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Bilateral TKR Get a *good* recliner (if you can!)

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buckyswider

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I am wondering, though, why you’d be able to sleep on a flat surface like a sofa or recliner, but not in bed? Is the bed too soft, or too high to get into?
that is the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question! I've been trying to figure that out myself. Possibly as Sharon and Jockette have speculated, it's the "cocoon" effect that makes us more comfortable. When I'm able to lie "flat" on my cheap recliner (by either clasping my hands behind my head to move the center of gravity or locking my elbows behind the armrests) I noticed that it probably isn't *perfectly* flat like a bed. The derriere area is still a little lower than the feet and head, likely due to more cushioning there. So maybe that little bit makes all the difference? I dunno. But I do know it's much much more comfortable than a bed at this juncture. Even the 1/2 reclined position (where I spend most of my time unfortunately) is more comfortable than a bed.
 
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buckyswider

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Hi all, finally getting some time to go back and read other threads as well as review mine.

First off, bilateral cementless tkr was 1/22/2021.

Been doing more activity the last couple days than I would have liked due to snowfall. Hey, a snow thrower is nothing more than a powered walker, right?

If lefty was coming along as well as righty is, I'd be dancing polkas by now! But alas, it's not. Less ROM, clunky/clicking, and sometimes pain when I do my 'standing knee bends'. On the front of the leg, just below the knee cap. Today it was quite severe- I didn't proceed after the first one.

The only other pain is something quite unexpected- it's like a topical pain on both shins and calves. Sensitive to the touch sometimes.

And of course the big thing is lack of sleep. Seeing how others are saying this may last several months, I think I will break down and go recliner shopping tomorrow. And yep, I will be sure to extensively test anything I may consider purchasing. It may not solve all my sleep problems, but I'm looking for any improvement I can get!

Surgical follow up is in 6 days. Hoping he'll tell me all is ok with lefty!!
 

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I purchased one of those lifting recliners five years ago when I had my first hip replacement. I have to tell you it is a life saver. I had my other hip done a few weeks ago and I slept on it for the first ten days. I went all out and purchased a Lazy- Boy, so it doesn't look like a piece of medical equipment. I'm really impressed by how much you are doing at this point after your surgery. I know two knees are in my future, so you give me hope.
 
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buckyswider

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Thanks j! I'm further along than I anticipated, but can still see I have quite a ways to go.

La-Z-Boy would be my preference also, but I guess because of the pandemic they're really backed up. Like 3-4 months delivery time. So I'll see what's available that I can get quickly.
 

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I would hate for you to go through all this to get a recliner and still only get 2 hours sleep at a time. I think that is pretty standard at this point in your recovery. Just something to think about .
 
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buckyswider

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Thanks Birdy! Great point. Yep, I'm considering that calculus. I guess the worst case scenario is that I get no better rest but a nice new recliner :)
 
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FCBayern

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I couldn't sleep in bed for even 30 minutes in the first 4 weeks, and when I tried it took a couple of hours to get the pain under control. Even if you don't end up sleeping in it, you'll appreciate having it during the day.
 
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buckyswider

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Sigh. 3 stores. Nothing in (or not too much leadtime) stock that met the criteria of the "interior designer". I do have a great pick for anyone else looking though. Raymour & Flanigan had this GREAT "Zero gravity" recliner that did great with lie-flat AND elevation of the feet/knees. Would've been perfect not for the contemporary design vs. our 1700s farmhouse...maybe I'll buy it and try to sell it later after my need for it is done. Sadly, I'd only get pennies on the dollar... :(
This is the zero gravity recliner, Porina Power Recliner.

1613880008094.png
 
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Jamie

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@buckyswider .... I'm sure you're not willing to pay that kind of money ($1250) for a recliner you only need for a while. But from the photos, I wouldn't recommend this chair. It has way too much bend at the knee. You'd have to really try to prop your feet up with pillows and they would probably slip off or be difficult to keep in place. Proper elevation of your legs should be like this:

1613880308504.png

I couldn't tell from the photos if you would be able to adjust the chair like this or not. But if not, I certainly wouldn't purchase it. Just a regular recliner would be better. How about just renting one? Most medical supply stores have them available.
 

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Hi!
I got a lift chair from Walmart pretty reasonable price too. I have to qualify by saying I’m a small person and only 5’2 but I think someone up to 5’8 to 5’11 could manage.
 
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buckyswider

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@buckyswider .... I'm sure you're not willing to pay that kind of money ($1250) for a recliner you only need for a while. But from the photos, I wouldn't recommend this chair. It has way too much bend at the knee. You'd have to really try to prop your feet up with pillows and they would probably slip off or be difficult to keep in place. Proper elevation of your legs should be like this:

1613880308504.png

I couldn't tell from the photos if you would be able to adjust the chair like this or not. But if not, I certainly wouldn't purchase it. Just a regular recliner would be better. How about just renting one? Most medical supply stores have them available.
You underestimate the power of sleep deprived desperation! :)

But the chair does in fact let you raise the footrest so the legs are not bent at all. I made sure of that when I checked it out yesterday.

Will research medical rentals- I didn't think they did stuff like that...
 

Jamie

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Not all medical supply companies do have recliners, but some do and it's worth checking into if you don't want a recliner in your home permanently. There may also be a possibility to rent one from just a regular furniture rental company.
 
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buckyswider

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Hi all, well, I got a 'wife approved' recliner. It's...OK. It stays flat, but it's very hard, and has "wings" on the backrest which contribute to sleep discomfort. But it also keep my feet higher than the prior, which is a good thing. Hopefully within a couple days I'll get used to the firmness and sleep better!

And now....the bad news. Lefty has been much slower than righty all along. Both reached at least 90 ROM within the first week, but lefty hasn't improved much past that. Probably at 120 with righty. Have my first outpatient PT next week so will get a real measurement. But last week, doing some of my limited home PT, I got a sharp pain just below the left knee on the outer side doing my "standing knee flex" exercise- simply bending the knee backward from a standing position (and raising the foot backwards). A day or two after that started, I also started having pain with my lefty chair slides. My follow-up with the doc was in two days, so I shut it down and waited for the exam/advice. Wouldn't ya know, chair slides in the doc's office elicited no pain. So he wrote the script for PT.

I didn't continue the standing flexes, but kept on with the chair slides. A little pain, but not much. Yesterday while simply moving my feet under my desk, I got a pretty bad pain in lefty, but it didn't last long- I just re-positioned the knee and it went away. Had some pain while sleeping last night though. And today...not good. One bend on the steps made me see white. Putting my left sock on....oucharama. Standing up...pain a couple times if I mounted on my left leg first. And even driving...took a turn, and I guess that moved the knee just enough to bring on a really loud scream. And that lasted for a good 15 seconds or so, since, due to limited room under the dash coupled with trying not to crash, I couldn't reposition the knee to a pain-free position for a bit.

I spoke with Dr. Wife (yes, she's a real MD, but family practice, so limited ortho) and she thinks this is pretty common. But I wanted to get your guy's take. The thing that befuddles me is that for the first 4 weeks, everything was going much better with lefty than it is now, and just started going downhill in weeks 5-6. And her visual assessment was actually that lefty looked MUCH better than righty, with regards to swelling.

At my visit last week the doc told me not to get discouraged, but now I'm wondering if I described things well enough vis-a-vis differentiating normal post-op soreness vs. this sudden sharp pain I was feeling. Or maybe he did understand and it's normal and I'm just being a drama king.

Thanks for listening!
 

SusieShoes

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Oh, I could write the saga of Lefty and Righty. Those were my knees four years ago during recovery. Righty was an angel, hit every goal; Lefty was... a slacker, an underachiever. At least compared with Righty.

So yes, it’s completely normal for there to be 1) unusual pains that appear and resolve without explanation; 2) the appearance of going downhill or backsliding, when in fact that is just how healing happens sometimes; 3) two knees on the same person, operated on on the same day, and being given identical optimal treatment, to progress at completely different rates; and 4) to be totally frustrated as owner of said knees.

Don’t get discouraged (everyone will tell you this) because others have been down that road with their knees. My bilateral replacements took about a year to even out. Righty was great at 3 months. Lefty was great at 9 months. Now at four years out, most of the time I forget they are not original issue knees. Your knees are taking you on a unique, custom, just-for-you adventure in healing.
 
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buckyswider

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Thanks for the encouragement Susie! And timely it was, as I just let out what probably was my loudest scream ever while settling down into the recliner for an icing session. Guess I'll just grin and bear it for the time being!
 

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Stop doing those knee bends that are causing pain. In my last PT session at almost 8 weeks he had me do that bend my knee up behind me, for the first time. He told me to do 30. I did maybe 17. By the time I got in the car to come home I had a pain I’d never had before.

We don’t need a bunch of bending exercises, even if though we are told we do. The bending you get in your regular daily activities is sufficient, especially as early in recovery as you are. This is because regaining our ROM is more about Time than repetitions of a list of exercises.

Time to recover.
Time for pain and swelling to settle.
Time to heal.

Our range of motion is right there all
along just waiting for that to happen so it can show itself.

In the general run of things, it doesn't need to be fought for, worked hard for or worried about. It will happen. Normal activity is the key to success.

People are all different, as are the approaches to this recovery and rehab. The key is, “Find what works for YOU.“ Your doctor(s), physiotherapist(s) and BoneSmart are here to help, but you are the final judge as to the recovery approach you choose.
 

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As far as the knees recovering differently, here’s what one of our members said:

“I watched a bilateral knee replacement when I was a nursing student. The patient happened to be a neighbor. It was quite a comfort to him that I was there. I was not that physically close to the surgical area because that's a super-sterile area. They wear space suits so they're not even breathing near the wound. I was by the patient's head. They did the left knee first and then the right, which went easier because they'd figured out the correct components on the left which means there was more tourniquet time, more putting on and taking off of components, and generally tweaking of the artificial joint on the left. So it was no surprise that the patient's right knee recovered more easily and with less swelling. Who knows how much each of our knees get tweaked and manipulated during the surgery, resulting in more tissue trauma?”

And, I wonder if you’re seeing what looks like going backwards because maybe you're feeling a bit better and are more active, and this one knee is not as ready for that as you thought. You are still in very early days of recovery.
 

FCBayern

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SusieShoes and Jockette left you great advise @buckyswider. It definitely sounds like lefty isn't ready for those exercises. I only had one knee done but I would have been relegated to the recliner wit ice for at least three days had I done the exercises you are at the same point in recovery. I think righty is making the patience required for recovery more difficult by setting unrealistic expectations. You have one superstar on your hands (well legs :heehee: ) and one run of the mill knee that will need more time and a gentler approach to reach the same goals.
 

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This is a British point of view, specifically from God's Own county of Yorkshire, where we are famous for not wasting money. We've got 5 recliners, all bought second hand. Or from charity shops. The last 2 seater electric recliner cost about 90 dollars, and a single recliner about 50 dollars. Both Lazy Boys. There's another lazy boy recliner on sale locally on Facebook marketplace for 35 dollars.
So the point of this is dont forget the secondhand market!
 

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