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Bilateral TKR Bilateral TKR


junior member
Mar 7, 2024
Canada Canada
Hello, it has been one week of swelling and pain and basically, misery. I had my surgery done March 19th. Feeling abandoned by the BC Medical fraternity (lost the first referral, GP retired, Covid then 1.5 years to meet the surgeon where he gave me a shot in the joint that basically seized the knee for three weeks and finally a "possible" surgical date one year away with only one knee being done) so I did my research and went to Dr. Hart's Montreal clinic where I was scheduled for surgery in 6 weeks! Doing it privately has saved me about 4 years of exposing myself to the busted BC system. I had both knees replaced and despite a "moderate to severe" diagnosis on the right knee, the surgeon said it too was severe.

I'm swollen, elevating and icing, I'm taking hydromorphone every 4 hours and just today the swelling has diminished a bit so that my legs don't look like a pair of pond goldfish, and they feel a "bit" like there has been some progress. I've been miserable, just like the Doc said I'd be, in fact he said when I left "you will hate my guts for about 2 weeks, and then you will start to see an improvement, and then you might put me back on your Christmas list..." I still hate him, but there is a light...

I've been reading all that I can, I have an ice machine made in Reykjavík (how could such a thing not be excellent?) and various other clever devices to basically just prevent me from falling over. My wife has been scampering about helping me do virtually everything as I try to show her how grateful I am and not make silly demands, Nono requests. Did I mention I was miserable? In case that fact didn't penetrate, I. Am. Miserable.

Oh, the icing on the cake (it was my birthday surgery-day), Air Canada extracted a large slice of money from me to provide a non-stop flight to Vancouver in a bassinet where I could stretch my legs fully out and the day before I was supposed to travel, while I am in recovery(!) they changed the flight to normal business class with a plane-change in Toronto. It took 2 days before the tears cleared, and it still feels like I had lost a week on their system. Keep that in mind when you book your next fun flight.

Anyway, I am following my fellow traveler's progress with interest as it's me you're talking about. Thank you so much for your contributions and it does get better, right?
Hi and Welcome!

Yes, it does get better! Almost all of us can relate to your misery.

I will leave you our Recovery Guidelines. Each article is short but very informative. Following these guidelines will help you have a less painful recovery.

Just keep in mind all people are different, as are the approaches to this recovery and rehab. The key is, “Find what works for you.“ Your doctors, PTs and BoneSmart are available to help, but you are the final judge as to the recovery approach you choose.

Knee Recovery: The Guidelines

1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary

2. Control discomfort:
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)​
If you want to use something to help heal the incision,
BoneSmart recommends hypochlorous solution. Members in the US can purchase ACTIVE Antimicrobial Hydrogel through BoneSmart at a discount. Similar products should be available in the UK and other countries.​

3. Do what you want to do BUT
a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you​
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.​
4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these

5. At week 4 and after you should follow this

6. Access to these pages on the website

The Recovery articles:
The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?
Energy drain for TKRs
Elevation is the key
Ice to control pain and swelling
Heel slides and how to do them properly
Chart representation of TKR recovery
Healing: how long does it take?

Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

There are also some cautionary articles here
Myth busting: no pain, no gain
Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds

We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery.

While members may create as many threads as they like in the majority of BoneSmart’s forums, we ask that each member have only One Recovery Thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review the member’s history before providing advice, so please post any updates or questions you have right here in this thread.
Happy Birthday!
Now your baby knees share it with you.

It sounds like you're staying on a schedule with pain meds and icing - perfect!

It may sound weird, but framing this as "my knees are in charge for the coming months, and everything else is secondary" really helped me maintain my sanity.

Yes it gets better!
@Xsbank So sorry you are miserable. But yes, it does get better!

I'm going to tag my colleague @Roy Gardiner who also had BTKR. He is back to very active cycling and enjoying life again.

Easy does it for now!
What a journey you have had so far, but, know that it will be worth it! So many of us are still facing another knee that has to be replaced. You don't have that to worry about now. Once you are healed, that's it for you! In 4–6 months you should be really glad that you have had this done and over with. Of course, your knees won't be healed that quickly, but you will see lots of improvements in them.
I've been miserable, just like the Doc said I'd be, in fact he said when I left "you will hate my guts for about 2 weeks, and then you will start to see an improvement, and then you might put me back on your Christmas list..." I still hate him, but there is a light...
Welcome to BoneSmart and Congrats on your new knee even though you're not appreciating it...yet.
As far as the quote, a member once mentioned the reason many see the PA as opposed to the OS for fist post op visit IS because we're still silently cursing them for our pain, lol. :wink: At least in your misery, your sense of humor still shines through. Your description of legs resembling...pond goldfish!:heehee: Silly guy!

I am sorry you're hurting and you definitely had a rough start of it. As you know, it will get better. I wish you lots of comfort and thank you for sharing your journey here. I will follow your progress with interest.
A belated Happy Birthday to you!

Bilateral TKR
What a great group! Who would have thought that the people who self-select for removing body parts would be such a great selection of people! I am overwhelmed, humbled and trying to find my bottle of hydromorphone!
Optimism! That's it (besides sleeping and having warm legs some day, which would be nice too).
Thank you everyone! I'm off to read your blog, Roy.
Who would have thought that the people who self-select for removing body parts would be such a great selection of people!
We're humble, we know when it's time to say UNCLE and let go of that old joint no longer serving us well. :wink:
We get it...we've felt your pain :yes: which makes us thankful and grateful for the all the simple things we took for granted before our joints deteriorated. While it's not all rainbows and unicorns early on, there comes a day, for most anyway, that we're appreciative of the opportunity this second chance affords us. You're on your way to brighter days.
Hope it's a good day. Happy Wednesday! :SUNsmile:
Woohoo another day another baby step and another win! Thanks Layla.
Staples out today - how awful will that be?
Staples out today - how awful will that be?
Wasn’t much of an issue for me, a pinch here and there but in the big picture not a big deal. Congrats on two at once. Coincidentally my surgeon said the same thing about hating him for 2 weeks but learning to love him over time. Getting my second one done at the end of April after the first done Feb 1. Welcome to the group!
I'm glad you found this forum! The surgeon wanted to do mine as bilateral and I thought it would be up until the moment he called me and said he had an opening in his schedule for one knee very soon and did I want to take it? So I did...and I hope to have #2 done this summer. I'm about 11 weeks out and just now starting to be able to walk around the house without a cane. I've been very slow to walk - slower than most - that is really different for everyone.

I did a good amount of research on bilateral and saw some very positive things about it. Best of all - in 3 months when you're at my point - you won't be looking down the barrel of another surgery - haha!

Early on I tried to get up every hour or two and walk around the house (to the bathroom) and do some stretching and my home PT exercises. Doing any exercises too aggressively will set you back a day or two ...but ALL of us end up doing that at some point. I hope your staple removal went well - I also had staples and it was fine - just a bit pinchy. Felt GREAT to get those darn things out though.
The staple-event went well, I immediately leapt to my feet and performed an intricate dance move... it was a small relief, it did feel like an actual but thinly disguised improvement; the "dressing restriction" was gone and without being able to say how, the lack of staples felt good. One small step for mankind...
I woke this morning sleep-deprived and cranky and realized I had overdone it post-staples yesterday so that was a good reminder to not squander your very hard-fought improvements. I'm a bit annoyed at myself at my untrammelled optimism but wow you should check out my thighs (wolf-whistle) the ice is performing miracles over here!
The pain seems to be subsiding somewhat (sleep, where art thou?) and if the damn post office would just deliver my new coffee pot, life would be perfect.
Life's little victories!

Yep, you've now paid a visit to the OverDid It Club (ODIC). Every sane BoneSmarty has and does visit there because as we heal and gain confidence it's easy to push our knee's limits.
A few words about sleep. Here's hoping that coffee pot arrives today - and that you switch to decaf after lunch!

Insomnia is a real bummer for many of us in the initial weeks after knee surgery. Definitely sleep whenever (and wherever it's safe and comfy!)

Icing, elevating, napping.... All help, but if need be, consider some nonprescription remedies....

If you're lactose tolerant, a glass of warm milk! If you're not diabetic, a teeny bit of honey makes it even more comforting... plus milk is high in magnesium! Helps us relax!

If you aren't a milk drinker, or want an easier way to, an evening magnesium supplement has been very helpful for some members.

OTC diphenhydramine, an antihistamine also used as a sleep aid (Benadryl) because it makes you drowsy; it's also included in some cold, flu, etc "nighttime" combination meds.

Low dose melatonin, sustained release - not for long term use but I have used for a week at a time without ill effect. It should be taken an hour to hour and a half before going to bed, and during that time stay in a dimly lit area to allow this hormone to activate.

Valerian root - an herbal remedy, it can be taken in capsule form but that dose might be high compared to my preference, herbal "sleep" blends that include a smaller dose of valerian and make me pleasantly drowsy. Plus the other tea flavorings make it nice tasting! Celestial Seasonings and Traditional Medicinals sell teabags by the box. Look for the versions with valerian - their sleep blends without valerian have never ever made me sleepy.

Be aware: even benign herbals and supplements can interact with your routine or post op prescription meds, either making their effects weaker or stronger. If you're on meds you may want to check with your doctor or pharmacist, or even check online for interactions.
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I can imagine getting those staples out is a big relief. Woohoo!

As far as sleep -
Pillows certainly help me get comfortable in bed, making it easier to drift off.
I suggest making up the bed with your most comfortable bedding / blankets along with a few extra bed pillows of different degrees of firmness. Try to block out the light if it's daytime. Minimize noise unless you feel listening to calming relaxation music, a fan, or white noise may help lull you to sleep. Make sure the room temperature is not too hot or too cold. Try to disconnect from the devices at least an hour before the targeted nap or bed time, so it's easier to wind down. Limit caffeine throughout the day and consider natural sleep aids such as Valerian, Chamomile or, Magnesium, my personal favorite, which can assist in muscle relaxation and nerves and promote healthy sleep (falling asleep and staying asleep)

An article on Magnesium from our Library -

Most large grocers carry a variety of teas such as Celestial Seasonings - Sleepytime Herb Tea,
Yogi Teas, Bedtime, Bigelow Cozy Chamomile, all of which may help you relax...at least worth a try.

Wishing you some restorative rest tonight! :sleep:
@Xsbank I can relate with the travel experiences that you endured. Not fun at the best of times but post BTKR is much more of a challenge. It took me a good couple days to recover post travel but once I was past 2 weeks post op things rapidly improved.
It would appear that you have a great outlook and positive attitude so this will help immensly as you navigate recovery.
All the best.
Thank you for all the kind thoughts and to those of you still in this process, all the best you too (that reminded me of a colleague who used to say "...all y'all" which I still think is charming.)!
Break a leg!

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