TKR Eight Days and...

LDV0924

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...counting until I'm not impatient, not in pain...not sorry I did this.

I'm in the US. My TKR (L) was May 4. I was hospitalized overnight. Since then, while my PT, my visiting nurse and even my husband say they see consistent improvement, it just isn't happening fast enough for me.

I have had enough of pain and stiffness. I don't have a CPM machine or an ice machine, so I stiffen up super-fast, which angers me. Pain is ongoing, with or without meds or ice. Doing my PT exercises makes me miserable.

I hate having to rely on my poor husband for everything. I hate having to cancel plans because "Sorry, I'm too unsteady on my feet" (I'm still unable to walk unaided). And I know my coworkers and bosses are unhappy about my absence.

My staples come out May 18 (and I am afraid). I see my surgeon May 23. No idea what he and I will be discussing.

Sorry to dump on y'all here.
 

VA Mom

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Sorry you’re having such a hard time right now. Those first 2 weeks are really tough. Hang in there! It should get better.
wishing you a healthy recovery!
 

Pumpkin

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@LDV0924
Welcome to the Other Side!

it just isn't happening fast enough for me.
Knee replacement recovery is a slow but sure process, you are still in the very angry knee stage of recovery. You pain should start easing soon. If you do not have an ice machine obtain some ice packs, Amazon has a good selection. Many of our members have done just fine with Ice packs. If you like you can make your own ice packs,
Scroll down this link to find the instructions to make your own ice packs. Ice to control pain and swelling .

Plan on cancelling your outings for at least the next few weeks, if you do too much your knee will let you know loud and clear. As for a return to work we recommend members take 12 weeks off if they can, and start with a Phased return to work .

As you continue to heal you should find around 3-4 months you will feel much better, continuing to improve for the next year+.

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Here is your copy of the Knee Recovery Guidelines, the articles are short and will not take long to read.

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:
rest
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)​

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 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.



 

kneeper

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You're only a couple of weeks out of major surgery-give yourself a break. Don't feel guilty about relying on your husband right now. Letting yourself rest now will pay off in a good recovery.
 
OP
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LDV0924

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Plan on cancelling your outings for at least the next few weeks, if you do too much your knee will let you know loud and clear. As for a return to work we recommend members take 12 weeks off if they can
Out of the question. I'm due back at work June 12, not quite six weeks post-op. My bosses would love to see me back before then.

Thank you for the Recovery Guidelines. I look forward to reading the articles.
 

Jaycey

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Out of the question. I'm due back at work June 12, not quite six weeks post-op. My bosses would love to see me back before then.
Sorry, but I think you are forgetting that your knee is in charge now. Refusing to accept that it needs time is only going to create a struggle. Your bosses may like to see you run back to work. But your knee may change their minds. Just FYI - the recommend time off work is 10-12 weeks and then a Phased return to work.
 

sistersinhim

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Out of the question. I'm due back at work June 12, not quite six weeks post-op. My bosses would love to see me back before then.

Have any of your bosses had a knee replacement? They are expecting WAY too much from you. You will be nowhere near ready to go back in a month. Tell them to watch a live TKR on youtube to see what has happened inside that knee of yours. Maybe that will change their minds. Would they expect someone who has a broken leg to come back to work in 5 weeks? Well, you have 2 bones that were sawed off, drilled and a foreign agent pounded into them. It really disappoints me that so many people don't realize what this surgery is all about.
 

Jaycey

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They'd expect someone with a broken leg to come back far sooner.
Doesn't sound like a very "caring" environment. I was working in that type of environment when I had my RTHR. My employer (a private medical firm) actually pressured me to disobey my surgeon's suggestion for a return to work timeframe.

Of course the choice is yours. Just know that our advice is based on years of experience and member input.
 

Arjay

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Oh, honey! If I'm doing the math right...you are nine days out from your surgery? Nine?! I hope you can find a way to give yourself a break - it's not like angsting and being impatient is getting you anywhere, right? I do not want to sound like a scold, but I urge you to be grateful that you have a husband/someone to lend a hand and help you along. I'm past 80 and my kids were around for the first five days. After that I was On. My. Own. It was entirely do-able, but not particularly fun. Though really, the worst of it was the 'little stuff'......no one to bring me a cup of tea or fetch something needed after I'd propped all my pillows - knee and head - and gotten comfy and then realized I needed...such n such. That took a toll.

Ease up on the PT if it is painful. Give ice and elevation more of a chance - I opted for chilled paks (Amazon) over the ice machine. Take your pain meds...on schedule. And do something - music, read, crossword puzzle, whatever, that will give your brain a rest from being unhappy. Be kind to your new knee and yourself. Improvement may seem to not be happening and then - it can be surprising, all of a sudden you notice something getting better, feeling better. My worst-nite pity party when I just felt so worn out and alone and I gave into a bit of wailing - well, from the next day forward, it seemed like things started getting better. You may even surprise yourself and feel halfway decent abt getting back to work, depending on how taxing your job is. I was lucky enough to go to a social event at the five week point and folks were amazed at how well I seemed to be doing (and I was pretty darned pleased, too). But - Count on fatigue lasting even after your pain level and maybe swelling is down. Take a rest whenever you can. It's gonna get better.
 

benne68

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I'm so sorry that your surgeon didn't do a better job of explaining how long it takes to recovery from a TKR, @LDV0924. The reason you are so frustrated with your progress is that he/she didn't set realistic expectations!

What you are experiencing is not only normal for 9 days out -- it will continue to be your normal for the next 8-10 weeks, possibly even longer. This is a long, slow recovery. And you can NOT rush it by pushing your body with exercise. In fact, trying to do so will only set you back and delay your recovery. I'm sorry to sound harsh, but these are the facts of a TKR recovery.

My personal experience of trying to return to work at 6 weeks (and I work from home on a laptop) was a disaster. Between the "brain fog" leftover from all the medications, the intense body-wide fatigue and the discomfort in my knee when I tried to sit at a desk, I couldn't do more than an hour or two a day.

I'd encourage to discuss this situation with your OS. When you go in for that next appointment let him know about your employer's unrealistic demand that you return at 6 weeks. Maybe he can give you a doctor's note explaining the recovery and why additional time is needed before you can go back.

Good luck.
 

Layla

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.counting until I'm not impatient, not in pain...not sorry I did this.
Slowly, but surely, it will come. Pick a day of the week and on that same day, each week, look back and you'll see the progress you've made. If you look for daily progress, you'll be disappointed.
I have had enough of pain and stiffness.
This is understandable given you likely had both for quite some time leading up to surgery, but since there is nothing you can do, continue taking meds, get rest, ice / elevate and make the best of it. It's going to be easier for hubs to take care of a pleasant patient, even if you're faking it for awhile. Appreciate hubs rather than feeling bad you need to depend on him temporarily. I am sure you'd do the same for him if he was the once that experienced surgery. Canceling plans is only temporary, slowly you'll get back to all that you love and it will be great because it will finally be without the pain!:yes!:

I didn't have staples, but from what I've read here, try not to worry, I don't think it's normally a big deal.

Let's try to look at the positives. We're blessed to live in an era when we can have a second chance, in the not too distant past, many of us may have ended up in a wheelchair for many years of our lives. Even though you don't notice it, your husband, visiting nurse and PT see improvement. Believe them. Many don't have CPM and Ice Machines and do just as well as those that do. You're blessed to have your loving spouse as a caregiver, a visiting nurse and PT, many have none of those and still recover nicely. You have a lot to be thankful and grateful for and I'm certain you will see that once the fog clears. Chin up, brighter days are on the way! :happydance:
 
OP
OP
L

LDV0924

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your employer's unrealistic demand that you return at 6 weeks.
I should clarify: they made no such demand. This was the promise I made to my bosses, because they're always so upset when I use PTO. My office is very shorthanded. I get plenty of texts while I'm out, along with literally hundreds of emails if I'm gone longer than a couple of days.

I work from home 80% of the time, for now. By the time I return, it's highly likely that my team will be required to come into the office 40-60% of the week.
 

LD of Michigan

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You're only a couple of weeks out of major surgery-give yourself a break. Don't feel guilty about relying on your husband right now. Letting yourself rest now will pay off in a good recovery.
That's right! I returned to work from my FMLA Medical after almost six weeks that was ok in my case (as it was my first TKR two years earlier).

My doctors note said return to work with 'restrictions' (reduced standing). My job paperwork derived from that just a 'return' to work (they omitted the word 'restrictions').

I did not argue, but walked in first day with a cane ensuring ala a visual reference that they KNEW I had MAJOR surgery - not because I needed a cane every moment.

All went well, but I was ready to remind anyone I could have stayed out longer. Thankfully, I didn't have go there.

TKR is not a walk in the park. We stand and walk out each day to our recovery, as we can. Not others time-tables!

NO GUILT.
 
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EalingGran

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work from home 80% of the time, for now. By the time I return, it's highly likely that my team will be required to come into the office 40-60% of the week
I am semi retired and just work 1- 2 days/ week now.
I negotiated working from home before my surgery. I did go back at 4 weeks and it was doable. I was able to ice at lunchtime and then late afternoon and take it easy the following day. I went into work for a training day at 6 weeks but my husband drove me there and back.
Not sure I could have done 5 days/ week even working from home and definitely not with any travelling to work.
I am only now at 6 months being asked to travel to work. Have bought a little backpack and still use a foldable stick for getting on and off the train by myself.
 
OP
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L

LDV0924

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10 Days post-op.

Ugh. Scary new pain today. While lying on the sofa doing heel slides, I was "zapped" in the knee by a sharp pain I haven't experienced prior to today. I went from minor PT discomfort to a 10 and immediately discontinued the exercise. It happened again a short time later, as I did a standing knee bend.

Not seeing surgeon for another week. Will see visiting nurse Thursday for staple removal.
 

Layla

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Hi LDV,
The pain you described sounds like what many refer to as zaps, or zingers. The pain occurs when nerve endings that were cut during surgery begin to reconnect or find new pathways.

Consider stopping the heel slides for a time if they're causing you discomfort, then start back slowly as tolerated, Using a bag underneath your heel will also make that movement easier. At only ten days post op you really don't need to be doing heel slides as long as you're reasonably mobile. Walking around the house with trips to the bathroom and kitchen to get a drink or snack counts as exercise. Just make sure you're not sitting around all day and you're taking five minute walks indoors, or out, several times a day. Best Wishes!
@LDV0924
 

InkedMarie

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Plan on cancelling your outings for at least the next few weeks, if you do too much your knee will let you know loud and clear. As for a return to work we recommend members take 12 weeks off if they can
Out of the question. I'm due back at work June 12, not quite six weeks post-op. My bosses would love to see me back before then.

Thank you for the Recovery Guidelines. I look forward to reading the articles.
I’m sorry to say that is way too soon!

Marie
 
OP
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LDV0924

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As of tomorrow, I am 28 days post-op. I've improved a great deal since my last post. I've graduated from walker to cane, and from homebound PT to outpatient. I've been cleared to drive.

I'm still in discomfort, especially at night. I limit my Dilaudid usage to bedtime only. I take Tylenol otherwise. I'm returning to work two weeks from today. I'll be able to work from home 80% of my week.
 

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