Monday, September 29, 2014

Daily Supplements

I guess it's worth noting as a factor of recovery, what supplements I'm taking on a daily basis - as is what I'm eating, but I'm not logging that right now. (I have in the past and it may not be a bad idea to start the fool log / journal again, but I haven't yet.)

I've been taking regular supplements for years now. There is some variation, but what I'm listing here is the base and at times I will add others based on my exercise level and intensity. I take a morning and evening dose and will label them with AM and PM respectively. Over the years I've preferred to choose individual items over the blends available as they often share many of the same ingredients.

  • Super B-Complex - AM, PM
  • Performance Multi - PM
  • Magnesium 400 mg - AM
  • CoQ10 300 mg - AM
  • Flaxseed Oil 1400 mg - AM
  • Glucosamine 1500mg w/ MSM 1500 mg - AM, PM
  • Calcium 600 mg - AM, PM
  • Vitamin C 1000 mg - AM, PM
  • Taurine 1000 mg - AM
  • Fish Oil 1000 mg - PM
  • Milk Thistle 175 mg - PM

I've never had a hair sample, but my over all health has been very good for many years. Until taking time for my knee surgery, I used 2 sick days about 2 years ago and none for over 2 1/2 years before that. When I feel sick, I will typically go for a run or ride and let my body do what it does best ... kill the invaders!

I guess the bottom line is "quality of life". This is part of my routine to keep mine.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

4 Wks Post Meniscus Repair - still no weight bearing...

I saw my physical therapist this at 4 weeks and a day after surgery. The range of motion (ROM) was 5 - 105 degrees. I've been doing my 'assigned' exercises and stretches daily and have even added some core exercises that I was told to drop: bent knee situps (old style) and the basic plank. Both, I was told, can put stress / pressure on the knee. I also learned that you shouldn't ask your therapist if there is more you can do; because there are always more exercises or the addition of an ankle weight or a ball under your foot ... needless to say, I actually worked up a sweat doing my 'enhanced' exercises at therapy!

It is difficult to not put a little weight on it here and there: in the kitchen, in the bath room, when I'm sitting and my foot is resting on the floor, ... but, I am trying to not put my weight on my left leg / foot. There are only 2 more weeks. I will see the Dr at 1 PM and then go to therapy at 2 PM with the expectation to be worked hard: which will include weight bearing, cycling, and I don't know what else.

I still have little waves of discomfort in my knee. Usually at the end of the day and sometimes at the end of a nights rest. My normal routine is to do a full set of exercises as soon as the kids are off to school so I can get everything stretched out and going for the day.

I've seen several articles, but not conclusive evidence supporting the conservative recovery program that has me waiting 6 weeks before I put weight on my knee, compared to the more aggressive that may start at week 3 or 4. I feel like my body is ready, but I am choosing to honor my Dr's instruction to wait until 6 weeks.

Not much else to report. Still doing my exercises. Once I locate an ankle weight I'll continue with some 'enhanced' exercises too. I've watched several seasons of several series on Netflix... often while I'm doing my exercises. There's some funny and interesting stuff out there.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

3 Weeks of, Post Knee Surgery, Physical Therapy completed / Sudoku Solver

Three Weeks of, Post Knee Surgery, Physical Therapy completed .. how many more??

Compared to my entry before this, my first page of record keeping is full and today started a new page. And the photo of my knee .. not a whole lot different (no stitches now, maybe just a little less swelling).

At two weeks, the Dr removed the stitches and said it looked good. I was told that some of the swelling that is still present will likely stay until I'm able to put weight on my leg and start using the muscles - which will work the fluid out of the area. The first 2 weeks I was seeing the Physical Therapist twice a week, but now it will be 10 days when I visit again. (Part of that is insurance related - they only cover a limited number of visits, and the visits once I can put weight on are more important than now as long as I continue doing what I've been told to do).

I currently have a routine that takes about 60 minutes. That formal routine I like to do twice a day, with various other informal exercises sprinkled throughout. My normal routine is:
  1. - heal prop for 5 minutes (can and sometimes do for longer)
  2. - calf stretches (6 sets of 16 seconds with 5 seconds rest [6x16,5r])
  3. - hamstring stretches (6x16,5r)
  4. - front leg raises, squeezing the knee with quad muscles (6x16,5r)
  5. - side leg raises, squeezing the knee with quad muscles (6x16,5r)
  6. - hip raises (6x16,5r)
  7. - passive stretching (letting leg hang over table and go through 0-90 range) (5 minutes)
  8. - using a green band around my foot, working the foot in all 4 directions (20 each dir)
  9. - standing leg raises (move left leg front, side, back)(20 reps, 2 sets)
  10. - electrical stimulation on quad muscles while heel propped  (10 minutes)
  11. - ice treatment (10-15+ minutes)
I am able to remove my brace when I sleep now, that helps, but sleeping is still not always very restful. I've driven myself in our mini-van to a few places, so I can drive when necessary.

For the next 3 weeks, I've kind of got the routine that I need to follow down, with possible changes when I see my physical therapist this Friday.

What have I been doing with all this time at home and not really able to 'do' anything that requires walking of carrying anything? Well ... as a long time software developer ... I'm drawn back to writing software. My wife has become quite the Sudoku Master, so I'll do games with her occasionally on her Kindle, but have found myself writing a Sudoku solver. So far what I've got written will solve all the puzzles I've thrown at it.

Today I looked for very difficult puzzles and found one that my solver didn't solve. It turns out this puzzle requires the use of a technique called XY-Wing. I think I understand the concept now, but, the difficult part in this program, isn't just understanding different solving techniques, but in the ability to understand it well enough to be able to come up with logic and data structures to duplicate what we so easily process in our mind. As time allows, I will be adding some logic to handle this technique and then hope to be back up to 100% on my solve rate. (If you've got a puzzle for me to solve - send it my way. :-) Currently the program runs on my Windows desktop, but I am considering porting it from C# to Java and putting it on my Android phone, ... we'll see. I like the Android environment and have considered writing software again for it specifically. Just need to come up with the 'killer' app!

It's important to keep my mind active ... even if my body is not!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Physical Therapy: Good, Bad, .... Ugly!?

Physical Therapy: Good, Bad, .... Ugly!?

Physical Therapy: for those who have been 'broken' by this word, we all share a journey of healing, through a path of perseverance, mercy, help, discomfort, pain and time. It's a great option to have.

Photo1: It's been 3 days now since we've put up an old table in the front room, where I spend most of my time now. This table is kind of like my office, for my exercises that I'm doing for my therapy. It's a sturdy table that I can lay on and move around on and can hang my legs off for passive exercises as well. [On the table is a mat, the remove for the stereo, the home phone, my cell phone for timing exercises, my strap, my drink, and a place for me to elevate my foot for the most painful exercise of them all - the heal prop: where my foot is propped on the stool and foam roll with gravity providing sufficient force on my knee to cause discomfort/pain as I stay still. Today I did 10 min's and 11 min on my second set - a PR (Personal Record).]

Photo 2: this is my log book for my Physical Therapy. I like to record everything - it helps me be motivated and also encourages me as I can look back and see progress and perseverance. This log started on Friday: 1 wk and 1 day after surgery (2 weeks after my injury).

Photo 3: it hasn't been that long, but it looks like I'm already seeing some entropy of my left leg. I'm also having trouble firing the muscles of my left thigh. It is getting a little better, but still not in complete control. My therapist has suggested that I get an electro something that I attach to my muscles and it stimulates via electrical signals. My son has some device that kind-of looks like an ipod and I've been using that in the interim and it makes my muscles fire. It doesn't quite hurt, but it's in the grey between discomfort and pain.

So the Good, Bad and Ugly:
- the good would have to be that I was able to do my heal prop twice today for a time of 10 minutes - which is the suggested amount of time and its the first time I've been able to do it that long.
- the bad would have to be being at home and not able to do the things I enjoy (cycling, mountain biking, lifting weights, golfing, projects and tasks around the home, walks, ... etc).
- and the ugly would be my left leg ... wasting away....

Thursday, September 4, 2014

First day of Physical Therapy

Yesterday was my first trip and first time ever to physical therapy. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting ("I was expecting to be forced though painful exercises"), but instead found myself forcing myself to do these simple but painful exercises! (Pretty clever, having me torture myself.) The range of motion of my knee is what were working on now. Still not allowed to stand on it or have any weight on it .. for another 5 wks.

The following exercises are what I'm to be doing:
- Hamstring Stretch: with my recovering leg out flat, lean forward until there is a gentle stretch in the back of my thigh and behind my knee: hold for 15 seconds, 6 reps, 2x / day
- Calf Stretch: with my leg flat and straight, put one hand on my thigh and the other using a strap, pull my toes toward me for a gentle stretch in my calf and behind my knee: hold for 15 seconds, 6 reps, 2x / day
- Heal Prop : (my most painful exercise right now) keeping my knee straight and my foot raised up on a foam roller, totally relax and let the weight of my leg pull my knee straight into extension. Keep leg propped up for 10 mins without interruption: 6x / day (can't make it the full 10 minutes yet due to pain in my knee.)
- Quad Set: tighten both quadriceps muscles for 5 seconds trying to get the back of my knee flat against the table during the muscle contraction: repeat 30x, several / day (I can't really do this one either. I seem to have little control over the flexing of my left thigh. Sometimes it does and sometimes it won't, I've never had a problem flexing or controlling muscles before.)
- Passive Knee Flexing Motion: Sit at the edge of a bed or high tale with recovering leg supported by the 'good' leg. Totally relax the recovery leg and use the other leg to bend the knee as much as possible . Repeat for 5 - 10 mins. 2 x / day. Preferable to bend knee up to 90 deg.
- Ice Therapy: elevate leg above heart and use ice machine for 20 mins every 2 hrs daily.

My bed is a little soft and the floor is to low (to hard to get down and up), so I'm still figuring out where and how to do these. But I am doing them as best as I can right now.  I will go back tomorrow as the Physical Therapist (PT) wanted me back soon for a check up. Hopefully there will be some progress over my first visit.

The photo captures my Grand daughter who was over this week, and developed a sympathetic pain in her right leg that required her to walk around the house with crutches! It was very sweet ...

The photo not here, is of me going to Costco with my wife, where I'm using one of the electric carts ... if you every want to be invisible, try using one of those. Wow, I'm still unwinding that experience...
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