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jellycats

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My surgery (TKR, left knee) was scheduled on January 11 for March 5, so the Big Day is almost here. I'm glad I've had these weeks to plan and get the house/work/etc. in order. It has been so helpful to read the various posts to the forum. I'm sure my questions have been asked/discussed somewhere, so my apologies for asking again. 1) Can you actually bend enough to get in a car for the drive home from the hospital? Just moments ago (privately, in my garage, where no one could see my attempts) I tried getting in the passenger side of my Honda CR-V (which is considered a small SUV) with a "pretend" mostly straight left leg and had no luck. I'm assuming I'll be sliding into the back seat and will stick some pillows in the car to be ready for the drive (husband's driving). My brother had knee replacements 3 and 4 years ago, and he's 6' 11". A friend had to pick him up from the hospital in a full-size SUV because he had to slide into the backseat! 2) What's the general rule, if there is one, about when one can resume swimming? I've seen posts and read articles where people are swimming after 2 weeks and some are waiting as long as 6 weeks. The literature my surgeon and the hospital distribute says AT LEAST two months and possibly three. I know the surgeon has to give the go ahead on when it is safe to submerge the knee, but I feel sad that I may be out of the water so long! My Schwinn Airdyne and I may become better pals during this time. Thanks again to everyone for sharing their experiences!
 

Celle

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Hello @jellycats - and :welome:

First, to answer you questions:
1. How far you can bend your knee on discharge from hospital is variable. Some people can bend to about 90 degrees, but most can't.
Yes, you'll have to slide into the back seat of the car. Ask to be shown how to do that before you're discharged.

2. You shouldn't go into a pool, or immerse your knee in water at all, until the incision is completely healed over, with no scabs or open areas. If you immerse your knee sooner than that, you'll run the risk of introducing infection.

When you do go in the pool, beware of doing too much. As the water supports most of your weight, it's all too easy to do too much without realising it. You'll know all about it, though, when you get back out of the pool and gravity hits you with full effect.

There's also the Energy drain for TKRs . In the first months of recovery, almost all of your energy is being directed towards healing your knee. You'll tire very easily, because there's hardly any energy left over for other activities, even everyday living.
 

Celle

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Here's some reading to help you

Score Chart: How bad is my arthritic knee?

Longevity of implants and revisions: How long will my new joint last?

If you are at the stage where you are planning to have surgery but are looking for information so you can be better prepared for what is to come, take a look at these links:
Recovery Aids: A comprehensive list for hospital and home
Recliner Chairs: Things you need to know if buying one for your recovery
Pre-Op Interviews: What's involved?

Regardless of where you are in the process, the website and app My Knee Guide can help you stay organized and informed. The free service keeps all the information pertaining to your surgery and recovery in one place on your smartphone. It is intended to be a personal support tool for the entire process.

And if you want to picture what your life might be like with a replaced knee, take a look at the posts and threads from other BoneSmarties provided in this link:
Stories of amazing knee recoveries
prepare for your surgery:
 

rosieNZ

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Hi
My second TKR is 95 March (yay!!).
Last time I got into the back seat of our van (its high so husband made a step for me). We put a towel on the seat to make sliding easier. I used my non surgical leg to get in first and had the front seat pushed forward as far as it would go. I don't remember pain just the feeling of exhaustion which surprised me.
Getting out at home meant my surgical leg had to lead. Its easier if you can keep your legs together. I repositioned myself slowly to the seat edge and used another towel to swing the legs out together. The door needs to open widely and this is a ponderously slow manoevre. When your legs are out you can use your crutches to stand with the non surgical leg taking the weight whilst you steady yourself.
Think about getting inside and how this will happen on 2 crutches or whatever aids you will have.
When you get inside you will be ready to sit or lie down so make that easy.
The main points I remember are:
Wide car door opening.
Back seat as far back and front seat as far forward.
Something to help reposition you or slide you
Help getting out by holding my crutches and making sure I didn't fall
And easy clear access to bed or chair.
I purchase a leg lifter this time and hadn't thought of using it in the car but since your post I will test drive it. The leg post surgery is difficult to move for a week or two until swelling subsides and muscles function more normally. Good luck and best wishes.
 

julie1968

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I'm right behind you. Mine is March 7 and I also was wondering about getting into the car. Praying your goes well and recovery isn't bad.
 

gia2cats

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I spent 30 hours in the hospital after my RTKR. Before I was discharged, inpatient PT had me get in to a half car which they had in the PT department. While it wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, I did it fairly easily. Rode home in the front seat for an hour without a problem. I only had a bend of about 67 degrees while in the hospital. Oh, and the car was a Subaru Forrester.
 

rosieNZ

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We just don't know how we will go after surgery. A plan and some practice with a straight leg is a good idea.
Just thinking about getting onto crutches or other walking aids is important. Being able to slide on the seat to get to the edge also works we'll (neans that movement is easier and someone can help.Get as much space as possible in the car by pushing seats as far forward and back .
After all the planning and practice remember to have your pain meds in enough time to cover you for the trip.
It must have bern ok for me with TKE no 1 because Im not stressing about it with my upcoming TKR no 2. I'm stressing about controlling swelling instead!! (thought I would share that so you dont think Im wonder woman!)
 
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jellycats

jellycats

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Thanks for all the insights into getting in/getting out of car! (Maybe hospitals should just provide forklifts to get us into our vehicles and on our way!) The towel is a good idea. I have stretchy bands that I use at home, and one band that is actually quite rigid, and I was thinking about how these might help with lifting the leg. And I have thought about getting a leg lifter. Boy, Amazon has been a huge help while preparing! The advice about exhaustion is good, and so many folks post about not overdoing exercise and daily activities. I am not very good at asking others for help (I am accustomed to being the helper), and I know it will be difficult to rely on others to do things that, when healthy, I can do far more efficiently! However, I have a nice, comfortable chair, a Lounge Doctor for the footstool, pillows to be sure to get the elevation right, and a plan to rewatch Outlander from the beginning. (Any one else read the books/watch the series?).
 

rosieNZ

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Ha. Imagine the forklifts!!
The band I bought is rigid. Its made out of material a bit like the tough blue rigid stuff that keeps cardboard parcels together. Has a loop on each end. Could have made it. Its brilliant but way over priced for what it is.
I lent my Lounge Dr to Helen who had such a breeze with TKR no 1 but said if was the only thing to help her sleep with TKR no 2. So each time is different.
Last time I did too much. The swelling was so bad my wound gapped and started to fall apart. I learnt my lesson the hard way. So I gave up doing all the exercises and I found out what Josephine says is true. I can kneel, bend and straighten it. I gave up pushing myself because of the swelling behind my knee meant it couldn't bend on itself. There was no room!
Thats why Ive got so many ice products!! Im going to try not to let it happen again.So saying I was back at work at 3 weeks. Crazy. This time I'm lounging about for 4 weeks. Also nuts. My job is not able to be done by anyone else. I intend to be as sensible as possible and have set myself a task of spacing out by on site or travel days with less physically challenging. I have noted the weeks post surgery in my diary and made sure weeks 4 to 9 are maybe achievable.
Re TV programmes. I haven't even thought of what to watch. Last time I was irritated, bored and in pain. Like a cross between a headless chicken and the energiser bunny on steroids. So planning tv is such a good idea.
I live in New Zealand. Where are you?
 

HelloMako

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Thanks jellycats for asking about the logistics of getting home from the hospital, and thanks to everybody who gave advice. I’ve been wondering about that.

Lining up some TV series to watch is a GREAT idea, I’ve missed so many good ones. That’ll be more fun than ordering toilet risers and shower seats!

Good luck on March 5, I’m right behind you on March 7!
 

rosieNZ

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Yes Jellyfish is brilliant! Made me realise I need to spend time thinking how I am going to
love this time when all I have to do is rest and heal!!
Today is Sunday and uts cool and raining. I don't gave to do anything much so I'm in entertainment mode.
First, though, I starting with a coffee from our local cafe (could be our last cafe visit together for a few weeks). Then.....I will be ready for anything!
 

boneweary

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Here's a great suggestion I just got that was the answer to a friend's prayers - put a plastic trash bag on the car seat! I've been struggling getting in and out of the front seat of a Toyota Prius. The seat is put all the way back but in a Prius, that's not enough for me, as I'm just on day 6 of TKR surgery, to bend my leg though and get out of the passenger seat. But being able to pivot on a plastic bag sounds like a winner to me and I'm going to do it when I go to PT tomorrow.
 

rosieNZ

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Fabulous. I used a towel last time (so husband could tug it if needed) but I'm thinking 2 plastic bags together so they can slip over each one easily would be great.
You sound like you are doing so well getting out at Day 6!! Congratulations xx
 
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jellycats

jellycats

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I'm definitely putting a plastic garbage bag in the car in preparation for the drive home. This afternoon I re-read a number of the post-op articles, and as I am not a great sleeper now, I'm going to take to heart the advice to nap whenever I can/want and fret less about getting a "good night's sleep." I'm feeling pretty prepared as I head into the last four days before surgery. When we decided four years ago to sell our home and build, we designed it with "aging in place" and my bad knees in mind so it's a ranch with a zero-entry from the garage to the house, zero-entry shower, and handrails built in. And I work from home, so even though I am officially off work for a few weeks, I am sure that in between the naps, ice, and short walks around the house I will be checking email. (Plus there is always knitting to be done.) And the weather here in Pittsburgh seems to be cooperating. Though still cold and some snow showers predicted, by two weeks post-op looks like we'll be mostly mid-forties (degrees F) and rainy. Friends and family ask if I feel anxious about the surgery, and there is of course some anxiety--after all, we're all losing a chunk of ourselves so something artificial can go in--yikes! Only my son has asked me if I am excited, and actually I am. I love swimming and am grateful I've had that, a stationary bike, and Pilates for exercise as my knee pain increased, but I am looking forward to walking without gritting my teeth. Be well, everyone!
 

rosieNZ

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Ha. Will look forward to seeing your knitting. If I did it with pain meds on board it would have a hole like pattern!!! But at least I wouldn't care about that. Vest wishes (you won't need luck).
 
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jellycats

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Well, perhaps my last post about feeling prepared jinxed me. Saturday morning I was at the ER with stomach pain and I am having a flare up of diverticulitis. On cipro and flagyl, and I don't think surgery on March 5 is now in the cards. Monday will talk with surgeon's office and find out what happens now. I have read other posts about delayed surgeries so I know I am not alone in this.
 

Jockette

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I’m sorry you’re not feeling well, it must feel really bad to warrant a trip to the ER. :console2:
 

Lindylee

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How frustrating. We get ourselves all prepared mentally and it's a real let down when something like this happens. I hope the meds kick in quickly and you'll soon feel much brighter.
 

Kctsh2019

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Sorry your not feeling well! Hope things get better soon. It is always frustrating to get yourself prepared mentally and physically for surgery and then something else comes up. My family has had the old nasty crud that's going on here. My fear is catching it and have to cancel my surgery. But so far so good! And Thank you Jesus cause it has been a nightmare. My surgery is March 6th for RTKR. PRAYERS you are well soon!
 

julie1968

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Prayers to you. I had a bad sinus infection 2 weeks ago with antibiotics I had to go in last Friday to make sure it was cleared completely to have surgery this coming week. Luckily I'm good now. Hope this gets better for you
 

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