Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lack of communication?

After my total knee replacement, I had two weeks of in-home therapy; then I was sent to a therapy center, where I was truly challenged for awhile.  On my second visit there, I asked my therapist, Micah, if I should continue doing the exercises I had been doing at home.  
"Only if they challenge you," he replied.  
Well, compared to what he was making me do, those old exercises were pretty darned easy, so I took that as permission to stop them.  
I had my last session with Micah on Monday.  He had me choose a "graduation gift"; I selected a T-shirt with plenty of advertisement for them, and was on my way.  At no time did he instruct me in exercises to continue at home.  
I saw Dr. Strong today.  My X-rays looked great, she said.  She noticed that my knee was swollen and I told her it had been that way for three days, probably because I'd been going on forty-minute walks with Cliff.  She suggested taking Ibuprofin and said maybe I should skip the walk for a couple of days, and then start out with a twenty-minute walk and work up slowly.  
I could see she was about done with me, so I asked her two questions.  
First, is it OK if I kneel on the new knee?  Most people say you are not supposed to get down on your knees after this surgery.  
Surprise, surprise.  She said as long as I let myself down easily and didn't fall down on the kneecap, it was fine.  Hard surfaces might not be so great without a cushion, but outside, for instance on grass or soil, would be fine.  If you fall down hard on the kneecap, it could break, she told me.  
Question number two:  Are there any exercises I should continue to do at home?  
"Didn't the therapist show you what you are supposed to do at home?"  
She actually seemed a little angry, so rather than say, "No," I said, "Oh, well I can do all that stuff they had me doing there".  
I liked my therapist and didn't want to get him in trouble.  
"OK, then continue with those," she said.  
So here's where people fall through the cracks.  If I had not asked, nobody had told me to continue doing exercises and I would have assumed I was through.  Dr. Strong figured the therapist had taken care of the situation, and I guess Micah thought the doctor would instruct me.  
So I got home and found a website with several post-TKR exercises, some of which are supposed to be continued for six months.  
And they wonder why people don't follow through on these things!  
I have to thank a Blogger and Facebook friend for mentioning to me yesterday that I would still have to do therapy at home; thanks, Deb!  If not for you, I wouldn't have quizzed the doctor about it and would have paid the price on down the road.  


  1. I don't enjoy getting people in trouble either but what about your therapist's other patients? It sounds to me like he should be responsible for advising on necessary physical therapy, not the surgeon.

  2. Glad you got that straightened out. Shame on that therapist for not telling you what's what. Hopefully the swelling in that knee subsides before you give it more of a workout. Interesting the doc told you you could kneel on it. Both my parents were told it's a NO NO.

  3. I'm very glad you asked! Our friend didn't do the exercises and now pays the price. Keep at it!!

  4. people in medical field are not very bright some times. or they just don't care

  5. Don't you hate getting mixed messages?! I'd hate to get him in trouble too though.


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