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TKR Benne68 in recovery

Jockette

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Giving up the walking aids, like all other aspects of this recovery, varies for each of us.
After a couple of weeks I was able to give up the walker, and switched to a cane.
I didn’t use it around the house as much as I probably should have, but I did keep using it when I wasn’t home, for several months. My balance was off for a while after surgery and I just felt better with it, and used it even longer when I knew I’d be on uneven ground.

The cane is also really handy if you’ve been walking for a bit and get tired, it’s amazing how much it helps. I was 5 months post op when my son got married. The wedding was 90 minutes from where we lived, so we commuted a couple of times that weekend for wedding events. By the time I left the reception, I was really tired and in a lot of pain and was so glad to have my cane with me, just to get to the car! Yes, even at 5 months I had totally overdone it for several days, and the situations had required a lot of standing.
 

Catalien45

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Yay! Made it to the other side! RTKR surgery was yesterday morning at 11, and they moved me out of recovery into a room around 4 p.m. Didn't see the PT until 7, so decided to stay the night. Came home this morning at about 11.

Thankfully, the nerve block was only just starting to wear off, so the trip wasn't bad. Been icing and elevating since I got home, still waiting for the pain to kick in.

Happy to report that my surgeon ordered two weeks of R.I.E. (rest, elevating and icing)! Gonna try to post every day or so to share my experience -- and so I have a record for when I do the other knee!
Hi, and congratulations! I think I somehow have been on your thread, or you on mine.... maybe your hip? I still get a bit confused on navigating this site, but sure find it helpful. I hope you’re doing well. The first 2-3 weeks seem to be the hardest, no doubt, challenges still, but, a new knee!
I noticed a little further down, you mentioned loss of appetite; I seem to be struggling with that lately. Not much seems to appeal; I don’t remember this at first, but definitely now. The Tramadol/Tylenol combination seems to work best for me... wondering if the Tramadol might be the reason? But no nausea, so I’m OK with it since this works. .looking forward to your daily posts... I’m learning to Rest when I Overdo. Friday, I had PT that morning, a little later, Dr post-op visit ( 30 minutes away), & we drove thru a Panera nearby & enjoyed our lunch outside... delightful! But, exhausted, and, the next day, just Rested. no exercises, no extra activities. Today, feel Much better. So the resting so many have recommended paid off! So take care, & rest. Wishing you the best!!
 

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Anyone willing to share their experience/insights on giving up walking aids?
I moved from walker to cane when I could consistently walk upright (not bent over the walker for support) and when I stopped limping to protect The Knee. I told my PT that was my focus one week and when he next saw me, he agreed I could move to the cane. I use the cane whenever I am outside, although I "ran" to chat with neighbors on Fridays, crossing the street and climbing 2 sets of steps without the cane. I find I'm better able to use both legs to ascend the stairs when I have the cane, so have been doing that the last few days as I gain strength. I've been running around inside without the cane but will use it when I notice I'm limping for whatever reason (tired, ODIC, just finishing something physical, etc.). I want to make sure to not limp, so that my steady gait returns.

I'll probably continue to carry the cane for several months because I recall what Jockette mentioned, months after surgery, I might have a day where The Knee is just done, no more spoons.
 

FCBayern

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Like you @benne68 I continued to take my cane with me anytime I left the house even though I didn't use it at home. Then one day I was out shopping, I typically put the cane in the cart, the cart worked great as an assistive device. I had shopped at one store and then drove to another, and when I got there I realized my cane was still in the shopping cart at the previous store! I went back and got it, but figured if I was forgetting it completely, I didn't need it anymore.
 
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benne68

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I "ran" to chat with neighbors on Fridays, crossing the street and climbing 2 sets of steps without the cane.
I realized my cane was still in the shopping cart at the previous store!
Love these stories about how our bodies know what we are capable of doing, @hawk2go and @FCBayern ! Thanks!

I will continue to carry the cane with me when I'm out of the house as my "security blanket" until The Knee tells me it's time to let it go.
 
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benne68

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you mentioned loss of appetite; I seem to be struggling with that lately. Not much seems to appeal; I don’t remember this at first, but definitely now. The Tramadol/Tylenol combination seems to work best for me... wondering if the Tramadol might be the reason
Hi @Catalien45 Yes, nausea is a listed side effect of Tramadol. For me, the queasy stomach resolved one I was off it. My surgeon did order an anti-nausea med, but it didn't help so he had me switch to a tylenol/naproxen combination.
 

Susie-Q

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I think I stopped using the walker after 3 weeks post-op. I used it at night for awhile after that to go to the bathroom for extra stability. I would also walk it out to the family room in the morning because it has this neat bag that could carry all my stuff, phone, tablet, water bottle, etc and then back to the bedroom at night for the same stuff plus snacks for meds during the night. But I stopped using it to just navigate around the house at that point. I finally stopped when I got tired of always having it in the way in the family room and when we moved the coffee table back to it's regular position. I only used the cane when I went out in the car, mostly for "show" to let others know to keep their distance. I kept it in the car just in case until just last week but I haven't used it for several weeks. I like having my disabled pass but mainly for the extra parking room so I can open my door wider and get my left leg out. I still can't bend it as far as I'd like and I'm still not using my emergency brake unless absolutely necessary because of having to bend my knee so much to push it down with my left foot.
 

FCBayern

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I only used the cane when I went out in the car, mostly for "show" to let others know to keep their distance.
I did the same thing when I was going anywhere crowded, while people tend to be pretty oblivious in general, I found most will give you a little extra space when they see a cane. It helped my confidence the first few times in a crowd.
 

Catalien45

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you mentioned loss of appetite; I seem to be struggling with that lately. Not much seems to appeal; I don’t remember this at first, but definitely now. The Tramadol/Tylenol combination seems to work best for me... wondering if the Tramadol might be the reason
Hi @Catalien45 Yes, nausea is a listed side effect of Tramadol. For me, the queasy stomach resolved one I was off it. My surgeon did order an anti-nausea med, but it didn't help so he had me switch to a tylenol/naproxen combination.
Hi again. I’m Still learning how to navigate this forum, I’m a slow learner when it comes to anything computer related. A bit ironic, as my husband was a software engineer for nearly 40 years, our daughter, over 20 years now, & our son uses computers constantly as a physicist! So I am just now finding your response.
Timely , though. I’ve been thinking seriously about stopping the Tramadol. The last day or so, I seem to be experiencing a slight , dull nausea. Nothing too bad, ( to the point of actually rushing to the bathroom,or anything like that), but still, just “there”. But, I’m wondering about the Naproxen.... I have an issue with nsaids. I can take ibuprofen 2, maybe 3 doses for muscle inflammation, & it works. But by that 3rd dose, my stomach begins to send out warnings. I don’t have a colon ( severe colitis when I was 20). And, I had 2 bleeding ulcers about 10 years ago; they were a result of h.pylori, aggravated by my taking a bad mix of aspirin & ibuprofen for an abcessed tooth. ( I know better now!). So I really try to avoid pain killers in general. But my bruises ( aren’t they colorful??) are still pretty painful. And I know that being in pain does slow the healing process.

Today is starting off a little rough. I totally missed my 2 am dose of Tramadol & Tylenol. I woke up with the alarm, made potty run, ate my pudding snack, & fed kitty a bit scraped from the container. Then put my ice wrap back on, pulled blankets up & went back to bed!. As usual, it took a while to get back to sleep; this morning, my husband noticed my bottle with the 2 am dose. It’s down the hatch now, & I’m having yogurt ( had toast before taking the pills). So far, so good. Yesterday was a full day. PT , and, I just did a bit too much. I’m learning. For the time being, on my PT. Days, That will basically be my activity, other than the walking in the house. And, I know I’m in good company.... it seems Everyone has those ups & downs, overdone days, and, just “off” days. So I feel like I’m on track. Just hard to be so unproductive. But- my therapy is going well, I am walking pretty well, my PT Is coaching me on that.
OK ...this seems to be in “ installments! My better half brought me some yogurt & fruit & coffee- eating it a bit at a time, & so far, tummy doing OK. I did read earlier that eating several small meals during the day can help with Tramadol. And I do get that “stuffed feeling” pretty easily. So I may try that. I’m hoping to be down to just Tylenol before too long. Today is 3 weeks since surgery. Maybe I can take a very short walk with husband next week? Fingers crossed. Itching to get into kitchen, & make a full meal, or bake , but I know better and, no Farmers Market this Saturday, as I was kinda hoping for....☹. Maybe next week.....
All this being said, I am SO thankful for this forum. I can see where the Dr. cannot cover everything involved, all the little tricks,etc that fellow TKRs can. And the sense of encouragement & community is just wonderful. I think it is a Huge member of the “ healing team.....
Thanks so much for your response. - gonna see how next couple of days go, & whether I should change. I hope your own recovery is going well.
 
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benne68

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Day 43: Had the six-week follow with my surgeon today. X-rays look good and he's pleased with my ROM. He's "released" me until I'm ready to tackle my left TKR (next year?)

I know there's still a long road ahead, but it feels as though I've made a big leap in recovery this past week. So, my summary of my experience to date is:
  • Week one -- nothing but Icing, elevating and sleeping
  • Weeks two and three -- pain and fatigue
  • Week four -- frustration and depression
  • Week five -- feeling a little bit better and joining the Overdid It Club
  • Week six -- seeing the light at the end of the tunnel
I'm certainly not pain free at this point, although it's become much more localized and I have been able to reduce my meds. I still need to ice in the afternoon and evening, and struggle with sleep because it's hard to find a comfortable position for The Knee in bed.

But, I'm able to walk a 1/2-mile easily without my cane and my gait is almost normal. The severe fatigue is gone, so I've been able to return to work (remotely) and have been cooking meals again.

Still to come:
I haven't tried to drive yet -- the knee doesn't feel quite strong enough.
I still can't climb a flight of stairs reciprocally -- although I do try to do a couple of steps that way each time. (Not ready to try it going down yet).
My flexion is still at 115, but I'm not concerned -- after reading so many Smarties' stories, I know it will continue to improve slowly for months (or more).
 

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That's great news @benne68! Be patient, soon come now.

It's interesting that your doctor and mine just eyeballed the ROM. I wonder where these incessant PT numbers come from. I want to see the studies! :snork:
 

kate97497

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I still can't climb a flight of stairs reciprocally -- although I do try to do a couple of steps that way each time. (Not ready to try it going down yet).
I tried a couple of stairs today, if all stairs only went up, I'd be good. Down was a different story. I am going focus on them with PT this week so I can go back to my own house.
 

Catalien45

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just eyeballed the ROM
AIn't it the truth? My PT seems to be the only one interested in the numbers. :heehee:
At my 2-week checkup, mine eyeballed my ROM & flex, & was pleased with both. But like you, Hawk2go, didn’t even ask to see me walk.... and I was all excited with it & ready to show off!☹ My PT agreed that I’m still not at full extension & ROM, but assured me that it will get there. She strongly encourages Rest. All new exercises, & I get to ditch most of the old ones
 
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benne68

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My PT agreed that I’m still not at full extension & ROM, but assured me that it will get there.
@Catalien45 You're only a few weeks into your recovery and probably still have swelling, so no one (especially you!) should expect you to have full ROM!

My surgery was over 6 weeks ago and I'm still not at either full extension or flexion. It keeps improving, slowly. Some weeks, it's 2 steps forward and one step back. :shrug:

One of the great learnings from the stories on this forum is that ROM continues to improve for many months!
 

Catalien45

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On the cane.... I had started using cane some time before my surgery, when my pain got so bad, trying to “ buy time “ to Sept when our Grandson started first grade & school full time. We’re a little over an hour away, knew I couldn’t see him nearly as often. I got pretty proficient with the cane over time, & found it Very handy if ever I lost my balance or tripped. On a quick trip to check the garden, ( Before TKR), I tripped, and having forgotten the cane, barely missed a bad fall. So I plan to keep it handy when I Do go outside, since there’s nothing to grab hold but I’m walking very securely in the house with no aids at this point, 3 weeks, 2 days.
Oops! Just realized I never posted this...think I must have drifted off. Yesterday was an “ overdone” day, so today I seem to be tired a lot, even though I slept well last night. Learning, though, I didn’t fight it, & just rested....
 
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benne68

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I had started using cane some time before my surgery, when my pain got so bad,
@Catalien45 I also needed my cane for at least a month prior to my surgery. The Knee just didn't support me sufficiently.

So I plan to keep it handy when I Do go outside, since there’s nothing to grab hold but I’m walking very securely in the house with no aids at this point, 3 weeks, 2 days
I used the cane outdoors right up until this week (I'm six weeks+ post-op), when Hubby commented that I walked better without the cane than with it. I checked with my PT and he observed the same thing, so I decided to do my daily walk in the neighborhood without it.

I still take it with me if I'm going to the store, though. As others have commented, it makes other people give me a wide berth! :heehee:
 

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Hi Benne68 i have ditched my walking stick indoors but I always take it on dogwalks in case the terrain gets rough or slippy and i use it in the super market too. It is also a valuable visual aid to encourage others to give you a bit more space.
 

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