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[BILATERAL TKR] The Historian - recovery diary

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by TheHistorian, Mar 11, 2012.

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  1. TheHistorian

    TheHistorian Post-Grad

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    Surgery took five hours and I lost a lot of blood, more than anticipated. The hospital has provided first class care. My surgeon has seen me three times since the operation, I've been working with physical therapists, my primary care doctor has been here, and the nursing staff is both caring and, I must admit, HOT. (I'm too old for them, unfortunately.)

    I've seen my friend Will and his wife twice; they just dropped off my laptop so I could update my friends here. They also prayed with me. People from my church are coming this week.

    I'm on a full schedule of medicines, most usual for this sort of surgery: Coumadin, a blood thinner to combat clotting; Celebrex, for pain releif; a stool softener, to help me get back into a regular routine (surgery and the drugs are terribly constipating), Percoset as needed, replacing morphine when I was on an IV; and Lyrica, which is usually perscribed for Restless Leg Syndrome but is used after bilateral knee replacements to help reduce 'night kicking.'

    As mentioned upthread, I have some probable nerve damage from moving the right leg straight. This wasn't entirely unexpected. My surgeon, who does knee replacements all the time, says that while this happens now and again my right leg was as "bad as I've seen". The nerves were not cut, so the damage is from stretching. I'm told with a few months of treatment I'll be back to normal, whatever "normal" is. At the moment I have muscle and motor numbness in both feet, and in particular the right. When I get transferred to a rehab hospital in a couple of days we are going to work on getting me to walk and stand properly. At the moment I can't do either. I don't know how long I'll be in rehab, or how long until I get back on a bike. Its going to be one day at a time. In the meantime I have the resources of Phoenixville Hospital, my doctors, the medical staff, my friends here and elsewhere, my family, and my church. It hit me when Will prayed with me this evening.....What a friend I have in Jesus....Sorry I have to stop writing now... I can't stop crying at my good fortune......
     
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    • TheHistorian

      TheHistorian Post-Grad

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      Re: Bent out of shape....

      ai39.tinypic.com_o8arte.jpg
       
    • Jamie

      Jamie Administrator

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      Re: Bent out of shape....

      Bless your heart. I was tearing up too reading your post. I know this surgery and the upcoming recovery may post some challenges for you, but by gosh, you have an army of people in your support network. A person couldn't ask for more than that!!!

      Thanks for taking time to post during this early period. Take care and get lots of rest. I'll look forward to your next update when you can post it.
       
    • referee54

      referee54 Moderator

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      Re: Bent out of shape....

      Thank you very much for the update! I am sorry to read of the nerve damage---but I am confident that you will conquer them---as well as fellow members of your church congregation are also helping you through this, as well.

      Please keep us updated when you feel that you are up to it.
       
    • zjrog

      zjrog Sr Bonesmartie

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      Re: Bent out of shape....

      Brother it pains me I'm unable to visit personally. Things will improve, but it will take time. You know how to reach me!
       
    • Roy Gardiner

      Roy Gardiner Forum Advisor

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      Sounds like you're off to a great start.

      Numbness is normal, apparently, down each side of the knee to the 'outside' of the incision. It certainly happened to me and is still recovering, about 95% normal now I guess.
       
    • sunflower

      sunflower Graduate

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      Historian, it's so good to hear from you on the other side. Your knees had a HUGE makeover and it's going to take some time to adjust to the new normal. I know time seems to stand still when you are pretty uncomfortable but know that your body is working double time for the remodeling project and you will get a little better with each passing day. :flowerysmile:
       
    • Jazyb

      Jazyb Post-Grad

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      Historian, I wish you all the best with your recovery and I'm sure the difficult challenges ahead will be so worth it.
       
    • ruppbike

      ruppbike Sr Bonesmartie

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      Historian - SO Very Happy for you. That recognition of being so blessed is a great thing to possess.
       
    • zjrog

      zjrog Sr Bonesmartie

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      I'm with Sunflower on the issue of "Normal". New Normal will change day to day. And I'm sure you don't want the OLD Normal. Thinking about you brotherman...
       
    • rubysue

      rubysue Senior

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      I hope things are going as well as can be expected at this point. I'm glad you came back to post about your surgery and recovery.
       
    • Larosser

      Larosser Member

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      Welcome and best of luck! I'm sure you're going to be VERY happy with your results.

      La
       
    • Dawni

      Dawni Member

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      sending you heeling thoughts, rest rest and more rest
       
    • PooShay

      PooShay Sr Bonesmartie

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      Glad the outlook is good, even if it may take a while to get there.

      Hugs.
       
    • Pleinair5

      Pleinair5 Member

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      Hey, Historian,

      I really loved reading all your posts up to now and wish you the best in your recovery. I so admire your work to stay so active with the terrible condition of your knees before surgery. Imagine what you will be doing now! Inspiring! In six days I too will be having replacement and valgus correction and hope also to return to cycling. So it is inspiring to see what you have gone through and your great spirit.
      Betsy
       
    • TheHistorian

      TheHistorian Post-Grad

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      Just an update six days out....

      Two days ago I was transferred to the rehab hospital. I've gone from being bedbound to spending nine hours in a wheelchair or walker. Flexion is at 85 on the right, 83 left. Extension is at ten on each. It was 10 right 15 left prior to surgery. When you consider I've gotten taller because my legs are now straight my extension improved even if the number didn't change - the hamstrings stretched to match the new knees.

      I still need help dressing, undressing, getting into and out of bed, bathing and eliminating.... but less each time. My pain relievers are Celebrex and Percoset. Pain, aside from the numbness, is in the calf muscles, not the incision or joint.

      I'm taking physical therapy and occupational therapy, spending four hours a day in CPM machines, and wearing a boot on my right foot at night to keep the nerve damage from becoming a new normal. My hunger has returned, I'm eating without digestive problems and I have regular stools. In short, I feel like I should be suffering more. Or is this much improvement so soon normal?
       
    • Pumpkln

      Pumpkln Forum Advisor

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      Glad to hear you are doing well. :thumb:
      Thanks for the update.
       
    • Roy Gardiner

      Roy Gardiner Forum Advisor

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      Mr Historian, our cases are similar in that we are bilat and I too had my legs straightened; dissimilar in that your condition was so much worse than mine.
      This may be a honeymoon period, and you may face bigger challenges on going home (this might seem obvious, I'm not trying to insult your intelligence here) simply from having to do more for yourself. I certainly went home too early because of boredom in hospital, I'd suggest hanging on as long as possible!
      I had to re-learn how to stand and to walk, starting from 110+ and 3. Hamstring and calf stretches are still de rigeur. BUT the whole thing is (waxes evangelical) a joyful road. Each tiny improvement feels better, so much better. Slow and steady wins that race, IMO.
       
    • TheHistorian

      TheHistorian Post-Grad

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      My "hanging on" depends on the insurance company - as an American I have coverage "privately" or through my employer. As the inpatient rehab at this hospital is both state of the art and expensive there's a tension between fixing me up and getting me out. The consensus is that I'll be here at least through the weekend. My probable discharge is next week, but no date has been set. My personal goal is to get to the point I can use the bathroom without aid before I am discharged.
       
    • Roy Gardiner

      Roy Gardiner Forum Advisor

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      I found in those early days that once stood up I was fine. The new knees take the load, crutches keep the balance. The more the knees were bent and taking force, the more they hurt.

      So the essential piece of kit for me was a toilet seat riser, enabling minimum leg bend on 'assuming the position'.
       
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