The CPM Machine and final PT

The last post for my medical journey.

The CPM machine is designed to continuously flex the knee for 2 hours at a time for a total of 18 hours a day (the surgeon’s request!). The machine is designed to be placed on a bed, the operative leg is placed in the nicely padded cradle of the machine and the machine slowly flexes your knee and relaxes it continuously. It actually was very helpful and reasonably comfortable. However, if you calculate time for eating, showering and bathroom visits, in house physical therapy, minor exercise required by the physical therapists and a bit more for relaxation and socializing with a spouse, 18 hours on the machine is difficult to accomplish. So yes, you are expected to actively be on the machine while sleeping. After a bit of getting used to it, I could actually sleep while the machine did its work.  Oh, and I got the main bed and my poor wife was relegated to the guest room if she wanted to sleep. So I spent two weeks going through my daily routine for a short time, going back to bed for time on the machine, a bit more time out of bed, rinse, repeat.

An Image of the Continuous Motion Machine
The CPM Machine

Two weeks of in-home physical therapy followed the surgery (coupled with the CPM machine) and about four months more at the physical therapist’s office. The physical therapy for a total knee replacement is much more intense than the PT for a hip replacement. The therapist has to constantly challenge how far you can bend your knee and actually push it to bend just a little further than you’d like. My PT spent a lot of time working on the incision which is about 8 or 9 inches right down the front center of the knee, over the kneecap. As he painlessly pushed down directly on the scar, I could feel what seemed to be bubble wrap popping under the scar. It felt a little strange and I had to wonder what exactly was popping, but in time that exercise helps to reduce the apparent scar in such a visible place. In addition, my PT constantly pushed me to flex my knee well beyond the comfort point in order to regain the motion of my knee. Since I had been nursing an injured knee for many years, it was always swollen and seemed like it might stay that way. Now, after four months of appointments and a lot of different home exercises I have been released from PT with an admonition to continue doing the home exercises for up to a year from surgery because that will continue to gain mobility in the knee. The therapy was uncomfortable at times but I really enjoyed the experience and will miss the staff who worked so carefully with me. One of the Technicians was going to return to school and another got called to join a Women’s Ice Hockey team in Finland, so I purchased a gift certificate from a local bakery so they could enjoy a small going away gathering and to thank them for their patience with me.

An image of physical therapy on the knee
Knee Therapy
Another image of physical therapy for the knee
Knee Therapy

I am still bothered by balance issues 3 or 4 times a week, probably as a result of the Covid infection and the long-hauler syndrome. Other than that, with any luck my medical journey is over for a while. In closing this chapter, a sincere hat tip and admiration for the medical community, in my case nurses at all levels and physical therapists who worked with me through 11 months and worked hands on with me even after I had Covid-19. They are an amazingly dedicated group of professionals and I am very grateful for them.

Published by barnberry

Well over aged 60 (well, OK, a lot more than that...) father of one outstanding young woman, unworthy husband of the most patient and talented woman in the world, retired small business owner, lover of all the wrong foods, political junkie and resident of NH. A conservative with a libertarian streak, and a thoughtful, impish, dedicated curmudgeon.

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