We're settling into a routine around the Arnall homestead again. It's not the same routine we had prior to Wayne's knee surgery but it's a routine nonetheless.
He's improving, adding more "I can do this now" things to his repertoire every day. Like being able to get out of bed on his own without having to scoot to the end and use the shower chair to push on. And he can navigate his way down the two steps into our sunken living room. Steps haven't been the problem; there just isn't a railing to use for support. He got in the recliner too which seemed like a victory until it was time to get out. It's several inches lower than any other chair he's been using and it was a bit of a struggle to get back on his feet. Recliner time will have to wait a little longer.
We have therapy five times a day. I say we because while he puts in the sweat and effort, I serve as coach and sympathizer. Here are the tools of our home therapy room a/k/a master bedroom:
It's a little bit of everything, isn't it. The green roll is a foam roller I bought for yoga. You put it on the floor, rest whatever muscle you want to work on it, then roll forward and backward. It's one of those hurts-but-feels-good things...a sort of do-it-yourself therapeutic massage. Wayne has the "hurts" part but has yet to get the "feels good" portion however. It goes under the back of his knees and he lifts his foot up to make his leg straight.
The brown roll is simply an old towel serving a new purpose. It goes under his heel while he points his toe and in effect tries to lengthen his leg. The purpose is to push the back of the knee down toward the mattress, making the leg as straight as possible. He has really good extension so this one is pretty easy for him but it's a good break between some of the other exercises that aren't.
The ball is a passive exercise meaning he doesn't have to do much to make it work. He raises his leg up and I slide the ball up against the back of his thigh, then he bends the knee down over it. While it would seem it would be easy just resting your leg on the ball, the weight of the foot is pulling it down causing the knee to bend more than it wants to right now.
The final instrument of torture is that black thing on the back of the chair. It's a bed sheet twisted and rubber banded to form a strap of sorts. The center of the strap goes over the instep of Wayne's foot and he grabs the ends with his hands. He bends his knee and slides his heel as much as he can toward his buttocks and when he can't go any farther, he pulls on the sheet to force a little more distance. It's the only single bed sheet I own but it's fitting that it is black; it's evil.
Even Old Blue gets in on the therapy act when he sits on the tailgate with ankle weights strapped on and swings his legs back and forth. I swear he isn't spending every day in these red plaid pajamas; he just happens to have them on whenever I grab the camera. And yes, he's still wearing those pretty, hard-to-put-on white stockings. I'm getting the hang of them now though so they aren't such a chore.
There are other exercises too...heel lifts, mini squats, leg lifts and one where he grabs his raised leg behind the knee and lets the lower part drop down as far as he can. He's a trooper though...he doesn't dog it, working hard on every single one of them. The real therapists have told him more than once that this is his job and he's taking it seriously. And we drive to Pensacola three mornings a week for outpatient therapy where they really put him to work.
We're already seeing results from his effort though and that makes it all worthwhile. Before you know it, this "normal" will give way to one more like what we were used to...and that will be fine with both of us. Until then, I'm proud of how hard he's working to get there.