Monday, May 27, 2013

Life Lessons on a CPM* Machine

Time to pick up the proverbial pen and resume blogging.  Well, you and I know that it's not really a pen I'm picking up, but I am setting fingers to the keyboard.

When last I blogged, I announced this anticipated break necessitated by upcoming surgery.  Surgery has "come and gone" and I now have a new knee.  Tomorrow, I return to the orthopedic surgeon to have my staples removed.  Then the day after, I begin out-patient physical therapy.

But, I have NOT been idle.  Oh, no--I am spending a good part of my waking day doing the requisite exercises to get the new knee to flex and bend, and also being strapped into a CPM machine (*Continuous Passive Motion) which, slowly over time, increases the angle of the bend of my knee, all the while flexing my leg up and down, back and forth.

So, I have time to .... read (but I get bored); watch TV (oh, previous reaction ten times over); play some games on my Kindle Fire (only lasts so long); nap (yes, I have succumbed); and think--ah, think.

What I have been thinking is the life lessons learned on the CPM machine.

Lesson 1--It's you or no one.
You are the one who has to commit to doing whatever work there is to keep yourself healthy.  There's no one else who can be put on the machine, and have the results work out for you.  

Lesson 2--Give in to the pressure as it increases.
The first several times I notched up the machine a degree or so, I felt myself inadvertently resisting the machine.  I quickly learned that as the machine moved, and the pressure bending my knee increased, it worked better if I gave in to the pressure.  Instead of pushing back, I went with the bend.  Thus, the machine could work its magic and I didn't experience pain by pushing back.

Lesson 3--You have to commit to the time that is needed.
Since I use the machine three times a day, each time preceded by about a half an hour of assigned muscle strengthening exercises, it is OH SO TEMPTING to cut corners.  But, the whole point of the exercise regimen is to help me regain full control and use of my leg with its new knee.  So, cutting corners only spites myself.

Lesson 4--Stay the course.
Since the exercises start out slowly, the improvement is incremental, even seemingly first.  But then after two days, four days, seven days--with each passing day change occurs.  And "suddenly" I realize, hey, I can bend my knee much further than when I first came home. 

Lesson 5--Chill.
Sometimes, when my knee is feeling pressure, the best way to handle it is to use a little ice.  So, chill.

Lesson 6--Up with Good, Down with Bad.
My surgeon gave me this little mnemonic device as a way to remember which leg to use when going up or down stairs--"up with the good, down with the bad."  In general, not bad advice! 

Lesson 7--Accept the Love.
My recovery has been quick and steady.  And in great part I owe that to the wonderful help from my loving husband who is doing double duty--his usual work and mine as well.  In addition to his love, the dog has been very sweet in checking on me periodically.  And the three cats have taken turns snuggling up next to me as I spend hours on the CPM machine.  Top off this love with phone calls and emails from family, and cards from friends--well, all I can do is just accept the love.

No doubt, I will learn a few more lessons.  Maybe that's why you only have the machine on loan for 3 weeks--if you had it longer, you'd figure out how the universe works, or maybe come up with a unified theory of everything.

Gotta go....time to get back on the machine.