fitness · rest

One week countdown to second knee replacement surgery: 10 things Sam is doing to get ready


Obviously it’s good to arrive at the hospital the day of surgery well rested. I’ll try to get a good night’s sleep the night before but more importantly I’ll try to get lots of regular sleep the week before. I’m doing pretty well these days. No 4 hour nights, followed by 10 hour nights.

Check it out!



This goal might conflict with sleep. Lol. I’m trying to get lots done at work so things are under control for the people I leave in the Acting Dean role. It’s hard because it’s not just that the Dean is away, it’s also that we’re down one person in the dean’s office. And we’re short on staff to start. In September when I went on medical leave for knee #1, things were pretty calm. Not so now. We’re still in the middle of budget conversations and there’s a lot up in the air.


Another goal that competes with work and sleep for my time…

I’m aiming to put as much movement as possible in the bank because post surgery there’ll be a few weeks when it will only be physio plus a lot of lying around. I’ve been working on core and upper body strength too for all of the getting in and out of bed activity, which is especially challenging after surgery when your legs don’t work. All the triceps exercises, right Meg? (Meg is the world’s best personal trainer and she works at the U of G athletics centre, where she’s also the throwing coach.)

Last week I did three hours of personal training plus two physio appointments plus a ton of walking. This weekend I was happy to get out on my bike, outdoors. Yay!

Outdoor bike riding first time since Arizona

I also have some exercise goals to wrap up this week, like the Build Me Up Lite training program in Zwift.

Here’s my progress so far:

Tidying and organizing stuff

Getting around on crutches isn’t easy and it especially isn’t easy if you’re navigating around stuff. I’m going to clear out my room and put things away, leaving out only the things I’ll need. I’m swapping over winter and summer clothing early because once I’m back at work, I won’t need my winter work clothes. It’s a task that’s physically easy now but won’t be so easy after surgery.

There’s also the stuff I’ll need post surgery– the ice machine, pain drugs, crutches, etc. I’m trying to find all the things and get organized.

Iron and good eating

Readers who follow me on social media will know that I struggled a bit to get my iron levels where they should be for surgery. In the end, diet alone wouldn’t do it (I’m a vegetarian) but ferrous glucanate did the trick. I also supplemented vitamin C since that is supposed to help with iron absorption. I’m now at the top end of normal for adult women. But I am still trying to eat lots of leafy green vegetables. Sarah made this soup for us to take to a potluck on Saturday to celebrate an anniversary.

Leek Soup with Herbed Gremolata

Movies and shows

The last time through I made a big stack of books I’d planned on reading but honestly for the first few weeks I just wasn’t up to reading. I moved from philosophy to challenging contemporary fiction to popular fiction and then genre fiction, but none of it stuck. I just kept losing track of the plot and the characters and getting frustrated. For the first few weeks even challenging TV was too much. SheHulk was about right. Also, Never Have I Ever. After that, I needed gripping content. I ended up binging Better Call Saul and then Breaking Bad. This time I might watch The Expanse and Babylon 5. I’ve also never watched The Wire.


I’ve been doing physio twice a week for a very long time. But these days the focus is on getting ready for the next knee surgery. The left knee–the new one–is in pretty good shape. So we’re rehabbing the left knee, and pre-habbing the right.


I’m struggling a bit here. At one level, I really don’t want to go through this again. I know what it feels like and I’m not anxious to experience that again.

I’ve been enjoying walking a bit and riding my bike. But I am still in a lot of knee pain, the right knee. One day this week I wasn’t sure even with my cane if I could make it to the gym. This has to be done and better sooner than later as right now it’s the right knee that’s slowing me down.

I keep telling myself that it will be good to have the summer (no ice, no snow!) to recover.

I’m trying very hard to focus on the positive–SWIMMING!–and not worry so much about missing another summer of physical activity.

Mostly it’s just a lot of reminding myself that yes, this will be very hard, but I can do hard things.

Bird feeder

Since I plan on spending a lot of time in the back room, which a good view of the deck, or out on the deck, I think I’ll get a feeder and see if I can attract some birds to our back deck.

Bird feeders

I’m also getting a haircut!

Haircut with Dante at Image Makeover, On Queen West, Toronto. Before.
Haircut, after. But not yet dry.

2 thoughts on “One week countdown to second knee replacement surgery: 10 things Sam is doing to get ready

  1. Here’s another recommendation during early recovery: subscribe to the My Modern Met daily newsletter. It’a all art all the time. Just the cool images may be interesting and distracting, and you can decide later if you want to keep it up. I just started subscribing to the free newsletter, and I’m glad I did.

  2. I am sure that there are a lot of your readers who will be sending their thoughts your way for a speedy recovery. Best wishes to you!

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