was.  That ties the school with the shopping mall across the ball field where I ran into another graduation student who is getting married and was helping her mother select a "mother of the bride" dress.

One for one. Fun day, even if it was more expensive than it could have been.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Blown Away

I Am Free!!

I visited my surgeon, Dr. Purtill,  this morning and the news was amazing!! No more physical therapy. he believes just walking and my everyday activities will be the best treatment for me from now on.

I can drive. I can do anything I want to do and....

I can ride!! He sat down in front of me to show me how my legs would be when I was astride a horse and warned me that I might be sore on the inside of my knees--pointing to the spot--but said not to worry as that would be normal.  Otherwise, go for it!

I can do barn chores including lifting grain bags if I want to, but my knees would "tell" me what I could and could not do, so I should "listen" to them.

He told me my old knees were REALLY bad and stressed it. Apparently it was kind of surprising I was able to do anything at all on them.

On the even more plus side, I am "Way ahead of the curve" as far as recovery goes and a "Superstar!"  I think my surgeon is truly enthusiastic about my recovery status. My knees have essentially normal bend and the swelling will go away on its own so I should not worry about it. I will have good days and bad days now and then, so I should not get frustrated.

He did tell me it takes a year and a half before the knees are actually fully healed, so I can expect less than perfection until then, but overall, I have had an incredible recovery.  He complimented me by insisting most of that success had been my doing and my determination.

What a refreshing and exciting appointment it was. Dr. Purtill has such and upbeat and positive approach to the whole experience, fully believing his patient can do almost anything with their new joints. He made me feel there was no limit to future activities.

I am no longer on the warfarin, so I don't need to worry about what supplements I take--including aspirin which does always seem to help my aches and pains. I do have another prescription pain medication if I need it, but it may well be I won't have to resort to that.

Dr. Purtill said further PT could actually hurt with the stretching of the leg, etc. so it was better to just stop now. I have one more appointment tomorrow so I will do the exercises and get a nice massage, but not have the therapist do any other work on my legs.

Chance is still lame, so I can't ride him, but I plan on waiting until I am a little more sure about the stiffness in my knees before I do try to ride. I want to do some exercises off the horse first to prepare and I will not get on unless I have a knowledgeable horse friend here.

Christina put a new poultice on Chance's foot today but there is no sign of any kind of abscess yet. Guess it's just a matter of waiting.

On the bummer side--I drove my car to the pharmacy and on the way home, the "Check Engine" light came on. Last time it was a major bit of repair work required. That is kind of painful at the moment because my budget is pretty tight.  I hate to do it, but I guess I have to take the car in ASAP for a "health exam."  *sigh*

At least I can drive it there myself!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sympathy Pains?

Chance is Off

Yesterday morning Chance was dead lame on his right hind.  It was so sad watching him make his painful way into his stall for breakfast.

I did a quick check and found absolutely nothing as far as injury, heat or swelling.  A gave him some Bute and decided to see how he was later in the day.  When I went out in the early afternoon, he was still holding that leg off the floor so I decided to call the vet.

My vet called me in the early evening and told me to give him some more Bute. If if was a soft tissue or joint injury the Bute would improve him. If it was a hoof abscess, it would not do much.

By this morning he was better, but still favoring that leg.  My vet came around 9:30 and after a quick exam decided the most likely cause was a brewing abscess in his hoof.  She is not 100% sure, but flex tests on his main joints did not seem to affect his level of lameness and he was reacting to pressure with the hoof testers.

For now, his hoof is wrapped in animalintex and icthamol.  My big problem is that I am not exactly sound enough myself to change the wrap.  But, my friend Chris who has her horses on the next road over was gracious enough to come over to help out and will come to change the wrap tomorrow for me.

My vet brought her assistant who is just recovering from getting kicked in the jaw by a horse during a vet treatment. She was fortunate that her jaw was not broken, but she is still having headaches and a stiff neck. Today was her first day back in the field, so I was glad Chris was there to hold Chance for part of the exam. The assistant did lead him for the soundness check, but he was a very good boy and remembered his manners so she was OK.

All three Boys got their flu and rhino shots as well, so the visit served a dual purpose.

We are looking for some kind of improvement in Chance by Monday. I'm a bit frustrated that I cannot soak and treat his foot myself, but my knees are not quite up to that kind of bending and hoof holding yet.

Bless my exceptional horse friends who are so willing to help out.  I honestly think of all the people I have ever known in my life, horsemen are the best in sharing and caring when it comes to any problem I have had with a horse. The love for our animals runs deep and there is a bond among us all the rest of the world might never truly comprehend.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Slow Progress

Ups and Downs

The trouble with judging my healing progress it that day by day, things change.

My knees themselves remain stiff, mostly from swelling. Part of it may still be that my body is trying to decide whether or not to accept the artificial knees. There is a bit of a rejection process involved aside from the fact that my bones have new pieces inserted in them.

My upper leg muscles vary from day to day. Since I did some lifting out in the barn the other day, including a bale of hay, there was some extra stress which made them a bit more sore than normal.  But yesterday's physical therapy pushed me through that and today, the muscles are not bad. It's the knees themselves that ache.

On the plus side, walking around seems to help. And, I can finally ride my exercise bike. Getting the right leg to go all the way around was the hard part, but I've passed that crisis.  I was riding the incumbent bike in therapy, so adding some bike work at home will be good.

I visit my surgeon on Friday and hope he will give me the OK to drive. I plan on testing myself with the car in the driveway before I go, just to see how it feels. Since I did drive the lawn tractor with no problem, the car should be easier as it takes less pressure to move the pedals. Since it's an automatic transmission, my right leg needs to do the work. I'm pretty sure I'm ready.

The Boys were out in the pasture when I went to feed them this morning.  I'm glad they were not hanging out at the barn looking for me since I slept a little later than I've been over the last week.  I put all their feed--including grain, hay cubes, and hay--in the stalls and called them in.  Chance came first, at the gallop, followed closely by Tucker and Toby, galloping in as well. Seeing them come like that when I call is always fun. I'm sure anyone would be impressed at how eager my horses are to respond to me.

Now, if they'd only come galloping in when I just want to work them. *G*

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Back in Blue

I Hike The Pasture

My legs were sore again today--typical after physical therapy--so I took it easy for most of the day.  I did a number of my stretching exercises and decided walking was a good option.

It was a beautiful day.  Sunny and warm, in the low 70's, it was exactly the kind of day I'd love to ride.  But I am not quite ready for that. I actually figure I'd be fine on the horse, but the challenge of mounting and dismounting might be a bit daunting.

Well, mounting might be OK as I do have my nice mounting platform.  But when I think of how stiff I was after riding around the lawn on the mower for an hour, I'm not sure I would be able to get my right leg to cooperate enough to dismount.  Still....

Don't worry. I won't try until I am sure it will be OK, and even then I will make sure I have another rider around to help just in case.

What I did instead was take a walk around the pasture looking for Tucker's blue flysheet.  I found it in the farthest corner of the field.  Now, mind you, the flysheets my Boys are wearing have all seen better days and are largely held together or tied on with pieces of baling twine--a marvelously useful invention.  In the case of Tucker's sheet, the front surcingle had been replaced with twine and it had broken, so he had just kind of stepped out of the sheet.

All three of the Boys accompanied me on the search, leaving the fly free barn to follow me out to the pasture.  They were quite curious as to what I was doing and were very friendly about it all. I guess they are looking for some attention.  Tucker actually walked back into the barn right at my side as if I had a lead rope on him.

Once there, I ushered him into the aisle and began working on getting him back into his blue sheet.  Once I tied it back together and dressed him, I sprayed him with fly spray, sprayed Toby and Chance, and then emptied and scrubbed the water trough.

Trough refilled, grain bins moved back into the feed room from the aisle, and a few branches picked up off the lawn, my day of work was over.  I wasn't a lot of work, but it was productive and at this point, I'm pretty pleased to have managed a few chores.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Recovery Continues

Horse Care Routine Begins Soon

I will be doing the morning feed starting tomorrow and my horsesitter will come in the afternoons to feed and clean stalls. I'm not sure how long this new arrangement will continue before I take over full care, but it's not too far in the future.

I have an appointment with my surgeon next week during which I hope he will give me the OK to drive again. I have been depending on the kindness of friends to take me to doctor's appointments, physical therapy, shopping, and to choir.  While I certainly appreciate all this, it's hard for me to impose upon others when I should be able to take care of things myself.

PT is going well.  I cannot say there have been huge changes, but each time I go, I feel a little better. I am still not lifting extra weight with my legs, so the basic exercises are not too taxing.  I am not sure I would be able to lift much weight yet anyhow as my muscles do ache when pressed too hard. I have to remember that they have to heal from the surgery too.  My knee replacements were pretty invasive surgeries.  It is going to take some time.

By the way, it is national Physical Therapy month here in the USA. My clinic is running a special raffle and has given all patients a tee shirt, a tote bag, and a water bottle as a gift. It's kind of fun and each time I go for therapy I get another raffle ticket. Guess I picked the right time to have my surgery!

My next adventure is to mow the lawn. Since I have the riding lawn tractor, the only challenge will be pushing the forward/backward pedal with my foot. The tractor has an automatic transmission, so there is no other trick to driving it.  My Kubota has the same kind of transmission, but it's higher to get on and off of, so using it to drag the arena--another task on the horizon--might be a bit hard.  But, if I can climb on and off, I'm willing to try.

When you are handicapped by physical limitations, it is always a problem to figure out how to do what other people would consider relatively easy, normal tasks.  Those of us who are truly able bodied--or on the way to recovering out "ablebodiness" need to think of that now and then.

It is a humbling thought.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Bit of Good Work

Stiff But Solid

I gave my new knees their first test today. The riding arena is in dire need of a thorough poo picking, so I decided it would be a good chance for me to see how things felt and if I could push the wheelbarrow.

Success on all fronts! I only did two almost full barrows.  It actually felt good to push against the weight with my legs, so I figure they got a good workout. It may not be standard physical therapy, but it was exercise.  And, I am most happy to report that the stability in my new joints is striking. My legs felt really solid under me! What a difference from what I've been feeling all these years!

It actually makes me quite excited for how I will feel in the future once all the stiffness and swelling are gone.

There is still some heat and swelling in my knee joints, and the muscles get stiff and sore if I sit or stand in one position too long.  During exercises, including the therapy, my muscles do not hurt. (This for Claire.) It is afterwards, when they have rested for a bit. The muscle fibers need to stretch and contract repeatedly in order to get stronger and once I am done working out, sometimes they want to cramp up.  Massage, heat, and moving definitely helps and I am already noticing that they are feeling better a little at a time.

The swelling in the knees is not extreme either, but after therapy that too increases. So the treatment is ice packs.

I have been trying to stretch each knee myself, but it's not quite the same as when my therapist works on it for me. If you've ever had an injury that needs therapy, I am sure you will understand.

While I was picking the arena, Chance came over to "help."  First, he needed a snuggle. Then, he needed to knock the wheelbarrow over so I had to fork everything back in all over again.

Does that mean I actually cleaned up three wheelbarrows full?