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6 Days After ACL Surgery – Conclusion: The CPM Machine is BORING

Being in one position with your knee bending up and down for 2 hours might sound like a blast, oh, it doesn’t? Well, you’re right. You can watch TV, read, sip a soda, chat on the phone…but nothing changes the fact you are stuck on your back in one position with your leg bending up and down. I haven’t managed to get in the full 6 hours a day yet – I get in 5 and feel like I’ve done my purgatory. It also rubs annoyingly – even though it has this fluffy pad I noticed today after my first 2-hour session that it had rubbed some spots of my skin off in two places. I put some aveeno cream on them then tried putting a towel in the machine to get less rubbing. That made the bend weird. My roommate picked up a self-sticking bandage, but that was too rough. I may cut a leg off a pair of stretchy pants to see if that works – also under the brace as that is annoying and rubs too.

I was going to post a picture of my colorful leg, but decided not to because it is unpleasant. It doesn’t look as bad as you would think – but it is definitely yellow, red, blue…and swollen. I have some weird muscle stuff going on in the quads – little spasms.
I prepped for the surgery for a few months so I built my quads up pretty well in advance, but I’m already seeing some atrophy.
My big accomplishment today? 10 straight leg lifts. Before the surgery I could do 60 without sweating. Up until today I just …could…not…lift…that…leg. It’s like trying to lift a cement log that someone stuck in your leg’s place.

The cryo-cuff ice machine is heaven still. I am raising the leg a bit more because the physical therapist said I should get it as high as possible so everything drains. Pretty.

My second physical therapy is tomorrow morning. I have been doing my quad sets, knee squeezes (ouch), and ankle rotations. The heel slides are the worst thing – even though I’m up to 90 degrees on the CPM, I can’t do the heel slide more than maybe 6 inches in and it feels like a steel band stops me.

I have been managing to do a little work each day so I don’t get totally behind on e-mail and nothing turns into a crisis at my job, but I get tired pretty quickly. It doesn’t help that I got a bad cough and cold two days after surgery. The cough seems to be subsiding, but I’m still pretty stuffed up.

One of the toughest parts of this is the sense of isolation – when you are trapped on the CPM device you are pretty much on your own. I start to feel a little lonely as the day wears on – doing my exercises, the CPM, the ice cuff…TV is a sad substitute for human companionship! When my roommate calls or comes home I’m like a kid who just saw their best friend for the first time in 10 years – I’m so overjoyed to have a little company.

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