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TKR Jenipops Knee #2: No Rhyme Or Reason

Jenipops

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Great! Swollen. Great! Swollen. Swollen. Good. Bad.

This is my life at 3.5 weeks. Not a lot of fun, plenty of frustration. Surgeon, PT staff, family, all are amazed at how well I’m doing, ugh! 115/0, pretty good I guess, but I can’t figure out what I’m doing right some days and wrong others. Am I doing too much or too little? Ice, elevate, walk and exercise OR rest, ice and elevate?

Today is a bad one. More swelling than most swelling days. I’m icing and elevating but it feels like I’m being stuck in the leg and knee with a pin, or a TENS machine is set way too high.

Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated on this “bad day”.
 
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Chemist

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Hi @Jenipops :

Been there, done that. I would have a good day, do too much and suffer for it the next day. Ice and elevate on the bad day so what would I do the following day? Repeat the process.

You are early in your recovery. It is no fun hurting most of the time. But be patient. The end result of this marathon recovery is worth it.

Take care
Chemist
 

ApricotPie

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You sound like you stole my knee! Except that your flex is considerably better than mine. So you’re exonerated.


RTKR July 15, 2019
 

Rockgirl4

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The "getting stuck by a pin" feeling is the notorious "zinger" many of us talk about post-op. I had them severely up through week 6 as the nerves woke up and healed. They started up again in week 8 for no rhyme or reason---just part of the recovery process. At 3.5 wks, you are still super early. Anything and everything is likely to increase your swelling. Keep in mind it can take a full year to recover, and you're still super early. I'll be thinking of you and hoping things settle down pain-wise. :)
 
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Jenipops

Jenipops

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My daughter keeps calling me a “drama queen”. I can’t even begin to describe how it makes me feel. No one seems to understand how I can be great one day and miserable the next. I wish there were an island I could escape to with only TKR patients and caretakers who could empathize. I’d gladly volunteer in a couple years.
 

FitGal

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You and I are only one day apart with our surgeries! I have had more down days than up days lately, and it seems like this may be normal based on what I am reading on my post and other posts. My pain has definitely increased, but so has my activity. I am definitely getting more zingers this past week than previous - they come out of nowhere and slice right through the darn knee! In any case, I will be thinking of you and hope you start feeling more "great" days soon! (Congrats on those ROM numbers - still trying to get there, but think my numbers shrunk this weekend - uhhh!)
 

Rockgirl4

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@Jenipops Tell her if she had had her knee cut open, sawed, drilled,and hammered on, she wouldn't be so callous with her comments. :) People just don't get how traumatic and brutal the actual surgery is unless they've watched the video or lived through it. Then there's all those miraculous recovery stories "someone" has heard about, thus making us look like wimps for not being totally recovered in a month. It can be so frustrating and angering.
 

luvcats

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I'm with @Rockgirl4, sit your daughter down in front of one of the many videos of the actual surgery. It's horrific!

I found the 3rd and 4th weeks the hardest. You're bored out of your skull, so you want to do more, and you feel much better than you have in a while, so you think you're getting better and immediately you want to do something! Anything! And that's when you over do, because you think you're being careful, but you aren't nearly careful enough. Or at least, that's what was 'normal' for me. All you can do is back off your activity a bit and elevate and ice more.

And hang out here on the forums. Read back through other people's journals. It helps you see 'normal' and keeps you occupied.
 

InkedMarie

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I’m going to be a bit rude....to your daughter. Tell her that she has no idea what you’re going through and to have some decency to you, her mother. She needs to shut up. Plain and simple. Be supportive or hit the road. I absolutely hate when friends & family members minimize this surgery.

I hope,things improve
 

ApricotPie

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@Jenipops Then there's all those miraculous recovery stories "someone" has heard about, thus making us look like wimps for not being totally recovered in a month. It can be so frustrating and angering.
I have read some of these stories about people playing tennis 6 weeks after the surgery or going snow boarding three weeks after the surgery. I would like to take these people out back to the woodshed and give them a 'reality adjustment'. Keep in mind, many are paid endorsements. Others are just people looking for bragging rights. Some don't remember things accurately. An acquaintance told me he was driving his car two weeks after surgery. His wife took me aside and said it was more like a month and the surgery was on his left knee.
 

LindaO

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Yes, you can give yourself permission to do what you need to do...elevate, ice, rest....and have everyone else take care of YOU! And don't push yourself too hard in PT or that can set you back as well...hang in there and know many of us have been there and could be going through it again soon. You will be encouraging to us at that time! :D
 

sistersinhim

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This is my life at 3.5 weeks. Not a lot of fun, plenty of frustration. Surgeon, PT staff, family, all are amazed at how well I’m doing, ugh! 115/0, pretty good I guess
Not just pretty good, but outstanding!

The only people that know how painful this surgery is, is someone who has had it done. That's why Bonesmart is such a wonderful site. We all have been where you are and we're here to help you through it.
 

Jamie

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@Jenipops ... hon, you are doing FANTASTIC! No two ways about it. Your range of motion is excellent for only being 3 1/2 weeks out from surgery. Of course you are going to have some good days and some bad ones. Your poor body is still healing itself and it's a very delicate balance between the right amount of activity and too much on any given day.

I'm going to post our recovery articles so you can read them again. That will help reassure you (and maybe your daughter as well) that you are NOT a drama queen. You are having a normal recovery with very good early results in ROM. Don't push yourself too hard. You want to continue this for the next 6 months as you get that knee back to life again. There is no hurry and your whole life awaits.

Sorry about the mistaken merger of your two knee recovery threads. Pumpkln straightened it out for you now, but you may see your thread titles are a bit different now. If you want to change either one or both, just let us know what you would like and we'll make the change.

Keep us up to date on your recovery. It's always great to hear from someone who is doing nicely with their knee. You may think there's nothing to report, but just reading that your recovery is sort of "uneventful" can be a huge plus for other members.
 

Honey007

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@Jenipops
I think it looks like so many of us feel the same way! I had plans for all these projects while off from work. Surgery around same time as you. Well I am zonkered and can barely wash my face.
I googled exhaustion from TKR and found we are not alone! There is a site called Livestrong that has so many TKR patients saying it has been weeks and months later and they still are just beat.
I am not going to fight it for now.
I have a recliner I bought online that is a saving grace during the day, and my I-pad has become my best friend.
I try to find a good movie, books on line, cooking or travel shows that allow me to live vicariously while using this time to rest.
My family is small, patient, but working and in school so I am alone most of the day. I am pretty much on my own.
A part of me loves this time as I have been working for 19 years in a very demanding job, and suffered from stress and pain and exhaustion from two forms of arthritis.
It is hard for others to understand the magnitude of the surgery we had. Knee replacements are so common I think others perceive it as an easy fix.
It looks like we are al in the same boat right now doesn’t it?
No one told me the recovery process would be like this.
I know we will start improving soon. Sending you a big hug!
 
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Jenipops

Jenipops

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Thank you for sharing! It’s such a morale boost when someone can relate to what we’re going through. After taking the weekend “off” and just resting, elevating and icing, I feel pretty good today. Had PT this morning and got to full rotation on the bike! My ROM is at 119 as well. I’m so thankful I got the encouragement from Bonesmarters to just rest over the weekend without guilt. I think it helped me physically and emotionally. I know that there will still be tough days ahead, but I’m going to celebrate the little improvements when they happen.

It’s strange that surgeons don’t explain much about recovery. Maybe they are afraid if they do patients won’t have the surgery!

Sending a big hug right back at you!
 

luvcats

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I'm so glad you're feeling better. Now the trick is, enjoy feeling better without feeling that you have to get up and do more again! More is too much. Try for 'some'.
You're doing great to be at 119 so soon. I envy that. Mine is still lagging. Time and patience. Which I'm no good at.
 

Jamie

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@Jenipops .... boy, it would help if I actually posted the articles as I promised! Here they are for you to review:

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
elevate
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)
don't overwork.
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 to 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 a 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 history before providing advice.
 
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Jenipops

Jenipops

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Wondering what do about swelling. It’s been 3 days of extreme swelling of my entire surgery leg. So much so it is hard to walk, aches, and very warm. I’ve elevated, iced every 2 hours, walked and done some simple exercises. I’m so frustrated! It started after a PT session where my ROM went to 121. I was very excited, but just a few hours later this swelling started. (5 weeks)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 
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