TKR Hola! 22/11/11

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junior member
Nov 27, 2011
Spain Spain
Hola All,

This is my first post on this forum, and like everybody, I am looking for help,please.

I live in Spain, and I think i should perhaps make it clear that procedures here are vey different to the USA. I had my intervention on 22nd November, with an epidural. Probably unlike the USA, I had no soundproofing - I could hear (and smell!) every crunch, bash, screech and groan. I was in hospital for 5 days. Post operative pain relief has been limited to paracetamol and metamizol (finished today). I have had physio today and yesterday, and will have another 2 - 3 days.

BUT post operative advice has been sadly lacking. Yesterday, I had very little pain and so "pottered" - I walked about with my zimmer frame a good deal, and managed to make dinner. During the night, I was in agony, and this morning I disssolved into tears - not at all like me.

So, please - what can I expect? How long will my calf and knee be black and hard? When can I expect to loose the zimmer? Any tips on going to the toilet without screaming as I lower myself the last couple of inches? Also, I have 38 metal staples, not stitches - how much are these goign to hurt when they come out??? I have been told to keep the leg elevated above my hip, but I cannot get the knee and ankle comfortable - any tips?

Many thanks - any and all help would be so greatly appreciated! :what:
Re: Hola!

Hi Cat, and welcome to Bonesmart.
Have you looked at the advice in the Library? There is an amazing amount of guidance in here, which will help you a lot.
You've definitely come o the right place for support, we'll help you through it.

as far as your questions go (so far) , there is a wide range of walking aids, the americans seem to use walkers, Brits use elbow crutches. The benefit of crutches (IMHO) is that the gait is better, and we are able to ditch one at a time. My first crutch went after a week,the other a week later, but that was I kept forgetting where I left them:biggrin:

We also have plastic thingumyjigs to raise the toilet seat 2 or 3 inches, can you not ask for one?

From your name, can I assume you are a Yorkshire Lass? If you are, we can talk in raight proper Yorkshire tha knows:th_heehee:
Re: Hola!

Welcome to our little support community!
Everything you describe is NORMAL.

Go to the Library and read the posts there. You will get alot of information on healing, pain control, exercises, etc.

Pity parties are part of the recovery.
This is a long and frustrating recovery, with many up's and downs.
Once we start to feel a bit better, most of us go out and overdo it, only to get a dose of reality later on.

Sleep is disrupted, the knee and thigh look horrid and staples look scary (they do not hurt coming out, the incision is ususally numb anyway). Most of us overdo it and undermedicate.
Don't fall into that trap.

Your leg will let you know when to toss your walking aids. I got rid of all of my walking aids by 6 week, only to need to go back to them at 3 months post op.

Don't rush it.
The only other advice I can opffer is to try not to compare your recovery with others. We all have our own recovery times.
Best of luck.
Re: Hola!

My leg was black and blue from top to ankle. I've never seen anything like it. It took about 3 weeks to clear completely.

Remember - Ice is your best friend. Rest is your other best friend. Don't push yourself too hard.

I had staples and could feel them occasionally while they were in - a slight pricking sensation. When they were taken out I felt some of them come out - slight scratchy feeling - but most of them came out without any trouble. It only took about 5 minutes to remove them all.

I was on a zimmer for a couple of days, then crutches, now a stick as needed. The zimmer was annoying; crutches better.

Read the links Jo has provided - there's one with pix of how to elevate your leg which will help. Also read other peoples' stories - you'll find them hugely comforting!

Please don't feel isolated - there are always bonesmarties online to encourage and support you!
Re: Hola!

Hello, I am glad you are here. The support is amazing and the information very trustworthy and helpful. I just want you to know the weepies is not unusual and it doesn't mean you are weak or a sissy. It means you are normal. This surgery is emotional as well as physical. I cried alot the first few weeks and also had a very hard time sleeping. Make sure you are taking enough pain meds at night. I set the alarm in the middle of the night and took my pain meds so I would be on top of the pain throughout the night and not wake up with really bad pain.
Sleeping on my back with my legs raised also helped alot. Can you get a polar ice machine ( machine that wrap around your knees and pump ice water-looks like a heating pad attached to a cooler)? It really helps and it is constant cool. Have someone else set it up and fill it with ice not you.
Don't walk too much at once. You will pay for it later. Short walks up and down the hall a few times a day if that. A raised toilet seat is great and not so painful. If you can't get one just squat a bit and aim for the pot.:th_heehee:
Things seem overwhelming now but it will get better. we have all gone through this and are alive to tell about. It is a long haul but remember every week it is better not day but week and month. Be encouraged.
Re: Hola!

Welcome to bonesmart wetherbycat! Your post brings back memories of the early days after my tkr. My calf was black for 4 weeks. I used a raised toilet seat to keep from screaming. I cried a lot. My staples felt like a zipper that was about to rip open.:rolleyespink:

But I improved a little every day and came here for encouragement.:friends:
Re: Hola!

About the toilet seat issue: there should be no need for a riser for knees as the activity is actually good therapy, but you do need a frame around the toilet to help you lower and raise yourself comfortably. You can get standard ones, extra large expanding ones and even one with a raised toilet seat if your own is a little low. But whatever else, you need a couple of strong sides to use when lowering yourself and getting up. Also, in the beginning, stick your operated leg out in front and only use the good leg!



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Re: Hola!

Hola Wetherbycat

Welcome to the Bonesmart family! You've come to the right place for support and information. We've all been through what you're experiencing and come out the other end, so don't stress that your not recovering normally!:wink1:

The staples shouldn't hurt when removed, you may just feel a little prickling sensation, most of the scar will probably still be a bit numb anyway.

As Jo has said, read all the information on this site and a lot of your questions will be answered.

You will feel emotional for a while but as the days and weeks go by you'll start to feel more like your old self. This is major surgery and your body needs to heal. Take the Bonesmart mantra on board and you won't go far wrong - Rest, Ice, Elevate, take your pain medication around the clock by the clock, and of course come to the forum to chat any time - with members all around the world there's always someone online to help with your questions or worries! :thumb:

I also live in Spain when I'm not in this part of the world and know what you mean about lack on information when you're under medical care!
Re: Hola!

Hello! You have received a lot of great advice! Just don't worry about "ditching things" too soon! Your body will let you know when you can start letting go of some of the aides that you are using. I, like the others stuck my leg out and lowered myself on the toilet. That worked a lot better.:wink1:
Re: Hola!

Hi Laurie,

Thanks, it´s great to know the support is out there. Today was a MAJOR triumph - I managed the loo without my poor husband to help. YESSS!!! Before today, I had been adopting your advice of squating and hoping for the best, never quite knowing whether to laugh or cry...

Re: Hola!

Great. Tkr surgery gets us down to the bare bones of life and the joys of it all. It is the little things in this tkr life that brings the greatest joy. I am so glad you made it without help. I hope you are feeling better. I am four months po and went to the mall and shopped all day yesterday. Just think all you will soon be able to do. I never thought I would be able to do that and here I am.
Keep up the great work,wetherbycat.
Re: Hola!

Welcome - I'm two weeks out and KNOW EXACTLY how you feel. No magic words, however, my peers have covered everything in prior posts. The key is you're not alone. I have 30 staples that come out Tuesday and I'm now experiencing the claustrophobic feeling of wanting to shake out that foreign body in my knee - but it won't go away :what:. Hard to imagine right now, however, it is a process that can only be measured only time. I my case I've taken it a couple days at a time. Next it'll be 3, then 4, etc. Keep the faith. :thumb:
How am I doing?

Hola All,

And a very merry Christmas to all on the forum!

Could anybody help me with a query or two on post-op progress, please?

I had my right knee replaced on 22 November, and I just do not know whether I am making the kind of progress I should expect, or if I´ve suddenly dissolved into being a total wimp. Probably the latter!

I can manage to walk around the supermarket for around 20 minutes (or something comparable outside, every day); I´m doing the exercises my physio has given me, and even trying the exercise bike, although this is excrutiatingly painful. BUT my knee is almost constantly sore and stiff. It´s also deeply uncomfortable - wherever I put my leg, I want to wriggle to get it better. Nights are appalling - if I get a couple of hours sleep, I wake up and find my knee is as stiff as a plank, so I hop about and exercise it for a bit, try for another couple of hours, and then do the same thing again. Also, my right ankle is stiff and often very painful. I´m taking ibuprofin for the pain, and using a lot of ice, and a cream to help get rid of the bruising (which has almost gone).

Can anbody out there tell me if this is "normal" progress 1 month post op? Any timeline on when it might get better? And how much exercise should I be taking?

Sorry to ask what must seem very basic questions, but both my surgeon and physio are Spanish, and my command of the tongue isn´t good enough to ask fairly involved questions like this!


Re: How am i doing?

Ayup Lass!!
Pretty normal I think, particularly if you insist on doing too much exercise too early (as you are!!). If it's "excrutiatingly painful" on the exercise bike, it's nature's way of telling you to gi'ower, and do something else, like drinking Rioja, or knitting etc.

After another 2 months you will be feeling a LOT better, and after 6 months you will start to forget you ever had it done. Be patient, and enjoy Xmas, play up on the pain so someone else will do all the cooking and washing up, you can rest.

Honest, you are doing just fine, just expecting a bit much at this stage.

Sithee lass.

Re: How am i doing?

Hi and Welcome! You'll find lots of support and info here--your first stop should probably be the Library where you will have most of your questions answered before you even get to ask them!

It sounds like you are doing quite a bit for only a little over 4 weeks out. Resting, icing, and elevating should still be the main menu at this point. Also, ibuprofen for pain doesn't seem like enough at 4 weeks out. Do you have prescription pain meds? I took the max dose of hydrocodone every 4 hours round the clock for at least 6 to 7 weeks. And I would say that I was very comfortable throughout. Now at 12 weeks out I'm taking 1,000 mg of Tylenol about three times a day and still taking hydrocodone every now and then when I need it.

This recovery takes a lot longer than most people expect. Rest as much as possible and let your body heal. Best wishes, Niki
Re: How am i doing?

Merry Christmas to you! There are lots and lots of great articles you need to read in the library on here. You should be doing lots of icing. I slept with my ice pack on my knee all night long for about 2 months. Sleeping is hard to do and I found myself getting up several times during the night and walking around the house. Try not to push too hard with the walking and exercises. Gentle stretching and short walks work well. Good luck to you!
Re: How am i doing?

Yeah, it may be a good idea to ease off the activity a bit and keep icing, especially after activity.
Re: How am i doing?

Walking in the supermarket for 20 minutes - EGADS!!! I had my surgery a few days before yours and I have yet to go to the market. 20 minutes on my feet would be too much for me... and I know I'd pay the price later. This is my second knee and I find that I have to remind myself to be patient, keep up with the pain meds and ice. I still nap daily... they may be catnaps; but the have value. Most of us have sleep issues; so I figure that every little bit helps.
My PT warns that doing too much can cause a relapse... I certainly don't want to go back to square one. Take it easy on yourself and let someone pamper you a bit.
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