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Fatigue after Bilateral TKR

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by Georgette, Oct 9, 2011.

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  1. Georgette

    Georgette Junior Member

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    Hello All,

    I am a 59 yr old woman, fairly healthy, and had bilateral TKR on 9/2/11. I have no regrets - everything has gone well - better than anticipated. I was in the hospital for 6 days - I received 6 transfusions. Because I live alone - not counting my two dogs - I went to in-patient rehab for two weeks. The rehab was amazing and they really got me on my feet. I work full time, however, I am planning on taking three full months off before going back to work - 12/2/11. I had in-home p.t. and tomorrow I begin out-patient p.t.

    I'm wondering how long the fatigue will last for. I have had days that I know I've overdone it and I'm now trying to pace myself. I care for myself, my home and my two dogs. I do have a dog-walker once daily and because I can walk with a cane I go out and take walks - sometimes with one of my dogs and sometimes by myself. My gait is good, but it is slow. After walking and doing mediocre household duties, I'm exhausted. When I get tired, I now use the downstairs bedroom to elevate and ice my knees and i take a time-out to rest - which I'm not accustomed to. When I start the day my thought process is overly ambitious and I may start off thinking I can run 3-4 errands and am able to manage one or two. I had been fairly active up until approximately two yrs ago - I cared for my dying husband and after his death my ability to once again become active was diminished by pain. I'm a little overweight - not too much. Also lost some weight after surgery.

    So, I think this covers it. Please share your experience with me and let me know if my expectations are too high and if the fatigue goes hand-in-hand with this type of surgery.

    Thanks so much - because I read the many threads posted on this site on bilateral tkr, I was empowered to go ahead and do so.
     
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  2. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Hi, Georgette.....welcome to BoneSmart! God bless you for what you have been through these past couple of years. My heart goes out to you for the loss of your husband.

    I'm glad to hear you are doing well after your BTKR...and, from the sound of your post...you are doing VERY well. You are only slightly more than a month out and already walking and doing errands. Wow!!!

    The fatigue is definitely part of the recovery process. It can last up to 6 months in some form. But, as you know from your activity level, even though you tire easily, you are still able to function. With each passing month, it will get better and better.

    I think you are so very wise to have planned for 3 months off from work. A full time job does take a toll on your strength and you need to be ready to make that transition.

    Just keep doing as you're doing and you're going to be fine. You'll find yourself overdoing it now and then, but those are the times you just rest a bit and then get back in the game.

    I look forward to reading more posts from you as you make your way through recovery.
     
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  3. Georgette

    Georgette Junior Member

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    Jamie - thanks so much for the encouragement. As I continued reading after I posted, I also became aware that some depression and tears are not out of the norm.
     
  4. referee54

    referee54 Moderator

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    Georgette---I had a BTKR about four years ago. I can understand your frustration as well as how you feel---but it did take me about ten weeks before I actually felt less fatigued and energetic---as Jamie says, it can take longer, too.

    Please keep in mind as to what happened to your body about five weeks ago---this take time for the body to overcome the surgical trauma, and it is expending a great deal of energy at healing, too.

    It does sound like you are dong quite well-- pleas remember that healing froma TKR and most certainly a BTKR!) takes a great deal of patience.

    Congratulations on your voyage to the "other side!"
     
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  5. MsHeidi

    MsHeidi Graduate

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    Hi, Georgette,
    I had BTKR four days after you did. Yes, I'm exhausted! I'm fully aware, though, that I will be exhausted for a long time to come. But, I get a little further each day before it hits me. Today, I actually managed to stand in the kitchen and make stew. I couldn't resist it, with the snow this weekend.
     
  6. carlene

    carlene Junior Member

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    Hi Georgette, It took me about 3 months to not feel so fatigued, and also about that long of crying just about every day. I truly was not prepared for the level of depression, now almost 6 months out...still have a little remnant of that. I didn't go back to work for 5 months, because I work full time and 12 hour shifts. Going back to work has really been hard! My hat is off to you, after I came home @ 2 weeks post op, I cannot imaging having to do it by myself. My husband stayed home with me for a little over a week, and he was awesome. It sounds like you are doing so much better at this stage than I was. Good luck to you with your recovery.
     
  7. sashayinglady

    sashayinglady Senior

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    Welcome Georgette!
    Sounds like you're ahead of the game, so keep up the great job!
    6 blood infusions, Wow! I'm sure you're taking a iron supplement, if not, ask your primary MD. That will help with the fatigue. I was "worn out" every day, then 6 mths post-op I had my yearly exam & my Hct / Hgb was still very low, now after 3 mths of Icar-C (iron) my levels are normal.
    Rest when you can & elevate & ice.
    My best buddy, Ms. Jasmine kept me company after my husband returned to work.... A little cuddle time always cheered me up. Especially after pt.
    Take care!
    Darlene
     
  8. Georgette

    Georgette Junior Member

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    Thanks so much to everyone! Yes, I do take an iron supplement as well as D3 and folic acid.

    Ms. Heidi - stew - impressive! When my son took me food-shopping I bought beef, veal and pork and italian sausage - thinking I'd make a big pot of sauce . . .the meet is still in the freezer. But I am active - yesterday and today were beautiful and I was out for aleast 6 walks - with my cane and one of my two dogs in tow. I've also vacuumed - which is easy enough, because the floors are wood. I have someone do the leaves for me, but also have a battery operated blower and blew the leaves off the deck and driveway. I'm not used to sitting and resting, but am getting much better, because after each and every task and/or walk, I elevate my legs and put ice packs on them.

    Also meant to mention for anyone who is still icing, I find that the 4lb bags of frozen pease wrapped in pillow cases work best.
     
  9. cotton1958

    cotton1958 Supremo

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    Congrats on your BTKR's!!

    I had 2 transfusions after mine. I felt a lot better after them. Be sure to have all that checked out again, just in case.

    My suggestions are to slow down a little, take naps, and up your protein intake. When taking pain meds, your appetite may go away, but when I ate protein, it was very amazing how much better I would feel. Also get back to your vitamins if it's okay with your Dr. I took a multi-vitamin, and a few other things like Calcium w/D and Magnesium etc.

    You can't make your body feel better, just help it along while it heals. And it will take up to a year to heal.

    Wishing you the best!
     
  10. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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  11. Georgette

    Georgette Junior Member

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    Josephine - thanks so much for your input - it all makes sense. I am learning . . .I'm taking a rest and have ice on my elevated knees after my morning chores - vacuuming and cleaning up the downstairs area and two walks. It's taking my mind-set a while to get accustomed to the fact that I do need to rest - and not feel guilty about doing so.
     
  12. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    You shouldn't be doing vacuuming and housework yet!!! Much too early! This is your healing/recovery time. Nothing else is important.
     
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  13. MsHeidi

    MsHeidi Graduate

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    Georgette, that stew was wonderful, but my legs were hollering by the time I could sit down. It was a tad ambitious, but I wanted stew, dang it! I would probably be considering making sauce, too, but, luckily, I made a huge pot and froze quarts of it just before the surgery! It's hard to keep a good cook down, isn't it?
     
  14. Georgette

    Georgette Junior Member

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    Indeed it is MsHeidi:biggrin:

    Josephine - of course you're right . . .I will refrain from overdoing it.

    I had my first out-patient today and it went really well. My p.t. said that if he saw me elsewhere that he would not have known I had surgery. After evaluating me I did some stretching exercise and went on the bike. To my surprise, I was able to fully rotate - rather slowly - but nevertheless did so.

    I am goint to spend the rest of the evening with my legs elevated and do nothing but rest.

    Many thanks to all.
     
  15. referee54

    referee54 Moderator

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    Georgette---

    I understand how you are feeling---but in looking back, I have to tell you somethings that I didn't fully realize---they cut you open, they sawed off bones from both legs, they were not gentle when man-handling you during surgery, they pounded, glued (and possibly screwed things into you, and then they finally sewed or steri-srtipped you up.

    Your pain meds can cause you to feel somewhat lathargic, too, and you must consider what was done to your body---actually a short time ago---and what the body is doing in allocating energy toward healing.

    Patience is necessary---you are actually making great progress--but please do not try to return to normal this quickly. Take your time, be patient, and ice/elevate, and rest. Getting out---even to PT---is a great thing; you are doing amazingly well. This thing called recovery can be like a roller coaster ride with good days, some great days, and some rel stinkers tossed in, too.

    The destination is there and you will reach it. Take your time and please be patient. You will be amazed to see how great you feel down the road.
     
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  16. daisycats

    daisycats Junior Member

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    I had a btkr 3 months ago. It took me awhile and lots of support from this site to realize when I felt good -rest ice and elevate even when you feel like doing things. When I went back to work at 6 weeks part time( 1/2 days 3 days a week) I felt I was doing great and one day I almost collapsed because of fatigue. Your body is still recovering and needs rest. You will get stronger everyday just take it easy and rest and do things for a bit and rest some more and do something else for another little bit. I am doing much better now but still need my rest in the afternoon and sometimes even a nap. It is so easy to overdo it because it so exciting to do things without knee pain.

    Laurie btkr 7/22/11
     
  17. Georgette

    Georgette Junior Member

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    Tim - thanks so much. Because the surgical sites are healing so well, I no longer even think of what the surgery entailed. When I was first evaluated by the home healthcare nurse, he did tell me that in cases like mine, where a patient seemingly does as well as I had been doing, that it is not unusual that they would experience difficulty along the way. I think that by the time I had the surgery, I had absolutely no anxiety about moving forward; I had been fairly active - learned how to ride a bike at 42 yrs old and at 59 was still riding on some challenging terrain. Because of the pain prior to surgery, I was unable to do much as far as the physical activities that I enjoyed - and even the daily activities of maintaining my home, working full-time and exercising my two dogs - became difficult to manage. So, pain is a great motivator and I think that I was on such a high because I did so well, that after being home for 2-1/2 weeks I'm coming down off that high and crashing.

    While in rehab for two weeks, tt was nice having someone bring me ice, cook me 3 meals daily and offer encouragement whenever I needed it. I'm just getting used to being home alone and feeling a bit sorry for myself.

    Laurie - you are so right - the other day while I was out walking, it was as though a lightbulb went on in my head and I realized that although stiff and a bit slow, I did not have that awful, buckling pain in my knee.

    Thanks again for listening.
     
  18. sashayinglady

    sashayinglady Senior

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    :yay: For the great job of recovery!
    Remember, this is your Time to heal, rest & relax. Do what you feel like, just in short intervals. Major house work is too much right now & no lifting any object weighing 25 pounds or heavier, just FYI!
    I had to learn patience, patience & more patience myself...oh well, just sharing a little insight from my experience, from Ms Hardhead. :loll:
    Enjoy those walks with your buddies!
    Darlene
     
  19. referee54

    referee54 Moderator

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    Patience, Grasshopper, Patience

    [​IMG]

    The absolutely toughest concept for me to grasp after my BTKR was the idea of patience---I wanted my life back, and I wanted it NOW!. I got it back, but I had to learn that two knees were in charge of recovery, not what I wanted. I was not on my schedule for recovery; the schedule for recovery was set by my knees. Anyway, it took a while, but wow---the results were for me, amazing. I am sure that they will be the same for you.
     
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  20. Georgette

    Georgette Junior Member

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    6 weeks post-op and fatigue after Bilateral TKR

    Hi everyone,

    I saw my surgeon today and thought he was going to tell me how great I was doing. The rehab folks told me, neighbors, family, friends, my new physical therapist at out-patient p.t. Everyone said "You're doing great!" (I started out-patient this week). Tomorrow is six weeks and I was in the hospital for 6 days and in rehab for 14 days. Did in-home p.t. for two weeks. When I had spoken with the surgeon's office manager after coming home from rehab, she told me that I should start outpatient right away. I explained that I live alone and had no-one to drive me and pick me up three times weekly. I thought 5 weeks post-op out-patient p.t. was a good plan.

    I told the OS that I thought I was going to get an A+ and he said more like a C:cry: My ROM is 105 and 115. My knees are both straight and I thought that was excellent. When he examined me and bent my knees, I almost jumped off the table. He told me that in p.t., that similar stretching should be done - said forget about the machines - you can join a gym - you should be getting deep tissue massage (which I am), stretching (which I am), and bending (which I am), . By the time all was said and done, he told me I'd be fine and agreed that I get an A for straight knees, C for ROM - which would be a B or B-.

    I have a few questions: Did anyone do in-home p.t.? and for how long did you do it? When did you start out-patient p.t. and finally,, at 6 weeks, what has your ROM been?

    I go back in 6 weeks to see the OS and am going to work hard at ROM.
     
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