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BTKR - the Bee's Knees for Maggie

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Maggie94

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So the journey begins. Can't tell you all how much I have learned from reading the posts and articles on this site. I hope that I may be able to repay in some small way the information and support it has (and will) provide me.

First port of call was the OS with the decision on one or both... my left knee is much worse than my right (thanks golf - leading leg; cross country skiing & squash - the latter contribution major dislocations). My view was that having the left done was like being half pregnant:flabber: - I would still be limited in what I could do until the other was fixed. I want to do things now while I am still young and fit. The decision was taken to "go the double"!!

My vision for the other side of surgery is to be able to go back to golf, yoga, pilates, hiking and generally striding out (not taking doddery small steps).

I am excited and nervous all at once and relish the idea of being able to share and compare with a great community of people with the same issues and challenges.

I am looking forward to connecting with the wider Smarties community:wave: hugs to all - @Maggie94
 

Jamie

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Congratulations on making this decision!!! It's sometimes difficult to admit that we need something this major in our lives, but I think you've chosen the right path. Things won't be improving once arthritis does it's job on your joints and it's time to get things fixed and move on! It sounds like you're ready mentally too. That is just as important as picking an experienced surgeon that you trust.

So.....as you move toward preparation for surgery, don't hesitate to ask any questions that come to mind. We're here for you.
 
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Maggie94

Maggie94

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thanks @Jamie - getting that vibe from this site - a huge safety net of caring and information. Maggie
 

1ELISEA

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Hi @Maggie94
Now that you have decided, when is the surgery date? :)
 
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Maggie94

Maggie94

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hi @1ELISEA surgery is set for 28 January 2015. I am on the January jackpots :good-bad:yes it is excitement and nerves see-sawing in my mind but basically all good. Thanks for your inquiry. Maggie
 

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Very exciting times for you - best of luck with your surgery and recovery. You'll see people here refer to the 'cryo-cuff' which so far I've not seen being used anywhere in Melbourne but did find a place online that sells them. I didn't use them but found a couple of good sized gel packs at Chemist Warehouse that work perfectly. Looking back, I kind of wish I had forked out the dosh for a cuff, but after about the 4 week period I might have found it a bit cumbersome.

Will you be going to inpatient rehab? It's rather the norm here in Aus (apparently NOT in the US). I went to the Epworth Hospital for the surgery and blithely accepted I'd go to the Epworth rehab - apparently it doesn't have to be that way! If I had known before hand and done some research I would have picked another place for that week. After that you get to find an outpatient rehab, so if you don't have something in mind, start looking around for a place and person.
 
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Maggie94

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Hey @dovemck great minds - I just mentioned you in a post to Jude in WA:) thanks for the info re ice packs. I'll check out CW and see what they have. I am having surgery at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown (for about 1 week) it is about 2km from me and then going to rehab for about 3 weeks at Petersham which is 2km in the other direction. So all just perfect in terms of being on home turf. Question - did you use a recliner chair? I am looking at an electric one for home (ebay) cause I think with both legs out of action it may be a good idea.... any comments? How is you new knee 6 months in? As with Jude happy to chat on phone if you like - cheers, Maggie
 

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I noticed a cross-posting whilst on the other thread.

I didn't get a recliner - I think there's something in the library about them though - they have to elevate your legs above your heart (or as they like to say here 'toes above nose' and that's a bit more difficult to find in a recliner. Having two done might be the way - but others here have made a nest in the couch and I had my nest in the bed. Frankly after 5 days in hospital and 10 at rehab, I was ready to sit up now and again. I did get a surgical chair for the living room - you'll probably have one recommended to you at rehab, I say go for it. Much easier to get in and out of than my regular living room set. I was offered the use of a kitchen trolley too. Was useful for the first 6 - 8 weeks.

I went into this surgery with a complex set of problems so I'm one of the 'problem children' (have you read @lovemydog 's thread? Same sort of issues). Let me say this though, the bone-on-bone ache, the standing up out of a chair and needing a minute to stretch before walking - that's all gone. I still suffer on rainy days (it's Melbourne, what can I say?) but not nearly as much as before the surgery. I'm SO glad it's done.

In physio I'm working on speeding up my walking, I'm still learning to go down stairs (pretty good!) and up stairs (eh - still as much an arm and shoulder workout as a knee) and the ROM and extension comes and goes. I've gotten up to 123 and down to -10 but you never know from one day to the next. My goal is to keep -10 and get to 130 unassisted and 135 assisted. Fingers crossed. I'll probably not be going back to yoga - some poses will always be unobtainable and that will depress me, I'm going for pilates in the long run. Looking forward to being able to walk and walk like I used to.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
 
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Maggie94

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HI @meewee and @joemz ... BTKR members:wow::wow: I am scheduled for this little bit of life's fun on 28 January 2015 and was wondering how you guys are going 3 &6 months post???? Interested to hear how many ordinary things you are now doing and when you started to do them. Joe I noted your comment re driving at 6 weeks post - that is truly freedom (even if it is just round the block:loll:) How are things like putting on your undies - yes a bit personal but a girl can only go commando for so long! Ditto sox and shoes? Its the little things that can cause a disproportionate level of frustration so I'm interested in how you manage and any tips. look forward to any responses - cheers, Maggie
 

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Hi @Maggie94 I am almost 13 weeks out from a bilateral. I saw some questions you had in another thread, so I thought I'd comment. I came home from the hospital on postop day 3 using a walker. I was able to take care of all of my "activities of daily living" by myself, including showering in my tub/shower. I used my grabber to get dressed. I had a shower bench in my tub and another stool in the bathroom to sit on while drying off and dressing.

I bought a power recliner for my THR and used it for my BTKR also. Mine does not elevate my legs above my heart. I did not have swelling with either of my surgeries, but felt better when my legs were up. Sitting in a chair with my legs down for longer than 30 minutes still bothers me, so i use my recliner a lot. I slept in it for the first few months after surgery- I just managed to get comfy in bed in the last few weeks.

I was sent home from the hospital with an ice machine that also has compression, so I used it for DVT prevention also. It is great ( but very expensive) so if you're trying to economize you could make your own ice packs. I made some for my hip surgery- Google "DIY ice packs". Mine were a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water ( proportions depend on % of alcohol and how slushy you want it). I froze mine in gallon sized freezer bags and when I had the right "slushiness" I sealed it in my Foodsaver bags to prevent leakage (I have kids and dogs).

I go to PT 2x per week. My knees still feel stiff, but mobility is constantly improving. I could probably do more if I wasn't so tired. Fatigue has been a problem, and my doctor put me on Vit D. I'm hoping it will improve soon.

Please let me know if you have any questions. The first few weeks are the worst, then things improve a lot. I tried to keep my brain focused on the goal of a more active life, but there were days of tears. It's a bumpy road, but definitely worth it!
 

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Hi @Maggie94 - I put my two cents worth on the other thread where you had posted some questions. I thought I would start the conversation about clothing, etc. here because I know I had a lot of questions prior to surgery. There are the most helpful gadgets out there that you can buy or rent that can help you dress, put socks on, long handled shoehorns, etc. I'm sure you will have an appointment with an Occupational Therapist who will teach you all the tips and tricks. I'm feeling pretty strong and VERY happy to be walking out of the rehab hospital tomorrow, 5 weeks after my BTKR. I'm very happy that I had the opportunity to have concentrated rehab, I know it's not something that everyone with BTKR has a chance to do.
 

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I like to see new forum members who are going to be joining the ranks of the exalted World-wide BTKR Alumni! After you have your surgery, I will send you the DVD of the ultra-secret and highly sought after secret handshake!:snork:

Seriously, I applaud you for getting them both done at once---one pre-op, one surgery, one hospital stay, and one recovery; you can get on with reclaiming the life that arthritis stole from you much,much sooner!

I began to drive at a little over four weeks post BTKR, but the first several times made me rather tired---a 1/2 hour set of a few errands the first time knocked me out when I came home.

Getting on underwear and such is certainly do-able---it is slow, but you can do it with a few minor little changes in technique. As for shoes and socks, you will be in a good pair of slippers for a while, so by the time you get to putting shoes on, you can do it, but again, it will be a slight change of techniques, but the OT people will show you the changes that need to be made (only temporarily!)

I would purchase a toilet riser (commonly called around here a "throne"), and some people use those "grabber-thingies." (I did not need nor use one.)

At three months out I was back teaching and doing pretty much everything fairly normally---a tad stiff and sore at the end of the day---and at six months I would say that I was around 80%-85% recovered. i was back to umpiring HS and college baseball games at five months, and now I can go for days without remembering that my knees are only seven years old.
 
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Maggie94

Maggie94

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Hi @PuppyLove Chris thank you so much for your words and time in replying. I am on the recliner hunt via ebay today - there is a very unlovely electric one at a reasonable price not too far from me. I figure I can cope with ugliness for the time it takes to recover and then it can go on its merry way to a charity shop.

I was pleased to hear about your level of independence so soon after surgery - there are so many different stories on this site and I must admit that I stick with the positive ones (while understanding that this may not be me) - its just +++ mind stuff.

Did / do you take any precautions round your 4 legged friend - more on the hygiene side of things but I am assuming 4 weeks post wound will be healed so no chance of infection that route. I am very mindful of jumping and other doggie behaviors and am sure she will understand to stay down. She is an Australian Keplie X - megga intelligent:idea:.

Ok off to phone the recliner guy and have a chat.... again thanks for hooking up, keep in contact - Maggie x
 
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Maggie94

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YEY success!!! recliner guy on ebay was soooo nice:type:. Even if it is not my decor will will be perfect for my recovery. He will also arrange for a friend to help me pick it up - how good it that?

Thanks also for moving my questions to my thread - I'm still getting the hang of this. I did change my signature block so I can now tick that off - thanks @Threads
 
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Maggie94

Maggie94

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hi @referee54 Thanks for starting this thread BUT I already have one going.... BTKR - the Bee's Knees for Maggie

any chance of moving this one over to it??

Thanks for you comments and support above. I am focusing on the "after" and promise that I will hasten slowly towards my activity goals (yogs, pilates, gym, golf and generally striding out & not shuffleing like an oldie). cheers, Maggie
 

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My recliner is not particularly attractive, but it was a great price. I added an eggcrate mattress topper (cut to shape) for more padding since I slept in it, and threw a sheet over the top so I could clean it easily. My dogs (I have a Golden Retriever and a Cockapoo) did not cause any problems after surgery. I have been amazed at the sensitivity of my fur babies ( our previous two Goldens were the same) when I'm not feeling well. We have a doggy door so I didn't have to get up to let them out. Rex (Golden) was afraid of my walker after my THR and wouldn't come near it. They both obey the sit command really well, so I used it a lot! My only real problem has been that Rex is the same height as my knees, so he sometimes walks into me and it makes me want to buckle. My dogs give me so much love and comfort that I can tolerate the few problems I've had. I haven't been brave enough to walk them yet- maybe in a few weeks :)
 

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I have two recliners in the bed room and one in the living room. I lived in one and slept in it for like a month when I had my level 3 cervical fusion done because I couldn't lay flat in a bed. @referee54 I have a handicap full size toilet in the bath room, will I still need the throne? Those toilets are not only bigger but taller. @Maggie94 you encouraged me with your comments about being able to do most stuff on your own. I was worried my wife would have to take a lot of time off work to baby sit me. I was planning on having her set me up before she went to work and then check on me at lunch time.

I have a recumbent bike downstairs, wonder if i should move it up stairs, or by the time I should start using it, a trip down stairs will be within my capability.

Cheers!
 
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