Feeling on the up-and-up again today! I’m back ‘at’ work, although working from my couch, strapped into my motion machine. I’m 6 days post surgery – almost 1 week down, 5 to go!
I’ve had knee surgeries in the past to address my Osteochondritis Dissecans but this time, I was given some new equipment to aid in my recovery. Technology sure has changed in the past 10 years.
I was a bit apprehensive of these tools, mostly because they were new to me and I had only found out that I was going to use these in recovery just the day before my surgery. However, this equipment has really helped my knee feel better than I’d expected it to at this point.
First up – Game Ready/Cold Therapy Machine.
This cold therapy machine is, hands down, the best invention ever. When I came to after surgery, I had a knee brace on and an insulate sleeve under it. The insulated sleeve wraps around my leg from upper calf to lower thigh with velcro fastenings to adjust.
At the end of the sleeve is a hook up to plug this machine into. On the machine, there is a chamber that is filled with water and ice. Once plugged in and after setting the machine to the right program, the Game Ready distributes the cold water through the insulated sleeve for 30 minutes, then off for 30 minutes. It’s a new and improved ice pack.
It has an easy to use interface and readable screen. One button to turn the machine on, one to select the program, one to start the cycle. The blue screen counts down the minutes in the cycle and displays the water temperature. Water temp must be below 55 degrees to be effective.
I love the Game Ready machine – The first days after surgery, I used this machine all day and all night – the cold water felt so good on my sore knee. I felt like one of Pavlov’s dogs – when I’d hear the machine beep on, I knew that rush of cold water was coming and I was so happy.
At this point, I’m using it less frequently as my knee is feeling a lot better but will still use it after moving around a lot or when my knee is feeling particularly sore.
Next – TScope Brace.
Admittedly, I felt a little miffed about having to wear a brace at first. I had strong memories of my full leg brace in high school and the ‘inconvenience’ of it. Having to keep my leg straight out, not fitting into the front seat of the car for the first few weeks, knocking into things, not being able to sleep on my side. All things I wasn’t looking forward to again.
However, this brace that I have now is better – it’s easy to put on and remove, easy to adjust the tightness of the straps. And being more mobile these past few days, I’m really thankful to have a brace.
When I’m moving around, it helps me feel more secure – that if I fall over, I won’t completely ruin my knee, that if I bump into something, it won’t whack my leg around. When I have my brace on, my leg and knee feels very sturdy. I do take it off when I’m sitting on the couch sometimes or when I use my CPM machine but generally, it’s always on.
Lastly, CPM Machine.
The Constant Passive Motion Machine (CPM) is a medical device that gently moves the leg up and back, to designated degrees of flex/bend. My machine was dropped of the day before my surgery and I wasn’t sure what to make of it – it is big and bulky and again, I was skeptical of it. I hadn’t used anything like this in prior surgeries and got along just fine – what was so great about this machine?
Well, let me tell you – EVERYTHING! I started using this machine the day after surgery. I was instructed to start the flex until I felt any pain – I wasn’t able to bend much at all on Thursday or Friday but have spent a lot of time in the machine since then and progressed substantially (in my opinion).
I’ve set this machine up on the couch (my ‘spot’) so while I’m working, watching TV, hanging out, I can strap myself into the machine and let it do its work.
(forgive photo quality – it’s hard to take photos with one leg and crutches!)
The swelling in my knee has gone down substantially from Friday when I first changed my bandages and I really think it’s due to using the CPM machine. Every time I slowly increase the degrees it flexes my knee, I can feel the swelling start to break down. It’s an odd sensation – it feels really good and slightly uncomfortable at the same time.
I’m not able to bend my knee too much on my own yet but I know that I’m further along with knee bending because of this machine than I would have been otherwise.
Overall, I’ve been more than satisfied with my post-surgery at-home medical equipment. It’s all been easy to use and extremely helpful in regaining some movement and comfort in my knee while I recover. I only have the equipment (excluding the brace) for another few days so I’m using the Game Ready and CPM as much as possible until it’s time to return them!