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Extreme Fatigue 3 mths Post-Op

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by Pawan, Dec 22, 2010.

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  1. Pawan

    Pawan Junior Member

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    I had BTKR on 25 Aug and was doing really well, or so I thought. Returned to work full-time at 10 weeks (office work, so sitting down most of the day). At about 14 weeks I was suddenly so fatigued on Sat that I slept on & off most of the day. :th_sleep: I would usually go to the gym for Pilates, some recumbent cycling, & aqua aerobics. Ok, I thought, maybe everything had finally caught up with me. But this fatigue continued for 5 weeks, every weekend I 'lost' my Sat as I could only sleep on & off. I'd make it from the bed to the couch, then fall asleep again. Then one week I even missed work on Fri as the fatigue came a day earlier than usual. I've had routine blood tests & all is 'normal' (no anemia, thyroid function ok).

    As far as the knees are concerned, they are just great! The left one is like new, but there's still some residual soreness in the right. It's so wonderful to walk without that awful arthritic grinding pain. I am having other symptoms affecting the right leg but these are due to a large herniated disc at L5-S1 (below my L2-L5 fusion). The right foot is numb, constant pins & needles, and the right calf is quite sore - but the knee is fine.

    It's now 17 weeks and I'm wondering when or if this fatigue will ever end. I am so tired of being tired all the time.

    I guess I want to know if anyone else has experienced this level of fatigue, or if it's considered 'normal' at this stage.
     
  2. maryo52

    maryo52 Sr Bonesmartie

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    Gee, just when you think you've "arrived," this comes along.

    I have no experience to share but I'll offer the one observation that the fatigue is coming at the end of your work week and might suggest that even if it is office work, perhaps you're working too many hours for your body to keep up. My theory is that surgery and recovery consume at lot of our "reserves."

    You came to the right place for help. Must say I envy you starting summer. I'm not in the best mood for a Maine USA winter!

    Good luck and Happy Holidays!!
     
  3. Jaycey

    Jaycey Moderator

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    Hi Pawan, I notice you had both knees replaced. One joint replacement is major - both is mega major! Very natural you are tired - even without returning to work.

    You say you returned to work full time at 10 weeks. Normal recommendation is a phased approach at 10-12 weeks. Please spend some time reading the threads in the Library about this. One suggestion is Phased return to work after surgery.

    If I were you I would scale back a bit and build up the work/activity time. When you are no longer tired add more work time. You need to give your body a chance to heal.

    Take care!
     
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  4. Max Wallace

    Max Wallace Graduate

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    I had days when I was bounding with energy and others when I barely had enough to get through the day. This surgery, whether it one or two is a major ordeal for your body to heal, its not surprising that some days its all your body can do just to keep up with the energy it needs for healing. I think about 6 months I quit having those days.

    Rest, sleep and let your body tell you what it needs. I remember craving MILK for the first 6 weeks after surgery I guess it was my need for calcium to heal the bones, I have always drank milk for breakfast and sometimes with dessert but during that first 6 weeks it was a never ending thing, not thirst the craving was different because I wasn't thirsty I just had this need for milk and eventually it went away.

    Best wishes!
     
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  5. brs0660

    brs0660 Forum Advisor

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    Jaycey is so right. Going back to work is hard!! I still find that by the end of the week, I am totally exhausted. I had my surgery in Feb and went back to work after eight weeks part time and 12 weeks full time. It is amazing how just moving around and getting up and down truly is tiring.

    This is a 6 month healing process (at least). I think between the trauma of being hammered, drilled and sawed AND the body's response to healing..it just takes time. If you continue to be fatigued, check back with your GP.

    Have a good holiday!:xmtr:
     
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  6. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    It is quite common to feel dramatic tired spells up until the 6 month point and sometimes as long as a year out from the surgery. It's true...you had TWO knees done which doubles the trauma to your body!! I think your fatigue is related to work. Even though you are not in a physical job, it is still demanding....and causing stress which can make a person tired.

    If it's possible to scale back at work, do it for a while. It might help if you make sure you get up and walk around for at least 5 minutes (10 is better) every hour. If there is a place where you could relax and put your feet up at lunchtime, that would be good too.

    If you can't scale back your hours at work, just continue to allow your body that catch-up on the weekends. I'm glad you ARE listening to your body....it will tell you what it needs. Right now, that is obviously .... more rest than you've been getting.

    One other thing.....be sure you aren't doing too much when you're NOT at work. It's pretty easy for the errands, cooking, cleaning, other household chores, social activities, going out to eat, activities with children or grandchildren, etc. to add up without you realizing it. Let those things go as much as you can until you have more stamina. And if you are still doing any PT or exercises or trips to the gym....stop that for now....you don't need it and it will increase your fatigue.
     
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  7. Josephine

    Josephine NURSE DIRECTOR, BONESMART Administrator

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    Well, 10 weeks is a tad early for bilat. I don't even let my clients return till 12 weeks after one knee or hip! But David had a great way of putting it

    He's dead right on that too!
    .
     
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  8. Pawan

    Pawan Junior Member

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    Many thanks to all of you for the reassuring words. I would have loved to stay off work a bit longer but I just couldn't afford to - I was already on leave without pay and am still paying it back at work. I'll be on reduced pay through to Feb (I got them to stagger the LWOP days over 4 months). However, I am seriously thinking of asking to go on a 4 day week in early Jan - I feel like 5 days is too much and my body needs at least 3 days to 'recover'.

    Happy holidays to all the bone smarties! :chrgrn:
     
  9. maryo52

    maryo52 Sr Bonesmartie

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    I suppose it's a good sign you're wanted so badly back at work, especially in these times. Glad to hear you're trying to cut yourself some slack.

    I'm a per diem nurse in a facility that is chronically short staffed, and I'm half expecting a call any time asking me to work a shift . . . which is not for probably a couple of months. And even then, I'll have to start with working a half shift at most. If necessary I will have my ortho write a note explaining my limitations.

    Meanwhile you've no doubt found ways to reduce any workload or stress outside of work. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days where I could sleep on and off all day Saturday, so that's not a bad thing. At least now you know your fatigue is not abnormal. Good luck!
     
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  10. Josephine

    Josephine NURSE DIRECTOR, BONESMART Administrator

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    That's interesting, Mary - over here we call them 'bank' nurses meaning the admin has a book of names the wards can 'draw on' when the need arises.
     
  11. referee54

    referee54 Moderator

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    I went back to teaching at about eight weeks after my BTKR. I was sore and very, very tired. I also had PT twice a week and that brought me close to exhaustion at times. While I admit that having the BTKR was the best way to go for me, it really does take a toll on your body and on your psychological make-up, as well.This process takes a long,long time to overcome.


    I call it a roller coaster ride. I would have some great days and then I would have days that I would call clunkers---you just toss them out. Eventually, though, I returned to normal---what I was capable of doing before arthritis stole stuff away from me. You will, too.

    I am now riding my bike and umpiring baseball games, but looking back, I was exhausted and getting out of bed in the morning was an adventure sometimes.

    Things will get better, I promise you that!

    Tim C.
     
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  12. Kel

    Kel Junior Member

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    I went back to work after 5 1/2 weeks due to a dwindling supply of sick days. In hindsight it was probably too soon even though I have a desk job, but I really didn't have many days left. I have an office job, but also found that I was really tired by the middle of the week - I was having a mental meltdown by Wed night! I ended up taking a Thurs and Fri off one week in mid December to rest, ice, and elevate (even tho I do elevate and ice at work).

    I am using a couple of the days that I "saved" along with holiday days to be off this week between Christmas and New Years. I am planning on doing a lot of nothing so I can start off the new year with renewed energy!
     
  13. Josephine

    Josephine NURSE DIRECTOR, BONESMART Administrator

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    You know, contrary to popular opinion of it being "only" a desk job, there is evidence that it is often more problematic than a more active job.

    This is a piece from Fat Pad Impingement, Hoffa's syndrome and PFPS

    However, how does one explain the "movie" sign (Pain in the knee with a prolonged period of sitting)?

    One does not put excessive force through the knee as they sit.
    There are two leading theories for the movie sign.
    The first that while sitting we may predispose our knee to change normal position and now structures may impinge a once swollen inflamed synovial lining.

    The second being that as we sit our knee's intra articular pressure increases and thus creates pain. Studies have shown that the knee is an extremely fibrotic and capsular entity. When put in prolonged flexion we may impede venous outflow and increase arterial blood flow to and from the knee. This change in blood flow can increase the pressure within our knee as we sit. (The complexity and fullness of blood supply to the knee can be seen in this image)

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. conniew

    conniew Junior Member

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    Everyone here has made me feel so much better! I have good days and bad, and now, I am just " going with it " . I figure that I didn't feel this way before my surgery, and I have to stop feeling so guilty about being pooped out now. I'm not being so hard on myself about getting not much done. I am very fortunate in that I was on short term disability through the end of January. The unfortunate thing was I couldn't return to my job as my OS said my knee would never hold up to my job as a Fedex courier. The way I feel physically I couldn't do it anyway. ( at least right now ) The good news is I was 55 and could take an early retirement from Fedex, and am now waiting on a school bus driver position. Things always seem to work out for the best, so if I don't start doing that til March I'm fine with that, hopefully I won't be as tired then...
     
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